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Why CEOs Run The World

Why CEOs Run The World

If there was a Runners Anonymous self-help group, a lot of the addicts would be CEOs. These days, running (or maybe endorphins) seems to be the drug of choice for CEOs. Why is that? And why am I following that stereotype? I hate to follow the crowd. Any crowd. I see myself as an unconventional thinker, a trailblazer. Yet, here I am fitting right into a stereotype and perfectly happy doing so.

Last Sunday morning, I ran 13.1 miles – effectively a half marathon, except this was on my own – around the coast of Manhattan and Brooklyn in 1 hour 35 minutes. Just for the fun of it! (Though I was also keen to try out my new Lululemon running gear) This was a new personal best and follows a pattern of me beating my personal best a half-dozen times per year for the past four years. At the age of 46, surely I should have peaked long ago, and now be gliding gently towards my rocking chair. But I’m still on the run.

Kansas City half Marathon
    CEO Ben Legg at 2016 Kansas City Half Marathon

    Always On The Run

    A little background: I have always been a runner of sorts.

    I started my career as a British Army officer, which involved running 2-3 times per week, along with all sorts of other exercise. I was fit. When I left the army in 1999 to enter the world of business (initially as a strategy consultant at McKinsey), I dropped that frequency to one run of six to eight miles every weekend. This was at an unmeasured pace – probably around nine minutes per mile – with my dogs tagging along. So I have never been unfit. However, through the next 13 years travelling the globe working in executive jobs at McKinsey, Coca-Cola, and Google around the world, I flatlined at that level. My assumption was, that over time, I would let my fitness slip gently.

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    So what happened to make me running obsessive, and fitter now than when I was in the army?

    I think the most likely explanation is becoming a CEO in 2012. CEOs make conference speeches and TV appearances more than others, and I am no exception. This leads to seeing your own picture a lot more often, and noticing yourself looking a bit chubby is a great motivator to become fitter. You also hear a lot about the link between fitness and being able to cope with stress. Getting some alone time is attractive too, given that your days are packed with back-to-back meetings.

    Therefore, since 2012, I have one-by-one initiated a number of actions that have each nudged me towards ever-increasing fitness:

    My own gym:

    I bought my own gym. I had often joined commercial gyms in the past and not gone to them. The time required to get there, work out, get home, get changed, etc. just seemed like too much. However, with a home gym, you dramatically reduce the unproductive admin time associated with working out, so you have no excuses but to do it. I now workout 3 times per week.

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    Running midweek:

    In 2012, I toured the U.S. with a colleague and he suggested running together for fun. So, I took my running kit and loved it. What better way to see the cities I visit for work than running around them at sunrise, when everyone else is asleep, the streets are empty, and the sun is just peeking over the horizon? I now run twice per week midweek, in addition to my weekend run.

    Half-marathons:

    Four years ago, I signed up to do my first half marathon in years and loved it. I wasn’t particularly happy with my time though, so I signed up to run around six half-marathons per year, in order to always have a “test” ahead of me, to prevent slacking off.

    Company health:

    When the insurance broker came to me a few years ago and said that our healthcare premiums would rise by $1,000 per person per year, even if we maintained the same level of claims as before – just due to industry cost inflation – I decided to try to fight it. I gave the HR department $300 per employee to get the organization fit and reduce the number of claims. They then set about giving out subsidized Fitbits, organizing fun health-related activities, and incentivizing health improvements that were based on twice yearly medical checks. Clearly, I needed to lead by example. We did avoid those health cost increases, and also had a lot of fun in the process.

    Fitbit:

    Clearly, this has been a major driver of fitness for many people. Since getting my first Fitbit, I have tracked my pace on every run and always strive to keep improving. Benchmarking my weekly steps vs my friends and colleagues is also highly motivating. Like other CEOs, I like to win, and certainly hate to be out of the top three in my friends’ league table (of about 80 people) so can’t have a single slack day. I now average around 120,000 steps per week – between running, walking, and working out.

