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Business Observer Thursday, Mar. 18, 2010 12 years ago

CEO Fitness: Two New Knees

Scott Fischer recovered from the surgical replacement of both of his arthritic knees in May.
by: Jean Gruss Contributing Writer

Who: Scott Fischer
Age: 50
Title: Owner and chief executive officer
Company: Scott Fischer Enterprises, Fort Myers

Fitness challenge: Recover from surgical replacement of both arthritic knees in May.

Motivation for surgery: “I was finding it more difficult to do the workouts I wanted to do,” Fischer says. “I wasn't sitting in bed in pain, but I was losing my mobility and agility.”

Pre-op fitness routine: Just hours before he was scheduled for dual knee-replacement surgery, Fischer was at the Omni Club gym in Fort Myers at 6:30 a.m. “The day I went into surgery I did boot camp, so physically I was ready,” he says. Fischer attends the gym's boot-camp program every weekday, an hour-long routine that involves high-intensity cardiovascular training and weight lifting under a trainer's supervision.

How he recovered: Fischer says he recovered faster from surgery because he was fit. “They tell you 12 weeks, but my recovery was four weeks,” he says. Still, the day after he returned from the hospital he pushed a little too hard, using a walker to hobble a few blocks outside his home. As a result, his knees swelled up like footballs. “The first two weeks were tough because of the swelling,” he says.

How he prepared his business: Fischer, who owns four Harley Davidson dealerships, says his 200 employees managed fine without him for a month. But that's not due to luck. “I've worked on having a good team for six or seven years,” he says. Just as he prepared his body for surgery by getting fit, he took the same approach with his business. Fischer's management team drives the day-to-day operations now (revenues in 2009 were $77.6 million). “My real focus in our business today is about developing and nurturing the culture in our stores,” he says.

Why he exercises: Fischer, who has a weakness for pepperoni pizza and snacks, says he weighed 220 pounds 10 years ago. “My primary purpose is weight control,” he says. Today, he weighs 185 pounds. “I lost that through nutrition and fitness,” he says. Now, when he has a craving for pizza, he orders it with thin-crust and no toppings except cheese.

How he fits exercise into his life: “I make it a priority,” Fischer says. “I very specifically have the appointment to work out. I go every morning.” Sometimes, important meetings get in the way so he has to adjust. On one such occasion recently, Fischer walked his dogs four miles and did some abdominal exercises at home before an 8 a.m. meeting instead of driving to the gym.

What he'll do with new knees: “Golf is my sport of choice, because as you grow older you can't play basketball or football,” he says. “I'm not going to run a marathon. I bike, I golf and I hike and I just want to preserve that better.”

How fast he got back on a bike: “My priority was to be exercising, not getting on a bike,” Fischer says. “I could've been on a motorcycle in four to six weeks, but I chose eight weeks.”

How he managed pain: Fischer says he has no pain now that he has new knees, though he acknowledges that kneeling and squatting are still tough. “I got off the pain medication as fast as I could,” Fischer says. Before surgery, his knees would swell and ache, but he says he has no pain today.
— Jean Gruss

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