Get Fit To Lead

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Ten months ago, I felt that I had lost control of parts of my life. I had gained 30-40 pounds in 6 years. I had become sedentary. I knew something had to change.

When I realized this, I started to make changes to my life. I greatly increased my physical activity. Because of the increase in physical activity, my level of fitness has increased.

I am able to run long distances without becoming winded. I am able to bike extreme distances. I am able to situps and pullups. I am even able to do a couple of one-armed pullups. My wife says that is impressive.

Through this increase in physical activity, I lost more than 40 pounds. I have regained control of my body.

“For 24 years of my adult life, by choice I weighed well over 200 lbs. I say by choice because you see I have never accidentally eaten anything.”
Zig Ziglar

I felt pursuing fitness would help me become a better leader. And I believe it did help.

By pursuing fitness, I worked the muscles a leader needs to exercise.

Mental muscles like

  • Goal Setting
    I set a weight loss goal of 15 pounds at the onset. After the first 15 pounds came off, I felt good. I was able to see results. This encouraged me to continue and set new goals.

    In leadership, you must have goals. You need to know where you want to go. You have to be able to tell others where you are going. Once you have reached your original goals, you must be able to set new goals.

  • Consistency
    My exercise regime had to be consistent. I had scheduled workouts three times a week at a minimum of 20 minutes a workout. By sticking to the schedule, I saw the pounds melt off.

    Leaders need to be consistent. You need to consistently set a good example. You need to consistently be learning. You need to consistently be growing. With consistency, your leadership skills will begin to atrophy, just like your physical muscles.

  • Self-control
    Part of the reason I had gained weight was my lack of self-control. If I saw food that looked good, I would eat it. And eat it. And eat it. I rarely told myself no when it came to indulging myself with food.

    As I set out to increase my physical fitness, I had to learn self-control. I set limits to what I could eat, how much I could eat, and when. As long as I did not stray from the boundaries, I was able to lose weight and increase my level of fitness.

    You will need self-control in leadership. There will be experiences that test your strength in this area. Someone gossiping about you. A team member that is disruptive. Bad reports that come in.

    If you have self-control, you will be able to control your emotions and handle the situations objectively.

There are also other benefits to increasing your physical fitness. You will be healthier. You will look better. You will feel better.

All of these will lead you to be a better leader.

“The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.”
— Anthony Robbins

Question: Do you need to become a more fit leader? What steps are you willing to take? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you found this post helpful, please share it with someone that would benefit from it. Don’t keep it to yourself!


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Good example! I think everyone has areas they need to exercise, area’s that need work. For me, I am working on time management since having my son and continuing to educate myself by reading as book books and blogs as possible in order to be a more informed Christian and person.

    • TC, thank you for sharing the areas that you need to exercise more.

      What steps are you taking to improve your time management skills? It’s an area I’ve always struggled with and would love your insight.

      Also, what books are your currently reading? I just finished 5 Level of Leadership by John Maxwell. Excellent book.

  • i’m you …..NOW!…last week was my breaking point!…
    With the support of my wife…
    I’ve cut out cokes. Sugar. Bread. and High Carbs like pasta…

    I thought is was going to be hard but it hasn’t been so far…

    it’s been right under a week…and i’ve lost 6 pounds!…

    this week i’m planning on starting the physical fitness…

    and i like your scheduale… 3 times a week at 20 minutes …each…nice…
    What do you do? Walk? Run? … Basketball?

    • That is awesome Arny! You’ve taken the first steps. Those are always the hardest. And congrats on the 6lbs! I must say that that is impressive for the first week. Just make sure to work on keeping muscle mass. It is something people forget and it is damaging.

      My schedule includes 20-30 minutes of running(50-60 on the weekends), 150+ situps, and 200 “rows.” I’m trying to ramp it up a bit but need to find time.

      I also used a website called From the site, you can track caloric intake, exercise, and your weight. I’ll be doing a blog post about it in the future but I believe it is a great resource.

    • I’m with you Arny, lets motivate each other!

  • I set a goal this year to lose 130 pounds (crazy). Three years ago I lost 132 pound but gained it back by not staying disciplined. This year I’m being more intentional about it. Last time I ate 12o0 calories a day and did 4 hours of cardio a day, I was always tired and crabby but lost the weight in 4 months. This year I set a goal of 13 pounds a month and have a diet of moderation, also eliminating sweets! I agree with you Joe that being fit really helps not only leadership but alot of other areas in our lives!

    • Wow Kimanzi! That is an amazing amount of weight to lose. I hope your new weight loss routine holds.

      You’re right that the discipline to keep it off is the tough part. It’s so easy to slack off once you’ve reached your goal but if you don’t all that hard work is for nothing.

      • I think it helps to put yourself out here like this, a way to keep accountable!

        • Exactly Kimzani. Also using some sort of tracking helps. Whether it’s counting your calories in a notepad, on an app, or some other way. It all adds up and increases your chances of success.

  • Very helpful post about what we’re talking about:

  • For me, awareness and accountability were the two critical factors when it came time to lose weight…and they are two really important things in leadership, too!

    Don’t let the little stuff take over without noticing, remain accountable to trusted leaders, and hold your team accountable. These are what I’m working on….

  • Joe,
    Love the Zig Ziglar Quote!

    • You got to love Zig. He’s been an amazing inspiration. Did you know he released a new book?

  • Anonymous

    One of my goals this year is to work out 3 times a week. So I can lose a few pounds, gain energy and get in shape. I think one of the hardest parts in doing this is being consistent in my working out. This is an aspect that can benefit every area of your life. Great post!!!

    • Being consistent is a struggle. But you can do it if you set yourself up for success. Schedule it into your day, don’t shrug it off if you don’t feel like it, and log what you’re doing. Before you know it, you’ll have it down pat.

      • Anonymous

        Great points, I have made it a point to write out my daily goals then make sure not to end the day before I accoplish them. It’s hard when it’s late and you really want sleep but need to finish a goal/task.

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  • One armed pull-ups…you’re the man!

    I’ve been using the “Loose It” app since last Fall to stay aware of what I’m taking in. I’m taking the challenge to be more focused on my exercise routine now as well.

    • Haha, it took quite a bit of work to get there and, to be honest, I’ve begun to slack on my strength training. I’m going to have to focus more on that.

      Lose It is a great app. Michael Hyatt recommended using it and it’s worked for many others. I wish you well on your fitness journey. You won’t regret it as you see the progress you’re able to make.

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  • Jeff

    It surprises me that it can truly be summarized into three components. But it was experience that showed me that tasty food doesn’t usually feel good.

    • Jeff, it’s funny you mentioned how tasty food doesn’t usually feel good as I caught a few moments of the TV show Extreme Weight Loss last night. In it, the trainer had to eat the food the overweight person normally ate. He mentioned how bad the food made him feel.

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