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Business Observer Friday, Jan. 22, 2010 10 years ago

Ride to the iPod thump

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CEO FITNESSWho: Jim WilsonAge: 41Title: Chief Executive OfficerCompany: Lakewood Ranch Medical Center
by: Mark Gordon Managing Editor

Recent fitness accomplishment: The 6th annual Southern Most AIDS/HIV Bike Ride. Also known as the Smart Ride 6, the two-day trek held the weekend of Jan. 8 went from Miami to Key West — 165 miles.

Next ride: Wilson isn't registered for any upcoming event at the moment. “But I hear that there is a 100-mile century ride coming up in Pinellas County for diabetes,” says Wilson. “I may do that.” Wilson goes to www.active.com or www.trifind.com to find out about events on the Gulf Coast.

Training regimen: For bike rides, Wilson shoots for a sustained ride of 20-25 miles per session. That lasts about an hour to an hour and half, depending on road conditions.

But Wilson also puts a premium on cardio and muscle strength, to build endurance for long rides.

He strives to exercise at least five days a week, with cardio on Mondays and Wednesdays; weights with a personal trainer on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and a bike ride on Saturdays.

His cardio efforts alternate between Monday runs and Wednesday interval training sessions, such as a step aerobic class.

“While I don't always achieve it,” says Wilson, “it is what I strive to do.”

How he balances work and training: This is Wilson's biggest challenge. Last spring and summer, it was easier to balance the two: Wilson's wife and two children remained in suburban Philadelphia, where he had been the CEO of a hospital owned by Universal Health Services, the parent company of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. That allowed Wilson more time to exercise.

But his family moved down at the start of the school year, which made it more difficult to find time.

Now Wilson only works out in the morning, before work, usually getting to the gym at 5 or 5:30 a.m. He belongs to Lifestyle Family Fitness in East Manatee County, where he has a personal trainer.

Music on his iPod: “I could not workout without my iPod,” says Wilson. “I find it impossible to find motivation without my music.” He goes for bands with a strong and fast beat, such as the Black Eyed Peas and the Fray.

He also just bought a new cell phone equipped with the Pandora application, which creates a personal radio station based on your musical tastes. “I think that may be the best invention yet,” says Wilson.

Training thoughts: In addition to the thump from his iPod, Wilson says he spends some of the time on the bike thinking about work. He'll go over problems or issues. “Some people say you should use that time to not think about work,” says Wilson. “But it gives me prolonged uninterrupted time to think through something.”

Gear he can't do without: Wilson says he loves his bike, a Trek Madone 5.0 with an all-carbon frame and Ultegra racing components. “I think the entire bike weighs just 14 pounds,” says Wilson. “It's a fast bike!”

Inspiration: In general, Wilson says he enters and completes rides for the sense of personal accomplishment — a cyclist's high. That, and his job is a good place to be healthy. Says Wilson: “We are a hospital. People look to us as examples of healthy living.”

With the AIDS/HIV ride, Wilson also rode to honor a close relative who is HIV-positive.

Weakness: The last six weeks of 2009, says Wilson, could be all described as one big weakness. That's when the hospital's employees bring Holiday treats to work just about everyday. Since Wilson's office is in the middle of the hospital's administration wing, the outer office is normally a hubbub of activity and, when in season, treats. “I spent the [Holidays] eating though the day,” says Wilson.

Fuel: Wilson's biggest eating issue is to remember to eat, not so much what he eats.

“Many times I will be at my desk and I will look at my watch and realize it's 2 p.m. and I have not eaten anything,” says Wilson. “Unfortunately for me, and I know better, but I don't typically eat breakfast.”

Wilson takes a GNC multivitamin every day and he supplements it with a protein shake. He also tries to limit his carbs, particularly processed sugar carbs and processed flours.

Fitness tip: Wilson says the key is to just do something, anything, to get going. Then slowly build it into your life, so it goes from necessity to fun. “I really believe that moderation is the key: working too much, eating too much and dieting are all short lived,” Wilson says. “Trying to find a balance and a reason to separate yourself from work is important.”

— Mark Gordon

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