Alan, it is a pleasure to have you hear today to talk about how you approach fitness and working out. You are pursuing a great career as a Sales Manager at Facebook and simultaneously manage to workout several times per week. With your profile, you perfectly fit to our target audience as a busy professional who want to stay fit.
Now, I am very excited to hear about your fitness motivation.
Alan, I assume you must be quite busy in your job, isn’t that right?
That is correct. The job can at times be very demanding. Generally, as in any other tech company it is a very dynamic and eventful environment. Therefore, I always try to be at my best. This means, having the right balance and the right spirit in my life. Fitness and staying healthy plays definitely is a major role for me in finding that balance.
What role does fitness & health play in your life?
On one hand, it helps me balance and calm my mind. I consider it a bit like a rehabilitation for my body. But on the other hand, while pursuing a career in a large corporation, I don’t only want to be competitive in one area in life. I like to compete in other areas as well. My fitness goals are very much a competition for myself. I love seeing the progress and I love beating my best performance over and over again.
How does your workout routine look like?
That is a good question. There is a couple of things that really matter to me.
First, it is about frequency. I have tried different rhythms. Examples include training on 5 workdays and keeping the weekends off or working out 6 days in a row and taking 1 day off. But what works best for me now is having 3 heavy days of training and then 1 day off to stretch, go for a run or do a yoga session. I also tried a couple of different programs, but I feel I have found the one that works best for me.
Second, I try to work in super sets. Super sets for me means to reduce the duration of breaks by filling the breaks with other exercises. This increases my training efficiency in my approximately 1-hour session.
How do you manage to keep your fitness activity up while having a demanding job at the same time?
For me it is not really about keeping the activity up. The dynamic and the speed that I am used to working in requires me to keep my head clear in order to perform at work. Therefore, I believe that one (work) calls for the other (fitness). This is my motivation. Fitness is somehow something that my body needs and therefore it is not too hard to keep the activity up.
How important is a healthy nutrition to you?
There is a story around that. I have been training for nearly every day for the past 5 years. In the beginning, I didn’t really look at nutrition. Back then I ate everything. But I realized that at some point it was difficult to improve with eating the right food. My body needed more energy from the food I ate in order to get to the next level of performance. This was the moment when I started to optimize my nutrition. Then, after a while I saw improvements in my performance which showed me that the right nutrition was good for me.
Now, 5 years in, I am really looking into having the right nutrition. This includes reducing food with a high level of saturated fat. I strongly believe that a good input is the best way for a good output. The better the food that I feed my body with, the better the output in training.
Do you work with apps that focus on nutrition
No, I don’t really work with apps and I have also never tried it. I somehow learned how to read the label of food products and what the contained ingredients mean. For me this is the most important part. Although I never properly calculated macronutrients, I do know approximately the right composition of what I should eat to charge my muscles.
Could apps be helpful for beginners?
Yes, definitely. I mean even for me it would be helpful. I am not a 100% expert in nutrition, which is why an app would be an additional help. I believe this accounts even more for someone who is just starting out. There is a lot of information you can learn from within the app.
Moreover, you never stop learning. I also just learned during the last year that some vegetables that I eat are better than others. This is something that I could have learned through an app in a quicker way.
What is the biggest challenge in your workout routine?
For me personally, the biggest challenge is to keep getting better. At some point you will feel that your body is reaching a plateau where progress seems to stop. This is most likely because there is one side muscle that haven’t been trained as properly yet as it should have. But I know that even if you hit a plateau, you can always get better. Sometimes this means that you have to take a step back. You will have to find and train that single muscle that is holding you back. This is mentally challenging as you might take one step back in order to go two steps ahead in the future.
What would you recommend to people who struggle to be as active as you are?
I understand that a lot of people who want to start out even with a lower frequency struggle to get going. From my perspective, the best way to overcome this challenge is to find something that you really like doing. Some people like running, some like exercising in the gym, some like swimming. Find what you love, enjoy doing it and then keep the activity level up. I believe that if you force yourself to something that you don’t love, it will stay a burden for a long time. This will go on and on until you eventually stop doing your workout.
Alan, thanks a lot for your time. It was a pleasure talking to you.