Warning: Entrepreneurship Can Make You Fat

This is one of those classic “do as I say, not as I did” posts. As our company grew, so did I– around the middle.

I’d been pretty good about regular exercise before then. But when our business took off, I couldn’t wait to get into the office early, get my coffee, and start my work. And I woke up early, eager to go. And I had trouble going to sleep. Sometimes it was worry, sometimes excitement, a lot of times just plain loving my work, but always, it was lots of things to do.  Helicopter mind kept me awake. The computer and the coffee were irresistible, and exercise and sleep totally resistible.

I’m not talking about a few days during crunch time. This was years. I’ve recovered again, taking care of myself again for about three years now. And I can tell you, from my own experience, that it’s way easier to maintain a minimum level of exercise than to let go completely and then try to recover later.

And the metrics? Yes, the damned bathroom scale. There were some years there in which my measurements on that metric grew in proportion to our sales.

All of this was preventable. Here’s where you should do as I say, and not as I did. Don’t give up regular exercise for your business, no matter how exciting, or stressful, good, or bad, the business. The time you spend on exercise, you get back in productivity. And manage the stress.

I’ve learned all this the hard way, by doing it wrong. I’m better now, thanks; I figured it out, finally, just 2-3 years ago. I did it wrong for about 12 years. I am doing as I suggest these days, but I regret all those years I did it wrong.

So do as I say, not as I did. Take care of yourself, startup or not.

(Image credit: JackF/Shutterstock)


  • Mneiae says:

    This post reminded me of Mark Cuban’s account of being a young entrepreneur who was completely broke. He would run 5-10 miles at night when he finished up at work because he would be so keyed up. I got the impression that he enjoyed being on the edge.

  • Donna Maria Coles Johnson says:

    Very good. So very very good. Now, where are my running shoes?

  • Tyler says:

    Ah, I also know how the no-sleep syndrome works; up all night working because you know you couldn’t sleep anyway. I’m glad you’re taking better care of yourself now, Tim. We need you healthy to keep spreading the knowledge!

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