ABiz Presents

ABiz's Fit Execs 2014

by Walter Pierce

They all share a prolonged commitment to health and fitness - for some it's been a way of life for as long as they can remember - and it's working well for them in just about every way you can imagine.

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014
Photos by Robin May

Wouldn't it be nice for one year to end without a resolution to get in shape in the new year? Just once. This can be you, year after year, if you follow the advice of our 2014 crop of fit execs. They all share a prolonged commitment to health and fitness - for some it's been a way of life for as long as they can remember - and it's working well for them in just about every way you can imagine.

But it takes discipline and dedication. Here is how - and why - they stick to it.

KENT PIERRET: SVP-chief accounting officer
and treasurer, Stone Engery. Age: 58

1. Finish this sentence in 10 words or less. Being healthy means:

Kent: Being able to do physically what you desire.

Mimi: Regular physical exercise, meditation, enjoying real food, letting go of perfectionism.

David: Light eating, moderate exercise and heavy sleeping!

Tyron: Balancing work, exercise, proper eating and sleep - a constant journey/challenge.

Phil: Feeling good, living long. Only you can make it happen.

Beth: Smart eating, daily exercise, adequate sleep.

Steve: Health/happiness for me involves balanced mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

2. Was there ever a time in your life when you did not work out? If so, what motivated you to get back in shape?

Kent: Yes, when my three sons were very young and the demands of my career very high. My motivation for getting back in shape was a diagnosis of cervical disc disease.

Mimi: I've worked out regularly since my teens, simply because I feel better when I exercise, both mentally and physically. Of course I've had periods of transition or illness when I was not able to work out much, but the need to feel good always draws me back.

David: Yes, my wife has become an avid runner, and it has motivated me greatly over the past two years to refocus.

Tyron: No, since my days of high school sports, I have always enjoyed not only the physical benefits of exercise, but the mental payoff as well - when I go a few days without it, I get cranky.

MILDRED E. "MIMI" METHVIN: U.S. Magistrate Judge (retired), attorney/owner,
Satori Alternative Dispute Resolution. Age: 61

Phil: I always wanted to get in great shape, but didn't know how. Divorce drove me to find a way because I didn't want to spend most evenings sitting in a bar or in front of a TV. I decided to put my new-found extra time to good use.

Beth: Not really. My dad ran track in college, and so running has been a part of my life since I was very little.

Steve: I have always concentrated on the importance of health with varying degrees of success. Without hesitation, I can say that throughout my entire professional career I have had fitness as a prime focus, increasing with each birthday.

3. What's your weekly workout routine and how do you balance it with work?

Kent: Spinning class twice a week, light weights twice a week, long distance run on Sunday mornings and a round of golf (walking of course). I work late on a couple of nights a week to make up the  time for the workouts.

Mimi: My general goals are: meditate 15-20 minutes as soon as I get up, 3-4 yoga classes per week, and 3-4 aerobics sessions per week. I work out at City Club and The Body Factory, but don't beat myself up if it doesn't happen. If I'm traveling, I try to walk and do some yoga in my hotel room. My work schedule is flexible, and I don't mind getting up at 4:30 a.m., so it's not difficult to fit in workouts.

David: 3 times per week on recumbent bike for 30 minutes (8-9 miles), run once a week (on weekend).

Tyron: When in Lafayette, I try to spend an hour at City Club 3 times a week before work, mixing cardio, core, light weights and flexibility exercises. On other days, I try to take 3-mile walks with my dog - which  is also mentally therapeutic. I travel a lot, so I often have to mix/match my routine depending on what equipment and time is available.

Phil: For 20 years I lifted weights 4 evenings a week (Monday-Thursday) for 2 hours and did a stretching routine every morning. I've relaxed a bit: now I fit it in when I can, a Monday evening, Saturday morning, whenever, as long as I get in 3 days a week. I stretch some mornings and some before lifting, and I do HIIT (burst training) at home on my elliptical trainer a couple times a week.

DAVID CALLECOD: president/CEO, Lafayette General Health. Age: 46

Beth: Weight training twice a week with Dex at City Club at 5:30 a.m.; run 3 mornings a week at 6 or 7 a.m. with friends; hot yoga, walking or cycling on the weekends.

