Keys to Solo Longevity I
This 2-part podcast was inspired by a Solo Cleaning School Elite member, Dave Reeks. Dave started implementing the ISO Model in early 2022, operating The Finest Clean in South Wales, Australia. I am so proud of his diligence and commitment. Dave has grown from an Initializer to the Stabilizer phase of the ISO Model in 6 months. I recently did an Optimizer's Workshop with him to help him hit his next goal. He is a male solo cleaner like I was and growing quickly with almost 20 house cleaning customers in a short time. Dave recognized the need to keep his body operating at peak performance and wondered if I had any tips for other solo cleaners. Thank you Dave for this question! Yes! I do. I was a solo cleaner from age 28 to 44. There have been seasons of physical domination when I could stay up all night and clean and clean and clean. I have also struggled with fatigue, injury, and chronic disease. Regardless of the season, I had no choice but to keep going... and I did. In this initial episode, we will deconstruct the habits of multiple peak performers from professional sports to learn from them. Then in the second episode, I also will share several keys to solo longevity that I have learned along the way from my triumphs and struggles. I believe this will help all cleaning companies as we all have people cleaning, whether it is us or a team we've hired.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. I am sharing what I've personally done for cleaning longevity. See your doctor before making any major changes to your routine. Baseline your level of health now and set goals on where you'd like to go. Use this podcast as a guide.
Let's start with an analogy that takes me down vehicle memory lane. The joke in high school was that Ford stood for "fix or repair daily" and "fails on race day". My friends with Hondas boasted on their longevity and reliability. Hondas were the gold standard. My cars from age 16 to now have been in this order: Honda, Ford, Ford, Mitsubishi, Honda, Honda, Honda, Honda, Ford, Honda, Ford. Isn't that funny. I've owned 6 Hondas and 4 Fords. I won't go over every detail on our cars as that is probably boring. I will just say this. All of my cars have been great. I have so many memories from each. But I do generally agree after owning 4 Fords and 8 Hondas (my wife owned 2 Honda Odysseys) that the Hondas are way more reliable and spend less time in the shop. Sure there were some duds. We had an Odyssey that lasted 2 years and needed a new engine at 150,000 miles. We own a Ford Fiesta with 100,000 miles and a Honda Pilot with 140,000 miles and both are running great. But there is not doubt that our Hondas have been cheaper to operate and lasted a lot longer as 5 of the 8 were over 200,000 miles when we got rid of them.
I'll ask the question again. Solo cleaners, would you rather be a Ford or a Honda? As a solo cleaner, you are the sole operator of the business. Your ability to create income depends on how you treat your machine. Do you want it to run like a Ford or a Honda? And don't be offended if you're a Ford lover. It's an analogy! Now let's get real on your body, the machine that cleans and creates income for your family. Many of you would love to do what I did as an optimized solo cleaner. I built two different companies in NY and PA where I profited over $60,000 per year and cleaning only 2 days per week. I didn't have the headache of dealing with employees or building out too many systems and documenting everything. Life was simple. I spent a lot of time home with my wife and kids. It was a 16-year time in my life that I am so grateful. I could have continued this life and further optimized to $80,000 profit on 2 days per week. Believe me, it's very possible. I know many solo cleaners like this that just want the simple life of a great solo cleaning business. It's a great gig. The only major, major downside of this as a career is that our income is 100% dependent on our ability to physically perform. We don't get paid for sitting home.
Tom Brady is known as the G.O.A.T in professional football. He played 22 years in the NFL with the Patriots and Buccaneers and started 316 of 318 games. Tom missed just 2 games in 22 years! He won 7 Super Bowls, the most by any player in NFL history. He also lost 3, which includes one to my 2017/2018 Eagles. E-A-G-L-E-S. Eagles! Brady is all-time leader in passing yards, touchdowns, and quarterback wins. He's the GOAT! Tom's success and longevity didn't just happen. He realized that his success was in his machine's ability to perform. Listen to his daily routine from an article in Health Digest.
"According to TB12, a company co-founded by Tom Brady, the success the quarterback has seen over the past two decades is because he stays consistent. His daily routine is established — and he is very strict with his approach in order to continue to perform and recover. His day starts off at 6 a.m. with 20 ounces of water that he infuses with electrolytes from TB12. A half-hour later, he takes a daily supplement followed by a smoothie loaded with whey protein, seeds, and nuts. Next on the schedule is his pre-workout pliability session, followed up by a two-hour strength and conditioning workout, and ending with another pliability session. As afternoon approaches, he studies film and prepares a lunch that normally consists of fish and plenty of veggies. Practice with his team starts at 3 p.m. and lasts until 5 p.m., and surprise, he performs another pliability session afterward. For dinner, Tom makes sure he has a "nutrient-dense" meal — complete with more vegetables. He finally starts to wind down and recover at around 8 p.m., and then hits the hay by 9 p.m. Once football season ends, Tom Brady keeps up his workout routine to prep for the next season. "As you get older, [the game] becomes a little more challenging," Brady told Men's Journal. "So in the offseason, I do, I try to do a lot of the things I do in the season." So what exactly does the quarterback's offseason routine look like? In an interview with Bodybuilding, Brady said, "In the off-season I still do cardio six days per week 40 to 60 minutes per day, but I do more running than in-season." He went on to add, "In the off-season I also switch my weight lifting over to a routine more so orientated toward strength and my sessions are usually about 25% longer since my body isn't beat up from playing." Brady is devoted to his job, of course, and continuing to train throughout the year is important. In his interview with Men's Journal, Brady said, "It's been a lot of fun to commit in the offseason to the same things I'm doing in the season, in order to maintain a high level of play.'"
