What Is Corporate Athlete and Why Is It Important?

What Is Corporate Athlete and Why Is It Important

Corporate athletes work on their physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being to boost their overall workplace performance.

To succeed in the workplace, you require the primary skills of leadership, negotiation and public speaking. While having cognitive abilities is necessary, it’s not enough. You also need physical strength. According to a study by researchers Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, employees and professional athletes face the same amount of stress in their fields; sometimes, employees face more. However, many employees rely on their cognitive capacity alone to effectively deal with this stress.

However, if employees want enduring success, they need to focus on their physical, emotional and mental capacities too. With that in mind, Loehr and Schwartz introduced the concept of the corporate athlete.

Who are corporate athletes?

Corporate athletes are business leaders who have to constantly cope with unprecedented demands in the workplace and have the physical strength to do so. Loehr and Schwartz coined the term “corporate athletes” in 2001, shining a light on integrating the mind, body, spirit and emotions for optimum workplace performance.

They noted, “If they [business leaders] were to perform at high levels over the long haul, we posited, they would have to train in the same systematic, multilevel way that world-class athletes do.”

What are the principles of corporate athletes?

The study recognizes that enough attention is given to employees’ cognitive abilities and spiritual and mental well-being. However, their physical strength is largely ignored. So, the concept of “corporate athletes” urges companies to emphasize the characteristics of endurance, flexibility, self-control, strength and focus. These are indispensable for “sustained high performance.”

Why is the concept of “corporate athletes” important?

The corporate athlete model ensures that you are optimizing all aspects of your lifestyle. Here are three things it enables employees to do:

1 To perform to their fullest potential

While employees can perform well even if they don’t focus on their physical strength, they cannot perform to their fullest potential. They end up compromising their relationships and hobbies. By building their physical capacity, like sportspersons, employees can “mobilize energy on demand”. Energy management requires exercise, good sleeping and eating routines. It helps employees perform optimally within and outside the workplace.

2 To enable long-term success

Physical strength builds endurance. It helps business leaders perform well in the long term and not just in short bursts. A study reveals that higher physical strength resulted in decreased absenteeism and improved productivity levels and job satisfaction.

3 To effectively recover from stressful situations

According to the study by Loehr and Schwartz, the enemy of high performance is not stress but the lack of disciplined recovery. In business settings, it is not only about expending energy. You have to regain it too. The study notes, “Stress without recovery depletes energy reserves.” The researchers suggest focusing on oscillating between work and rest for a balanced life. It builds inner resilience as you are better prepared and more energized to deal with challenges in the workplace.

Companies must address their employees’ physical, emotional and spiritual health besides concentrating on their cognitive abilities. Long-lasting success requires an integrated approach. So companies should create a well-rounded corporate athlete training program for their employees. As the study mentions, how people manage their lives is just as important as how they manage their work.

Header Image by Unsplash


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Alinda Gupta
I am a professional journalist and gourmand with an inexplicable love for caffeine. I admire old architecture and find comfort in fiction books. I am also an A1-level certified French speaker—bonne journée!


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