In March, one year before the Tokyo Olympics, I received an e-mail that read as follows: “ I read your LinkedIn profile and I judge you have an Olympic Profile – can we please meet?” Signed Mathieu Gram.
This short, but ‘ego-flattering’ invite made me curious. So I met with Mathieu, an Olympic level physical & mental performance expert and rehabilitation specialist who graduated from same faculty at KU Leuven as myself… but way younger.
His thesis is simple: “If one can maximise the capacity of an Olympic athlete, the same is true for ‘corporate athletes’ ” .
His challenge to ‘olympify my physical & mental capacity’ as a corporate executive through Olympic quality guided physical activity became clear. What Mathieu presented was grounded in science and extensive experience with top athletes.
Me, 56 years, far from being an athlete… pretty enthusiastically engaged into his six months program. I wanted to explore the potential gains this could bring to my mental capacity as well as what my body was still capable of doing: not with the ambition to start running a marathon or to become a tri-athlete, but to just feel more comfortable, indeed create more ‘capacity’ and maybe lose a bit of that overweight and some of my unconscious bad habits…
Three months in the program I quickly realised a few things… Mathieu was right: pretty easy to engage an executive to be disciplined and to do almost daily but short exercises and to change the daily nutrition pattern. What I underestimated was the initial impact (first month):
- On my body: I was quickly confronted with my physical limitations, but Mathieu and his team turned them into positive challenges
- On my mindset: I underestimated the ‘craving’ impact of nutritional changes, as if one quits smoking – a bit grumpy… but not realising it as I was so focused on delivering the commitments… it was my entourage who experienced it.
- On my capacity: amazing how quickly this program transformed the daily routine into simple engaging challenges, exercises, … with a positive impact on energy, sleep, attitude, interactions, can-do, …
Bottom line, I would recommend senior executives to do some basic homework: write down what you eat, what you drink and how much, how much you sleep, how many hours you work and how much time you really look after your body and/or your mind. And then make a decision (you’re used to that …).
Decide to get GRAM into your calendar to Olympify your capacity: mens sana in corpore sano wasn’t invented yesterday, but Mathieu puts a science-based professional and Olympic spin on it.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT:
“IF OLYMPIC ATHLETES DESERVE A TOP COACH,
WHY WOULD YOU AS A TOP EXECUTIVE NOT DESERVE ONE?”
— LUC DEBRUYNE, FORMER PRESIDENT at GSK GLOBAL VACCINS / STRATEGIC ADVISOR at CEPI