Do you see what it takes to operate your body as a peak-performing machine? Let's look at baseball's Ironman Cal Ripken, Jr.. Cal played 21 years of pro ball with the Orioles. He broke the unbreakable Lou Gehrig consecutive games streak of 2,130 games by 500! Ripken is ranked #15 in all-time hits with 3,184 and has over 400 home runs. What did Cal Ripken do to maintain 21 years of peak performance and never miss a game? I found a few articles on Cal Ripken to share his habits of success.
In a Washington Post article from 2012, Cal shared this about his diet and sleep."I had one of my best years in 1991; I was 31. I made a renewed effort to work harder. I got better at my diet. I paid attention to how much sleep I got. I was always someone of routine. I became more strict.' Also, I made a renewed effort working out. [Back then, people said] weights and baseball didn’t mix. I went into the weight room right around 30 or 31. My legs weren’t as powerful [as they had been]. I liked how the weight room made my body feel. It gave me sort of an edge. There definitely was a strong effort to stop the aging process in the weight room.
In another article from Sportscasting.com in 2020, Cal shares this. "'I work on the principle that something is always better than nothing,' he told Mark Maske of The Washington Post in 1998. But what did Ripken actually do to stay in shape? For the most part, he stuck to the fundamentals, just like he did on the diamond. Beyond playing basketball in the offseason, the infielder primarily did cardio and lifted weights. The exact workouts, however, varied depending on the time of year. 'During spring training, one of Ripken’s workouts might involve running from foul pole to foul pole on the field eight to 10 times, with 30 seconds off in between,' Masse explained. 'But during the season, he says, he does no endurance running and concentrates on sprints. He’ll run 40- to 60-yard sprints outside. Or he’ll get on a treadmill, crank it up to the maximum 17.5 miles per hour and do six to 10 sprints of 10 seconds a piece.' Cal followed a similar trend in the weight room, too. “Ripken divides his weight training into thirds, with a legs day, a chest and back day and a thighs and triceps day,” the article continued. “During the season, he says, he’ll work each set of muscles perhaps twice a week instead of the three or four times per week that he’ll do during the offseason. He doesn’t reduce the amount of weight that he lifts during the season, he says, but he might decrease the number of sets or the number of repetitions per set.”
Are you seeing a trend to professional sports iron men? Let's do another. Serena Williams is widely regarded as the G.O.A.T. in professional women's tennis. She has won the 2nd most Grand Slams with 23 and has won championships in 4 different decades. Elias sports bureau of reports that no other athlete or team has accomplished this in the 4 major professional sports. Serena's dominance in power and longevity is unmatched in women's tennis.
I found an article from fitnessreaper.com that broke down her daily peak performance routine. Her exercise, strength and conditioning routine is legendary. Serena favors HIIT or high-intensity interval training to build strength and endurance. It's incredible what she does every day during her tennis season, off-season, and even pre and post-pregnancy. I was also amazed to hear that Serena struggles with getting good sleep due to her intensity every day. Here's the part that I wanted to share from the article. "As part of her raw vegan diet, Williams practices tennis during the tennis season. She eats exclusively plant-based foods, including beans, legumes, nuts, veggies, fruit, and whole grains, such as quinoa, oatmeal, and brown rice. In addition to chia seeds and hemp, which provide a complete protein source, she sometimes eats chicken for an extra protein boost. It is important for her to stay hydrated all the time. During the off-season, she enjoys fried chicken and other southern favorites."
The male counterpart to Serena is Roger Federer. When Serena struggles, Roger excels.
In an article from CelebrityDailyRoutine.com, "Interestingly, Roger Federer sleeps for around 12 hours a day. He sleeps for about 10 hours in the night and then takes a 2-hour nap in the afternoon. In many earlier interviews, Federer had stated that if he doesn’t get this amount of sleep, he would hurt himself."
I find this fascinating. All 4 of these all-time-greats from pro sports go to tremendous lengths to take care of their machines. They want them to last like a Honda and run like a Ferrari. They all highly-value the basic foundations of good health which includes great sleep, healthy food choices, lots of water,daily exercise and strength training, and of course discipline to do this routine every day for their entire career. If these world-class athletes treat their body this seriously to perform like this, do you think it is important for you as a solo cleaner or cleaner in a larger business to do likewise?
Make sure to tune into the next episode where we transition from world-class athletes to my own solo cleaning career. I will share my 6 habits along with tips to preventing injury and possibly disease, which will keep your cleaning career long and profitable. Do you know that the Smart Cleaning School has a free Facebook group. I look forward to connecting with you in this Smart Cleaning School free Facebook community.
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The Smart Cleaning School Podcast helps cleaning business owners from start-up to the struggling solo to the striving seven-figure get SMARTER in their businesses, reshape their mindset, increase productivity, clear the overwhelm, and get clarity through SMART goal-setting & personal accountability. Ken Carfagno is a lifetime learner and teacher. His mission is to help visionaries make the impact they were meant to make.