The Healthy Executive

Lucas – Client Results

rkn-logoAs Redknee’s founder and first employee, Lucas Skoczkowski has been directing the execution of Redknee’s business activities and corporate operations since 1999. In 2014, Lucas was featured in the Global Telecoms Business list of top 100 most influential executives in the telecoms business.

Coaching Observations:

Lucas approached me with dual health and fitness objectives:

  • for his executive leadership team (ELT),
  • and for himself as CEO.

Both Lucas and his executive team shared several characteristics in common:

  • Strong motivation to proactively get results
  • Stressful job roles involving constant international travel
  • An ethos of continuous improvement in a highly competitive industry

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

Leadership Team Goals:

Lucas made the following observations about the business and his team (you can read about the results of his Executive Leadership Team coaching in this corporate case study).

“My #1 worry about my ELT team is a major illness due to poor health.”
“Executive impairment (key man risk) is frustrating, because while I can mitigate and maintain the situation, my business must advance to stay competitive.”
“Stress creates a negative mindset. Being healthy creates a positive halo effect in my executives.”
“I have seen that if my executive team is low energy or not feeling well, its leads to employee uncertainty and lower performance.”
“At first my executives were very skeptical about health coaching. But over time it became a team value we shared consciously.”
“Each executive has taken away some personal health improvement from this coaching program.”
“My entire executive team found that just a few minutes of exercise a week is all that’s need to make a big difference in their energy levels.”
“What it means to the business is, for example, my CFO had very high business stress the last 6 months, but his health and his fitness at have been the best he’s had in his life.”
“The business is in better shape despite expecting negative impacts due to stress. Despite all the stressors on the business, my executives feel more optimistic than expected.”
Lucas’ Personal Goals
Lucas completed several personalized assessments with me in order to develop a customized nutrition and fitness plan that fit his unique business and family circumstances. The assessments included strength levels, a nutritional baseline, food literacy, individualized health psychology, stress levels, readiness for change, and social support.
 
On the plus side, I found Lucas to be strongly commitment and highly proactive in the areas of health, fitness, and nutrition. On the minus side, Lucas faced a number of stressors including a highly demanding CEO role, seasonal allergies, getting married, and having a new baby. A father of three kids, Lucas is a committed life-long learner (reading 20-30 books a year) and practitioner of self-mastery (runner and weight-lifter). 
  
Lucas set himself the following nutrition and fitness goals:
  1. Get to his ideal body composition (2010 levels)
  2. Improve his intensity effort levels (as measured by V02 Max)
  3. Improve his robustness against illness
Achieving his goals required a systematic nutrition (ketogenic) and intensity training as well as coaching in specific areas such as stress eating triggers and specific countermeasures, endocrine analysis (specifically cortisol and testosterone), working through a small number of routine injuries, and coordinating with his strength coach. Lucas also proactively seeks out health information and as I result I also did customized research into theory of willpower, caffeine, fiber, micro-supplementation, heart rate variability (HRV), Wim Hof method, Refeed techniques and optimization, reverse dieting, and oxygen. I also monitored Lucas’ daily food and food and exercise logs, including wireless inputs from his Withings scale and sleep monitor.
  
Lucas had the highest level coaching (>>80%) adherence of his executive team (adherence is measured by made/missed coaching sessions, food logging, and tangible progress in fitness markers).
  
“I am a type ‘A’ personality, highly ambitious, highly aggressive. I want to be successful and I want others to be successful…I have to lead by example. I have to change the organization by changing myself.” — Stonewood Group interview

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

  • Previously I never really engaged in gym classes or diets.

What results did you achieve?

  • Cleveland Clinic indpendently measured my health and fitness markers prior to and after being coached. Here are my results:
Cleveland Clinic
Measure
Before
Coaching
After
Coaching
Absolute
Change
Relative
Improvement
Weight94 kg86 kg-8 kg8.5%
Waist103.9 cm95.3 cm-8.6 cm8.3%
BMI31.4 kg/m^^229.1 kg/m^^22.3 kg/m^^27.3%
Resting
HR
69 bpm63 bpm-6 bpm8.7%
Peak
HR
157 bpm174 bpm+ 17 bpm10.8%
V02
Max
33.3
ml/kg/min
42.0
ml/kg/min
+ 8.7
ml/kg/min
27.3%
Push
Strength
59 kg62 kg+3 kg 5.1%
Pull
Strength
42 kg60 kg+18 kg42.9%
Grip
Strength
90 kg96 kg+6 kg 6.7%
Flexibility
(fwd flex)
74
degrees
92
degrees
+18
degrees
24.3%

What specific changes did you make to your eating or exercise did you make while being coached?

  • I became more aware of good and bad choices in my eating and how to select alternatives foods.
  • I lowered my daily calorie intake.
  • I added high intensity internal training to my toolkit.

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

  • Stress eating (especially carbs) was the hardest thing for me to change.
  • Maintaining my workouts and keeping track of calories was easiest.
“Year-over-year, I’ve lost weight, I’m stronger and more aware, despite a worse combination of heavy travel, reduced sleep, and high stress.”

Client HIIT TrainingHow do you measure yourself to see if you are staying on track?

  • I measure my weight and body fat, strength (weight lifting), running stamina (distance).

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

  • I just keep going no matter what.

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

  • It’s hard. I take healthy snacks when I travel, avoid airport and plane food, and adjust my meals based on the healthiest options available to me.
  • Fitness-wise I focus on maintenance and I am more conscious of my sleep needs.
“We travel to see customers a lot in our business, and when you are sick, its hard to travel.”

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

  • My coach was helpful and my team kept me accountable. At home it was mixed because everyone has their own personal food preferences. My broader social network was not helpful.

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

  • I prioritized the time.
“I love that I can work out in just a few minutes at the hotel when traveling.”

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

  • I would be stricter on monitoring my food intake.

What was the hardest thing for you to change?

  • Stress eating.

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

  • I feel better about myself!
“Under stress people reach their highest levels of ineffectiveness.”

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

  • Definitely better :)

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

  • I was surprised how small health changes positively compound over time.
“If you’re building a business you need high energy. High energy is very important.” – LAS, Stonewood Group interview

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

  • Weekly online coaching kept me prepared and on track.
  • Reducing my sugar was a big improvement to my nutrition.
  • Interval training saved me time when working out.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

  • Small health and fitness changes add up to huge results.
“Feeling healthy and strong feels more in control and this leads to better decisions and better results.”