July 4, 2017

Personal Health and Fitness as a Business

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I’ve been up and down in weight a lot in the last 5 years. The lower limit was 96kgs at some point, the upper one was 115kgs. If the start would’ve been 115kgs and the end, today, 96kgs, I’d be happy. But it wasn’t like this.

In November 2012 I was 97. In May 2013, 109kgs. In January 2014, 96kgs. In July 2014, 112kgs. And it continued with the ups and downs until now, when I’m 112kgs. Again. Not good.

So I’m trying a new approach: I’m looking at my personal health and fitness as I look at a business. Because I’m good enough at business, I should be able to put together a more coherent effort if I think in terms of budgets, resources and expected results.

First step:

Defined my targets. Both in terms of KPIs and expected time to execute on them. Obviously, I have the ideal version and the “I’m ok with” version. The ideal is 90kgs in 12 months. The “I’m ok with” version is 100kgs in 12 months. Everything while building a process that keeps my in shape for the longer term. I’ve lost 20kgs in 6 months previously. It wasn’t sustainable. It wasn’t a marathon, but a sprint, unfortunately.

Second step:

I set the time I allocate to this effort. While I usually go full throttle in every business I start, this time I can’t really do the same. If you want to become a nutrition specialist or a trainer, I can understand your 8-10-12 hours/day focus. I want something else in life, so I need to be able to do everything around my health/fitness in up to 2 hours a day the most (on average). Including cooking and exercise.

Third step:

I look at all the things I don’t know about health and I don’t want to spend time learning. And I looked for people to help me with it. I want my focus to be on executing, for the moment, not on learning new skills. This is why I looked for a personal trainer and a nutritionist. Luck would have it that I found both in one person (at least for the moment). The next specialist might be a cook. I hate cooking. Yeah, I do. Though, for the moment, I’ll do it. Maybe I’ll enjoy it, at some point. Last week was full of bland food, though. Just saying.

Fourth step:

I established a budget for the next 12 months. I made it big enough so that I can test lots of things if I want to, but I didn’t make it too big so that I become less resourceful. When you have too much money, as a business, you end up throwing money at problems instead of actually looking for a long term process as a solution. I’d probably do the same thing now if I put more money to it (I still think about hiring a cook full time). Still, there’s enough money in the budget to make it a good investment. And, when it pays off, it will be the best investment I’ll ever make.

Fifth step:

Stopped falling victim to the “shiny object syndrome”. It’s surprising that I can usually control this when it comes to business, but I’ve never been able to do it in my personal life (with some exceptions). As such, I will keep at the personal trainer/nutritionist route for the next 6 months, at least. While all those other diets (slow carb, low carb, keto and so on) work for others, they didn’t work for me. Yes, I lost kilograms (a lot), but I didn’t manage to create a habit out of it so I put them back.

Sixth step:

I’ll take one step at a time towards getting good habits. Right now I’m working on going to the gym every day 4 times a week, no excuses, while also cooking my own food. I didn’t really cook my own food for the last 15 years, so it’s not gonna be easy. But I need to because every time I tried to create a habit out of eating better I quit because it took too long to get healthy food.

Don’t think I cook 10 courses meals. Just simple things like eggs, salads, different ways to cook meat (I started to enjoy steamed hake a lot). I also look at things I can change in my diet based on my different locations during the day. I try to make it as simple as possible, so I have a small number of choices to choose from. In time, I’ll add more, but I want to have a basic baseline I know I can come back to every time when things get hectic.


That was my thinking at the beginning of June. I executed the plan and now I have a gym in Cork I go to 4 times a week, a personal trainer that’s also a nutritionist, and I’ve started to cook fish and vegetables.

One thing: nobody actually tells you how the kitchen looks like after “cooking”. Fuck me, the first time I tried I used like 12 plates, 5 bowls, 3 steamer pans, 1 oven… What. The. Hell?

I’m now about 2 weeks in the program and it’s still difficult. I cut down the time to cook food to about 1-1:30h/day. I can go through preparing everything for my meals in just 30 minutes for the entire day, if I use simpler ingredients – like replace the protein from meat with low fat cottage cheese or an egg white omelet. Exercise is also a little bit more difficult, so I need just a hair more convincing that I want to put myself through “torture”. Overall, though, I’m feeling excited, I want to put in the time, I want to move forward.

This is it. I’ll probably update you from time to time to how my new “business” works, so stick around.


The photo is a skating ring in New York. Even though it was really cold, people found the time to have fun and, yes, exercise. I should pay more attention.