5 Things Great Business Leaders Can Learn From Getting in Shape


We interviewed Jack Gibson (IFF Training), to find out what business leaders can learn from getting in shape.

Jack Gibson is one of Leicester’s leading personal trainers and has worked with many clients since working with IFF, including sporting professionals such as Liam Moore & Jeffrey Schlupp (Leicester City football players) and Jahmaine Smyle (Professional Boxer).

Train Together Ltd are an approved Chartered Management Institute (CMI) centre that offer businesses a wide range of management training and development solutions. TTL’s Clients include Britvic, John Lewis and Argos.


1 Learn from those with experience


(Business leaders) Listen to those who have experience and you'll save a lot of time!

Jack: Many gym members try to go it alone. They join a gym with the intention of dropping a few pounds. They seem convinced that a 20 min walk on the treadmill and a “quick go on each machine” will melt their stubborn muffin tops and love handles.

Unfortunately it is common to see those people practicing the same methodology several years on, with no noticeable improvement.

Training is an art and an artist doesn’t just need paint brushes, he needs to learn how to use them! When you join a gym, try to find someone with the physique you want, learn from them and you will soon find yourself fitting into that old pair of jeans.


No matter how hard you try, a lack of knowledge or experience can cause you to fail.

Being successful in your industry often means learning from those who have already achieved in that sector. There are many effective ways to achieve this, by attending webinars, subscribing to blogs, interacting on forums and attending events and seminars.


2 Goal Setting on Steroids!


Write a fitness programme for your business

Jack: I often speak with gym members who have been attending gyms for years and yet have experienced no significant improvement in their fitness or physique.

The human body is complex and so the act of losing weight requires knowledge and experience. In my opinion the smartest way to achieve results is to plan ahead and set goals.

Programme periodisation – Knowing how to structure multiple programmes into a long-term plan will ensure success in the gym. For those that don’t plan ahead, a plateau is just around the corner.

A periodised programme is usually broken down into these parts:

  • 1 macro cycle (1 year)
  • 12 meso cycles (1 month)
  • 52 micro cycles (1 week)


Without goals and planning it’s easy to reach a plateau. By setting out clear plans you will find it easier to keep you and your staff moving forward and motivated.

Assess your company’s current performance – Look at where you are right now by reviewing last month’s performance.

Set overall targets – Where would you like your company/organisation to be in the next 1-5 years?

Set a target for next month – Break that target down into individual months and set targets for each one.

Depending on the size of your company/organisation you may choose to take this further.

  • A corporate strategy
  • Business unit strategies
  • Team strategies

Your team strategies will feed into your business unit strategies, which will then in turn feed into the corporate strategy. We recommend starting with your corporate plan and working down to see where each unit and team fit into the overall business strategy.

If you would like free advice on what tools and techniques you could use to develop these strategies, get in touch.


3 A lack of ambition isn’t SMART!


If your goals aren't motivating, they don't stand a chance!


Jack: You have most likely heard of SMART goals. Well in the gym several of my early clients lost their motivation in the beginnings of their training. After some thought about the targets they had proposed to me when we began, I realised the clients with the least ambitious goals were not motivated by them.

This is why I came up with this alternative to the SMART anagram. Now if a client comes to me with a less than motivating goal, my aim is to open their eyes to the possibilities.

Smart Anagram - Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic and Time-framed.


It’s easy for businesses to become complacent, especially if they are doing well. However there are innovative companies built every day that would take pleasure in taking you off the top spot.

It may be time to have a brainstorm session with the SMT to come up with some motivating, yet realistic targets for the business.


4 Efficiency will save you time and money!


Spend time on efficiency and you will save time!

Jack: Very few gym members follow an efficient plan. In fact very few gym members have a plan at all! Efficiency in training is about focusing your efforts on one task at a time. We usually do this by looking at the clients’ goals and focusing on vulnerabilities that would prevent or slow them down.

Once these flaws have been identified (poor diet, weak muscle groups etc…). We develop a strategy to target that vulnerability and bring it up to standard.


You have heard the phrase “Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses”. As important as it may be to focus on your strengths as a business, your weaknesses are your vulnerabilities.

After you have assessed your business’s weaknesses you need to decide if you have the resources in-house to deal with them effectively. If not you may be best to outsource.


5 Step into someone else’s shoes


Learn to succeed by following the habits of accomplished people!

Jack: There’s no such thing in the fitness world as slow progress. There is progress and there is no progress!

Some clients want an easy ride. They assume that if they eat well some of the time and train a little less hard than some of the others in the gym, results will just take a little longer. They are mistaken.

Next time you are in the gym look around. Most people are not in the shape you would like to be in. In fact they haven’t accomplished much at all. Look to those who have achieved what you are looking for (instructors, trainers, sports professionals etc…). They have one thing in common.



Look to people (business leaders) that inspire you.

Use LinkedIn (Influencers) and Twitter to get updates on articles posted by the people who inspire you most. Learn what blog posts they read, books that they are into and you could read their autobiography if they have one.

You may also find events where they will be speaking or that they have previously attended, as this could be a good source of inspiration for your own business ventures.


And let me tell you, it is important to have fun in life, of course.  But when you're out there partying, horsing around, someone out there at the same time is working hard.  Someone is getting smarter and someone is winning. Just remember that.


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Posted on: November 18, 2015, by Michael Kirk

5 responses to “5 Things Great Business Leaders Can Learn From Getting in Shape”

  1. Michael Kirk says:

    Really interested to know your thoughts on this!

  2. I can speak from experience in regards to the top 2 points: Learn from those that are experienced and write down a plan for your business. This year we’ve used an Orbit Plan to look at the shape of our business over the next 4 years. It was really challenging to put together but the benefits absolutely outweighed the cost of time we put in. As an exec, we decided we wanted to share the vision with the whole organisation. I think it has been really helpful for each team to see where there contribution is to the 4 year plan and which are the key action points we need to achieve to make it happen.

    The last three points are also really challenging. Being ambitious is key to success and having targets which engage the whole organisation is key. The idea of stepping into the shoes of business leaders is also really interesting. I read an article on Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, the other day – She set out her stall on how she was going to do life and work early in her career. Really impressive!

  3. Andrew Atkin says:

    A great blog post, it got me thinking about other links between business and the gym.

    How about focus on maintaining correct technique?

    As you train and your muscles get tired you can lose form, either doing you no good or even risking damage. The same can be true in business when you repeat similar tasks.

    It is easy to get complacent and assume you are “doing it right” when in fact you need to stop and refocus your efforts on technique rather than simply pushing through. Focus on consistency of quality rather than driving on and you can ensure that each task meets the same high standards and produces the best possible result.

  4. Michael J says:

    Excellent post. I’ve applied a lot of this wisdom in learning technical anlysis of financial markets. I’ve sought the advice of experts and come to appreciate the importance of discipline, which in this context means devising a trading plan and sticking to it. I’d reiterate too the need to identify your weaknesses and to analyse and learn from

  5. Mike Matthews says:

    I just happen to know Jack from a young age,as a friend of my son at school, and can vouch for the discipline he has applied to his work life since leaving college. The fact he has followed his dream and developed excellent communication skills and business nous in his short life is testimony to his determination to succeed,
    and I endorse everything Jack says about progress. You are never too young(or old) to learn valuable life and work skills, and generally only consistent, hard work reaps the best rewards.

What are your thoughts?