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The Corporate Athlete - How to Achieve Maximal Performance in Business and Life by Jack L. Groppel

Updated: Aug 7, 2021


Dr. Jack Groppel is an internationally recognized authority and pioneer in the science of human performance and Co-Chair of the newly formed Global Alliance for Health & Performance. Groppel realized he could use his coaching skills to help people perform better in their careers and their lives. Groppels advice will change how you look at habits and your work. He teaches how to maintain your energy level, how to handle and recover from stress, and how to derive value from each day.




  1. Mindset

    1. A “corporate athlete” strives for health and fitness in order to perform better in business, just as a sports star trains to stay healthy for competition

    2. You need 21 days to break a bad habit and 90 days to form a new healthful habit

    3. Eat well, exercise, rest, and be present and mindful

  2. Movement

    1. Do daily interval training - letting your heart rate increase, letting it recover and repeating the process - to bolster your body’s response to stress

    2. Schedule frequent mental health and movement breaks throughout the day

  3. Nutrition

    1. Plan your meals around the low-fat Mediterranean Diet, which is based on fruit, vegetables and whole grains

    2. Having a light lunch and a healthy late afternoon snack will help you avoid errors

    3. Carbohydrates make you calm, and proteins sharpen your focus

  4. Recovery

    1. Stay hydrated; drink eight glasses of water daily. Soft drinks don’t count


To be a corporate athlete, heed to 12 principles:

1. “TRAIN”

  1. Test yourself - Use what you learn to grow

  2. Recover - Take time out to strengthen your mind, body and spirit

  3. Affirm - Recommit to your goals

  4. Intensify - Put more effort into your work, but take frequent breaks

  5. Nourish - Take care of your physical and emotional needs

2. Take Ownership and Responsibility for Who You Are

  1. Take responsibility for yourself by balancing performance and recovery

  2. You’ll accomplish much more when you prioritise your health and happiness Don’t wait for a significant emotional event to force you to alter your life; take positive responsibility now

3. Stress and Recovery

  1. Focus your workouts on training to cope with stress

  2. Much of your impact on others derives from how you move, stand, inhale, exhale and communicate nonverbally

  3. Easier tasks can provide a break. Don’t skip taking the down time you need for recovery in order to make it to some finish line

  4. Interval training - increasing your heart rate, letting it recover and continuing to repeat the set - encourages a quicker, larger spike of catecholamines with a more rapid recovery

  5. To reduce stress, work out in the late afternoon. This launches endorphins and will help you enjoy your evening. If you can’t squeeze in a late afternoon workout, exercise whenever you can

  6. No matter how unexpected a negative development is, you can tap into physical methods for coping with its stress. For example, if you receive an upsetting phone call just as you’re about to pitch a big project, take a moment to breathe. Climb two or three flights of stairs to improve heart rate and chemistry so you can handle the situation better

4. Consistent Energy

  1. Maintaining your peak performance level demands high energy

  2. Jeff Sklar, a vice president at a Manhattan private bank says he thinks like a “sprinter, not like a marathoner”

5. Prioritise Nutrition

  1. For maximum nutrition, follow the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet, which calls for:

    1. Eating complex carbohydrates from fruit, vegetables and grain as half your daily intake

    2. Add protein from fish and grain as 15%-25% of your diet

    3. Keep your fat intake below 20%-30%, using only fat derived from plants or fish

    4. Have fruit or fruit juice at the end of lunch and limit your sugar intake

    5. How you eat affects how you feel. To feel more energised, stop eating three meals a day. Have an early breakfast so your brain gets glucose, its main source of energy; then enjoy small snacks

  2. 7 nutrition secrets

    1. Weight doesn’t matter - Lower your fat intake, heed your body fat content and increase your muscle mass

    2. Don’t punish yourself - Enjoy desserts and snacks, but primarily stick to smart, light, low-fat and nutritious foods most of the time

    3. Eat right and avoid hunger pangs - Eat healthier, smaller portions more often

    4. Exercise more to prevent muscle loss - To become leaner, expend more energy. Train yourself to change - Re-educate your food preferences. Nix the saturated fat habit

