FounderFit: The 20-Minute Workout for Entrepreneurs

Turning dreams into reality takes hard graft. Whether you’re running a startup or working for one, you’re probably caught up in the hectic, round-the-clock hustle culture. 

When work is all-consuming, your healthy eating and fitness goals can fall by the wayside. But surely you can spare just 20 minutes a week

According to Estel San Luis and Simon Whyatt of FounderFit, that’s all the time you need to keep your mind and body in peak condition.

Here’s how they’re helping entrepreneurs stay healthy – physically as well as mentally.

The Minimum Viable Program: a 20-minute workout for entrepreneurs

Estel and Simon have years of experience in fitness, and they know first-hand what it’s like to be overworked, juggling multiple ventures and coming dangerously close to burnout.

After becoming friends through Capoeira, they decided to combine their expertise and create a fitness routine for the modern entrepreneur. 

They call it the Minimum Viable Program

A 20-minute workout that works every muscle in your body, designed to help you build and maintain muscle, strength, endurance, mobility and keep you lean and healthy.”

Sounds too good to be true? I decided to find out more and put it to the test. But before we dive into my own experience with FounderFit, let’s get some context from Estel and Simon.

Simon Whyatt and Estel San Luis, the fit founders of FounderFit

Training your body and mind

Tell me more about the concept of FounderFit.

Simon: FounderFit is a fitness program specially designed for busy, stressed people who are short on time. The 12-week course teaches you the fundamentals, so you can make lasting changes and continue on your own. 

It’s 20 minutes of exercise that can be done anytime, anywhere, with no special equipment, followed by a 20-minute talk on a different topic related to nutrition or well-being each week.

Estel: As well as physical activity, we provide education. You’ll learn about nutrition, stress management, improving your sleep and more.

We want to teach people to be self-sufficient – it’s not just fitness training, it’s a way of thinking.  

How can entrepreneurs benefit from your program?

E: We’re entrepreneurs ourselves, so we know from experience how important it is to keep fit, both for the business and your own wellbeing. It’s not about becoming an athlete, but just maintaining a healthy lifestyle and feeling great.

S: Entrepreneurs are driven, but they are prone to overworking and not taking time for self-care. When there’s no one telling you to go home at the end of the day, it’s hard to carve out time for exercise. It’s crucial to take care of your number one asset – yourself – if you want to sustain your business and avoid burnout. 

We like to call it the “boiling a frog” approach – start slowly and build up gradually.

What problems do entrepreneurs have, and how do you help them?

S: Lack of time, mainly. That’s why we’ve condensed the workout into the shortest possible, with maximum benefits. 

The sedentary nature of most jobs is another problem, as well as regular wining and dining with clients. Maintaining healthy habits can seem impossible when you’re going out several times a week, but we try to help people make a realistic, sustainable change.

E: We provide solutions tailored to the individual. Even the small changes when ordering in a restaurant can make a big difference in the long term.

Is it just for business owners?

E: Up to now, we’ve been focussing on that demographic, but we’ve had a lot of interest from new mothers, another group who are short on time and spend most of their days caring for others. Our next step might be to target parents, but really it can be for anyone.

How does it work?

E: It’s a 12-week course. Each session is a combination of HIT (high-intensity training) and HIIT (high-intensity interval training). The HIT section is circuit of strength training exercises and the HIIT portion is cardio, repetitive with short breaks.

We adapt both to suit the person, depending on their level. 

S: We like to call it the “boiling a frog” approach – start slowly and build up gradually, so not to scare people away or put them under too much stress at the beginning.

Get your 12-week program for €80 instead of €120! Just sign up here and tell Simon and Estel you heard about FounderFit on Barcelona Startup News.

I’ve heard a lot about HIIT – what makes it effective?

S: You get big results in a small amount of time. Four minutes of burpees has a similar effect as a 30-minute jog – burpees are much more intense, and you use the whole body. 

Beyond fitness

Tell me more about your backgrounds in fitness.

E: I had a successful career as a professional volleyball player, competing in European competitions for a Spanish club and winning the Spanish League with my team in 2002. 

For the last 10 years, I’ve been a Capoeira professor. I founded and coordinate La Sala – a centre for wellbeing and physical arts where we have classes in dance, pilates, yoga and martial arts.

S. I first got interested in fitness back when I was an unfit, unsatisfied Barclaycard employee.

I began doing research into exercise and nutrition, experimenting with different diets – I’ve tried vegan and paleo, among others. I transformed my health and I wanted to help others do the same, so I became a personal trainer and set up my wellness blog Live Now Thrive Later

I run several online businesses, including organic meat distributor Green Pasture Farms.

People think it’s all about the outward appearance and body image, but it’s important to be healthy from the inside out.

From vegan to meat distribution… That’s an interesting turnaround! So what kind of diet do you recommend now?

S: Many of the most popular diets contradict each other, yet people follow and believe in them religiously. I don’t recommend any particular strict diet – just balance, common sense and eating mindfully. 

During the course, we talk about how to ensure you’re getting all the vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein and other nutrients you need. 

E: We can adapt this to vegan or vegetarian, but balance is the key, and it’s also about being aware of where your food comes from.

Is there anything you never eat…?

E: I avoid ready-made or processed foods. 

S: I never eat industrial, factory-farmed meat or fish.

What are the most common misconceptions people have about fitness?

S: They overestimate how much time they need. Or, they try to go too hard too fast, meaning they start highly motivated but drop off quickly when they don’t see instant results. 

E: People think it’s all about the outward appearance and body image, but it’s important to be healthy from the inside out. Although this is a 12-week course, we never make outrageous promises like “bikini body in 12 weeks.” Instead, we offer gradual, sustainable change, so you can continue without our help!

That’s great for your clients but more challenging from a business perspective. What are your plans for the future?

S: We’ll keep expanding our client base, and we’d like to create a complimentary online video course. 

E: We’d love to team up with a food provider to offer healthy meal plans.

The ultimate piece of advice you’d give to someone who wants to get in better shape?

E: Take responsibility for your body – you won’t regret it.

S: Come to Founder Fit and sign up to our newsletter!

My trial session with FounderFit

I walk every day and try to get a couple of yoga sessions in a week. I’m reasonably fit, but I hate running and cardio.

How hard can a 20-minute workout be?

Even in such a short time, Simon put me through my paces. We started with a circuit of strength training exercises such as planks, press-ups and squats, and he took the time to demonstrate the correct way to do each exercise. 

This is the HIT portion and I quite enjoyed it – I was determined to give 100%, and the variety and speed stopped me from getting bored.

The HIIT section was nothing but burpees, with a 10-second reprieve for every 20 seconds of work. 

For me, this was challenging, as a lifelong hater of cardio and jumping around. However, Simon kept me going until the end – I was determined enough to persevere but didn’t feel like I was being hounded. 

It was all over refreshingly fast – but I was aware of my red face and racing heart during the cool down.

I certainly felt like I’d had a proper workout, and as the aches and pains kicked in the next day, I realized that high energy, high-intensity exercise is probably lacking in my lifestyle.

For solopreneurs and freelancers, the price is 120€ for 12 weeks. There are tailored packages for co-working and startups. 

Get your 12-week program for €80 instead of €120! Just sign up here and tell Simon and Estel you heard about FounderFit on Barcelona Startup News.

The next course begins on 3rd February 2020. You can book a free trial session here. I’d absolutely recommend giving it a go.