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Why Entrepreneurs Are Unhealthy & What To Do About It

By:     Topics: Entrepreneurship     More posts about: ,

It’s no coincidence that a lot of entrepreneurs have health related problems.

As entrepreneurs, we often treat our bodies terribly in exchange for success.

We work long, unsociable hours, on little sleep, fueling our bodies with crap food – just so we can get back to what we were doing.

This isn’t healthy, nor is this is my idea of success.

During the last four years, I’ve dedicated a lot of my time to understanding how the body works and what it needs to thrive at an optimum level.

I’ve tested hundreds of supplements, talked to dozens of doctors and spent a small fortune educating myself before writing this post.

I’m not a doctor and you should always do your own research, but this article does outline what works for me – everybody is different.

What Does The Body Want?

Simply put, the body wants every internal process to function in harmony.

In order to accomplish this, we need to provide our bodies with clean, sustainable nutrition and habitual physical activity. This goes a long way towards being successful in both health and business.

Health & Entrepreneurship Can Literally Go Together

The story of Jordan Rubin, CEO of Garden of Life, is a great example of the power of health & entrepreneurship working together.

This man was on his last leg, thin as a rail and suffering from numerous health conditions.

He decided he was going to take his health back into his own hands; ate a completely natural diet, returned to nature and started exercising the “right” way.

He re-gained a lot of weight, and eventually wrote a book about his story; It was called Patient, Heal Thyself.

He then went on to start a supplement company based on the experience and research he went through during his journey back to health.

To sum it up, he’s now a multi-millionaire, and it never would’ve happened if he hadn’t merged entrepreneurship and health.

Granted, Jordan’s story is unique, but it puts into perspective how focus and attention to detail with your health can translate into the same attention to detail and work ethic required to be successful as an entrepreneur.

Change What You Eat & Drink

organic-official

Without a doubt, the most important thing you can do to start feeling better and instantly improve your health is change what you eat and drink!

Enhancing the quality and variety of food that goes into your body ensures that your immune system, metabolism and mental processes function at an optimum level. This is imperative if you’re going to have the mental capacity or physical energy required to run your own business for the long term.

CronoMeter is a free, user-friendly resource that I use to track all of my nutrition. With that said, it’s very rare that I don’t eat like a king – this is what I stick to:

  • 100% organic.
  • Local grown and shipped.
  • Whole unprocessed foods.
  • No added sugar.
  • No soy.
  • Get off the dairy.
  • Balanced macro nutrients (carbs, protein & fat) and micro nutrients (vitamins & minerals).
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Drink kombucha.

Improve The Way You Eat & Drink

It’s not just what you eat, but how you eat that can make a big difference.

There are a few solid eating tips I’ve picked up over the years that have helped keep my health bulletproof – I’ve listed them here:

  • Eat soon after waking up.
  • Set eating times (ex: 9, 12, 5 & 8).
  • Chew your food thoroughly (ex: 36 times, once for each tooth).
  • Don’t drink during and for up to an hour after a meal – it slows digestion. This is an interesting article on drinking & digestion – http://foodbabe.com/2012/02/19/be-unconventional-stop-drinking-with-your-meals
  • Eat food fresh and immediately after it’s prepared to optimize nutritional value.
  • Hydrate yourself – Mental processes are affected by as little as 2% dehydration. Not to mention, the most common cause of afternoon fatigue is dehydration (drink plenty of water, herbal teas, stock, broths & fresh homemade juice).

Improve Your Sleep

guy-sleeping-on-couch-man-boy-resting-2

As an entrepreneur, I go to bed most nights, excited to find out what tomorrow brings.

The thing is, the more I think, the more I toss and turn and the longer it takes me to fall asleep. The way I see it, we have to sleep every day, for the rest of our lives; might as well be good at it.

