The Healthy Executive

Chris M – Client Results

chris-mcgradyChris M has 25 years’ experience in the IT industry and is Vice President of Human Resources, Integration Management, and Corporate IT & Security.

Coaching Observations: Chris’s health goal was to lose weight and his fitness goal was to run comfortably with less wear and tear on his body. His master goal was eudaimonia, the Aristotelian ethic of “human flourishing” or living well. Chris has a “family centered” heath psychology and this borne out as he became his son’s running coach. While in my program, Chris contracted an acute respiratory illness but he made an expedient and full recovery. In his opinion, the robustness of his health was a key factor in his recovery; this was corroborated by hospital tests of his immune system.

Nutritionally Chris eats well at home and on the road, but finds diet a bit more challenging when his kids are home during school holidays. As a result making Healthy Executive changes to his nutrition, he was able to reduce his weight nearly 20kg (from an all-time of high of 136 to 116kg).

My baseline measurements indicated Chris was physically strong — in the 99% percentile for grip strength and push-ups, and the 95% percentile for aerobic capacity. His sitting-rising test score indicated less than ideal lower-body flexibility (lower back and knees). He improved his lower back flexibility by stretching and rowing twice a week and used an elliptical trainer to work around a recurrent knee injury. Chris does regular strength training and improved his lifting when coached on the “in-roading” technique.

In his own words, Chris describes his experiences and insights into becoming healthier and fitter:

In the past, what kinds of diets or exercises programs DIDN’T work for you and why not?

  • Eating three meals a day with limited servings did not work for me. Due to lower-back and knee injuries, my exercising was very sporadic.

What specific changes did you make to your eating or exercise did you make in the last 6 months?

  • I generally limited food to 1-2 meals per day and reduced low nutrition intake (beer), limited carbohydrates (stopped eating sandwiches for lunch). Also, I became rigorous around daily morning exercise – 40 minutes aerobic and 20 minutes of strength training.
“I lost 20kg (44 lbs) while being coached.”

What health habits were easiest and hardest for you to change?

  • All my changes were relatively easy. My difficulties come when ‘normal’ daily routines are disturbed, such as school holiday times when children are at home.

chris-m-survey-responsesHow do you measure yourself to see if you are staying on track?

  • I continue to weigh myself weekly and informally count calories. I also try to set increasing effort levels on exercises (greater x-trainer resistance, more reps, more weight ) progressively.

How do you get yourself back on track if you miss your nutrition goals, workout, coaching session, etc?

  • I try and get back into my rhythm. I find that having a set daily routine is most effective for me.

You travel for business. How do you maintain your health and fitness when you are on the road?

  • In general I do a few bodyweight exercises in my hotel room and keep my dinner with my team moderate.
“My strong health contributed to my rapid recovery from an acute illness.”

You are a busy member of an executive team. How do you find the time to be healthy?

  • By making sure my work is scheduled effectively and well in advance. In general, this gives me a fair amount of freedom to use my leisure time effectively.

If you could go back and do anything different about improving your nutrition or fitness, what would it be?

  • I would like to be doing more intense workouts but still seem to have a residual knee problem which is becoming long-standing. This prevents me from running as I would like to – I am considering getting some additional medical consultation on it to see if can be improved.

What was the hardest thing for you to change?

  • Not eating with the children at lunch time when they are on school vacations.

What do you enjoy the most about your healthy lifestyle? What inspires you to keep it day after day?

  • I like to feel ‘stretched out’ and having had some effort in the morning before starting work. Without it I tend to feel a little less relaxed.

srt-scoringCompare how you feel now compared to when you first started out?

  • I feel fewer lower back aches and stiffness. I also notice the weight loss as feel lighter in general in movement.

What has surprised you most about the health changes you’ve made?

  • I find that being more aware of my nutrition has helped a lot. The impact of diet over and above exercise is my biggest success factor. In past I tended to use exercise without combining it with diet and this was less effective.

What success factors, tips, or hacks can you share that help make your health habits and motivation consistent?

  • I think regular weighing and assessing fat loss in the context of the past few days of exercise and diet can be motivating. It also helps assess what foods/exercises are most impactful in making progress.

What success factors, tips, or hacks can you share that help make your health habits and motivation consistent?

  • Regularity and consistency help me with a sense of achievement and ultimately that self-esteem that carries me through the day.
“General vitality is important to me.”