Staying in shape in 2014: Fitness mantras of successful entrepreneurs and top CEOs


A new year is when seeds for new habits are best sowed. There is a feeling of optimism in the air that the unachieved goals of last year can be scaled in the next 12 months. Health and fitness is one of key areas that take a hit for entrepreneurs who sometimes have to pull multiple all-nighters, work weekends and face plenty of stress.

Living a healthy life that is built around a disciplined exercise regimen is the best way to deal with all of the above mentioned. A fit entrepreneur has more energy, has less stress to deal with and is generally more focused. This could be the difference between a million dollar exit and ride into oblivion. We looked at the fitness mantras of seven entrepreneurs, and one CEO, on what they do to stay in peak shape physically.Enjoy the read, and press into action.

1) Steve Jobs, co-founder Apple, founder Pixar and NeXt

Standout mantra: Everybody knows that Jobs was a maniac when it came to product design and development that resulted in inventions like the iPod, iPhone and the iPad. Perhaps what is less known is his obsession with remaining healthy through his diet. Though he may not have spent hours at the gym, his fitness mantra was eating the right foods and practicing restraint. He was known to follow the strict diet regimen prescribed by German author Arnold Ehret in his book ‘The Mucusless Diet Healing System’ that recommended a fruit and vegetable only diet. Jobs was also known to go on fasts regularly and during various times was vegan and flirted with being a fruitarian (a diet of only fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, with no animal products or grains).

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Comment: This is good only if you are looking to detox and losing weight. Not to be regularly followed.

2) Jack Dorsey, founder twitter and Square

Standout mantras: At present whatever Dorsey touches turns into gold. Most tech entrepreneurs would have been satisfied with founding twitter, but Dorsey went on to found the wildly popular Square, using which customers can make payments through their mobile phones. At one point Dorsey was working full-time at both companies, putting in eight hours in both daily. This requires immense physical and mental fitness. How does he do it? In terms of his diet, last year, Dorsey went from being vegan to the Paleo diet (advocates avoiding gluten, alcohol, dairy and sugar). He also hits the gym regularly, runs three miles daily and does six sets of 20 squats and pushups every day. Dorsey also prescribes drinking only lemon water and red wine, and avoiding beer and hard liquor on weekdays. Phew!

Comment: Dorsey’s fitness regimen seems on the balanced side but will require a lot of discipline to keep up. It pays though; take a look at yoga instructor girlfriend.

3) Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder Facebook

Standout mantras: Zuckerberg describes himself as vegetarian but eats meat. Huh. In a 2011 interview with ‘Fortune’ magazine, the multi-billionaire said that he thinks himself as a vegetarian because he only eats animals that he kills himself. He also has a personal trainer with whom he exercises five times every week. He also conducts some of his meetings while walking.

Comment: Zuckerberg eats healthy, exercises outside of work and has also found a way to fit healthy habits into his work routine. ‘Talk while walk’ meetings anyone?

4) Anil Ambani, Chairman Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG)

Standout mantras: Ambani is sometimes referred to as marathon man because he runs atleast a few 100 km every week and also runs marathons. He started running fairly late in life inspired by the words of his father who told his younger son that wealth can’t buy health. Overweight at one point, Ambani dropped almost one third his weight by getting up before the crack of dawn and running daily, and making healthy eating choices. He also doesn’t smoke and abstains from alcohol. Running is his only high.

Comment: It is never too late to get healthy and you are never too busy to find time during the day to exercise.

5) Larry Ellison: founder, Oracle

Standout mantras: Ellison is 69 years old but looks fitter than most 30-year-olds. He races sailboats, which require plenty of strength and stamina to maneuver. He is also known to hit the gym regularly to keep up that fit appearance.

Comment: In order to run a multi-billion dollar company and stay fresh physical fitness is a must. Age is just a number as long as you take care of yourself.

6) Tim Cook: CEO, Apple Inc.

Standout mantras: Filling Jobs’ shoes can be a tough ask. But Cook has done a good job so far. Known to be a fitness freak, he is an early riser, and hits the gym on a regular basis. Cook is also known to be an avid cyclist and hiker. He a big fan of energy bars, he is known to eat them through the day, including at meetings. Famous for being a workaholic, he’s usually the first one in, and the last one out.

Comment: Heading a company like Apple requires mental toughness and physical strength. If you want to work log in long hours, try more than one physical fitness routine and chomp on energy bars rather than salty-sweet snacks.

7) Brian Chesky, co-founder, Airbnb

Standout mantras: Before co-founding room rental company Airbnb, among many other things, Chesky used to be a competitive bodybuilder. This has definitely helped stay in shape and remain healthy. Chesky also believes in eating right.

Comment: Just because you have newly attained wealth and you have a busy schedule doesn’t mean you forget healthy habits.

8) Elon Musk, co-founder PayPal, founder Tesla and SpaceX

Standout mantras: Musk may have a 100-hour work routine, but that doesn’t stop him from finding time to stay in tip-top shape. He’s into swimming, plays tennis and even works out at the gym. To save time on his commute he’s packed his 20,000 plus square feet home with most health club amenities.

Comment: It doesn’t matter if you are upending multiple industries like electric cars and space travel. Just make sure to get plenty of exercise.

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