Steve: As an architect, the business pressures involving design excess, managerial demands, and community outreach necessarily requires long days. With that reality, I have built my personal schedule around a daily regiment, beginning by walking to the gym at 4:30 a.m. and leaving by 6 a.m. to get the office for 7. Every now and then I sneak in an extra session on a Saturday.

4. Tell me about your diet and favorite health foods.

Kent: Fruit and/or green salad every day, oatmeal with walnuts every day and fruit smoothies after most workouts. Other than that I just try to eat reasonably.

Mimi: It's January and I'm wearing Christmas cookies and chocolate on my thighs, so I'm trying to eat very clean right now. Current favorite is a blender smoothie with Swedish chard, kale, ginger, beets, carrots, flax seed powder and various fruits. I'm drinking lots of water, avoiding alcohol and sugar, and try to eat only between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Hot meals are fish or lean meat with veggies and maybe a half of a sweet potato. I'm not always this good.

David: Protein drink for breakfast, light lunch or protein drink, and lots of chicken and fish for dinner.

Tyron: That's the hardest area for me. I probably eat out (either because of a business dinner or being on the road) at least 3-4 nights during week and once over the weekend. Because of that, I eat a very modest breakfast (Atkins bar and yogurt) and lunch (salad with fish or chicken on it). I also try to cut corners by staying away from bread and potatoes, and limiting pasta/rice to once a week.

Phil: I think "health food" is a bit of a misnomer. Many "health foods" are highly processed and high in sugar. I eat a "healthy" foods diet. That is fresh organic veggies and fruits (often juiced), fresh grass-fed beef and free-range chicken, select wild caught seafood, olive and coconut oil, raw-milk cheese, no GMO foods, no processed foods, no canned foods except sardines, no wheat flour and very limited sugar. To some it may sound boring, but I discovered the world of various spices and herbs along with lots of fantastic-tasting recipes.

Beth: I don't eat fast food - ever. I try to avoid white foods as well (bread, pasta, rice, sugar). On most days, I eat a salad with lean protein or sushi for lunch and vegetables and either chicken or fish for dinner. I love all fresh fruits, almonds, and Nut Thins crackers. And I eat a piece of dark chocolate just about every day.

Steve: I really don't diet. If anything, portion control is my only way of balancing my regimen.

5. What food is your biggest weakness? How often do you allow yourself to indulge?

TYRON PICARD: founder/principal, The Picard Group. Age: 48

Kent: Gumbo. I eat it whenever it is put in front of me!

Mimi: Sweets, especially cookies, ice cream and chocolate. I think it's important to enjoy foods you love in moderation. Audrey Hepburn ate a square of chocolate every afternoon. My challenge is to keep it to one square.

David: Ice cream - more times than I should.

Tyron: Chocolate - either brownies, chocolate chip cookies or fudge.

Phil: Chocolate. Most people think chocolate is bad for you. Most chocolate bars are bad for you. But 70 percent or higher dark chocolate is very healthy. I eat a few squares a day of Green & Blacks or Vivani 85 percent dark chocolate.

Beth: Cheeseburger and fries. How often do you allow yourself to indulge? Once a month.

Steve: With the possible exception of "duck camp food," I really do not have any substantive food cravings. I do however, love a great wine, frequently.

6. What food(s) would never cross your lips?

Kent: Raw oysters.

Mimi: I do not believe in this category.

David: Cantaloupe yuck!

Tyron: Soft shell crab - for some reason, I can't get comfortable with eating a creature whole.

Phil: Macaroni and cheese, as well as the average fast-order pizza. Luckily, I can cook a very healthy pizza.

Beth: Cracklin!

7. We've long known that exercise can cut your risk of heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers, but there is a growing body of evidence that physical activity may be good medicine for anxiety and depression and that it helps you stay focused and in a better mood. What are the overall benefits you get?

Kent: For me, the stress relief and peace of mind I get from exercise is every bit as important as the physical benefits. For anyone feeling down, anxious or depressed, I highly recommend exercise as a first prescription.

