CEO Sundays: Get Fit! Business Lessons from the Fitness World

By July 17, 2011

Written by Jeff Marinucci, Founder & CEO of inerTRAIN

There are a striking number of similarities between what it takes to start a fitness regimen and what it takes to start a successful company. Starting a fitness business, I have had to not only become knowledgeable about health, exercise, nutrition, workouts, and other similar topics, but more importantly, I also had to learn what it takes to get people to start a program and keep them motivated to reach the goals they set out to achieve. These same concepts from a fitness regimen apply to starting a successful company.

These are  seven of the top lessons I have learned for you to both lose weight in your midsection and gain weight where it counts — in your company’s bank account.  Here are some of the parallels that can make you successful at both starting a new fitness routine and starting a new business:

Lesson 1: Set goals and measure progress.

Before you even get started doing the heavy lifting, it is important to have a clear vision of where you want to be in the end.  You have to be dissatisfied with the status quo and be passionate about reaching your goal.  Set both a long-term goal and short-term objectives, keep track of your progress toward them, and as you achieve them, set new targets.  You will work harder toward  them if you tie your goals to an external event or a deadline — like fitting into your outfit for a friend’s wedding (or your own), or launching an educational website or marketing program in time for “back to school” season.

Lesson 2: Surround yourself by people who support you.

Hitting the gym and starting a new business venture are probably two of the most difficult things to do.  Therefore, it is important to surround yourself with people that will support and encourage you through both the best and most difficult times. And they help to hold you accountable.  Look for the people that will give you a helping hand when you need it, encourage you on the tough days, and even give you tough love when you are getting off track.  Having a good support system in place that will pull the donut out of your hand or invest their time and energy into your idea makes it so much easier.

Lesson 3: Find people who know more than you to help you.

I cannot stress how important it is to surround yourself with expert advisors and mentors.  These are people who can save you a lot of time because of their knowledge or because they have done this before.  Whether it is a personal trainer at the gym telling you how many pounds you should bench press, or a board of advisors in your business sharing successful marketing experiences, they will help you avoid many common mistakes and bring you closer to success faster.  Be sure to listen to what they have to say.  Sometimes their methods may seem different than what you would expect, but there is often more than one way to achieve what you want to achieve.


Lesson 4: Keep it simple, focused, and disciplined.

How many push ups can you do?  Sit ups?  Squats?  If the answer is “not many”, then you shouldn’t be trying to do fancy, complicated exercises.  In business, it is the same.  Do not try to overcomplicate what you are doing, as the best results come from the simplest models.  You will be faced with several temptations on the way to stray from your path.  Do your best to stay focused on one goal at a time and do what you have committed to do. If you have committed to yourself to work out 3 times per week, set it up on your schedule and stick to it.  Similarly, if you have committed to conduct 5 new customer presentations per week, schedule them as well.  Don’t let yourself get away with missing them.

Lesson 5: Be prepared for it to take longer than you expected to achieve results.

We have all heard stories of people who have lost 50 pounds in a month by taking a special pill or using a magic product, or the business that launched and made millions in a matter of months (but then went bankrupt soon after).  Most of the time, the results you want — particularly sustainable results — take longer to achieve.  It is important to take the time to do it right and establish the right habits from the start, even if it takes a little more time and effort.  There are no quick fixes that build long-term success.

Lesson 6: Learn from your challenges and setbacks.

You will always experience challenges and setbacks, both in the weight room and in the boardroom.  The most important thing to do is to learn from each situation and don’t lose sight of your path to success.  Don’t let a weaker-than-expected measurement, a bad workout or meeting, or criticism from an observer take away from your drive.  Instead, analyze the situation and use this as a chance to evaluate and make any changes to your routine or plan that will make you stronger in the end.

Lesson 7: Give yourself time to rest and rejuvenate.

The times when I have seen the best results — in my body and in my business — are typically just after I have taken some time to rest and refresh myself.  Working out and eating right are important elements of your fitness routine, but it is actually in the recovery period on your “off days” where your body builds and repairs your muscle tissue and burns through the fat.  Similarly, getting away from your work or your business from time to time will help you to keep a fresh perspective and come up with new creative and innovative ideas.

Jeff Marinucci is CEO and founder of inerTRAIN ( and Perpetual Motion Fitness Corporation (PMFC) where he oversees the realization of his dream – the fusion of technology, travel, and a healthy lifestyle.  Prior to starting PMFC in 2009, he spent more than 10 years at Motorola in various global and international business roles across all major regions of the world.  Jeff earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business & Economics from Kalamazoo College, studied abroad at the École Supérieure de Commerce in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and completed an exclusive two-year Business Leadership Development Program at Motorola.

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