Conditioning for the Sport of Business

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By Cord Reisdorf

It is easier to condition your body to be a professional athlete than it is to condition yourself to be an executive. Let that sink in for a moment.

But how could this be true? Professional athletes are prime physical specimens (Offensive Linemen and Bowlers notwithstanding), they put hundreds or thousands of hours into training for their sport and their bodies are their business.

True. But that said, they also (for most sports) have a lengthy off-season in which they regenerate, have a team of professionals to take care of their physical needs (trainers, physiotherapists, massage therapists, personal chefs et al) and their off-season workday may only be the 2-5 hours they spend physically conditioning themselves for next season, while the rest of the day is spent recuperating.

Their in-season conditioning programs become less intense and less frequent as they spend more time competing in their sport. And if that chosen sport is football, hockey, soccer, basketball or golf, their contests are usually less than 4 hours.

Let’s compare that with a typical senior executive. First, in business, there is no off-season! Second, a typical workday can be anywhere from 8-14 hours. Third, during the workday, an executive needs to be mentally sharp and agile in order to make good decisions quickly, all day long. Very few have an entire team of health professionals tending to them yet the mental and often physical demands (think travel, long hours, time zones, inadequate sleep) rival and surpass that of most athletes. Add all of this to the wireless age where work is never more than a belt-clipped BlackBerry away and it is not a stretch to see the correlation of pro athletes and executives.

So what is the solution for the boardroom brawlers?

Physical training. Conditioning the body so that the mind has the opportunity to do what it needs to do. And not just any physical training, but intense physical training in the right doses at the right time with the right frequency.

Beyond slimmer waistlines and bulging biceps, it’s well documented that optimal fitness levels will increase everything from energy & stamina, to mood and a general sense of well-being. If you don’t have the physical wherewithal to endure long days, arduous meetings and the typical daily grind, you will not have the energy to go the distance…whether that means closing the deal or making the sale.

When we are fatigued, we make poor decisions. Athletes don’t just train so that they start every game in their best shape; they condition themselves so that in the 4th quarter they are able to make good decisions because their bodies are still fresh. This allows their minds to be clear and focused on the task at hand, rather than being preoccupied with how fatigued they may be.

Do you have as much energy and stamina as you would like? How would your next meeting or negotiation go if you were as fresh at the end as you were at the start? Perhaps increasing the intensity of your current exercise routine (or starting a new one) will give you the edge you need to help you perform at your peak.

Cord Reisdorf is the Principal of Peak Fitness Management. For more information, visit www.peakfitnessmanagement.ca

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