My learning and experience has been that everything you do towards developing fitness ultimately helps in developing mental, physical, emotional and business focus. These traits then cut across your personal lifestyle and working habits and ultimately start making an impact on your work. Fitness also helps develop patience, perseverance and humility, all traits necessary to be a good leader. You recognize that there are no easy routes to success and you shed your arrogance because when you fail a few times, like everyone does in fitness, whether it is in achieving a fitness goal or in running a marathon, you learn that failure is part of the process. That helps you support the people in your team at work, and encourage them to overcome failure. In the context of leadership, it is useful in charting long-term goals, discipline and in striving for excellence.
STAYING COMMITTED TO FITNESS I start my day quite early at 4.45 am, and I begin with an hour of cardio – either running, cycling or swimming alternating between weekdays. I follow that up with an hour of strength training. When you do cardio, you tend to break down muscle and so it is important to augment a cardio routine with strength training. If I don’t have the time for strength training in the mornings, I do it in the evenings. I have stacked my home with fitness equipment instead of relying on gyms because very often, my schedule doesn’t allow me enough time to work out. For me, fitness is as essential as waking up, taking a shower and brushing your teeth. I feel miserable on days when I don’t make the time for my workout. Even if it’s a busy day, and I have just 15 minutes to exercise, I’ll take it because that is still better than not working out at all. On weekends, I raise the intensity of my workouts especially when I am training for events like a marathon. I tend to put in about five hours, usually early in the morning which would mean long bike rides of 80-90 kilometres or long runs. I do these on the weekends because then you have a bit more time to recover. Initially, I only participated in marathons but then I was bored doing just running or walking so I started participating in triathlons. A mix of running, biking and swimming helps to reduce boredom, to work various muscle groups and to prevent injuries. I also attend boot camps to join like-minded people, break monotony and stay motivated.
A PROTEIN-RICH DIET My diet consists of a lot of fruits, healthy carbs such as whole wheat pasta and brown rice, veggies, dal and a good amount of grilled chicken and fish. I stay away from all fried food and anything with added sugar. I also avoid eating too late in the night because then your food pretty much just sits in your body and messes up with your metabolism. There are certain things I always incorporate in my diet, such as dry fruits and protein shakes. Protein is an important part of my diet, so I make sure that I eat a good amount of boiled egg whites. When it comes to food, I am fairly disciplined but that doesn’t mean I don’t indulge in an occasional slice of pizza. I don’t follow the concept of cheat days, but I do love ice-cream so I don’t deny myself an ice-cream treat from time to time.