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St. Louis’ Fittest CEOs


By Julia Paulus Ogilvie

If any group of people has a reason to skip out on a gym membership, that group would be business owners. Between the pressures of family, employees, customers and business operation, their time usually is not their own. Many sacrifice their physical health to gain an edge in their endeavors. However, the entrepreneurs that make up our Fittest CEOs feature have been able to wrest control of their physical health from the clutches of constant demand. And, more importantly, they have found that their fitness also boosts the health and wellness of their business.
Get to know our Fittest CEOs.

Staying in Shape to Continue to Live Life to the Fullest
Dennis Callier, Callier’s Catering

After Dennis Callier quit smoking 15 years ago, he needed to replace the habit with a new addiction. He quickly found a new, much healthier vice – working out. After he began exercising regularly, Callier found that the benefits were so great he never stopped. “Normally I work out four times a week for an hour and a half each session,” says Callier. “I try for five, but being in catering, my schedule can change abruptly. I keep track of my heart rate, calories burned, etc. during my workouts with a Garmin watch. I usually burn 1,000 calories per workout.”
Today, whether he’s learning a new routine from a trainer, lifting free weights or working his core for balance, Callier’s workouts are the high point of his day. “It gives me a natural high,” he says.
The 64-year-old owner of Callier’s Catering, Callier says workouts also help him make it through often long, stressful days. “My job often requires me to work 12- to 15-hour days,” he says. “If I have to be in at 5 a.m. and stay until 9 p.m., it’s important for me to keep up with the work and with my staff.”
Callier says it’s his responsibility as a business owner and team leader to not only work effectively but also be positive while doing so. “I think people who are in positions of responsibility are in positions of influence, whether they are a parent, grandparent or business owner,” he says. “So those people also need to be a positive influence. I believe, whether it’s my employees or grandchildren, they respond to that.”
In addition to the positive influence working out has on his professional life, Callier believes exercise is paramount to living as fruitful a life as possible for as long as possible. “I want to stay in shape so I can continue doing things I enjoy like playing sand volleyball and playing rugby,” he says. “I know a time will come when I can’t, but I want to keep going as hard as I can for as long as I can.”

Sharing Positivity from Fitness
Teresa Katubig, Extra Help Inc.

Ten years ago Teresa Katubig began to work out. Unlike many busy business owners, while Katubig focused on growing and expanding her company Extra Help Inc., her dedication to her health and fitness routine didn’t falter. And two years ago, in Katubig’s words, she decided to kick things up a notch. “I did this by concentrating on both diet and exercise,” she says. “I also added running. I work out four to seven days a week, depending on the week. Some days it’s just not possible. My husband and I work out at the same time though. This makes it a family affair.”
While working out with her husband turns fitness into quality time, Katubig still puts exercise on her daily schedule to make it happen. “I schedule everything,” she says. “I have my days planned almost to the minute. I schedule my workouts the same way I schedule an appointment.”
Katubig’s busy schedule also means she must plan her daily meals to stay in control of her diet. “I plan all of my meals because I travel so much and attend so many events,” she says. “I also know what I am going to cook when I am home and plan snacks I can bring with me. For example, tomorrow morning I have an event where they only serve pastries. I know that I will bring an apple and a yogurt with me.”
Katubig’s dedication to her own health and fitness has impacted how she comes to work and how she presents herself to her team. “When you look and feel good, you are positive,” she says.
The greatest part of this for Katubig is that her dedication has made her workplace healthier and more well-rounded. Katubig carves out time to cook healthy meals for her team and purchases gym memberships and healthy cookbooks for them. “My employees and I even run 5K’s together, which in turn give to charities,” she says. “I pay the entrance fees for everyone who wants to participate. The team runs and trains together after work, which not only helps people achieve individual goals but increases camaraderie.”

Encouraging a Healthy Life for All
Ben Stratton, Imo’s Pizza, Stratton’s Cafe and FitFuel365

After a long career owning Imo’s Pizza franchises and two Stratton’s Cafés, Ben Stratton became familiar with eating what was around and making excuses not to exercise after long workdays. Two years ago a lightbulb went off for Stratton though. “I had gained weight,” he says. “I also have a 10-year-old at home, and he wanted me to play with him. On Jan. 1, 2012, I made a commitment to get back in shape.”
While Stratton stuck to his commitment to eating well and working out, the hardest part was figuring out what to eat. “I thought, ‘I can’t be the only one thinking that the diet portion is hard, and as a CEO, I have no time,’” says Stratton.
That’s when he decided to use his experience as a restaurateur and entrepreneur to help himself and others who wanted to lose weight. He created FitFuel365, which provides pre-portioned, nutritious meals for purchase in-store or delivery, on Jan. 1, 2013, and it now has 45 fresh and health-focused meal options. “What used to be the hardest part of the fitness equation, the diet, is now the easiest part.”
Now with the nickname Skinny Benny, Stratton still eats FitFuel365 regularly. “Because time is what most CEOs do not have an abundance of, having all my meals premade and ready to eat when I am is invaluable,” he says.
Like many business owners, Stratton has to fit his workouts in early before his day gets away from him. “I belong to two gyms, one near my home and one near my work, so depending what part of my day presents an hour, I can go to either one,” he says. “I try not to have any excuses to get out of it.”
Working at FitFuel365, Stratton is now surrounded by positive peer pressure. “We are encouraging a healthy lifestyle to those who are outside the company,” he says. “All of us at FitFuel365 know that outside of the spiritual aspect of a person’s life, nothing is more important than a person’s health and ability to have a great quality of life for whatever reason they might have.”

