This blog features insights from Antoine Hamelin, an author, trainer, and kinesiologist/exercise science specialist. For the past two decades, he has been helping individuals from all walks of life, ranging from CEOs to professional athletes, to reach their health and fitness objectives.
Canadian CEOs and executives are notorious for their busy lifestyles. They are juggling multiple responsibilities, managing demanding workloads, and dealing with high levels of stress. Unfortunately, many are neglecting one of the most important aspects of their lives: their health and well-being. As Antoine’s insights reveal, by adopting a few simple habits and mindsets, business leaders can improve their wellness and ultimately perform better in all areas of their personal and professional lives.
Antoine’s clients are successful CEOs, senior executives, and entrepreneurs, and many are also TEC Canada members. To support Canadian business leaders in their work towards wellness, Antoine has provided his top five tips to enhance health and achieve goals in all areas of life:
5 HABITS TO RECHARGE YOUR PERFORMANCE
1. CREATE TIME TO WORK OUT
Truth is, you will never have time to exercise. Neither do I. Our lives are busy and even though we wish we had an extra hour every day to exercise, we don’t. You must create time to exercise. I recommend waking up half an hour earlier to train first thing in the morning. What’s great about training early in the day is that your energy level is high, no emergency gets in the way, and you’ll feel good for the better part of the day. After a few months, it’ll become part of your schedule and you simply won’t want to live without it.
2. DON’T TRY TO BE PERFECT
Just thinking about giving up all the foods that you love and training every day for an hour can create tremendous levels of anxiety and is likely to stall you right from the start. You don’t need to be extreme in the kitchen or in the gym to get good results. Instead, I advise my clients to do the minimum amount that they can do for three months: 2 to 3 short workouts per week and changing 3 dietary habits. While it might not seem like a lot, this kind of plan is very doable; it won’t require you to flip your life around completely, and you are likely to begin achieving your goals.
3. LIFT WEIGHTS
After the age of 30, if you don’t use your muscles, you start losing them – at a rate of 2-3% per year. This is why it is so hard to lose weight in your 40s and after. The loss of muscle mass is accompanied by a drop in metabolism – you simply burn fewer calories. Lifting weights a few times per week helps you build muscle and therefore improve your body composition. It also keeps you strong and healthy and gives you the freedom to practice your favourite hobbies and sports. Moreover, strength training has been shown to help maintain cognitive functions as you age, improve longevity and help reduce stress and anxiety.
4. DON’T FOCUS ON WEIGHT LOSS
If you exercise to lose weight, focusing solely on that goal might be a terrible idea. It takes a few weeks, even months for most people when they start training before they see their body change. It can be disheartening, and that explains to some degree why over 90% of those who try to lose weight quit within a month. To approach weight loss differently, try this instead. First, focus on accomplishing just a few simple goals on a daily basis: be physically active (i.e., walk or train for 30 minutes) and change one dietary habit (i.e., replace dessert with a fruit). Repeat the next day, and for the next 90 days thereafter. Second, long before you lose weight, you will experience many amazing benefits from exercising: better stress management, a feeling of peace and calmness, improved sleep, better posture, and lower blood pressure. Pay attention to these “side benefits” and embrace them. They happen even after a few exercise sessions, they increase your quality of life, and they will help you stay on track until your body starts to change.
Every step counts. While using walking as the only tool to lose weight and get back in shape might produce disappointing results, making a habit of walking regularly can be a great compliment to lifting weights and doing cardio work. Walking for a half hour will burn about 150 calories. Over a full year, that represents over 55,000 extra calories that you could spend if you would do it every day. That number is simply incredible. Walking is a type of NEPA – or non-exercise physical activity: exercise that is not planned training and that is light in intensity. It brings about many benefits on top of burning calories, like improved digestion, stress reduction, and sleep improvement. As a bonus, most people struggle to cut out snacks at night, and that usually happens when we watch television. Thus, walking after dinner can be a great way to get away from the television and thus avoid late-night snacking.
Thank you, Antoine Hamelin, for sharing these tips to help CEOs, entrepreneurs, and executives improve their wellness and ultimately perform better in all areas of their lives.
For ease of access, Antoine’s insights are also available in French.