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    Running tourism:

    Given my new habit of running midweek at sunrise, I started to try to find the perfect morning running route. I now scour Google Maps for every city that I travel to, looking for the best runs – based on views, architecture, history, serenity, and other factors. My current favorite is in San Francisco, taking an Uber to Sausalito just before sunrise, then running back over Golden Gate Bridge and along the Embarcadero. Awesome!

    Setting minimum standards:

    I have set myself several “bars” for acceptable running standards. These include:

    • Never running less than six miles per run.
    • Never running slower than a seven-and-a-half minute pace per mile.
    • Always overtaking at least 10 times more people than the number that overtakes me (to keep me in the top ten percent of runners).

    Calendar blocking:

    To ensure that I manage to fit exercise into my overloaded calendar, I pre-block my calendar with recurring entries – three runs and three workouts per week, at sunrise. That keeps the time free. If I need to schedule an early morning call, I move the calendar block to a different time in that day, to ensure I get my exercise.

    HelloFresh:

    Diet clearly plays a part too. I used to eat too many carb-heavy, rich meals. Then in 2015, I subscribed to HelloFresh, which now delivers three boxes of ingredients to my house every week, for me to cook awesome meals (clear instructions are provided). The service provides very healthy ingredients and sensible portions, and this has definitely led to a bit of weight loss, enabling even faster running times.

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    Tough Mudder:

    What a great invention! Running 12 miles with a bunch of friends – braving mud baths, monkey bars, razor wire, and electrocution – strikes me as a fine way to spend a Saturday morning. I have completed two this year and am planning many more.

    Featured photo credit: Kansas City Business Journal via bizjournals.com

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    Ben Legg

    CEO of Adparlor

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    Published on May 25, 2020

    10 Best Gym Equipments You Need in 2020

    10 Best Gym Equipments You Need in 2020

    Gone are those days when a healthy lifestyle and a perfect figure could be achieved only by starving oneself. In these modern times, we have a more proactive and a healthier alternative to the “dying and dieting” perspective. Today, it’s better to start investing in the best gym equipment for your home.

    Initially, working out and physical training was an activity limited only to the four walls of a gym. However, now the concept of “home gym” is being adopted by a lot of people. At-home exercise equipment provides us with a more convenient and personalized space for working out in the company of various home gym machines.

    The following article will guide you on how to design your very own perfect, compact home gym by highlighting some of the very best gym equipment in 2020 to invest in.

    Things to Consider When Buying Equipment

    There are a lot of factors to consider before you jump into buying everything you need for your home gym. Below, you’ll find some of the things you need to think about.

    Space

    Deciding on the best gym equipment is not an easy task. According to several home gym reviews, the most crucial step in designing at home gym is choosing a space that is appropriate and that will allow you to practice your daily regime with ease.

    Having a clear idea about the space will help you choose the type of home workout equipment you can have. Home exercise equipment like free weights requires a maximum of 50 square feet of space, 30 square feet space is needed for treadmills, and the famous multi-gym station must-have 50-200 square feet.

    Goals

    Having clarity about what you want to achieve through your home gym equipment is essential. Some people are looking for a regimen that focuses more on weightlifting, while others prefer to practice more cardio exercises in the convenience of their home. Identifying your needs and following up on that will keep you motivated and allow you to make the most of your equipment. 

    Features

    Now that you have a few home gym ideas, you can easily decide which features will make any at-home gym equipment the best and most suitable for your space. The wide range of exercise machines available can be categorized into three types:

    Bodyweight Resistant Regimen and Equipment

    Bodyweight resistance is the most simple and effective exercise regimen. These exercises are designed to make use of our own weight as resistance, and it leads to producing more muscle strength.

    Ankle weights, resistance bands, and tubing are some of the famous bodyweight resistant equipment for home gyms. They are characterized as compact and affordable.

    Weight Lifting Regimen and Equipment

    Weight training is known to enhance the shape of your body by giving it a more sculpted look as it helps in developing leaner muscles. Stack and plate-loaded machines are ideal for weight training as they are safe and easy to use. Additionally, cable and pulley machines are considered to be most effective for weight training and are famous for their versatility.

