Chances are that if you are anything at all like me you’ve totally missed a workout. Your schedule is made, you've made plans to go to the gym, and you even packed your bag and left it in the car. Still, you stayed late, came back home tired, and skipped the gym. Sound familiar?
It's frustrating. For the last 3 years I have worked as a software engineer, product manager, and team leader and have experienced the challenges of staying fit while working at an office day-in and day-out. Like you, there have been weeks where I strayed from my goals. You've been told to try harder. You've been told you need more motivation. You've been told to "Just do it." Somehow, this isn't enough. It never feels like enough.
You did pay money for your gym and your bag is in the car. What could possibly be missing?
If you have to travel, you know it complicates your life even further—different gym, different schedule, different timezone. And it’s not like we can make up for lost time at the airport or on the plane.
The worst part? It doesn’t get any easier. Since I started work, my uncle’s keep warning me that I am not going to stay lean and strong much longer. In their typical Dominican style they don’t hold anything back,“Tu vera, te vas a poner gordo.” (PS—Gordo means fat). And I get it. It gets harder when you have kids. When your kids have their soccer game it means that you are not at your yoga. And then you have to go out for pizza—right? Sounds like someone missed another workout even though they were part of the National Judo team.
Shit. This might get worse.
Interestingly, being able to stay healthy seemed like a strong indicator for success. At my company, the leading Sales Manager put a lot of work into staying healthy and strong. He would fight for his gym time and I think that fitness really helped propel his success. He is now the VP of Sales and is on the path to CEO. The way he kept his body strong indicated that he could keep the company healthy as we transitioned into a new industry. All in all, he was badass.
And I wondered, is there anything about him that made him really special? Was he just more motivated than everybody else? Could I learn from him or was his situation unique?
As it turns out: no—it wasn’t genetics. In fact, he became special because he worked. Case in point: I saw how exercise became the foundation on which others revitalized or built up their careers. My former boss—one of the few women charged as a VP of Engineering—eventually hired a personal trainer. After going on and on about how my exercise discipline fueled my success, she told me—"I need to do this too" and so she did. She no longer felt deathly stiff on the job. All of as sudden she was lighter, more free-flowing, and content. I was so happy for her.
More surprisingly, as she continued to work out, her excellence sparkled through to us. The leader that emerged out of the gym habit became an even more-extraordinary executive. Projects that had been stalled for months now began to come to a close. Meetings would stop dragging on and on and we would get to the point quickly. And her nurturing, caring side became even warmer and more empowering. Outside of work, she got closer to her son, a rebelling teenager soccer player. Of all the productivity improvements I had helped implement as project manager—convincing her to gym was by far the best thing I ever done.
My personal experience also backed it up: exercise everyday becomes the fuel for your success in all other aspects of life. This was a lesson I was forced to learn though I’ll be the first to admit that it took years of struggle for me to accept this. Fortunatley, I got a spinal injury that to this day needs everyday attention and woke me up.
The injury was debilitating. There were days when all I could do was lie in bed and wallow in pain. For four years after the injury I thought that massage, surgery or something done by someone else would be the solution. Sure, a stretch here and there would feel nice. What I didn’t realize was just how powerful this mobility work was when done every day. Luck got in the way when an exercise studio next door offered a unique class—everyday at the same time guided by a teacher. The consistency made it the exercise take on a different character altogether—in the same way a pattern is very different from a one-off image. Sadly it was only offered for a month as a detox from Jazzfest in New Orleans. Normally I would’ve quit. I would’ve stopped right there. This time was different—the side-effect of that weekly workout was so amazing that I got hooked. What side effect was that?
Productivity wise, I grew to learn that not only was it important for my well-being— it was key to my success . When I worked out, I was more awake. Not only was I more awake, I would also go asleep sooner. In fact, I could forget to drink coffee in the morning. My work was more polished. I could pay attention and be there for people. And man—did I feel good about myself. Time stopped slowing to a crawl. Physical activity became the source of my energy. Physical activity became the source of my well-being. Physical activity brought out the best in me and made it easy to love. You wanted it everyday, all the time.
When I realized that the VP of Sales fueled his success with physicality, and when I saw these results replicated in my boss, like countless others after that a fire began to burn in my heart. You, me and the world need more physical activity and mental release. We need more places where we can regain energy so that we can restore our strength. Can you imagine what life would be like if you were always in perfect posture, breathing deeply and always read to work out?
Knowing that all of us who have missed workouts are holding ourselves back, I began to think about these 5 questions every single day:
- How can you create a lifestyle where you never miss a workout?
- How can you squeeze more life out of less time? For example, Not everyone can work out at lunch: are there any meaningful things you can do in five minutes that don't require a shower?
- How can you create a community that ensures that we are always living up to our potential?
- How can we get your culture to make your workout a #1 priority?
If only everybody knew how much our physical practice leads to a more present, available self. In fact, if all of us felt this good we could probably achieve tremendous peace among us.
We should feel like this more often.
If you ask yourself these things, it would be my utmost pleasure to have you join me along on this journey. But before you join me, I want you to notice something. The activity that would motivate positive life-altering changes only happened after negative events: an unexpected injury or a fun, gluttonous week. Isn’t it interesting that the studio only had a market big enough for a daily routine after Jazzfest? Well, it doesn’t have to be that way.
You break the mold. In Spanish they say, “Poner candado despues de que roban”—“Get a lock after being robbed.” You may not be working out and you may not think you need to. Your question may, “Why should I get started?” Time and time again though, those who get started look back and wonder why they didn’t start earlier. Exercise—is the key. In fact, those of you who work out ask me a different question: can you pour gasoline on my fire? And the truth is yes—yes I can. In fact, I do interior design that makes workouts and full range of motion more accessible. This is not a few dollars on an exercise program. This is not a few hundred of dollars on a personal trainer. These are thousands and thousands of dollars on furniture and houses that inspire your movement. My commitment to movement is 100% and I find the ways to have more of it in every single part of life.
So if the 5 questions are something you're interested in answering, make sure you’ve do these three things now:
1 - Join my email list, Stop missing out
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3 - Prepare to contribute and become a part of my posts
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There's a part of you that is already achieving greatness and everyone can benefit from it. If you need to—fire a message away right now at firstname.lastname@example.org
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In the meantime, remember—you are the best. Let’s make the best better.
Post workout meditation at
JetBlue terminal, JFK Airport, NYC.