The winning formula, when it comes to sustaining a fitness routine in our busy lives, is to prioritize and make time for fitness consistently around work and family needs
When 47-year-old Nikhil Arora, managing director and vice president, GoDaddy, an internet domain registrar and web hosting firm, moved back to India in 2009 after having lived abroad for 20 years, the change in diet and lifestyle triggered weight gain. Before he knew it, he was tiring easily and not able to sustain his usual level of activity.
The other issue was a deep ear infection that resulted in permanent nerve damage, and left him with a condition called tinnitus (a permanent ringing sound in the affected ear), which doesn’t really have a cure and can take a lot of getting used to. “I needed to get both of these in check," he recalls.
On the trail
Arora started running as a means of dealing with his challenges—the weight gain and the need to retrain his focus away from the tinnitus. It helped him rebuild his endurance, stamina and lose weight. The fitness training also helped him zone out the ringing. “I was of course, already consulting doctors regarding my ear condition, but other than that I followed the usual course of setting myself up with a trainer, choosing a training plan, and making a few changes to my diet to help my body lose the fat and build muscle," he says. He also made some lifestyle changes to prioritize time for fitness. Arora, who has completed over 25 full and half marathons across the world including the recent Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, starts his day at 4.45am, and begins with an hour of cardio workout—either running, cycling or swimming which he alternates over weekdays. He follows that up with an hour of strength training later in the evening. “On weekends, I raise the intensity of my workouts, especially if I am training for events like a marathon. I tend to put in about three to four hours, usually early in the morning, for long runs. I do these on the weekends because then you have more time to recover," he explains.
Like most working professionals, Arora says that he too struggled to take out time to exercise and improve his health. According to him, the winning formula, when it comes to sustaining a fitness routine in our busy lives, is to prioritize and make time for fitness consistently around work and family needs. “My job involves travelling many days in a month, and so it’s really up to me to ensure that I’m able to work out or run no matter where I am. Some of the big international airports have decent gym facilities, and I usually plan a workout there if I have a long layover. My running shoes and basic TRX equipment travel with me so I don’t miss out on my early morning workouts. I also look up various running groups in the cities that I travel to, and connect with them in advance, which helps me get motivated to run and beat the jet lag," he says.
‘I find M.S. Dhoni an inspiration. He is so fit and so calm in the face of such high stakes’ Photo: PTI
There are other adjustments to be made as well. “Frankly, if you’re at a party and worried about your run the next morning and want to leave early or aren’t able to accept your host’s excellent food and drink because of it, it does affect your social life," he agrees. But again, one has to make adjustments. “When heading for social occasions I usually eat my usual food before leaving so I don’t feel the need to load up there. Also, I plan with my trainer in advance and we usually work out a plan to help me recover from any festive excesses," he adds.
A fit leader
“Everything you do towards developing fitness helps in developing agility and focus, which are great strengths for a leader. Also, running also teaches you a lot about patience, perseverance and humility—that there are no easy roads to places worth going to. Your own hard work helps you appreciate efforts of others," says Arora.
Finding Fitness is a series that looks at how a health scare prompted senior executives to work on their lifestyle habits.
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