    Cardio Regimen and Equipment

    Cardio exercises are extremely beneficial to our overall health and improve the functioning of our lungs, heart, and circulatory system. Treadmills, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, and elliptical trainers are some of the must-have home gym equipment that is perfect if you want to have intensive cardio workout sessions at home.

    Affordability

    Cardio and weight training equipment are pricey and expensive as they are designed to be multipurpose and include a wide range of features. Body resistance equipment, like dumbbells, kettlebells, a jump rope, or a stability ball, is budget-friendly if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money. 

    Versatility

    Adding kettlebells, dumbbells, resistant bands, and weight vests that have proven themselves to be modern, multipurpose, and versatile home gym essentials to your home gym is a good idea. Combined with the best gym equipment, these tools will slowly work miracles on your body.

    10 Best Home Gym Equipments You Need

    Any of the equipment below would be a great addition to a home gym. Identify your workout goals, the space available to you, and how much you’re willing to spend. Then, take a look at the choices below to identify what will work best for you.

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    Editors’ Top Picks

    1. Bowflex Home Gym Series

      The quest for the best gym equipment is not an easy one, but luckily we have an answer for you. The Bowflex Home Gym Series is the most reliable equipment to have in order to practice extensive weight training.

      It has a power rod of 210 lb. resistance and can be increased to 310-410 lbs. This compact home gym equipment allows you to perform 60 exercises to energize your entire body. For your safety, the handgrips are designed to be strong and give you more control during extraneous workouts.

      Pros:

      • Compact and space-saving
      • Power resistance can be increased up to 410 pounds

      Cons:

      • The rowing function has no support

      Check out this equipment here! 

      2. Marcy Smith Cage Workout Machine

        The famous Marcy Smith exercise equipment for a home gym will satisfy you with instant results through its ultra-modern features. The multi-functional arm press feature lets you do exercises that will enhance the strength of your biceps and triceps.

        For long-lasting use and improved performance, the aircraft cable of this device has a strength of 2000 lbs. The heavy-duty steel frame comes with 6 weight plate pegs that allow you to store the weights on the machine and give you easy access. This single, all in one device will cater to all of your workout needs.

        Pros:

        • Can be used to perform a wide range of exercises
        • Strengthens different muscle groups

        Cons:

        • Assembling the cable system is a bit complex

        Check out this equipment here! 

        Best Value of All

        3. Weider Ultimate Body Works

          For those who are looking for a budget-friendly home gym equipment, Weider Ultimate Body Works is famous for its ability to enhance your body strength and shape within a short period of time without breaking the bank.

          You can work on building strength in your chest and shoulder area by easily doing bench pressing through its high pulley system. Additionally, you can focus on developing your core area and abs by performing v-crunches. The high pulley system of this cheap home gym will also work well in toning your back.

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          Pros:

          • Compact, affordable, and space-saving
          • Comes with a 90-day parts and labor warranty

          Cons:

          • The seat doesn’t slide up and down

          Check out this equipment here! 

          4. TRX All In One Home Gym Bundle

            If you want to start a body resistant regimen and are looking for the perfect small home gym equipment, then the TRX All In One Home Gym Bundle can solve your problem. As the name indicates, it includes all the necessary items needed for a smooth body resistant regimen.

            You will get a suspension trainer, indoor/outdoor anchor, 4 various exercise bands, and more, all in one package. For those who don’t have much space but still want a great workout, this is the equipment for you.

            Pros:

            • Portable gym you can take anywhere
            • Multipurpose and ideal for limited spaces

            Cons:

            • No DVD or exercise guide book included

            Check out this equipment here!

            5. BodyBoss Home Gym Workout Equipment

              The BodyBoss Home Gym Workout Equipment is designed to be extremely convenient. This portable and highly compact home gym equipment has all the features that you would find in a high-class gym. You can practice exercises that will improve and further develop both your lower body and upper body. Moreover, it can also be used to perform cardio exercises for a fast fat burn.