Here’s what’s been working for me:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day (typically 11pm – 8am).
  • Sleep in complete darkness; make sure to black out your windows. This great article by Dr. Mercola talks about it here – http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/01/02/sleep-in-darkness.aspx
  • Sleep in complete silence.
  • Reduce blue light in the evening (install f.lux app, dim your lights, burn beeswax candles, turn off electronics).
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night can double the chance of coming down with an infection (deep sleep increases your body’s production of natural killer cells).
  • Wake up to sunlight. I use a wake up to light alarm clock, at 7:30 it begins brightening up the room until 8am when bird noises begin.
  • Eat two kiwi fruit before bed. Studies show that eating two kiwi fruit every day will improve the quality of one’s sleep by 40% and help you fall asleep 35% quicker.
  • Drink a chamomile, passion-flower or peppermint tea before you sleep.
  • Don’t eat dinner within 3 hours of going to bed.
  • Sleep with socks on. A recent study has shown that cold feet are often a cause of interrupted sleep.

Improve Your Air

The quality of our air has a huge impact on our health. As humans we’re meant to live outside, breathing that lovely fresh air.

Not only is this a great opportunity to absorb some vitamin D3, but also it helps improve our immune system by enhancing our human micro-biome (the “good bugs” living inside us).

Here are some air quality habits that I live by:

  • Keep a window open. This cool article explains the surprising benefits – http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-7936/why-you-need-to-open-a-window… 
  • Use natural cleaning products.
  • Burn beeswax candles to purify air. Beeswax is a fantastic medium for candles and produces negative ions when burned, which pulls positively charged particles out of the air (providing many benefits especially for allergy sufferers).
  • Learn how to breathe properly (deep and consciously).
  • Buy some house plants. A NASA study proved they’re great air filters and this video explains the benefits – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmn7tjSNyAA

Sitting Is The New Smoking – Even If You Exercise

Thomas Jefferson would get regular exercise amidst his several hours of daily study at his estate. He was one of the brightest minds to have ever graced history book pages, but he still made sure to get out and exercise each day.

There’s no getting around the fact that the more you sit, the worse health you’re going to have, the earlier you’re going to die, and it doesn’t matter how fit you are.

As Internet entrepreneurs, we spend A LOT of our time sitting in front of the computer. We run websites, write articles, and check stats for hours on end…

But what does all this sitting for extended periods of time do?

Well, for starters, sitting in front of a computer for such long hours increases our risk of depression, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Plus, all that time spent at the computer expending mental energy without any physical activity just makes it harder to sleep at night. Combine that with the fact that most Internet entrepreneurs drink a lot of caffeine – which in itself creates a recipe for throwing everything out of whack.

You have to live an active lifestyle if you’re going to be healthy and successful as an entrepreneur.

The Life We Lead

Our daily habits can make or break our health and our business in the long run.

Creating a daily schedule that incorporates both health conscious activities and entrepreneurial tasks is a great way to remain productive and achieve success.

For example, as entrepreneurs we’re prone to sit for long hours while working, which in many cases translates into unsociable behavior.

Having a positive sense of community is nearly as important to our health as exercise because the division of work, feeling of association and togetherness all help establish a healthy atmosphere and mindset.

One of the most important things we can to do to maximize our health and productivity as entrepreneurs is to create a daily schedule and stick to it.

Now, you don’t want to feel like you’re a slave to your schedule so you must be productive and create time for fun.

Besides your eating times, some of the most important aspects to keep in mind when creating your daily schedule is to make time for breaks and utilize them to get up, move around and interact with other human life.

I’ve adopted a great method from master copywriter Eugene Schwartz that allows me to remain productive yet active and involved throughout my day.

What I do is set my timer to exactly 33 minutes and 33 seconds (33.33) – this seems to be the magic number for me.

From after breakfast until about lunch I work in 33.33-minute chunks with 10-15 minute breaks between “sessions.” I take advantage of these breaks by walking around the park, practicing yoga, meditating, watching funny videos or simply starting conversations with strangers.

By becoming aware of a few of the more common reasons why entrepreneurs and business owners are unhealthy you can avoid them and excel; here they are:

  • Sitting long hours.
  • Bad posture from sitting down all day.
  • Working long hours.
  • No “me time.”
  • Don’t take breaks.
  • Unsociable / lack of community.
  • Eating food on the go.
  • They eat sugar, dairy, gluten, yeast, processed food or soya.
  • Bad sleep.
  • Often burn candle at both ends of the stick (party hard).
  • Travel all over the world, at times exposing us to infectious diseases.
  • Little exercise.
  • Mental exhaustion.