Mimi: As mentioned above, workouts became a coping mechanism early on. When I turned 50, I committed myself to a regular yoga practice, and that has been deeply transformative.

David: Precisely, I gained several pounds during a recent hospital acquisition, and my wife took me to Bell's to get my office bike because I was not eating right or exercising. It has done wonders in lowering my BP and increasing my energy level.

Tyron: Unquestionably, it helps me decompress, get focused and calm anxiousness. I notice a marked difference in my mood and productivity after exercise days.

Phil: A sense of well-being that I haven't found from anything else. Comfort in the knowledge that I've taken my health in my own hands, which means I'm sick less often and am not frequently dependent on a doctor to "fix" me with drugs.

Beth: Exercise is a great stress release, especially after a long day at work. And if you exercise first thing in the morning, you feel more energized and ready to take on the day's challenges.

Steve: There have been times in my work schedule when my attention was forced to take a back seat to imbalanced work pressures. For me, it is almost immediate that my optimism, energy and motivation dims. I know then that I need to have a "life correction."

BETH TROTTER: SVP and CRA officer, IberiaBank. Age: 44

8. Explain your level of commitment to working out. Are you easily distracted? Say a friend calls to meet for drinks after work and you were planning to work out. Would you go?

Kent: I can get distracted, and if a friend calls to do something I would definitely forego a workout. Working out is a means to an end, not the end itself.

Mimi: I might. I try to be flexible. You have to enjoy life and take the long view. You don't want your workouts to represent deprivation and struggle. Unless you're training for some event, you can always reschedule a workout.

David: For me there is always a distraction; hospital events, dinner meetings, social events or volunteer commitments. That's why I ride during conference calls or when answering emails and run on the weekend.

Tyron: I am a before work or at lunch guy - especially since City Club gym is across from my office (so no excuses). I try to keep that time blocked on my calendar, but client needs and travel sometimes overrule it.

Phil: In past years I would never miss a workout. Perhaps I was a bit fanatical. I'd ask the friend if we could get together a couple hours later or the next day. These days I'm more flexible; I don't stress out if I miss a workout here or there. It's about fitness in order to feel good as I live a long life. Balance in all things. Time for friends and R&R are part of the balance.

Beth: Yes, but only after I convinced the friend to either run or speed walk with me before we had drinks. Actually, I have done that several times recently.

Steve: Absolutely, that's why I work out first thing in the morning. There is not a day that I do not have some form of warranted distraction, even if it is a friend's offer of sharing their time. After all, friendships are important and definitely part of maintaining a good life balance.

9. Any new workouts (yoga, Pilates), camps or machines you've recently discovered?

Kent: I recently had a spinning class instructor introduce some Pilates while we were spinning on the bike and thought it was great.

Mimi: I love cycling classes, and have done yoga regularly since 2002. I teach yoga and meditation (yin yoga) at City Club, and am always learning something new so I can share it with my classes. A great new discovery is that meditation can change gene expression, turn bad genes off and good genes on. It also increases cognitive ability, with measurable increases in the density of the brain. This is better than any machine.

Tyron: I really enjoy yoga; my cousin John Broussard, who is one of the best instructors in town (Red's), patiently practices with me when he is not travelling. He is a NetJets pilot, so our schedules don't cross as much as I wish, but it is a tremendous mental and physical exercise.

Phil: Five years ago I discovered HIIT. It is the absolute best way to exercise for improved health and longevity. You can read about it on Dr. Mercola's website (he calls it Peak 8) and in the book The Immortality Edge. It only takes 15-20 minutes and can be done on an elliptical trainer, a bike or sprinting on a track. But weight lifting is still the best overall exercise for everyone.

Photo by Kari Walker

PHIL KAUFMAN: president/CEO, goDEPO Court Reporting & Litigation Support. Age: 56

Beth: Xtend Barre classes at the studio in Main Street at River Ranch and hot yoga on Saturday mornings at The Body Factory.

Steve: I am giving serious thought to committing to something very difficult (at least for me), like cross training or agility conditioning. We'll see.

10. Have you ever gone on a special trip for the specific purpose of some type of physical workout or event? If so, tell us about it.