Fitness: A Truly Good Policy
Doug Watson, Masterpiece Graphix

Since 1987 the husband and wife team Doug and Sharon Watson have been successfully running Masterpiece Graphix. The Watson’s teamwork doesn’t end with marriage and business though. They are also partners in working out.
For the past five years, the Watsons have been exercising with trainer Tim Chuddy at Fitness Together. “We workout on Monday and Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. now,” says Doug. “We like working out together. We get a chance to laugh together while our trainer works us both out.”
By working with a trainer, Watson finds the commitment of working out easier to accomplish. “Since we pay upfront, if we don’t show up, we are getting charged anyway,” says Watson. “We are committed to it because it’s the right thing to do.”
Although there is an expense to hiring a trainer, Sharon, who is the company’s CFO, views it as a good insurance policy. “Coincidentally, when I had to renew our insurance policy and I had to do a treadmill test, they said I performed in the top 2% for my age group in the country,” says Doug.
While he believes working out is a truly good insurance policy, he also enjoys the increased energy, improved mental sharpness and stability and decreased anxiety that all come from working out and ease the stress of business ownership. The Watson’s have also tried to bring these benefits to their employees. “Our employees know we are involved in physical
activity,” says Watson. “We installed a workout room with weights, a treadmill, elliptical and shower for employees to use, so that they can fit it into their schedules.”
Overall, Doug is motivated by the idea of living well into his 90s. “My family and I just went to Kansas City for my uncle’s 90th birthday,” he says. “We have good genes in my family. My uncle still plays tennis and can beat me. He’s quite good. I am trying to follow in his footsteps and my grandfather’s who lived to be 96.”

Learning to Focus on a Goal and Take Small Steps to Get There
Eliot Frick, bigwidesky

With the big 40 looming, an incredibly fit staff to lead, and a wife and son working on earning their black belts together, all signs were pointing Eliot Frick toward a new health and fitness regimen. Frick’s tipping point came when he woke up in November 2012 with a pulled muscle in his back. “I thought, ‘I am not old enough to get a pulled muscle from sleeping,’” says Frick.
In January 2013, Frick decided to make a change by embracing a new diet and exercise plan. “Nutrition is the biggest piece for me,” he says.
After reading Gary Taubes’ research on which the Atkins diet is based, Frick adapted a diet of leafy green vegetables, fish and white meat. In addition, he became committed to the P90X regimen. “I lost 35 pounds in 90 days and went down to 17% body fat,” says Frick. “I have gone through P90X three times since. I work out two to three times a week, which is far less than before, but I am able to maintain a low body fat and have increased energy. A lot is owed to maintaining my diet, which became easier after I was over the initial cravings for cake and bread. Now I can also eat a big bowl of pasta once a week and it’s OK.”
As a business owner, Frick says being fit has allowed him to eliminate what he refers to as “the silly self-doubt.” “I have never met a business owner, even the most egotistical, without any self-doubt,” he says. “That’s not to say self-doubt based on desire to make good decisions isn’t valuable. That is, but silly insecurities, like whether your gut is too big, are not.”
What Frick finds most valuable, though, is how envisioning and working toward a health and fitness goal mirrors goals he sets as a business owner. “Everything that we achieve is done so by focusing on a goal and taking small steps to get there,” he says. “What’s nice about being fit is that you see it up close. You may have little setbacks with workouts, but you keep going and get better. The same happens with business. A sale may fall through, but then you get another.”

Living a Long, Healthy Life
Scott Zimmer, Quality Testing Services Inc.

Scott Zimmer’s fitness philosophy used to be to work out just enough to be able to eat or drink whatever he wanted without the fear of gaining weight. But when he began helping a friend train for the Boston Marathon last year, Zimmer had a rude awakening. “She kept getting faster, and I kept getting slower,” says Zimmer, president of Quality Testing Services Inc. “I went from running many miles a week to not being able to run even a mile.”
Soon Zimmer decided to go see a doctor. “After explaining my symptoms and after going through several tests, the cardiologist said that I should go to the hospital immediately,” says Zimmer.
Despite being young and in seemingly good shape, Zimmer ended up with a couple of heart stents to open blocked arteries. “I found out that one cannot just exercise to stay healthy but must eat the correct foods too,” he says. “I found that your arteries will clog regardless of how much you exercise.”
Since April, Zimmer has been committed to changing his eating lifestyle. “I follow what is called the ‘Pritikin Eating Plan,’” he says. “This plan emphasizes unrefined, minimally processed plant foods along with fish daily, poultry once a week and red meat once a month. No fried foods, minimum sugar and sodium.”
So far the plan has worked. Zimmer has lost about 25 pounds. “After getting used to the change, I enjoy the healthier food,” he says.
In addition to being motivated by running partners, Zimmer is motivated by the overall desire to live a long, healthy life. “I have many hobbies and goals in life, such as flying, traveling, hiking, playing guitar, motorcycling, dirt bike riding, bicycling, boating, sailing and volunteer work for the city of Bridgeton,” he says. “It helps that my wife has decided to change her lifestyle as well. She is quite inspirational on staying on track.”
Today, exercise is a fixture in Zimmer’s life because of the extra energy and stress relief it provides. “It is almost like an addiction,” he says. “If you don’t get your fix, you just don’t feel as good physically or mentally.”

Submitted 10 years 131 days ago
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