A day in the life of the Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO, who wakes up by 5 a.m. to work out, never skips cardio, and eats the same thing for lunch every day

Advertisement
A day in the life of the Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO, who wakes up by 5 a.m. to work out, never skips cardio, and eats the same thing for lunch every day

Crunch Franchise CEO Ben Midgley

Crunch Franchise

"You can only plan out so much of your day," Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO Ben Midgley (pictured) told Business Insider.

  • Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO Ben Midgley gave Business Insider an inside look at his daily routine.
  • He wakes up early to exercise in his home gym - and never skips stretching or cardio.
  • At night, Midgley turns his phone off and spends quality time with his family.
  • He often drinks a glass of milk with honey to wind down.


Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO Ben Midgley doesn't just work in the fitness world.

He lives there too - kicking off every day with an intense gym session and fueling up on a nutritional lunch during the workday.

Advertisement

Midgley - who has been CEO of Crunch Franchise since 2010 and previously worked at 24 Hour Fitness and Planet Fitness - broke down his daily routine for Business Insider.

Here's a look inside the CEO's daily schedule:

{{}}

Midgley wakes up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. every day.

Midgley wakes up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. every day.

Midgley wakes up bright and early, usually between 4:30 and 5 a.m. And naturally, the fitness franchise CEO starts off his day with a workout.

He heads to his basement to exercise for about an hour.

Stretching is a key part of his workout.

Stretching is a key part of his workout.

The home gym features six cardio machines, stretching mats, and "all your traditional weightlifting equipment," the Crunch Fitness Franchise CEO told Business Insider.

"I'm pretty much a standard weight-lifting-and-cardio guy," he said.

To start, Midgley uses foam rollers as part of a comprehensive stretching exercise.

"I never used to stretch when I was younger," he said. "But I've got to do a full stretching routine every day."

Along with cardio, he said that stretching is something he never skips during a workout.

Advertisement

When it comes to exercise, Midgley considers himself a 'balanced guy.'

When it comes to exercise, Midgley considers himself a 'balanced guy.'

Midgley said he typically focuses on working out a different body part each day of the week — although sometimes he'll squeeze in two leg days.

As for his favorite workout routines, he said he likes to mix things up.

"I'm a balanced guy," Midgley said. "I don't favor anything. You've got to work everything."

Midgley usually watches CNBC as he runs.

Midgley usually watches CNBC as he runs.

"The workout's a nice outlet," Midgley said. "You put your tunes on. Then, as soon as I hit the cardio, I generally just put on CNBC."

After wrapping things up in the gym, the CEO either brings his three kids to school, or takes a break to have breakfast and read the Wall Street Journal around 6:15 a.m.

"I'll usually have coffee, read the Journal, and then go check emails right off the bat, to get that over with," he said.

Advertisement

He arrives at work between 8 and 9 a.m.

He arrives at work between 8 and 9 a.m.

Midgley said he usually arrives at Crunch Franchise's Portsmouth, New Hampshire headquarters between 8 and 9 a.m. He said he kicks things off by checking the sales stats at the various Crunch Fitness franchise locations across the US.

"I get my daily stat report and I click through every club to see if there's anything that needs to be paid attention to," he said.

The CEO said he keeps an eye out for best practices.

The CEO said he keeps an eye out for best practices.

During this morning analysis, Midgley said he strives to identify things like superb sales-based techniques, great member events, or cost-slashing club-building strategies.

He said that typically, Crunch Fitness opens five to seven clubs a month, but things are slower in the summertime. According to Midgley, his team is "constantly trying to disseminate the best information."

"What we do is we look for the best practices that are going on in the business," he said.

Advertisement

Midgley said much of his day revolves around prioritizing.

Midgley said much of his day revolves around prioritizing.

Midgley said he spends a lot of time "dealing with things that pop up" throughout the work day.

He said that it's sometimes "tricky" to separate high priority tasks from less important matters, but it's still important to prioritize.

"For me, as long as I've been the CEO, I've found that you can only plan out so much of your day," he said. "The trick is not getting distracted."

Up next, Midgley meets with various teams.

Up next, Midgley meets with various teams.

Once he's finished with the stats, he'll meet with different Crunch Franchise departments. Depending on the day, he might sit down with team members handling real estate, construction, development, finance, sales, or marketing.

"One way or another we're going to connect over the course of the day, whether it's a formalized meeting or just checking up on different aspects of the business," he said.

Advertisement

But not every single day is an office day for Midgley.

But not every single day is an office day for Midgley.

