Even Fitbit's CEO struggles to fit exercise around work - here's how he finally cracked it

Fitbit CEO James Park shared the secrets of his new-found fitness routine in a new interview - and it's reassuringly easy

James Park one of the co-founders of Fitbit speaking at an event
(Image credit: Getty Image)

The term ‘CEO’ tends to paint the picture of a superhuman who manages to juggle work, exercise and eating well all in one. So it might make you feel better to know that this isn’t always the case. 

Take James Park, co-founder of the billion dollar company Fitbit, for example, who this week admitted that he had previously used his career as an excuse to skip exercising and eating well.

Whilst you'd expect the 44 year old to be a picture of health, considering his company makes some of the best fitness trackers on the market, Park revealed that his dedication to his job has often got in the way of his own health and fitness routine.

However, the pandemic - and the way it brought to a halt commuting, work dinners and business travel - presented an opportunity for Park to refocus on his wellbeing. "There was always an excuse to skip the workout, which is much harder now," he said.

The key to getting things back on track was to keep workouts "basic and short", Park told CNBC in an interview this week.

Expanding on this, he revealed that his favored forms of exercise include calisthenics, a form of strength training that relies on a person's bodyweight. Examples include lunges, push ups and pull ups.

He also revealed that he owns a set of dumbbells that he uses to do curls and lifts - some of the best workouts for arms you can do with weights. If you fancy working out like the Fitbit founder, check out our pick of the best adjustable dumbbells.

Aside from breaking out a sweat at home, James also attempts to fit in a short, intense run four times a week - no doubt tracking his efforts using one of the best Fitbits, and perhaps following one of Fitbit Premium's running programs (pictured below).

Four phone screens displaying various stages of the beginner's running program available on Fitbit Premium

(Image credit: Fitbit)

As per his "basic" exercise mantra, running is possibly one of the easiest and cheapest form of fitness around. Once you have appropriate clothing and footwear, you just need to get outside and moving. We've picked the best running shoes for men and the best running shoes for women to help you get started.

It's not just his physical health that Park has prioritized since the pandemic, either. He also revealed how, as an introvert, he needs "time to recharge'' - which has involved getting out into the great outdoors.

"During the last year, I’ve probably done a lot more camping than I’ve ever done in my life because there wasn’t anything else to do," he shared. "One great camping trip was a weekend backcountry trip near a lake in the Plumas National Forest in California."

Of course, camping trips offer the perfect opportunity for runners like Park to take on some more rugged terrain - just so long as you adapt your footwear accordingly. Check out our edit of the best trail running shoes if you prefer your runs to be a little more challenging than around your local neighborhood.

Ultimately, Park says he just wants to feel good. "I do feel much better about myself if I’m in shape,” he confessed. “I’ve never felt that direct correlation of, I worked out, now I feel so much better. But it’s just more of the holistic overall feeling with my body."

Jessica Downey

Jessica is an experienced fitness writer with a passion for running. Her career in journalism began in local news and she holds a Masters in journalism. Jessica has previously written for Runners World, penning news and features on fitness, sportswear and nutrition. 

When she isn't writing up news and features for Fit&Well covering topics ranging from muscle building, to yoga, to female health and so on, she will be outdoors somewhere, testing out the latest fitness equipment and accessories to help others find top products for their own fitness journeys. Her testing pairs up nicely with her love for running. She recently branched out to running 10Ks and is trying to improve her time before moving on to larger races. Jessica also enjoys building on her strength in the gym and is a believer in health and wellness beginning in the kitchen. She shares all of this on her running Instagram account @jessrunshere which she uses for accountability and for connecting with like-minded fitness lovers.