What do Richard Branson, Anna Wintour, Tim Cook & Barack Obama all have in common? Yes, they are mightily successful but there is another common thread which these leaders and hundreds of others all have in common.

We all have the same number of hours in a day, yet remarkably some people manage to juggle a hundred opportunities, whilst others fail to tend to their most basic commitments. Whilst Branson has managed to build up a portfolio of 400 companies, many of us still struggle to get to work on time.

What is the shared secret of these leading business leaders and what can we do to emulate their success?

One common thread is their joint love of fitness. They have all been very vocal about how fitness has changed their lives and helped them to stay at the top of their game. Top leaders are used to challenging themselves on a daily basis, so it’s no surprise that they strive to take their physical performance to the next level.

No matter how hectic their day, they prioritise fitness with as much seriousness as they would give to a high profile meeting. After all, there is no point of having millions piled high in the bank, power and influence, but a body and mind that can’t keep up.

‘Busy people who don’t work out say they don’t have time. Busy people who do work out, swear they don’t have time not to.’


Richard Branson has managed to build up a billion dollar fortune, a portfolio of 400 companies and he still has time for a family holiday on his private Necker Island. His answer when he was asked how to increase productivity was to ‘Work Out’. He claims a one-hour workout supercharges his productivity by at least 4 hours per day.


With one of the most high profile roles in fashion, Anna knows that a first impression is important. We can’t shy away from the fact that in our modern society, looks go a long way. Staying in shape is a clear indicator that you take your health and body seriously, especially when you are inspiring a team. Anna Wintour wakes up at 5.45am every day to start her day with tennis. Something worth considering next time you are tempted to hit the snooze button!


With all eyes on Apple’s next invention, and a constant expectation of excellence, Tim Cook is a man under pressure. He copes because he is a ‘fitness nut’ (his words, not mine) with hobbies including cycling, hiking, and a personal training session whilst most of us are still asleep. His alarm is set at 4am every morning.


Barack Obama talks openly about fitness in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, and credits it as instrumental to his success. He actually describes himself as a ‘slacker’ when he was a teenager, before he found sport. He has a strict workout policy, exercising for 45 minutes, 6 out of 7 days a week.

‘The rest of my time will be more productive if you give me my workout time.’ – Barack Obama

So next time the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse starts to come to the forefront, remind yourself that productivity, success and fitness are irrevocably intertwined.