              Pros:

              • Lightweight and compact
              • Can be used to perform 300+ exercises

              Cons:

              • No instructions are included on how to do the exercises

              Check out this equipment here! 

              6. Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power

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                Another essential home gym equipment, the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power has a high and low row pulley system which helps in forming stronger muscles in the upper and lower back. The strong leg hold-down is adjustable and can be managed easily according to one’s needs. The lower rear crossbar has extra space, which can be used for placing benches and footrest. It can support 265 weight plate capacity and includes one 39” lat bar.

                Pros:

                • It has a strong frame
                • The pulley system is effective for upper and lower back

                Cons:

                • Assemby takes a bit long

                Check out this equipment here! 

                7. ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS

                  Space-saving, easy to use, and dependable are the qualities that make ICON Fitness Gold’s Gym XRS stand out. The high pulley is designed to enhance lats while the low pulley will tone your leg muscles. The multi-grip bar will give you more control and stability while exercising. Additionally, you will get a free exercise chart designed by a professional trainer.

                  Pros:

                  • Easy to assemble with detailed instructions
                  • Helpful workout chart

                  Cons:

                  • It doesn’t come with weights

                  Check out this equipment here! 

                  8. Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Fitness Exercise

                    The Total Gym 1400 Deluxe Home Fitness Exercise equipment will cater to your workout needs in a matter of 10-20 minutes by strengthening and toning all your major muscle groups simultaneously. You can perform 60 and more exercises according to the cardio and weight training regimen using this equipment.

                    Pros:

                    • Attachments included give you options to exercise at home
                    • Rocks steady and glides smoothly

                    Cons:

                    • Top-mounted flip chart is hard to read

                    Check out this equipment here! 

                    9. OYO Personal Gym – Full Body Portable Gym Equipment

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                      This total home gym is constructed in such a way that it will give you instant positive results. The SpiraFlex will allow you to do intensive workouts for fat loss. Moreover, like any weight training device that builds up muscles and increases core strength, OYO Personal Gym will give you these same benefits.

                      Pros:

                      • Perfect for both men and women
                      • Ideal for people who are recovering from an injury

                      Cons:

                      • Resistance cannot be increased

                      Check out this equipment here! 

                      10. Fusion Motion Portable Gym

                        The Fusion Motion Portable Gym is perfect for an effective body resistance regimen. Manufactured with steel bars, it can handle heavy weights and extensive workouts for long durations. The detailed instruction booklet will assist you in performing more than 200 exercises to get the most out of it.

                        Pros:

                        • The ab roller and door anchor are good additions
                        • Comes with a guide of exercises and set workouts

                        Cons:

                        • The rollers have a little friction

                        Check out this equipment here!

                        Some Common Questions

                        When creating their home gyms, many people run into questions. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions to help you overcome challenges in the early days of working with your home gym.

                        Where Should I Set up a Home Gym?

                        Setting up an effective at home gym is generally an easy process. First, choose a room that you feel is spacious enough. Basements are ideal as they are usually soundproof. Then, add a couple of touches to your selected room through good lighting and a ventilation system.

                        What Are the Benefits of a Home Gym?

                        To begin with, a home gym is comfortable to use as it is in a safe, comfortable space, and you can access it any time. Additionally, it is a one -time investment and saves you from the monthly cost of gyms.

                        How Often Should I Work out?

                        For beginners, working out two or three times per week is a good start. For people who are used to extensive workouts, going to four to five times per week is ideal.

                        Is Gym Equipment Safe?

                        Home gym equipment is designed keeping in mind the standards that will ensure your safety. However, it is recommended to read and learn about the equipment before use so that you can proceed with caution and care. It is also important to read instructions carefully before setting everything up.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Creating a safe workout space at home is a great idea if you want to stay consistent with a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, with the best home gym equipment in 2020 we recommended, you will be able to turn your home into a perfect workout area according to your needs.

                        More Tips on Creating Your Home Gym

                        Featured photo credit: ŞULE MAKAROĞLU via unsplash.com

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