Podcast No. 4: Strauss Zelnick, Media Mogul and Author of “Becoming Ageless”

January 2, 2019

In the fourth installment of the WHOOP Podcast my guest is Strauss Zelnick, founder of the private equity firm Zelnick Media Capital, President and CEO of Take-Two Interactive (the company behind blockbuster video games like Grand Theft Auto and NBA2K) and the newly named Chairman of CBS. Strauss is also the author of Becoming Ageless: The Four Secrets to Looking and Feeling Younger Than Ever.

He’s had an amazing career, including green lighting the highest grossing independent movie of all time, running 20th Century Fox at the age of 32, and working with some of the world’s biggest stars in music and entertainment. But, what intrigues me most about Strauss is that at 61 years old, he’s in the best shape of his life, and he plans to continuing getting fitter as he gets older.

Our conversation includes what a typical week of workouts is like for him, improvements he’s made in diet and nutrition, recovery tactics he believes in and others he is skeptical of, and all the other things he does to combat the aging process and look and feel younger each day of his life.

 

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Show Notes:

3:34 - Typical Week of Exercise for Strauss, what does it entail?

5:16 - “Decline is Optional.” How he and Will bonded over the book Younger Next Year.

8:02 - Becoming Ageless. What is the message of Strauss’ book? “A simple, gentle, long-term approach to trying to be sensible about your health, your diet, your fitness, and some sense of tribe or spirituality or soul, whatever works best for you.”

10:02 - Compounding Health. The importance of taking your doctor’s advice, and how he wasn’t living a healthy lifestyle in his 30s.

11:38 - Time Engagement Diary. Advice for being young and successful. “It’s a uniquely American fantasy that we can have it all.”

13:45 - Asking the Wrong Question. Don’t ask how to get fit, instead ask “What do I want?”

16:11 - The Program. How it got started and Strauss’ belief in the value of working out with friends.

19:44 - Measuring Fitness Over Time. How do you know you’re getting fitter? Among other things, he gets “very robust” blood tests regularly. “I can see objective measures of my athleticism continue to improve at the age of 61.”

21:56 - The Murph. What is it?

23:18 - Four Pillars. “If you want to live an ageless life you do have to make sensible choices on the four pillars; health, diet, fitness, and some life outside of your small shell of actions and interests.”

23:45 - Avoiding Injury. What does recovery mean to Strauss? “Truly taking a day off.” By using Found My Fitness he discovered he “has an elite gene for recovery.”

26:08 - Recovery Modalities he likes (foam rollers, saunas), and others he doesn’t (cryotherapy, cupping). “There’s very little evidence that massage is good for you, there’s a lot of evidence that it makes you feel good.”

30:31 - Washboard Abs. There are no shortcuts, diet is the most important thing.

31:52 - Hydration. From his book: “Drinking lots of water may very well be the simplest thing you can do to improve your health.” It also helps you eat less.

33:25 - How his Diet has Evolved. Strauss’ doctor eased him into a better diet by telling him to keep a food diary for a week, he used an app called Fat Secret. “I realized my diet was that of a 10-year-old let loose in a supermarket with an unlimited budget.”

36:22 - Handling Travel and Jet Lag. He’s great at sleeping in moving vehicles and advises people be careful with sleep aids, in particular he’s “very nervous” about them interfering with REM sleep. This can be seen in WHOOP data.

39:35 - Optimal Performance. Who is the first person that comes to mind? Tom Brady. “He’s an amazing athlete at an age when you wouldn’t expect someone to be an amazing athlete.”

40:55 - Health Influences? In addition to his doctor and trainer, “I always read fitness stuff, Muscle and Fitness is a great site.”

42:09 Most Impactful Movie? Strauss doesn’t like to take credit, but says “I am proud of what I do and there’s something really rewarding about having even some small part in something that delights people.”

 

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Will Ahmed

Will Ahmed (34 Articles)

Will Ahmed is the Founder and CEO of WHOOP, which has developed next generation wearable technology for optimizing human performance. WHOOP today works with everyone from professional athletes to fitness enthusiasts to executives. Ahmed has raised more than $50 million from top investors and has an active advisory board that consists of some of the world’s most notable cardiologists, technologists, and designers. He wrote “The Feedback Tool: Measuring Fitness, Intensity, and Recovery,” which sparked the underlying physiology and engineering for his work today. Ahmed was named a 2011 Harvard College Scholar for finishing in the top 10% of his class and a CSA Scholar Athlete; he captained the Harvard Men’s Varsity Squash Team. He was also recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30 and Boston Business Journal 40 Under 40.

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