5 Things Orangetheory Fitness Taught Me About Running a Company
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If I were to tell you that I woke up at 5 a.m, this morning, you probably wouldn't be surprised. People expect the CEO to be up early.
What may be surprising: I wasn't up early to answer emails or prepare a presentation. I was doing vital work for myself. I was getting my workout in.
I commit to exercising a minimum of 30 minutes, seven days a week. It's my form of meditation and self-care.
For the past year, I've been going to Orangetheory Fitness as a part of my weekly workout routine. Throughout this time, I've observed the commitment and community that group workouts inspire. I've loved being a part of it, and I've taken away some important lessons for running a company.
Make commitments a habit.
Habits -- at both their best and worst -- don't feel like a choice; they feel like an intrinsic part of everyday life. Regular exercise has become a positive habit for me. It's a commitment to taking care of yourself so you can be your best for those around you.
Walking into Orangetheory early in the morning, I am also making a commitment to the group to do my best. Feeding off of each others' energy, we work as a team so we can get the most "splat points," which indicate that we've elevated our heart rates enough to be in the zone, and inspire one another to push harder than we did the day before. Walking through that glass door, you high five your coach, and you are immediately in it. You have to give it your all for the next 60 minutes. It's not that different from committing to a startup. We are all committed to the intensity and excitement, and we all have to do our part.
Mindfulness can start with the body.
I love that mindfulness is gaining more attention in the public sphere. However, I think that there are a lot of people who expect mindfulness to mean sitting still for 30 minutes with your thoughts. When I run outside, I don't listen to anything but my thoughts. Exercise can be meditation. A morning workout can be just as productive as 30 minutes of meditation when it comes to mindfulness, clearing your head and going into the day with intention.
Not only does it feel great, but mindfulness achieved through action is an incredibly important habit for a CEO to internalize. There are many daily challenges and decisions, but I can dig deep and tackle them with a sense of calm, clarity, and steadfast purpose when I am grounded and feeling healthy myself.
Meet people where they are.
Orangetheory may have an intense reputation, but it's actually a very welcoming environment. People of all different activity levels can participate in the workouts and find a way to push themselves that doesn't feel overwhelming. This sense of inclusivity stems from two things -- the coaches, who know to adjust their approach and encourage or pressure based on individual need, and the environment that's created when you're measuring yourself, not trying to keep up with the person next to you on the treadmill. And the workout supports all levels so you can go at your own pace.
In short, it's a workout that consistently endeavors to meet every person where they are.
I am also in the business of helping people find a path to health that is grounded in self-motivation and sustainable behavior change. This means creating a service that's entirely personalized, that takes into account each person's unique circumstances, health goals and starting point. At my company, if you're at the very beginning of your health journey, you can start by working on a single behavior in a way that's palatable to you. If you're more advanced and trying to level up, our coaches can provide the encouragement of a cheerleader or the tough love of a drill sergeant, depending on your preference, to get you to that next level.
This framework also applies to employees. We want to play to people's strengths and then create an environment where they have the opportunity and the challenge to learn new skills.
The power of a committed team: Share the love, the pain and the wins.
Winning as a team can be euphoric. When you're all rowing together to hit a goal and you achieve it, there's nothing more rewarding. When we get 15,000 splat points as a group after a grueling running, rowing and burpee, sit-up, squat strength and endurance combo, it feels great! You leave the studio with an endorphin rush and a feeling of accomplishment. Similarly, when we release a new version of our app or hit a big customer milestone, it's incredibly inspiring.
Hard things are hard for good reason. If it were easy, the win would not feel that special. "No pain, no gain" can apply to workouts and teams within companies alike. It's important to feel part of something that's bigger than yourself and share the love, passion and enthusiasm for being part of a team making the world a better place.
Embrace the power of a movement.
Whether you've been to a class or not, it's easy to recognize the power of the OrangeTheory brand. It's created a movement that means more than just exercising. It means finding your tribe and achieving the best version of yourself. Working out may have started as an individual habit, but it quickly grew into something larger, feeling part of a community. We are striving to create a similar community within Vida.
We should all be so lucky to find our tribe and create or join a movement with intense commitment and passion to improving people's lives.