Strauss Zelnick, the 61-year-old CEO of video game giant Take-Two Interactive, has an ultimate secret for never blowing a workout: Never go it alone. He guts out workout six mornings a week – and he always does it with a crew. His philosophy is to get a lot of exercise. Doing so keeps your body aging the same as others. He knows that gym work by its nature is relatively boring but believes that being with someone makes it less boring and helps you stay accountable.
Zelnick’s too busy for boring. By 8:30 every morning, he’s all over Manhattan, rapid-firing emails on the subway between meetings. Need him? He prefers breakfast bench-pressing to the business lunches he’s attended for decades, first as CEO of music powerhouse BMG Entertainment and now as head of Zelnick Media Capital, which he founded 17 years ago.
Workouts Serve Him in Business Too
Workouts rejuvenate Zelnick’s body—and serve a business purpose. He once went cycling with a potential business partner, then decided he’d never work with the man. “I just knew something because of the demeanor, the behavior, the engagement,” he says. “When you’re sweating, all barriers drop quickly.”
Even though Zelnick travels a lot for his job, he doesn’t train alone on the road, either; he’ll call friends in any city he visits to line up workouts.
Try Zelnick’s Favorite Workout (With a Friend)
One of Zelnick’s favorite workouts is this Tabata series that you can do with two 10-pound dumbbells, a chin-up bar, and an adjustable bench.
Start things off with a quick ab circuit. Do 50 hollow rocks, 30 lying leg raises, and 20 hip bridges. Then do each of the following exercises in order. Perform each one for4 minutes, doing reps for 20 seconds, then resting for 10.
- Goblet squat: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell at your chest. Push your butt back and bend your knees, lowering your torso as far as you can. Stand up.
- Alternating shoulder press: Hold dumbbells at your shoulders. Press the right dumbbell overhead, lower it back to your shoulder, then press the left overhead.
- Pull-up: Hang from a bar with an overhand grip, then pull your chest to the bar. Skip the 20-10 pattern here and just do 4 sets of 8.
- Incline bench press: Lie on a bench set to a 30-degree incline, holding dumbbells at your shoulders. Press them upward, then return to the start.
- Dumbbell row: Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, hinge forward at your hips and place your left hand on a bench. Let the dumbbell hang naturally. Slowly row it toward your hip, pause, then return to toward the dumbbell. Walk back and forth for 20 seconds; switch sides every interval.
- Single-arm farmer’s walk: Hold a dumbbell at your right side. Tighten your core so your torso doesn’t tip toward the dumbbell.Walk back and forth for 20 seconds; switch sides every interval.
- Lateral/front-raise superset: Start by holding dumbbells at your sides. Keeping just a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells in front of you. Return to the start. Raise the dumbbells out to your sides.
- Biceps curl: Hold your dumbbells at your sides. Perform a biceps curl with your right arm, then do a curl with your left arm.
- Bench dip: Place your hands on a bench set up behind you, about shoulder-width apart; extend your legs forward and bend at the waist. This is the start. Bend at the elbows, lowering your torso until it’s near the ground; pause, then return to the start.
- More core: End with the same ab circuit from the beginning.
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C.S.C.S., Ebenezer Samuel. “How to Stay Fit In Your 60s, According to This Video Game CEO.” Men’s Health, Men’s Health, 11 Sept. 2018, www.menshealth.com/fitness/a23086934/strauss-zelnick-take-two-workout/.