Midgley doesn't always run things from the office. He also spends time traveling around the country, to visit various Crunch Fitness franchises.

Midgley said that the gym is "pushing 300 locations right now."

Midgley doesn't spend all day cooped up inside.

Midgley doesn't spend all day cooped up inside.

"I definitely try to get out of the office," Midgley said.

He said that his office looks out at Portsmouth's "beautiful bay." He'll often take a stroll along the waterfront toward the middle of the day.

"It's gorgeous," Midgley said. "I'll head out for lunch, walk around, or just get a coffee or something like that. Just to clear my head for 15 minutes."

Otherwise, Midgley might stop by Crunch Franchise's putting green to try his hand at some office golf.

"We've got a scoreboard on the wall that shows how many times someone's won a match against somebody else," he said.

Midgley added that he was "doing okay" in the rankings, so far.

Advertisement

He eats the same thing for lunch every day.

He eats the same thing for lunch every day.

When it comes to lunch options, Midgley likes to keep things simple.

"I eat almost the same stuff every day," he said. "It's pretty boring. I'll go three months in a row eating some sort of mixed green with chicken and low fat dressing. I'll just throw them in the Tupperware and bring it to work."

Midgley called his repetitive lunch habits "boring and horrible," adding that he could certainly be more "creative."

But for the fitness CEO, it's mostly about having a nutritional balance than anything else.

"I've been in the fitness industry for a long time now," he said. "Food is usually just nutrition, to me."

The CEO has a few strategies for managing his team.

The CEO has a few strategies for managing his team.

Midgley said he strives to be a hands-off boss.

"People don't want to feel like you're managing their day-to-day productivity," he said. "They need to know that you trust them to do what they're doing, and they'll keep you informed if something comes up."

Advertisement

Midgley said that trusting your employees is important.

Midgley said that trusting your employees is important.

"I think if you're running the business well enough, most things are going to handle themselves or the people on your team are going to take care of it," Midgley said. "In this role, you just need to be aware that everybody's going to be doing everything that they should. If you hire the right people, that's probably going to be the case."

The CEO said he has a 'tight team' at Crunch Franchise.

The CEO said he has a 'tight team' at Crunch Franchise.

He said that his team at Crunch Franchise has had an incredibly low turnover rate, with only around three people leaving within eight years.

"Once you get that kind of a team, it honestly makes the rest of what you do a lot easier," Midgley said.

Advertisement

What's more, Midgley said that it's helpful for leaders to keep things in perspective.

What's more, Midgley said that it's helpful for leaders to keep things in perspective.

"You've got to get into the mindset that nothing's that big of a deal," Midgley said.

He clarified that keeping things in perspective isn't the same as downplaying important or negative situations. It's about managing how you "internalize" things as a leader.

"Living with an elevated blood pressure or tension level or stress level — it wears you down physically more than you know," he said. "It's really important to have outlets."

"If you get some shocking news about something that happened in the business — and hopefully you're not in a business where that happens too often — you've got to be able to take whatever that is and just say, 'That's fine, we'll handle that, we'll work with that,'" Midgley added.

The CEO stops checking his phone at 8 p.m.

The CEO stops checking his phone at 8 p.m.

Midgley said he's usually out of the office by 6:30 p.m., at the latest. Then again, sometimes work spills over.

"In my role, you're pretty much working all the time, no matter where you are," he said. "You always have your email or you're getting phone calls. It's harder not to work than it is to work."

At the same time, Midgley added, "I'm not that kind of a guy where I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I've got to show people I'm on my email at two o'clock in the morning.' No."

So the CEO said he strives to prioritize family time when he's not at work. Midgley, his wife, and their three children will typically go out to eat together at least once a week.

"We'll try to eat dinner together if I'm home early enough during the week," he said. "For me, it's family first, and then work."

His major rule of the evening is that he switches off his cell phone at 8 p.m. during the week. Midgley said that spending time with his kids — reading stories, going over homework, or just hanging out on the couch — is his priority.

"I'm not going to have them at home forever," he said.

Advertisement

Midgley said he doesn't 'short' himself on sleep.

Midgley said he doesn't 'short' himself on sleep.

Midgley said he tends to turn in by 9 p.m. — no surprise, given his early wake up.

"I don't short myself on sleep," he said.

He also shared what he called an "embarrassing" trick for falling asleep easily.

"On the nights where I don't have a glass of wine, if it's not hot out, I'll have warm milk and honey," he said. "It puts me to sleep. Otherwise your brain is just thinking of so many different things."