    5. As you upgrade your diet, remember it takes 21 days to break habits and 90 days to change behaviours and create new patterns

    6. Eat to recover - Balance your nutrition to help you relax and sleep better.

    7. Allow for backsliding - If you stray, return to healthy habits quickly.

6. Drink Well

  1. Drink eight glasses of water - not soft drinks - daily

  2. Cut down on tea and coffee, which are diuretics and cause your body to shed water

  3. If you are ill, drink healthy fluids to recover

  4. Chill your water, add a slice of citrus fruit for flavour and drink bottled water if you prefer it

  5. Always carry a reusable water bottle, even into meetings

  6. Limit alcohol to one drink a day and your caffeine to two cups a day

  7. Skipping caffeine altogether is best

7. Weight Doesn’t Matter

  1. Your body’s fat content matters - not your weight

  2. To see how you are doing now, measure your body mass index (BMI), which equals your weight in kilograms divided by the square of your height in meters

  3. A normal BMI is between 24 and 27 for a man and between 23 and 26 for a woman

  4. To estimate your “body fat pattern,” figure out your hip-to-waist ratio. Measure your waist at its smallest part and divide that number by the distance around your hips. A woman’s goal is to have a ratio of less than 0.86, and a man’s goal is a ratio of less than 0.95

  5. Losing weight takes time, so be patient. Eat several small meals and take in the same amount of calories each day

8. Figure Out a Menu for Your Life

  1. Plan tomorrow’s meals today

  2. Adhere to the 80/20 rule: Eat well 80% of the time and “stray a little” 20% of the time

  3. To be at the top of your game coming up to a big meeting or event, create a 10-step eating plan:

    1. Eat your “pre-event meal” before you feel really hungry

    2. Choose healthy foods consistently for a few days prior to the occasion

    3. Eat lightly before your important moment

    4. Avoid alcohol

    5. Avoid high-fat items

    6. Increase your endorphins by eating a meal of half protein and half carbohydrates

    7. If you need to wake up, consume protein

    8. If you are anxious, eat carbohydrates and skip the protein

    9. To help your mood, eat foods you enjoy

    10. Respect the impact food has on your energy level and mood

9. Life on the Run and on the Road

  1. You can still eat well while on the go

  2. A healthier option is to order pizza without cheese and with extra tomato sauce and vegetables

  3. Eat carbs if you want to sleep on the plane; protein will keep you up.

  4. If you land in the morning and have to rush off to a meeting, choose wake-up food, like “whole-grain cereal or a low-fat protein breakfast”

  5. Rest at your hotel for an hour and take a quick walk to wake up. If you land the day before your meeting, mesh with local time as soon as possible. Get to bed at a reasonable hour.

10. Use Vitamins, Supplements and Herbs Wisely

  1. Absorb your nutrients from food and take supplements just in case

  2. Reduce the effects of carcinogens with vitamins A, C and E

  3. Brazil nuts have selenium, an important antioxidant;

  4. Carrots offer vitamin A;

  5. Leafy vegetables have vitamin E and

  6. Citrus fruits provide vitamin C.

  7. Phytochemicals, like carotenoids and flavonoids, are “plants’ natural protection against disease.” They can “stimulate immunity” and even inhibit cancer growth. The best sources are fresh plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables, wine, soy and flax seed

  8. Also consider vitamin B and folic acid, D, K, Calcium, Iodine, Iron, Zinc & others

11. Always Exercise

  1. Participate in daily physical activity to boost your mental performance. Exercise releases positive hormones and helps you live longer and better.

12. Heed Your Spiritual Fitness

  1. It doesn’t matter what type of spirituality you prefer. What matters is that you feel internally congruent, that your “actions agree with your words.” Rather than pray only during a crisis, try to live a life of substance and meaning. Nourish your spirit by being aware, present and thoughtful. People who embrace spiritual commitment handle stress more effectively and suffer less depression, so it’s a good idea to make time for prayer.


With UpTicker you can incorporate the habits and behaviours listed above into your UpTicker homepage. Search for UpTicker in the App Stores to download now!

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