Did you ever wonder that some of the same skills that help you in fitness also translate into work and other parts of your life? 2023 was a challenging year for me, I found myself wanting to get back into shape after suffering from a staph infection. I have a diet that is my go-to, but being a lot older, I researched a bit to see if I could find a better workout. In my research I found a lot more, some I knew and just never followed and somehow started to connect it to my work. As with all my introspection I decided to document it, so my top 10 and an extra are below: 

  1. Breath: This may sound simple, but many people just do not do it. I always have been bad at breathing when working out. During contractions or effort, I would hold my breath vs. Exhaling. This year during my workouts I was very conscious of fixing that. And realized that same technique of breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth helped me focus as work. 
  1. Accountability: When working out, finding an accountability partner, or ways to make yourself accountable is key. It helps with motivation as well as picking you up with that extra lift you need.  At work, this is the same thing, finding someone that holds you accountable for doing your best, inspires you and motivates you to improve. For my workouts I have spreadsheets tracking my metrics (weight, body fat) at work, I created a separate Jira board to track things, and it has metrics that I can see and keep myself accountable. I also leverage a Facebook group where we all keep ourselves accountable.  
  1. Mindfulness: Some days I would get up and sleepwalk through a workout just to check it off. I could even tell someone yes i worked out today, but really, did I? I did the motions but did not push myself, did not train to failure or get my heart rate in the right zone. The same would go to work, I cannot sleepwalk through my job. I am the most successful when my mind is focused on the task at hand. I have started meditation. This allows me to focus on both my workouts and my job.  
  1. Single Task: I can admit it, there were days not only when I slept through a workout but was busy texting someone or doing something else. I had to stop this. Mindfulness was key, but the single task of working out made them more effective. At work, not multitasking during a meeting and focusing on the call or task at hand, I am able to get more out of it. This is hard for someone with ADHD this is a constant challenge that I am still working on.  
  1. Eat Healthy: There is a saying ‘You cannot out workout a bad diet.’ Which is true, no matter how much you work out, a bad diet will ruin it. It is true with work also. If you do not eat healthy you cannot be your best. You will be tired, lack energy, and just feel not at your best. As stated I have a go-to diet, this includes meal preparation. At work, it makes it easier, I am not worried about what I am going to eat at work, and it ensures I eat healthy.  
  1. Rest: In working out there are rest days where your body needs to heal. In work it is called energy management. There are times when you need a break. Listen to your body and your mind and take those breaks. Let yourself heal, as that will make you stronger.  
  1. Time Under Tension: In some of my workouts I found myself either rushing the rep or going fast to get the number of reps done. What I was missing with the notion of keeping the muscle under tension as well as using different counts. This notion of having the muscle under tension for a period builds strength. In work, you are going to be under tension, some call it stress or emergencies. Those are all there to build you up physically as well as mentally to handle different situations. One of the best compliments I ever got was you are cool under pressure; I just wish they knew how long it took to get there.  
  1. Variety: Or as I say, ‘I need to change up my workout.’ Doing the same workout year after year and expecting a better result is maddening.  Changing your workout allows you to challenge your muscles, reduce boredom and increase chances of success. At work, changing up your routine, learning a new skill, challenging yourself outside your comfort zone can only get you better at your job.  
  1. Know that you can always learn more: This year I learned a few things about working out that I did not know, as science is changing. There are always studies comparing exercises, exercise types etc. It let me try a hypertrophic workout on the bowflex (something I never thought of doing.). For my job learning is necessary. If you are living under a rock 2023 was the year of Large Language Models and being in technology, we had to learn if they could help my role.  
  1. Pick the Right Music: For workouts, one thing I learned is that with the right music you can get energized. The wrong music can do the opposite. Do you have a playlist for your workout? How much of a difference is it? At work, often when it is time to put your head down and code, putting on the right type of music that is mindless and allows you to block out outside noise helps productivity.  
  1. Have Fun: If you find a workout that you enjoy doing, you are going to do it longer. There are so many diverse types of workouts, and different instructors, group lessons etc. There will be something you can find that you will enjoy and have fun. Work is the same. In many cases the fun will be being with the right people, but finding things that make your job fun is key.  

I am sure there are others, but I was amazed by the connection between my fitness journey and work. Let me know if I missed something. 

This opinion is mine, and mine only, my current or former employers have nothing to do with it. I do not write for any financial gain, I do not take advertising and any product company listed was not done for payment. But if you do like what I write you can donate to the charity I support (with my wife who passed away in 2017) Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital or donate to your favorite charity. I pay to host my site out of my own pocket, my intention is to keep it free.  I do read all feedback, I mostly wont post any of them. 

This Blog is a labor of love, and was originally going to be a book.  With the advent of being able to publish yourself on the web I chose this path.  I will write many of these and not worry too much about grammar or spelling (I will try to come back later and fix it) but focus on content.  I apologize in advance for my ADD as often topics may flip.  I hope one day to turn this into a book and or a podcast, but for now it will remain a blog.   AI is not used in this writing other than using the web to find information.Images without notes are created using and AI tool that allows me to reuse them.