Are You, As An Entrepreneur, Doomed To Be Unhealthier?

You, as an entrepreneur, are actually poised to be a lot healthier than the regular working class folk, who unfortunately don’t really have much of a choice about their lifestyles.

They have to go into work every day, spend X amount of hours there, often under poor working conditions, and have to be cramped up in an office all day without taking any breaks outside.

The good news for you and I is that there was a recent study that showed entrepreneurs were actually healthier. They tended to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, and take more self-responsibility.

The same traits that have made you such a great entrepreneur can be carried over to living a healthy lifestyle. If you put as much work into your body, as you do your business, you’ll be flying high.

Remember, a lot of people who live sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles don’t have a choice about their lives. They’re forced to work inside all day for a set number of hours and can’t even spend their days outside when it’s bright and sunny.

The idea of trying to be healthy, while being an entrepreneur, has to be taken to heart. The most successful entrepreneurs combine great health with great business!

Health by choice, not by chance.

-David Aston

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Comments

  1. This article is amazing, I feel healthier just reading. Can’t wait try it all out!

  2. Your Living Body says:

    To be honest, there’s a lot of non-entrepreneur people who aren’t healthy either. In fact, research shows that the lower you are on the socioeconomic status the more likely you are to be unhealthy. Either way, it’s an issue I help all clients address as most of the time the one thing that is keeping them unhealthy is a lack of awareness.

  3. Shernette Sampson says:

    This is a great article. I recently had a complete mental and physical breakdown from overworking in my business. In fact, I felt the symptoms (constantly tired, short attention span, unusual aches and pains) but ignored them in order to keep at it. I have most definitely learnt my lesson after lying in bed trying to recover for days and not being able to get anything done.

    • David Aston says:

      Thanks a lot Shernette. I’m sorry to hear about your “breakdown.” We MUST maintain a certain level of awareness and not ignore the warning signs that our body provides us.

      The determination you showed by working through fatigue, aches and pains is the same determination required to achieve perfect health and a thriving business.

      I’m glad that you’ve learned something from the experience. Be sure to do the world a solid and spread the knowledge you’ve gained 🙂

  4. Maegan Anderson says:

    Very
    inspiring article here David. Truly it is very important to be healthy for us
    to work, think, and act the way our business activities want us to be. Being
    healthy is one of the secret of not just having a long life but also of a
    successful business career.

    • David Aston says:

      Thanks for the kind words Maegan, glad you enjoyed it. You’ve got it, BEING healthy is key. Becoming aware of our habits goes a very long way in life and business. The only “secret” to perfect health, thriving business or a chiseled physique…is CONSISTENCY.

  5. David Aston says:

    I agree, lack of awareness tends to be the biggest and for many people I’ve worked with, it’s the only hurdle to great health. Thank you for the feedback

  6. Alec Barron says:

    Great stuff, David!

    I think it’s so fascinating when I hear hardworking entrepreneurs or office workers say stuff like, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Or “I don’t have time to workout.”

    Sure, some of these people can be productive for years like this, but the majority are not performing optimally. And many of them are racing their way to a burnout that is going to kill their long-term productivity.

    I like to think of running a business like racecar driving. A racecar driver can redline his engine for several laps to claim a commanding lead, but eventually his car will break down! It could run out of fuel, the engine could overheat, the tires could melt off. There’s a reason why racecar drivers make multiple pit stops in a race.

    The same is true in business. Entrepreneurs need a pitstop for their mind and bodies or they will break down. 16 hour days with crappy food and sleep will help you get a lead over competitors for a while, but they’ll eventually catch up when you break down.

  7. David Aston says:

    Very well said Alec! Thank you kindly for the stellar feedback.

    Spot on with the racecar analogy my friend – “Entrepreneurs need a pitstop for their mind and bodies or they will break down.”

    The way I see it…

    Stay healthy and you’ll stay wealthy.

    I appreciate you.