Nothing in life comes for free.  If you want to achieve greatness in any area of life, you have to be prepared to push the pedal and absolutely go for it. However, when it comes to achieving greatness in business it often comes with compromising your ideal lifestyle. Especially for those who are at the top of the ladder, a not-ideal body image often comes with the job. Long working hours, frequent travelling, and eating at odd hours becomes a part of life, as is the side effect of all of this—a bulging belly.

However, bad things seldom come alone; they like company, and their company is seldom good. An expanding waistline is no different. It brings the risk of several diseases with itself. It also reduces your capacity to push yourself. Additionally, it affects your image.

Can a bulging waistline hurt so much? Surprising as it may sound, it is completely true. If you don’t believe us, here are some facts to put the skeptical voice inside you to rest.

Science agrees fit is smart

A study, involving about 600 top-level executives, was done to monitor the relationship between physical fitness and leadership performance. Researchers found the following:

  • Executives who were physically fit were able to cope better with demanding work and grueling travel schedules
  • Physically fit executives performed better at daily tasks
  • Fit executives scored better in different leadership skills, including visionary thinking, global perspective, influencing, risk taking, ambition, and attracting talent
  • Regular physical activity improved response to stress, enhanced mood, improved problem solving abilities, and increased optimism

Perceptions can hurt too

For fat executives, it seems there is no respite. Not only they have to deal with real risks, mentioned above, but also with a few perceived ones, which can be as dangerous as the real ones.

According to a 2009 report, co-workers and subordinates don’t think kindly of overweight executives. Many negative attributes are attached to leaders who are overweight, including the following: less competent, lacking self-discipline, unmotivated, and sloppy.

How to get back into shape

To get back into shape, start slowly and only bite what you can chew. To start, schedule improving your lifestyle 3 x 30 mins per week. This is ‘YOU‘ time and do not book meetings or anything else on those spots. Make them a priority. Further, read my previous article of 7 steps how to pursue your business vision but still look after your fitness and health to get more ideas about this.

Should you care?

Rationale individuals will agree by now, even if ever so reluctantly, that losing weight and improving lifestyle is beneficial for both, health as well as business. If you are serious about business, but you are overweight and not living a lifestyle that supports your work load, you’ll be simply giving your competitors an advantage and it will only be a matter of time when the batteries run out. It’s your call to do something about it right now or leave it till when the time is right and when you’re less busy. Just for your information, the right time never comes


Tomi Kokko

Tomi Kokko