Staying healthy while growing your business can be tough. Yet with the help of today’s contributor, you’ll be able to utilize instant hacks to get back on track with your wellness goals right this instant!
Whether you’re a freelancer, startup founder, or anyone putting caution to the wind to pursue a dream, congrats. The world has a ton of respect for people like you, and rightfully so. After-all, not everyone can deal with the sleepless nights, the declined credit cards, and having to say no to avocado. You’re making it on your own, which in tech we call “bootstrapping.” It’s a term that dates back to the 19th century to mean an “absurdly impossible action”, but I laugh at that, because it’s definitely not absurd nor impossible. Bootstrapping is exciting and enriching (in many senses of the word), however your wallet and health can often suffer in the process. As a two-time veteran of bootstrapped startups, I’ve picked up a number of tricks for staying healthy while growing your business. Here are the Top 5:
5 Hacks To Staying Healthy While Growing Your Business
Trick #1: How to eat lunch at Whole Foods for under $5
When picking a lunch, I look for meals with protein and fiber that are quick to eat. My favorite combination is 2 hard-boiled eggs from the salad bar + guac and pinto beans. I then round it out with a Fage single serve yogurt or Bobo’s Oat Bar for dessert. If you do this right, it should clock in right at $4.95.
If eggs aren’t your thing, play around with different protein sources like their pulled chicken or bean mix.
Another favorite of mine is apple sauce mixed with protein powder, almond butter, and high-quality granola. It’s dairy free, gluten free, high in protein, high in fiber, and extremely tasty. It doubles as a dessert too. Buy it in bulk and it’s easily under $5 / serving.
For a dinner option at Whole Foods, see Sarah’s as that’s “ridiculously cheap” as well.
Trick #2: How to pick the right protein bar
My first business provided healthy vending machines to school districts, so I have a ton of experience evaluating (aka eating) protein bars and meal replacements. Here’s what I look for:
- Simplicity. Are there more than a handful of ingredients? If so, I usually avoid.
- What is the first ingredient? It better be something in the protein or whole-grain arena.
- Are any of the ingredients “soy protein isolate”? – If so I tread cautiously just as a personal preference.
- Are any of the ingredients “partially-hydrogenated”? – If so, I avoid absolutely. Say no to trans fats.
- What kind of sugar is included? I’m down for sugar if it comes naturally from something like dates, but I try to avoid simple sugar or syrup as an added ingredient.
- Will it melt? It’s gotta be prepared to sit in the backpack or car for hours.
- Will it crumble? I like a crunch as much as the next guy, but there’s a time and place for that. Not on my desk.
Here are some of my favorites: The cashew Lara Bar, the new RX Bar, The new , the up and coming brand , and the ever tasty Bobo’s Oat Bars. As for shakes / meal replacements, I’m a devout fan of, especially now that they reduced the sugar and use a plant-based protein. (Disclaimer, my mom is a Usana distributor).
Trick #3: How to stay fit
For as long as I can remember, running has been my go-to exercise. But now that I have reliable access to a pool, swimming took the lead. It’s extremely efficient. A diligent 20 minutes of laps combines cardiovascular exercise with strength training, vitamin D, and will ease stress on the body. Plus if you’re really in a rush, it can cut out the shower time (right?). Now I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to live near a pool, lake, or climate ocean, so here are my other tips:
- Take calls while walking. This is a big one for me. 30-60 minutes will fly by.
- Work from coffee shops that have bar tops, aka standing desks.
- Don’t stock up on snacks. Instead get up and go to the store every time you want to eat.
- Learn to like jogging. Its the cheapest and most widely available cardiovascular activity out there.
- Do ab exercises at home while watching that episode of [fill in the blank] you allow yourself to indulge in.
- Park further away. It may sound silly, but the parking spots are easier to find, and the extra walk / fresh air doesn’t hurt.
Trick #4: How to get enough sleep
I feel bad for sleep. It’s often the first thing to go when we start bootstrapping, and then we go and kick it while it’s down by being proud of it. We often feel a sense of strength, even a badge of honor, when we think we don’t need sleep. I’ve been there many times, and if that’s what you want to do, go for it. Although, I believe one of the best tricks for staying healthy while growing your business is getting enough sleep. I’ve learned over the years that I’m way more effective when I get 6-7 hours, and here are some suggestions that may help:
- Put a podcast on and set the timer to 15 minutes. It distracts your mind just long enough to fall asleep. My favorites include: Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab, and Hardcore History.
- Take a melatonin. Something like does the trick.
- Take a quick shower before bed. It helps transition from work-mode to sleep-mode.
- Enable Do-Not-Disturb / silence on your phone. It keeps your phone from making any noise or even illuminating while you’re asleep.
And lastly, Trick #5:
Remember to have fun with it. It keeps everything in perspective, and sets you up for the long haul. If you bootstrap effectively, then you’ll get the luxury of looking back at these days with nostalgia. You know, while you’re sitting on the porch of your beach house, sipping on a quality red, and eating hard-boiled eggs with guac.
About The Author:
Brett Bernstein is the founder and CEO of , a technology that enables ecommerce brands to build smart and social promotions. You can find him on major social networks as , and follow Gatsby on ,, or .