• Thu, Feb 2 2012

My Obsessive Need To Exercise Interferes With My Job

It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.  ~Marcus Tullius Cicero

A publication called Entertainment Wise recently remarked, “Pippa Middleton looks the same exercising as she does at work! How does she do it?” They had two pictures of Pippa side by side from the same day wearing her work outfit in one, looking perfectly coiffed, and then jogging in her workout outfit in the other, also looking perfectly coiffed. Apparently this web site is unfamiliar with the shower and blow dryer concept or maybe Pippa just has perfect hair that still looks great even if it has a little sweat in it. But the point is, there has been stellar documentation that one of the most photographed women in the world exercises during her lunch breaks from work.

See, she’s just like us! She exercises. But unlike many of us, Pippa works for her parent’s company and also has other sources of income such as a $600,000 book deal. So if she wants to take to two hours to run, it is okay. But for most of us, if we took that much time to exercise during work hours, our jobs would probably suffer. But for some people the obsessive need to exercise does interfere with their jobs.

A.J. Mesalic, owner of The Family Hospitality Group, told The Grindstone:

“There is definite cost to my company for my exercise beyond a basic level of fitness and stress relief. As the lead entrepreneur when I take added time away it’s clearly less time devoted to growing the company, which is my main job now. It’s a simple equation – there’s just not enough of me for our small business and the business books say that my time is the most valuable among my small team. Some people might say they get great ideas while exercising but as Ironman legend Mark Allen said “you perform best in that place between thoughts”. I’m contemplating my first Ironman and the $600 entry fee is a pittance compared to the attention the extreme training will take away from my customers and my business, not to mention my family. Yes there is definitely a tradeoff taking place when you exercise more than the typical 30 or 60 minutes a day.

As a former manager in a big corporation, I would never hold routine 30 or 60 minute daily exercise against someone. However if they trained two or three hours a day I would definitely say the person’s priorities are somewhere else and hold it against them from the pure perspective of “what’s in the company’s interest”.”

If your need to exercise is actually interfering with your job then you either need to prioritize or find a job that provides more flexibility. On the other hand, Type-A people that are obsessed with exercising are often the same people who have very intense, high-up corporate jobs. David Rudis, head of personal finance at LaSalle Bank, said there is definitely a correlation between CEOs and endurance sports, including triathlons and Ironman events. Ted Kennedy, owner and president of CEO Challenges, said a common thread among many of these executive marathoners is that they’re Type-A personalities who are driven about setting goals and meeting them. “These are typically overachievers. They love setting difficult goals for themselves,” he said. “Very, very competitive people love to compete whether it is business or anything else.”

But that competitive spirit that got them far in their career can take a dangerous turn with exercise. Experts use the term “obligatory exerciser” to describe someone “who feels obligated or compelled to continue exercising despite the risk of adverse physiologic or psychological” consequences. For the obligatory exerciser, exercise becomes a top priority, even more important than work, school, friends and family. It is no longer a free choice. While it can happen to anyone, young females are especially at risk.

Marisa Brayman, Web Designer and Marketer, told The Grindstone about her morning exercise routine which she does before 8:30 in the morning:

“I would definitely say I have an obsessive need to exercise, which is  really an obsessive need for good health. I have a meticulously  healthful diet and lifestyle, and exercising is one important aspect of this lifestyle. Working in an office makes this a challenge. My morning  consists of a short run (replaced by a long walk in the winter months),  followed by a 15-minute jump on my mini trampoline. Next comes bicep and triceps strengthening using a resistance tube. The routine ends with about 100 sit-ups.

I enjoy my job, but sitting all day can be torturous. To strengthen my core while sitting and working, I brought in an exercise ball, only to  learn they were against company policy. I combine my lunch break and my  fifteen-minute breaks into one long break—one hour—in order to go  for a long walk outside in the middle of the workday. My company has its  own workout room, and I am the only employee making use of this perk.  Even still, my legs often feel like jelly because of their not getting enough exercise. When I get home, I usually go for another walk before starting dinner. “

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