Fit for a Leader?
Fitness and Leadership - why being in charge of your fitness levels makes you a better leader
Because the way you do anything, you do everything. Our smallest actions, even the way we text, tell a story about ourselves.
Claiming to lead a team, a business or a family but not being able to make decisions about your own body, doesn’t add up.
In fitness as in life, it’s all about making choices and deciding a strategy, while remaining flexible enough to make controlled adjustement to allow change.
Applying this method to yourself first (and what’s more personal than your own body…), makes you a more humble and understanding leader.
When my eight-year-old son told me, 'Mummy you're fat, you need to go to the gym,' it stung. But I knew he was right.
He took the picture on the left and with a smile on my face I said, ‘In one year from now, you will see a six pack’.
He of course laughed. My mini Buddha had once again set me off on a path that would change my life forever.
And when the time came and he saw me, with an 8 pack, on a stage, he just said: “Mummy you can do anything in the world”
It wasn’t that I could do it - it was that I got him to believe that anything in the world can be done.
And that’s alot.
Since then, I was asked quite a few times, by both friends and people that don't know me that well, how I managed this in just over 1 year and a half.
The bottom line is Body transformations are about Inner transformations. I simply made the decision from a deep, honest place and just kept my promise.
How? I chose to change my mind.
I changed my mind about what comes first – not the job, the bills, the washing up, the kids- it was me. I must come first.
This is the same as, when you go on a plane and they go through the safety procedures, and they say in case of emergency landing apply the oxygen mask to yourself first, and then your child (or whoever is traveling with you and you are responsible for). Why is that? Because you’re no use to them dead.
For all you givers out there - if you want to show love to anyone, start with yourself first.
2. I changed my mind about what eating food is – it’s not an act of boredom, a consolation prize, a nervous breakdown, or escapism.
It’s also not something to forget about.
Food is fuel to your body. Do you forget to fill up your car? (or top up your Travel card…Doesn’t it suck when that happens?!)
You can’t run on empty, and you can’t put Diesel into an electric car. You also can’t overfill the tank. I think you get it.
Hunger builds gradually. Like the fuel level on your dashboard, it goes orange to warn you.
Cravings are sudden and sharp. Red line. They are not hunger. Cravings are impulses potentially trying to show you that you need some kind of food. Or something...Don’t ignore them, but don’t run to the corner shop and buy a bag of sweets either. Listen to these, see if they repeatedly show up at certain times of the day, of the month, learn what they mean. Ask someone you trust. Then drink some water and wait for your meal time.
Eat at the right times, the right amounts and eat what works for you. If you don’t know what that is, find out.
3. I changed my mind about asking for help where I know I am limited – I didn’t know what to eat and I didn’t know how to train.
I asked my sister, a fitness nutritionist, to make me a food plan and I asked a PT to help me fit into this red dress. It really is as simple as that. Then they said yes, and I ate what I was supposed to and I showed up at all my training sessions and worked as hard as I possibly could. Every single time. Many times, I would say I can only do one more rep. The PT would say no, go for two. And then I would change my mind, override us both, and do three.
I discovered that true health and fitness its not a one-hit-wonder thing - it takes moving, eating and resting synergised, consistenly to succeed.
I also found that I enjoy physical training, that I can lift weights like Nicu Vlad, that I can sprint to 47km/Hr on a wattbike, that I can do fitness competitions.
My entire team at the office including my manager joined the gym downstairs. It was like a family business. The fact that I once spotted a tiny error worth 20 billion dollars in a very important report, just as I had gotten back from the gym with alert eyes and mind, really got the office more involved into fitness.
For each of us, changing our minds is a very personal affair. But there is something in common:
It takes one single moment of clarity to look at yourself, and truly decide.
If you find that you’re not ready, look into that. Not judging, but asking with curiosity - What’s holding you back?
You will find eventually, that nothing is. And you will make the right changes.
And that’s what Leaders do. Fit Leaders that is.