Kite surfing, ice baths and 8-mile morning runs: How some CEOs stay in shape


What is it about CEOs and their intense — and often oddball — workout routines?

These days, some top corporate honchos take their exercise rituals to extremes. Consider Damola Adamolekun, chief executive officer of restaurant chain P.F. Chang’s, who recently told Fortune magazine that he wakes up each day at 4:30 a.m. and runs seven to eight miles. He explained that the routine stimulates his nervous system and sets the tone for the day ahead. “You’ll feel better the whole day; you’ll be smarter, you’ll be sharper, you’ll be more energetic,” he said.

Adamolekun is in good company when it comes to training hard. Here are how five other executives work up a sweat and aim to stay healthy.

Jack Dorsey, head of Block and co-founder of Twitter, walks an hour and 15 minutes every day.

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Jack Dorsey

The Twitter co-founder, who now heads the tech conglomerate Block SQ, +3.36%, does it all: two-hour meditations, fasting — he has said he eats only once a day during the week and has almost no food on the weekends — and alternating saunas and ice baths. But he’s no gym rat: Dorsey gets his primary exercise by walking an hour and 15 minutes every day. “I might look a little bit more like I’m jogging than I’m walking. It’s refreshing … It’s just this one of those take-back moments where you’re like, ‘Wow, I’m alive!’” he once observed.

Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg takes his dog for frequent runs — good exercise for both him and his pooch.

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Mark Zuckerberg

The Meta Platforms META, +1.09% chief isn’t one to get up at the crack of dawn, according to GQ, but he still runs three mornings a week. “I also try to take my dog running whenever I can, which has the added bonus of being hilarious because that’s basically like seeing a mop run,” he told GQ. As for diet, he once was said to experiment with an eating plan that involved only devouring animals he had killed himself — including chickens, goats and pigs. But he also apparently skips meals — or at least he said as much in a 2021 Facebook post. “Do you ever get so excited about what you’re working on that you forget to eat meals?” he asked.

Richard Branson takes off on another kite-surfing adventure.

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Richard Branson

Kite surfing, anyone? The founder of the Virgin Group swears by it as one of his favorite ways to stay fit, according to Men’s Health. He once even kite surfed across the English Channel. His other activities include tennis and biking. He’ll work with a trainer if he’s on the road, but otherwise he likes to exercise outdoors on his private island in the British Virgin Islands. “I just want to be sure that when I’m 150, my body still looks as good as it is today,” said Branson, who is now 72.

Palantir Technologies CEO Alex Karp works out by cross-country skiing — and says the key is to take it as slowly as possible to build your “cardio base.”

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Alex Karp

The head of software company Palantir Technologies takes advantage of the fact that he lives near the White Mountains of New Hampshire to have a regular cross-country skiing routine. Key to his approach, he told Axios, is taking it slow on the snow. “To run like a deer, you have to spend 90% of your time running like a snail,” he explained, adding that his unhurried pace “builds a cardio base.” He also includes tai chi and stretching to his routine. But he isn’t too fussy about his diet. “If I’m traveling and someone has a really nice Danish, I enjoy every minute of eating it,” he said.

Martha Stewart is one of the cover models for Sport Illustrated’s new swimsuit issue.

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Martha Stewart

The 81-year-old lifestyle entrepreneur and founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has been in the spotlight for her recent cover appearance on Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. So what does she do to stay in shape for beach season? Stewart swears by Pilates, according to various media reports. And she rides horses. She has also said she doesn’t smoke, eats very well and every morning drinks a glass of “green juice” made with pears, cucumbers, celery stalks, parsley, fresh ginger and two oranges (complete with peels), a recipe she calls “so spectacular.”

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