Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Founder's Diet


Let's face it, anyone who has started a company knows that there aren't enough hours in the day to worry about things like physical fitness and diet. Most days you're lucky if you get a half way decent nights sleep or talk to your family.

So how on earth do you keep yourself from becoming the blob?

The worst offenders to health I've seen are the fact that we spend all day in front of our computers, we eat out far too often, and we stress (you know you do it).

So, some quick ideas that have helped me:
  • Have walking meetings. Just do it. Get off your butts, walk around the block a few times, and discuss whatever it is that you and your co-founders have on your minds. Getting the blood flowing stimulates more interesting thoughts, you get a little cardio in, and at the end you can come back and crank out some results. (Bonus points if you speed walk and do this. You're moving fast enough if you're a little out of breath as you talk.)
  • Just buy a Wii Fit already. I love mine. By the time I get home at night at 10 or 11 there is no way I'm going back out to go to the gym, unfortunately. I want sweatpants, music, and a hot cup of tea. Wii Fit has been the no-excuses way for me to get some workout into my day. It's literally right there, and it blinks at me as I turn on my Wii to navigate over to Netflix. I set up a 15 minute routine that has cardio, strength training, and a game and I work on that most days. There's also fun stuff like skateboarding, snowball fights, and hula hooping for in between times. It's much cheaper than a gym membership, and it tracks your progress over time.
  • If you don't have a Wii, get a fitness app for your phone. My favorites on iPhone are Nike Training and FitnessPal. Nike Training gives you workouts targeted to the areas of the body you need to work on, and they have varying time lengths depending on what you can fit in to your schedule. It will even talk to you while you work out, or let you add music from your phone to make the time pass. FitnessPal helps you track what you're eating, how you're doing on calorie and nutrition intake, and what your exercise burned off. It's a great way to stop lying to yourself about how many calories your walk to the kitchen burned, and how that extra cheeseburger didn't count.
  • Grocery stores are your friends. Places like Trader Joe's have decently healthy stuff in their cold cases that take only a few minutes to prepare. So, even if you aren't Julia Child in the kitchen, you can get a decent meal every night. Also, Trader Joe's staff are really really good at helping you decide what to eat. Ask someone what to make, they'll have plenty of tips for you.
  • Drink hot tea instead of coffee. Black tea actually has more caffeine in it than your average cup of coffee. But it also has antioxidants, and it's far less acidic on your stomach. That means it will wake you up, but also help you prevent colds and stomach aches. If you like strong black coffee, you can learn to love very strong black tea.
  • Find a relaxation ritual and do it every day (or more if needed). The two things that help me the most are reading and walking. I walk around the block, listening to my ipod. I also read mystery novels like crazy (thank you, public libraries!). I work 20 minutes of reading in every night before bed to relax, and I walk to and from the train each day. A few minutes here and there really helps. Maybe yours is Angry Birds, or chasing your dog around the house. Whatever it is, do it more.

What are some great tips you have discovered that keep you healthy and fit despite a crazy founder lifestyle? Share them in the comments below.