How the 1 Percent Works Out

When it comes to making big boardroom decisions, most executives like to take their time but when it comes time to hit the gym-- it’s a whole different story. They want it quick and intense according to their trainers.

“CEOs and top executives come in all shapes and sizes and have different goals.  The one constant though is their lack of available workout time,” says celebrity trainer and author David Kirsch.

That’s why he designed a five minute, high-intensity interval training program so his big time clients can be in and out in no time.

“I recommend getting in at least one or two 5 minute express circuit workouts before you start your day. It will help fuel and energize you throughout the day,” adds Kirsch, who founded the Madison Square Club in New York City, where he trains Heidi Klum, Liv Tyler, and Kate Upton, to name a few.

Another popular trend among executive powerhouses is exclusivity. They want their privacy when they are working up a sweat so they head to high price facilities like E at Equinox, which costs $26,000 for the year and CORE:, a private members-only club in New York City where CEOs can work out and dine in private. CORE’s initiation fee is $50,000 with $17,000 yearly dues.

“Many CEOs and top executives like to mix things up a bit. A typical week might include three days of strength training, one or two days of yoga or flexibility work, and a day or two of cardio. Meditation is also a practice top execs are adding to their daily regimen,” says Josh Holland, founder of Zoomtion Fitness inside CORE:.

Members of this swanky facility include Steven Roth, Chairman and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO), Stephen A. Schwarzman, Chair of Blackstone Group (NYSE:BX), and Anthony Scaramucci, Founder and co-managing partner of SkyBridge Capital.

Holland says his clients like easy to follow but intense workouts, especially when they hit the road.

“Travel programs, fitness apps and virtual training are the latest trends in recent years, including the 'Scientific 7 Minute Workout' which gained popularity because of its effectiveness and short time requirement,” he said.

Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer Jason Walsh, who has sculpted the bodies of Justin Timberlake, Matt Damon, and Jessica Biel says he’s seeing more celebrities and executives gravitate toward more boutique training.

“We’ve seen boutique fitness double within the last couple years and it seems to be attracting more and more people to fitness and away from the days of old with the mega gyms,” he adds.

That’s also one of the reasons Walsh decided to open up a group fitness class called RISE NATION.

“We burn twice as many calories in a minute compared to other classes, which gives us a huge advantage in the actual time in the gym category, and that’s huge for people on the go these days!”

David Harris, Vice President of Health and Human Performance at Equinox says there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” workout for an executive.

“They all have different goals and objectives based on their interests and health status.  But if I were to pick a common thread it is the following:  the need to de-stress through workouts that challenge their neurological, cardiovascular and muscular systems,” he said. “Popular trends are self-limiting exercises, ones that you can use your body as leverage and resistance against yourself.”

Harris adds that good old pushups, pull ups, and planks will all provide great benefits to workaholics and help them in real life situations. But he says while most of them will tell you that the end goal is how they look, the deeper reason almost always reveals that it’s really about how they feel and function.

“A sound mind and body yield far better results than one that is constantly chasing the dollar.  At the end of the day your health will suffer and so will business.”

Sample workout from Zoomtion’s Josh Holland

  • 1 minute Plank on elbows/forearms
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 1 minute Wall Sit (back flat against the wall while seated in an imaginary chair position)
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 1 minute High Knees Stationary Running
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 1 minute Push-ups
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 1 minute Bodyweight Squats
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 1 minute Jumping Jacks
  • Rest 30 seconds
  • 1 minute Burpees