Follow The Leader: Daily Non Negotiables of Top Industry Professionals


It's not easy finding time to do everything on your to do list. There are some days that it literally seems impossible to find time for the most basic of tasks.

That being said, it's amazing to me when I talk to leaders who operate at the highest level, they seem to have time for everything.

They don't have any more hours in the day, any more days in a week, no more weeks in their year, so how?

One thing I've noticed when speaking to these leaders is that they don't let the overwhelm get to them. They refuse to let their days get sucked up by useless meetings, emails and being pulled in 20 different directions.

And even if a day gets bogged down there is always ONE thing that is non-negotiable in their life. The one thing that must get done that day.

It's not a matter of time management, we can't manage time. It's a matter of priority management. And below you'll find specific non negotiables of some of the most successful coaches in our industry, and how they prioritize their day.

Me Time

Me time can be tough, and to each their own on what this means. To Vinny Scollo, Director of Performance at The Strength Compound in Middletown, NY this means starting each day with Gratitude. "One thing I do every morning without fail is a gratitude list of what and who I am grateful for. Never miss this!"

Jaime Jimenez, Founder of 111 Conditioning Club says it like this "I need to make it a point to step away from the phone, emails, texts, inquiries, work, socializing. I need at least an hour for me to either run, workout, meditate, sometimes nap, whatever I can do that helps me unplug, step away, and recharge for a moment."

Harut Tovmasyan, the Co-Founder and CEO of EPX Elite Performance has his own brand of me time. "When i come home, I always try to find my reset. I have to step away from work and let my brain relax." He watches movies personally and recommends you find something you find comfort in where you can simply turn your brain off.

This "Me Time" rejuvenates the mind and body and allows you to continue to go at full speed.

We live in an era where the hustle and grind mentality, always on the go, sleep deprivation, and 20 hour work days are considered "hardcore", but burnout is entirely real and increasingly common. Taking the time for yourself is one of the most unselfish acts you can do as an individual.

Jimenez continues with, "I know that with that break, my sanity is preserved and I can tackle anything that needs my attention, support, aid, effort at my 100 percent. In turn my wife, my business, my clients, my community, my peers, my work, my projects get the best version of me that it requires."

Take the time each day for you so you can continue to impact more individuals in your community. Me time isn't just for you, it's for everyone you serve.

We Time

As important as it is to take time for yourself, it's just as important to connect as a team day in and day out. It's important that everyone is on the same page in everything that you do in order to stay on the path to success.

In the same way that during, "Me Time" you're able to rejuvenate and get back on track, this "We Time" allows you to connect with your team to make sure you all are on the same page and have a continuity of care for your athletes and members.

Bo Sandoval, the Director of Strength and Conditioning at UFC Performance Institute makes "We Time" an absolute priority day in and day out, no matter how busy, or how quick the catch up is.

"No matter how busy we are, how many new projects are on the table, how many new fighters are on-boarding, I always take a few minutes to briefly chat with my other department directors (nutrition, PT, Sports Science), my staff (including interns), and my 3 VP's (Performance, Operations, Athlete Development) EVERY DAY.  Even if it's for 2 min to quickly catch up or assist them. We are all in this together."

Strategic Planning

For those of you running a business, it's important to take stock in your everyday activities. Henry Delaney, Founder and Managing Director of Northwest Fitness and Northwest Speed School in Coos Bay, OR makes this his number one non-negotiable.

"I take a solid amount of time each day to just reflect on what we are doing. As the leader of a company, it's easy to be busy. There is always a journal article to read or continuing education to take, or programs to audit, or budgets to set, etc., but at the end of the day, none of those are the irreplaceable thing I do for our company."

It's about creating opportunity by aligning your day to day with your vision of where you need to be. Creating a daily road map and check if there were any detours, missed exits, or breakdowns. When you have those front of mind, you can can make sure you get right back on track instead of finding yourself miles down the road with seemingly no way back.

"I bring the most value when I carefully think about our strategy and create opportunistic responses to unexpected events. So I insist on a lot of time every day to just sit and think."

Bobby Congalton, Owner of 1RM Performance in San Diego, California even takes this to a day to day learning experience. He takes "time to reflect on the day and seeing what I learned new and what I could have made better (on the wall in my office in huge letters I wrote down “what did you learn today”)"

Everything we do is about creating better athletes and human beings inside of our business or organization, and the only way we can grow is if we take time to look at how we can better ourselves and our business.

Family Time

Family time is crucial to the success of any leader. Every individual I've ever talked to with, that has a family, including all of the leaders in this article made family time a priority.

Coach Kurt Hines of Coronado High School in San Diego, California makes an amazing statement about making family a priority in athletics:

"For the coaches that say I'll see my family when the season's over, if we're truly trying to raise better young men to be better husbands and fathers, what are we teaching them, that family comes after football? No, if we want to truly empower our young men, we need to show them that the grind does stop... Focus on hard work and a life of balance."

Your family is your support. You need to take time with them, but here's where I love what Coach Hines says. As a coach you are a mentor to so many young athletes who look up to you. For some of these individuals, they may not have a traditional family and watching you take time to take care of your family responsibilities could change how they view "the grind".

Bobby Congalton makes family a huge priority and "always make sure I make time for my wife and 6 month old son."

The way Coach Hines and his staff prioritize family; they don't meet on Sundays.


We are in the fitness and performance industry after all, so you had to have been waiting for this one. Exercise is key. This is not only a practice what you preach, this is a passion thing.

We all got into this industry because we loved athletics and the weight room. That passion continues to this day, and getting a workout in quickly becomes a daily non-negotiable on top of the business necessities and the distractions of life.

Bobby Congalton says "I make sure I get 3 or 4, 1 hour blocks a week to lift."

And Gunnar Peterson, the Los Angeles Lakers Director of Strength and Conditioning says his non-negotiable is "Getting my workout in everyday no matter what".

Getting your workout in can be therapeutic, can be rejuvenating, centering, it can just be something you must get done, but there's one thing for sure, if you're a leader in this industry, getting your workout in seems to be a major priority of all of the guys we've spoken with.

Hang Out With Ned

For every one that we interviewed, their true number one priority was to hang out with me when I'm in town. What can I say? I'm a blasty blast to be around!

In all seriousness, I want to thank all of these guys for taking the time out of their schedules to respond and put their input into this article.

One thing I will say is that this list is not to say a leader does one thing and their day is done. Don't get it twisted. Because one thing is a non-negotiable, doesn't mean that there aren't 40 other things each of these guys have to get done day in and day out.

This article was written to give you a view of what the top professionals are doing. Here's the cool thing, you may be doing exactly the same thing.

If you prioritize one thing in your day, whether that's taking time for yourself, making sure your team is on point, strategizing, spending time with family, exercising etc, it is going to set you up for a great rest of your day/week/month/year.

Each of these coaches are massively successful because they are great at priority management. They know what needs to get done, and they get it done.

That is the key differentiator.

So my question to the rest of you reading this. What is your daily non negotiable? The thing that no matter what else is going on in life, you MUST get done!


VertiMax Newsletter