The Healthy Executive

David C – Client Results

cfoDavid C is the Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary of a publicly traded high-tech company. David is responsible for all financial and corporate matters of the company, including financial and management reporting, financial planning and analysis and investor relations as well as the legal function.

Coaching Observations: Due to the nature of his corporate role, David started his health coaching with high stress levels. His readiness assessment score was noncommittal and his nutrition awareness score was neutral to low. His motivation to improve his health included a vacation in Hawaii and an 82 year-old role model who was very active and very healthy. David faced the usual challenges of corporate travel and team-building meals. He also had to overcome a minor injury that prevented him for exercising for a few weeks.

Because of the timing of his annual executive health review at Cleveland Clinic, David was able to objectively measure his year-on-year health coaching changes as follows:

  • Lost 13 pounds (from 190 to 177)
  • Lost 5 inches off his waist (from 43″ to 38″)
  • 24% improvement in aerobic capacity (from 33 to 41 ml/kg/min)
  • 1.5 cm taller in height (improved posture)
  • 9% increase in Grip Strength (from old L: 91.4 / R: 96.2 / A:187.6 to L: 98.6 /R: 106 / A: 204.6)
  • Stronger in Push-Pull Test
  • Improved blood work
  • Lowered cardiovascular risk  (Framingham Score)

On a day-to-day level, David noticed his clothes fit looser. He developed greater nutritional awareness about sugar and protein and kept healthy snacks at work when he notice the company snack bowl was stocked with chocolates and chips. He sustained his health and fitness routines while on vacation, especially his walking. The CEO of his company noticed and commented quite favorable on David’s health and fitness improvements.

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

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

  • Diets that did not work from me included strict calorie, carb or alcohol restrictions.
  • Exercise programs that didn’t work include long programs that are impractical.
“I feel in my best shape in 10 years.”

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

  • Specifically I did shorter exercise program of basic movements (push-ups, pull-ups and squats) and HIIT exercises coupled with daily treadmill fast-walking (while watching sports).
  • Eating habits I changed include daily protein shake for breakfast, a focus on protein and greens/vegetables and a protein bar as a snack. I also have cut down on alcohol and sugar.
“My golf drives have never been longer…I feel more core strength and better balance….less ‘chopping wood’.”

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

  • Easiest for me was to focus on basic exercise movements at home or hotel room; hardest was to cut back on alcohol!
“This year, I actually enjoyed getting my executive physical.”

How do you measure yourself to see if you are staying on track?

  • My measurements included daily caloric consumption via MyFitnessPal (at first), daily weight measurement,  and “max ability” of exercise repetitions.

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

  • Getting back on track is generally through a feeling of guilt and/or sluggishness that motivates me to return to practices that make me feel good about myself.
“This year my doctor didn’t give me the ‘usual lecture’ about my health and fitness.”

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

  • What works for me is exercising in the hotel room and making “good” choices about food/snacks/limiting alcohol.

executive-poll-responses-2

In what ways does social support play a role in changing your eating or exercise habits?

  • It’s very important. At home, I’m fortunate to have my wife and daughters who are also very health conscious and who make exercise and healthy eating a daily routine. At work I make sure I have healthy choices available to me.

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

  • Routines are important! I exercise in the morning before m first meeting starts. And I make sure healthy food choices are available at my desk, or a short walk away.
“I prefer strength training over cardio.”

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

  • Ideally – I would have started this sooner because I feel healthier now at 54 than i did in my 40’s!

What was the hardest thing for you to change?

  • The hardest thing for me was cutting back on carbs/snacks and alcohol…it’s still is a challenge
“My exercises are very efficient. No excuses!”

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

  • Feeling stronger and more active is the best part for me. My golf game is better and I feel more active around the house in general.

Compare how you feel now compared to when you first started out?

  • I feel stronger, fitter, and more energetic than I did 6 months ago.

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

  • I was surprised that it didn’t require wholesale or 180 degree change. Instead, small changes that over time made a significant impact!
“I liked Jeff’s approach of forming good habits. The key is keeping it simple.”

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

  • Weekly coaching (like going to church) provides me with both motivation and inspiration. Daily measurements are also helpful.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • I remember a saying that goes the something like “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. That applies to having more strength and stamina as well!
“Executive Health Programs are like going to church once a year. You need to go every week for it to have any effect.”

Also published on Medium.

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