Work Like a CEO, Look Like a Model

By Govinda Tidball – May 1, 2016

I was working around the clock as a CEO in Sri Lanka, regularly consuming compensated cocktails and decadent meals during day-to-day business meetings. In a mere six months, my life as an executive had nudged out my healthy habits and workout routines—as evidenced by the extra two inches of fat that snuck onto my waist. I realized no one but me was going to set a positive course for my health, but my biggest dilemma was time management. I was always supposed to be continuously available to anyone who needed me at work, so an hour of yoga or gym time was not an option.

No excuse was going to stop me from restructuring my life, though. Through trial and error, I discovered a few tweaks that allowed me to get back on track.

Exercise in the mornings

I’ll admit, I’m not a morning person by nature, but this became a must. Too often there would be a last minute client meeting that would pop up, or a project would run late. Something would come up where I just couldn’t put in the time to exercise when work was supposed to end for the day. The only way I was going to stop that expanding waistline was to get up earlier.  

Pro Tip: Setting that alarm earlier jumpstarts your metabolism for the day and your body gets used to it after about three weeks. 

Develop a home workout

You don’t have to have a full-scale home gym, but developing a program that you can do at your place is necessary. The primary reason is time, the second is controlled efficiency. There is no commute to your house, and you know you don’t have to wait for a machine.  Moreover, those 40 minutes to and from a gym could be the same time it would take to get in a quick workout at home if it’s structured right. No one wants to spend more time in traffic than they have to.  

Plain Tea

Sri Lanka has long been known for its incredible tea, but unfortunately doctoring it up with sugar and milk didn’t help. At first, I switched to black tea, but in time to come I switched during the work day to classic green tea.  Not only does the L-theanine help regulate the alpha and beta waves in your brain to an optimal state for focus, but over the course of ninety days just adding in green tea and no other change will help you lose about 2.8 pounds.  

Pro Tip: Make sure you buy quality tea if you want the right effects.  

Standing Squats

Possibly one of the greatest exercises out there that you can do anytime and virtually anywhere is the standing free squat. It’s important to learn the right technique, and once that is mastered you can just knock them out. I would roll out of bed and do a bunch in succession in the first part of a morning program. By doing them for time I would combine a cardio and strength-building regimen. Keep building up that number. It will surprise you how many you can do after a couple of months of consistency. Part of raising your vitality in your body is finding the exercises that help produce the most energy and build them into your program.  

Cut the late day carbs

It’s not only what you eat, but when you eat it. Eating a ton of carbs at night and then going to bed triggers your body to store that energy as fat for a later date. Have those carb-heavy meals earlier in the day, and after around 4 p.m. be mindful of including more proteins and vegetables.  

Pro Tip: If you want to go a step further look into intermittent fasting and eating windows.  I like the 16/8 (sixteen hours off and eight hours on) as an introduction to intermittent fasting.   

When you drink alcohol

Abstaining from alcohol was probably not going to happen in my position, but switching out the beer (those carbs, again) for either wine or liquor was an improvement. Stick to drinks with clear liquor and sugar-free mixers, like vodka and club soda.  

Back to the food

What you eat is going to add up, either positively or negatively. I started cooking for myself again after a year of eating out almost every meal and seeing the damage it had done. It took nearly five months of clean eating to feel like I was getting back on track. Making small and conscious adjustments and letting fresh quality food be a natural set point helps—even if you stray from time to time.  

Pro Tip: Choose fresh foods instead of packaged; warm or hot drinks instead of cold; dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate; extra virgin coconut oil instead of vegetable oils; local honey instead of refined sugar. 


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