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Fitness Tips for Online Sellers

Sit all day while minding your sales? Here are some ideas to get you moving.

We’re going out on a limb here and guessing that many of The Online Seller’s readers spend too much time for their own good sedentary, in front of their computers, running their businesses. We sure do. It seems it can’t be helped.

That’s why, when the book Fitness for Geeks came across our desks, we dove into it. Author Bruce W. Perry goes way beyond the mantra eat less, exercise more to really show readers how getting—and staying—fit has changed over the years. He painlessly presents readers with some of the latest relevant research, and more fun, cool apps and gadgets. Our interview with Perry follows.

Schepp: Bruce, not just when we’re working, but wherever we are, it’s getting more challenging to do things that contribute to fitness. As you say, when we’re not working, too many of us are “living in our chairs.” Fortunately, your book discusses many options for incorporating fitness into your day. How can we, as you phrased it, “hack fitness”?

Perry: Hacking fitness can take many shapes and forms. You might think of it as combining your lifestyle with a tool like the FitBit tracker, then monitoring and measuring what happens, and looking at the data. The chart of movement the FitBit generates on your dashboard shows that you are sedentary consistently between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon, and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., so you move more during those hours, introduce new walks, body-weight exercises, or brief visits to the company weight room. Then you monitor the changes.

“When you start measuring your movement patterns, weightlifting strength, heart rate and sleep, you’re going to find out useful data and be able to act on it”

Did you lose any weight? Do you have more energy (you’re taking more steps during the day)? Maybe you’re hardcore—you are “hacking health”—and you use a blood-glucose monitor. Do you now have lower fasting glucose (a typical outcome of better low-level movement)?

What gets measured gets managed and fixed. I used to write a trade newsletter on environmental regulations. The most effective regulation on industries simply made them measure their pollution, their chemical vapor losses. They weren’t required to do anything about it.

But when the companies discovered how much money they were losing by stored chemicals evaporating through seams and the like, they started doing something about it. When you start measuring your movement patterns, your weightlifting strength, your heart rate, your sleep, you’re going to find out useful data and be able to act on it.

Schepp: Some of the strategies you discuss, such as food timing, are appealing because they don’t seem to involve a lot of time. What is food timing and how do you do this?

Perry: Food timing can involve eating during a narrower window during the day, such as only between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., or narrower. This could be thought of as regular intermittent fasting, rather than periodic. This pattern fosters lower fasting insulin and glucose, which is healthier and possibly a sign of longer longevity.

We’re not designed for constant eating. We’re actually designed for heading out your back door and looking for food. Imagine what our eating patterns would be like if we had to do that. One of the scientists I interviewed pointed out that the anthropologist Rick Potts at the Smithsonian has done work that seems to demonstrate we evolved as a scavenger species, and ate according to a “feast or famine” cycle.

Food timing could also be part of adding lean mass after resistance exercise—start eating a combination of quality protein and carbs within about an hour.

Schepp: Many people who start their own businesses are in their 40s and 50s—that’s the sweet spot. And with the recent “Great Recession,” and the challenges older workers faced in finding new jobs, this seems likely to stay the trend. Unfortunately, people in this age group find staying fit is more difficult than before. The pounds don’t come off as easily, etc. Do you have any advice for people in this age group, in particular?

Perry: When we age, we gain fat and lose muscle, as you’ve pointed that out. Start a weightlifting program and stick with it. It’s the perfect antidote to aging. Resistance training seems to counteract many of the effects of aging: loss of muscle—called sarcopenia, loss of bone density, weakness and innocuous but serious injuries like coming off some stairs in the wrong way and breaking an ankle or tearing an ACL, greater inflammation.
“Keep moving, even if it takes an app that beeps when you haven’t moved for 20 minutes”

Resistance training in the long run is anti-inflammatory, and it promotes a better metabolism.

People tend to move less in subtle ways that adds up over time. I’ve seen this happen with people around me; where did that extra 15 pounds to 20 pounds come from? Well, I’ve noticed that you spend an extra one or two hours per day sitting. Keep moving, even if it takes an app that beeps when you haven’t moved for 20 minutes (that actually exists, but I don’t know its name).

Schepp: “Self tracking” sure has come far since the days of crude pedometers and bike speedometers. What’s your favorite device for this and how effective are these devices?

Perry: I used my Garmin Forerunner for years, then EndoMondo and Alpine Replay (for downhill skiing), and sporadically the FitBit. They’re all cool and give you tons of information.

Schepp: Similarly, fitness tools and apps in general seem a good match for readers looking to get or stay fit. Because these folks are in front of their computers anyway, what’s a good program for tracking fitness goals?

Perry: EndoMondo is good for mapping and aggregating your exercise data, and the FitBit ties in sleep, nutrition (but entering the food you eat, in whatever tool, is tedious), weight and body composition. Also, go to and just consult their lists of fitness tools. It’s always changing.

Schepp: When we asked our editor about this article, she mentioned sit-stand workstations. Are they effective?

Perry: Stand-up workstations are very effective, and can be as easy as putting your laptop on a pile of books on a table. Sitting too much is a maladaptation to modern times.

Schepp: Finally, what’s the most surprising thing you learned in researching this book?

Perry: I developed a better overall understanding of the vital need for vitamins and minerals, and have it on my to-do list to get a full-fledged vitamin/mineral profile for the first time. We literally get fatigued, fall apart and die without them. I also learned a lot about the specifics of sleep stages (or, at least, theories behind them). Nutrition is a moving target and extremely complicated, and I’m always learning new things, and having assumptions smashed, in that field.

About the author

Brad & Debra Schepp
Brad and Debra Schepp are the authors of 20 books, including eBay PowerSeller Secrets and The Official Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace. Their most recent book is How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Brad is also a literary agent for Waterside Productions. For further information, visit the couple's website, Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • Loop6233

    Thank ! My problem is I don’t stay on track. I keep geting off my diet early.

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