Kent: I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C., in 2008 and 2010 with four of my five brothers (the fifth made the first trip and cheered us on). It was a great experience for all of us. Since 2010 I have traveled to two half marathons a year, usually New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle.

Mimi: I competed in the World Karate Supergrands in Colorado, obtained kickboxing certification in Baton Rouge, attended a positional therapy clinic at the Kripalu Center in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, and attended a yoga workshop at the Shambhala Mountain Center in Colorado.

Beth: Yes. I run with a group of girlfriends, and we travel to do either a marathon or a half marathon every year. We have gone to San Antonio, Dallas, Memphis, Nashville, The Florida Keys sand Palm Beach over the past six years. Destination races are the best combination of travel, great exercise, and a little R&R all in one weekend.

11. What is your best health advice to fellow execs who want to get in shape?

Kent: Take a spinning class. It is easy on the joints, and your fellow classmates will inspire you. You will also be amazed at the friends you will make.

Mimi: If you want to be your best, take time for your physical and mental health. It increases your focus and productivity, improves mood, enhances creativity and is an antidote to stress. For me, taking an hour to work out or do yoga is like adding three productive hours to my day.

David: Start slow; it's hard to change more than one behavior at a time and also get an Executive Physical at LGH to ensure that you are healthy enough to begin.

Tyron: Treat you diet like a bank account. If you know you will have a heavy dinner, make some "deposits" by limiting your other meals and exercising.

Phil: Do it at a gym; it's too easy to sit on the sofa at home. Find a good workout partner. You get there because your partner expects you, and vice versa, plus you encourage each other to push a little harder. Commit to eating better; you are what you eat. You might have to put some thought and a little effort into it, but the payoff is huge. You might start with eating lunch at Sandra's Health Food on Rena Drive.

STEVE OUBRE: founder/principal, Architects Southwest. Age: 60

Beth: Meet with a trainer and a nutritionist, get a plan, and put your workouts on your calendar. That way, you are more likely to stick to a program.

Steve: Healthy living is all about balance. Balance of family, fellowship, faith, food and fun all bring richness to our lives. Keeping ourselves mentally focused allows us all to appreciate that richness. While the phases of our lives will no doubt come to be unbalanced at times, ultimate happiness must be the incentive behind re-balancing life's plot.

12. Do you have any specific goals for your health and wellness in 2013?

Kent: The inaugural Zydeco Marathon in Lafayette in March ( I will do the half).

Mimi: Keep learning, moving and growing.

David: Continue to tone and build strength to get ready for a busy spring and summer of kayak fishing.

Tyron: I got real motivated at the end of 2013, due to a couple of upcoming snow skiing trips - my goal is to sustain that level of commitment through the year. As always I try to trim off the extra weight the holidays brought.

Phil: The past six months I slacked some because we had a baby and bought into a new house. My goal is to get back to the level I was a year ago and learn one new, fun sport.

13. In early January the Federal Trade Commission slapped four companies with major fines for using false advertising to sell weight-loss and body slimming products. Have you ever gotten caught up in a fitness fad? C'mon, tell the truth.

Kent: Honestly, never.

Mimi: I've tried different products over the years, but nothing that became an obsession or too expensive. You quickly learn there is no magic bullet - that balance and consistency over the long run is what keep you healthy.

David: Always been a victim of all those ab workouts and equipment, never works I keep being tempted to buy the electrical stimulator belt that does the ab workout for you. Now that is the ticket!

Tyron: No, can't say I have ever taken that bait.

Phil: Yes, before Met-Rx hit the market, I participated in the beta trials. It worked and was perhaps the best stuff available at the time. Now I know that all the popular whey drinks contain way too much junk that can be very unhealthy if consumed in large quantities like I did. These days I'm more selective. For exercise, I use Warrior Force Warrior Food, beta alanine and creatine. For general health and longevity, I use various supplements recommended by Dr. Russell Blaylock and Dr. Eric Braverman.

Beth: I don't think so, but let me think about that one. ...

Steve: I have never used any weight control products, although I would not dismiss such options totally. I believe that they probably do have some real advantageous products on the market, along with new promising surgical techniques, which positively and truly impact on a constructive wellbeing. I say go for it!