Michael Chernow is no one-hit-wonder. He’s started some of the best US eateries and health food brands like Seamores, The Meatball Shop and WellWell. As a restauranteur, TV host, fitness personality and family man, his goal is always to bring about positivity. During our chat, he broke down his version of work-life balance, how he keeps disciplined, maintains healthy habits, and what values he’s passing down to his boys.
Being an entrepreneur, you play a role in many different companies and ventures. What’s been the common mission in all of your business and professional endeavors?
I live for positivity. I have a firm belief that life should be enjoyed. That doesn’t mean that it won’t be hard, but ultimately enjoyed. My life/work mission is to constantly create with positive people and to make an impact on the lives of others in a meaningful way.
Between building Seamores, Meatballs and WellWell, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
Learning how to power through doing things I don’t like to do i.e. financial analysis, creating operating systems etc. Taking my ego out of every equation and being able to see the business from all angles and perspectives. Knowing my role and learning to stay in my lane while trusting others to make great decisions.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wake up at 5:15 am to train, get home from the gym around 7:15 am, have coffee and breakfast with the wife and kiddos. Take my older son to school at 8 am and head into the city for my first meeting, typically at 9 am. Setting up shop at one of the Seamores for the day, pounding emails, taking meetings, hanging with the staff and greeting guests throughout the day. I head home around 7-8 pm and go to bed at 10 pm.
“I have removed most vices from my life, specifically drinking and partying. I have been able to balance my food intake by preferring to feel great about what I eat and how much of it. Simple.”
The food and beverage industry must come with a lot of temptations, what does it take for you to stay balanced?
I have removed most vices from my life, specifically drinking and partying. I have been able to balance my food intake by preferring to feel great about what I eat and how much of it. Simple. I don’t work at night anymore. After 25 years of working in the industry I decided I didn’t need to be in the restaurant after 8pm. Sounds crazy, but it works.
How did becoming a father shift your approach to life and work?
Becoming a father has been the most incredible experience to date. I love hanging out with my family and for that reason I’ve made strict boundaries in my business life. I don’t work after 8pm, and I don’t work on the weekends. So, in essence, having kids has helped to normalize my life, as before I had kids my work-life balance was out of whack. I would typically would put in 70-90 hours a week, no mas. As I mentioned above, I don’t drink and haven’t for a long time, so the transition to dad life was pretty easy for me. I didn’t have to “stop” going to the bar with friends because most of my friends prefer taking a run or hanging out during the day.
What kind of healthy outlooks are you trying to pass on to your kids?
My kids love to hang with me when I train on the weekends. We have a house in upstate NY with a garage gym. The boys are still both very young (4 and 2) but I believe having them hang with me when I train is the perfect kind of exposure for them. I get to put my older son Finnley down to bed about 2-3 nights a week – just before he closes his eyes we speak about a few values that my dad taught me, which are the values that I live by and have shaped the man I am today. I will do the same with Dakota as soon as he gets old enough to understand.
“The movement doesn’t define that person as they most likely have a life outside of fitness, but absolutely is a massive contributing factor to their happiness and health.”
As an avid runner, what are your ingredients for the perfect run session?
The right gear. No jingling keys or bouncing phones is essential. The right headphones, the right tunes, podcast or book. That’s pretty much it.
With so many accomplishments already, what’s your next big move?
Got something up my sleeve that’s top secret.
What does the term ‘everyday athlete’ mean to you and how does it resonate with you?
The “Everyday Athlete” in my mind speaks of the person who incorporates movement into their lives on a daily basis. The movement doesn’t define that person as they most likely have a life outside of fitness, but absolutely is a massive contributing factor to their happiness and health.
Photos by: Annika Briggs