Let’s chat about the dangerous life of the entrepreneur. OK, maybe dangerous isn’t exactly the right term. We aren’t running into burning buildings, engaging in high-speed automobile pursuits, or scaling buildings to weld support beams hundreds of feet off the ground. While we may not engage in what would be considered perilous acts, the very nature of our job creates a general risk of poor health brought about by high stress, limited sleep, and less than ideal dietary habits. If you fit into this description, keep reading for my top three health hacks for the entrepreneur!
For purposes of this article, let’s call this malady, which is common amongst entrepreneurs, “entrepreneuritis.” I, myself, was a victim of this potentially debilitating disease. Two short years ago found me at my doctor’s office, and for the first time in my life the doctor was considering putting me on regular preventative medication. I had completed my physical and blood panel the week before. At my follow up, my doctor and I discussed why my blood pressure and resting heart rate were high, my general health was not what it had been, and I was plagued by migraines that had been a non-issue in my life for the better part of a decade.
I could have chalked this up to having just turned 40, but I knew that this was not the reason. I had been living the typical life of the entrepreneur, and most assuredly I was suffering from entrepreneuritis. My doctor told me that I needed to make some changes to my life and left me with the following statement as I was walking out the door — “Stress kills.”
I scoured the internet for ways to lower my blood pressure and promote my general health and well-being. Two years later, I’m here to share with you my top three health hacks that have brought me to the ripe young age of 42 migraine-free and with a lower heart rate, blood pressure, and body fat than I had at 30.
Health Hack Number 1: Meditation
You’ve heard about it, you’ve read about it, and you probably downloaded the apps — so what is it? While there is some debate as to the origin of meditation, it is generally accepted that forms of meditation have been practiced for thousands of years. Wall art shows people engaged in what we would consider meditation dating back as far as 5000 BCE.
Meditation has shown a myriad of health benefits, from a reduction of stress, anxiety, and blood pressure to improved sleep, memory functions, and emotional health.
While there are multiple different methods of mediation and schools of thoughts as to how, where, when, and the duration of optimal meditation practices there is a general consensus amongst all practitioners as to the positive impact and promotion of general health that will be achieved by engaging in this activity. I personally use the Headspace app. I have found it convenient and effective, and I can practice it everywhere from my airplane trips to the parking garage when I’m early to an appointment!
Health Hack Number 2: Vitamin Injections
I grew up on Hulk Hogan telling me to eat my vitamins, which led, without question, to the overconsumption of Flintstone vitamins. Over the next 30 years, my taste in vitamins evolved, culminating in the reluctant and somewhat disbelieving purchase of Golden Age vitamins last year for men in their 40s!
About two years ago I was introduced to injectable vitamins shots and it’s been a game changer quite simply because it works. In my experience, a combination of B6, B12, C, and D creates not only an immediate energy boost, but also a prolonged general feeling of health.
I have also been experimenting with a tripeptide composed of three amino acids (Glutathione) which appears to have some potent antioxidant effects. The addition to my vitamin program has enabled me to continue to operate on a high level both mentally and physically despite long work hours, minimal periods of sleep, and a generally stressful environment.
Health Hack Number 3: Intermittent Fasting
I became aware of intermittent fasting after running into a business associate of mine who I hadn’t seen in six months. He looked 50 pounds lighter, 10 years younger, and exuded an energy and vitality that was, in short, contagious. I inquired as to what he had been doing and he replied that he was eating for six hours out of the day and fasting for the remaining 18 hours of the day.
I dove into research mode and found that intermittent fasting may offer a multitude of health benefits ranging from the prevention of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. If that isn’t enough to have you skipping a meal or two, intermittent fasting has shown to promote the loss of body fat while preventing (to some degree) the muscle loss typically experienced during restricted caloric diets.
Being a breakfast fanatic, I thought this challenge would be nigh impossible, but motivated by the potential benefits I awoke the next morning and proceeded to not eat. I have to say that the morning and afternoon flew past. Other than some audible hunger pangs there was no discomfort, and my energy, rather than being low, remained high the entire day.
Over the next few months, I actually experienced such a dramatic weight loss that I had to reduce my intermittent fasting from seven days a week to five. This has allowed me to return to weekend pancakes and Sunday brunch while still maintaining my lowest weight since high school. Perhaps the most interesting and exciting entrepreneurial benefit I have personally experienced from fasting is a clarity of mind and thought — even an improvement in memory — which seems to be supported by sound scientific principles.
So if you’re reading this and you think you may be coming down with a severe case of entrepreneuritis, try these three health hacks to keep the entrepreneurial fires burning bright! Please keep in mind that I am certainly not a doctor — not even close. Nothing contained herein should be considered medical advice of any sort. Consult your doctor. Long story short….I’m not responsible!
Charles Lew of Forbes Los Angeles Business Council is managing partner of The Lew Firm and the owner/operator of Stout Burgers and Beers, Boomtown Brewery, and Third Wave Market. He has helped over 100 startup businesses enjoy national, and sometimes international success and have represented clients in all aspects of business law, restaurant development, movie production, lease negotiation, finance, real estate, and beyond.