By Derek Deprey

Do you ever feel behind, too busy, exhausted, stressed, toxic, impatient, irritable or unfocused? Is your yawn another scream for a coffee? Does your dessert order always start with “I shouldn’t,” and end with you being stuffed?

Growing up, I developed a love for sweets. My grandma and grandpa always had a basket full of Hershey bars. Every morning before I went off to grade school, I would help myself to my mom’s loose change jar and buy three donuts for 99 cents at the legendary Gilbert’s Bakery in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. In high school, our team always went to Burger King before practice, and I would eat a Hershey Pie after devouring a Whopper with cheese and fries. When I worked as the Assistant Concessions Manager for the Milwaukee Brewers, I would order a tray of brownies for my office and consume a generous portion during the 7th inning stretch. Finally, when I started dating my wife, Rachel, I discovered that her parents actually owned Half Nuts, a candy store in West Allis. The rest is history.

After spending over 10,000 hours in my life enjoying tasty treats, 10,000 hours in the gym as a kid growing up, and 10,000 hours as a health club leader, I’ve developed the following acronym and formula to help illustrate the best way to boost your energy levels: FEW (Food + Exercise + Water = Energy). Stop complicating wellness and start simplifying it. If you learn to plan for the FEW fundamentals, you’ll be on fire every day.


Stop saying, “I’m going to start my new wellness routine on Monday.” Start now by implementing the Planning the FEW Worksheet for the next 4 weeks. In the beginning, choose one focus area each week. For example:

  • week 1, focus on Food
  • week 2, focus on Exercise
  • week 3, focus on Water
  • week 4, focus on sleep.

Learn to live well for the short-term, and you will learn to lead well for the long-term

Here’s how to use the FEW fundamentals.


What we eat affects our productivity and can make or break our entire day. I’ll never forget the time when I attended a full-day leadership workshop and a participant came in late and looking sluggish… dragging with him six full bottles of Coke, two full liters of orange juice, and a couple of candy bars. That was his “fuel” for the day. Unfortunately, those of us who are always checking email, running to the next meeting, or bogged down with a nonstop schedule, often give more thought to work issues rather than to healthy food and good nutrition. Simplify your eating decisions. Make them before you get hungry or thirsty.


When we think about exercise, we tend to focus on the physical benefits. For me, however, the more immediate benefit is how it improves my mood, focus, creativity, and stress levels. The next time that you are sitting in your comfy chair and dozing off at the computer, don’t check more email…get up and move! Exercise is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Find something you enjoy and make exercise a part of your “job.” Schedule some time with a friend, every day, in the same way that you would book a meeting. Watch your energy and performance levels soar in all aspects of your life.


What is the quickest, cheapest, easiest way to improve your health? Drink water. What can water do for productivity? Everything! In school, we learned that the human body is about 65% water. Google lists over 60 million articles, podcasts, videos, and other resources on benefits of water. Since I am likely to forget or I will fail to take the time to refill a water bottle, I pack multiple 16-ounce bottles of water every day to ensure that I stay hydrated. Find out what works best for you and start being intentional about maintaining high levels of water consumption.

Health Benefits of Drinking Water

  • Boosts energy by restoring vital nutrients within your muscles
  • Promotes weight loss by boosting your metabolism
  • Keeps skin clear by pushing toxins out of the body
  • Relieves constipation by improving digestive health

Don’t Forget About Sleep

I’m not an expert on sleep. However, I know from personal experience that a bad night of sleep makes me irritable, while an awesome night of sleep gives me a day filled with opportunity. Instead of telling yourself, “I’m too busy to sleep,” ask yourself, “Do I want to be too busy and always crabby for the rest of my life?” Build a life where you can get work done and STAY HEALTHY at the same time.

Think end of time, not end of month. All of the excuses that we use to avoid wellness are typically the many reasons why we should be well. If you don’t take the time to make yourself a priority, you will likely end up less productive and more exhausted. If you follow the FEW fundamentals, you will have more energy and more quality time. The number one offering that you can give to your family, friends, and team members is your energy. Manage your energy, not your time!