Each week, we’ll toss out six questions to a local health or fitness expert. Topics will range from new workout trends to healthy eating tips and everything in between. We all have fitness goals: Here’s to helping each other achieve them.
For the president and founder of the Boston-based wellness startup Wellable, it is safe to say that Nick Patel knows a thing or two about leading a healthy lifestyle.
However, like most busy entrepreneurs, Patel has limited time to fit in gym sessions and prepare healthy meals. Let’s get to know this passionate PayPal Start Tank resident and learn about his nutritious and healthy habits.
Caroline Earle: Did you grow up leading a healthy lifestyle or did working for a health company develop your passion for wellness?
Nick Patel: I grew up living an active lifestyle, always playing casual and organized sports, but like most children, I always found my hands on candy and junk food. Although I have fond memories being active as a child, my passion for improving people’s lives through wellbeing came from my professional experience as an employee.
With a background in healthcare, I realized that many of the solutions offered by employers to employees are centered around disease management (i.e., finding better and more cost effective ways to treat chronic diseases like diabetes). Like Benjamin Franklin, I believe that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We should be investing heavily in disease prevention in addition to treatment.
There are some forward thinking employers who offer comprehensive wellness programs, but the ones that do, often rely on antiquated principles and technologies that result in minimal participation and lackluster results. This is why I started Wellable.
I wanted to empower employers and employees with the tools to make healthy living easier, and do so in a way that was cheaper (so more employers could offer it as a benefit) and more effective. It was with this mission that Wellable created an affordable way for employees to use popular consumer technologies like RunKeeper and Fitbit to live healthier and have their employer reward them for doing so.
NP: I have always been a firm believer that competition makes us better. To make sure I stay motivated, I need to compete so I play basketball in the mornings three days a week. I try to put in some gym time on non-basketball days, but I always feel like I am keeping my body ‘warmed up’ for the next basketball session!
In the spirit of making sure Wellable is fully tested for our customers, I have to also occasionally go for run and track it on RunKeeper, MapMyRun, or Strava and wear devices like Fitbit and Jawbone UP.
CE: What is your favorite post-workout snack?
NP: As a morning gym-goer and startup founder on a budget, I find myself eating the free granola at our office in Start Tank (PayPal’s innovation space). I would like to give a shout out to David Chang and PayPal for all the amazing opportunity to be part of Start Tank!
CE: Working long days can be a challenge when you’re aiming to lead a healthy lifestyle. Any tips on how you fit in fitness?
I was the unhealthiest I have ever been when I was working in investment banking right out of college. I kept telling myself that the long hours made no time for working out, and that was ok because I was young, ambitious, etc. This was the worst perspective I could have taken. My body deserves better than that.
Eventually, I told myself that being active needed to be a priority, and I continue to do the same thing with Wellable. For me personally, it is easy to work late nights and miss the gym so I make being active the first thing I do in the morning. I can cross it off my list and focus on Wellable for the rest of the day. It also doesn’t hurt that I have constantly test out physical activity and nutrition apps for a living.
CE: How has working for Wellable changed your outlook on you own personal health routine?
NP: It would take me pages to list out the ways Wellable has impacted my health. It has gotten me more active by forcing me to set a step count goal and track runs and bikes on multiple apps. Prior to Wellable, I never knew the importance of getting a flu shot and now I wouldn’t enter flu season without it.
Also, the vast amount of healthy living content we produce has made me rethink small and large ways I live my life. I can only hope that Wellable impacts the lives of our users in the ways it has impacted me.
CE: What fitness goals have you set for yourself in 2015?
NP: I would like to dunk a basketball … is a goal that I would love to have but isn’t one that is going to happen. I know it sounds simple, but I want to stay as injury free as possible. I hate having to take significant amounts of time off from being active, and I have a tendency to overwork myself or play through injuries until they get worse.
My body doesn’t heal as quickly as it used to so I hope to stay injury free in 2015!
Image via Nick Patel