Everything Hurts: Fitness and Business Development

Everything Hurts: Fitness and Business Development

Let’s take inventory. What hurts?

Quadriceps. Hamstrings. Butt. Chest. Shoulders. Hips. Basically, everything between my knees and my head hurts somehow. The worst is the quads. If I have to move something on the floor, I try to do it with one of my feet, only bending down if I absolutely have to. I’ve been temporarily transformed into an elderly man.

Who did this to me? Kevin did. That’s him up on top of this article. Worse, I pay him to do this. Our work together is the subject of this month’s newsletter. Kevin Carter is my trainer, he’s extraordinarily gifted at working me (and my partner in pain, Eric) to the absolute limit of what we can do, and he’s a key player in the game plan for Repechage. Fitness is an integral part of business in general, and business development in particular.

Monday was leg day, which for Kevin, meant “lift until you fail.” For me, it meant standing in front of a squat rack with a loaded barbell, repeatedly sinking down until my butt was about six inches off the ground, and at a certain point, realizing that – uh oh — I was unable to get back up. Kevin and Eric stepped up, grabbed the weight and racked it for me, and my mission was accomplished. My workout was complete. I was exhausted.

I have been training with Kevin for just over three months. Prior to that, I spent a lot of time at the gym, but without professional supervision, I wasted a lot of time, and did a lot of wrong stuff. I didn’t get hurt, but I was plateauing. I decided to spent the time and invest the money to start working three days a week with a pro. I don’t have a lot of brilliant ideas, but that was one of them. And it has begun to pay off.

Last week I had to fly to Minneapolis to give a speech to a group of accountants. It was a long, ugly day of travel – a flight to LA, a second flight to St. Louis, and a third flight to Minneapolis. Plus driving to the San Jose airport, getting from the Minneapolis airport to the hotel, time zone changes (which I don’t handle well), weird food, stale air, everything. I get to the hotel, check in, go upstairs, and realize that although I’m definitely tired, I’m not wrecked.

This was new for me, and a fairly big deal. I’m 54 years old. I’m very much a creature of routine and time zones, and typically, a trip like that leaves me feeling absolutely destroyed – tired and disoriented enough that I feel a little sick. It usually takes me two days to completely acclimate and be 100% on my game. This time, I knew – and I was right – that all I needed was a good solid night of sleep – 6 hours would do it – and I would be ready in the morning. Which I was. I was resilient, I had most of my old energy back, and it was all due to my work with Kevin. A year ago, it would have been a different, much worse story.

And remember, I’ve always been in reasonably good shape. I’m just older. I cannot imagine what this is like for people my age who have simply ignored the whole idea of fitness.

Business – and business development — is a full-contact sport. When you’re sitting in a meeting, you have to be completely focused on what’s going on. You have to be energetic, sharp, creative, fast. Particularly if you’re trying to convince someone to retain you, you have to present the unmistakable impression that you’re on top of your game, someone they should want to work with. When you’re 25, the sheer energy this requires is easy. If you’re ten years older than that, it gets a lot harder.

The same is true for everything you do. Writing. Talking on the phone. Just plain thinking. The brain uses 40% of your body’s oxygen supply. If the machinery that powers that isn’t running properly, you are going to feel it, and you’re simply not going to perform as well. And it’s going to matter. There are over a million attorneys in this country, they’re all competing for the same clients you are, and to win the business you should, you need every edge you can get.

There is absolutely no substitute for walking into a meeting full of energy, focused, sharp and enthusiastic. And all of this is the result of taking care of the body that’s the container for everything you do. When you’re fit, you’re sick less often. You recover from minor injuries faster, and can develop the agility and flexibility to avoid them in the first place. Imagine how much more you can get done if you’re sick five fewer days a year.

My work with Kevin is pure strength training, which is only part of the entire program. It also includes starting to pay fairly close attention to nutrition, getting adequate rest and recovery, and working to build up cardio capacity and endurance (running, the erg, biking and so on), increasing flexibility (stretching) and conditioning (jumping rope, burpees, and anything involving short bursts of explosive power).

I work with Kevin and Eric because in my particular situation, they’re the ideal partners for me to get the best workouts I can. Kevin provides motivation, leadership and expertise. Eric, who is a seriously big dude and significantly stronger than I am (and remember, I’m 6’2” and well over 200 pounds – I’m big, but Eric is a Viking), gives me someone to compete with. The result is really intense workouts that suit me perfectly.

Something else may suit you better. It may be yoga. Or Pilates. Or biking. Or anything else. But the bottom line is that if you’re going to bring in business, over the long run, you need to be physically up to it. Make sure you are. Oh, and maybe stock up on some Advil.