5 Things Great Business Leaders Can Learn From Getting in Shape

 In Leadership

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.

Learn from those with experience


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.

 Goal Setting on Steroids!


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.

A lack of ambition isn’t SMART!


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.


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.

Efficiency will save you time and money!


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.

Step into someone else’s shoes


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.

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