I sat down for an hour-long Zoom chat with Harry Stebbings recently. Harry started The Twenty Minute VC podcast at the age of 18, and he also currently manages a UK and European venture fund called Stride, as well as a US fund, 20VC. Harry shares how he stays healthy and active while managing an extremely busy schedule.
I think that we are all works in progress. You’re never quite done. It’s all about embodying a growth mindset. I focus most on eating healthy and staying active.
Maintaining a healthy weight is very important to me. I was just about 125 kilos when I was 15, then I lost 50 kilos and have maintained a normal-ish weight since that time. Staying healthy feeds the engine of my personal life.
There are big components of my health that I don’t always optimize. There are also areas that I optimize every little bit, down to the most minuscule detail. I do this with my food routines and cycling on my Peloton; I sometimes forget that it may be better to just get another two hours of sleep instead of trying to consistently optimize my diet and exercise regimen. So, in a way, I highly prioritize my health when it comes down to weight, but in other areas I could be more intentional.
Since I live in London and work US hours, about halfway through the day for me, at 6PM, I usually do a Peloton cycling workout. After I’m done with Peloton, I’ll have some form of a protein-only snack. I eat a lot of chicken out of these packets and it’s just cold, boring chicken, but it’s delicious and protein-only.
My favorite coaches from Peloton are Olivia Amato and Matt Wilpers - his power zone endurance rides are just great.
On the weekdays, I usually do 45 minute Peloton rides. On Saturdays, I’ll do a 60 minute set and then on Sunday, I do a 90 minute endurance ride. That’s the Peloton routine of dreams.
I’m a big Peloton fan, as you can probably tell from above. It’s so funny, I got so into the Peloton that I went to Greece recently with a friend of mine and I wouldn’t go without the Peloton. So he bought a Peloton and sent it to the place we were staying so that I would come. We had a Peloton out there, the only one in Greece, which was the funniest thing ever.
I also love the Eight Sleep Pod. It’s been so hot in London recently and absolutely terrible over these past two weeks, which is why I was so keen on Twitter about how truly amazing the product is for sleeping cool.
I love Zero tablets, as well. Zero tablets are electrolyte tablets that you put in water and they are supposed to hydrate you more than water does, which sounds nuts, but I buy it. I use one every hour.
I meditate 10 minutes each night with Calm and absolutely love it.. I find it incredibly helpful to have a guide steering me along, as opposed to doing it entirely on my own.
I track my walks on Strava, which records distance. I don’t know why I track the same walk every day because I know exactly how far it is; I think it’s the gamification of it that makes me want to do it. The tracking keeps me in it.
Whenever I put on a bit too much weight, I always go back to my calorie counting app, My Fitness Pal. I only eat stuff that I can track and then I meticulously track it.
I recently stopped drinking alcohol at the end of May. Previously, I would drink a bottle of wine on a Saturday evening with my family. While it wasn’t a problem, it just didn’t feel great. I always felt lethargic after drinking. It was bad for my weight and I wanted to get better at Peloton. I’d also get horribly paranoid the next day; so I thought what’s the point, why bother with it? I stopped drinking for a week and downloaded this great app on my phone that Ryan Bonnici, the CMO of the G2 crowd, told me about, called I Am Sober. It’s basically a timer that counts how long you’ve been sober for and forces you to click “failed” if you don’t make it until the end of the week. I said to myself, “Do I want to click that I failed? No, I don’t really want to do that. That doesn’t sound great.”
I decided that I was going to keep going with my sobriety. As I started, I found a lack of commitment to it to be actually really helpful, because I’d let myself think that I could drink. I’d go to a family dinner and they’d ask, “Do you want a drink?” I’d respond, “No, not right now, but maybe later with dinner.” Then dinner would come and I’d no longer even want a drink. If you let yourself think that you can, you don’t.
I’m also careful about my sugar consumption. I thought that what you said on my podcast about lack of sugar-free alternatives was spot-on. I try not to think about adding sugar or any sugar alternative at all.
I’ve always wanted to build “The Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” tablet that is three meals in one, but zero calories. I think that’d be great.
I would also love to create something that sounds ridiculously easy to build, but I’ve just never found a good one that I like, and that’s a great interval training app. I do interval and time-based activities and I have to set timers constantly, which seems crazy. I want something that would allow me to program a time interval and that goes “45 seconds...15 second delay...1 minute...etc.” It’s simple, but I’d love that.
The first thing that I do each day is a cold shower. I find that I’m terribly asleep when I first get up and not much of a morning person to begin with, so this really helps me wake up.
Due to my work schedule, I have a really weird routine; I normally get up at 8AM, and then go for a 10 mile walk with my mother for two hours around London every morning. She’s not in my work industry and fast-paced world, so it’s calming to talk to her about random things. Then I do a half an hour sit-up routine, and then jump into more hardcore work.
I usually work from noon London time to midnight London time. I do this so that I can capture the entirety of US work-day hours, from 4AM PST to about 4PM PST.
In the mornings, I have a long coffee and then a couple of espressos throughout the day. I know that espressos have a half-life of eight to ten hours in your body, which is actually much more than people think.
That’s why I don’t drink coffee past six in the evening because if I end up going to sleep between 2:00-2:30AM, like I usually do, it should be 90% weakened by then.
While my time spent on investments can be a bit more ad hoc, for the podcast, I take a much more structured approach. I do the recordings late at night during the week, then on Saturdays, I do the ads and touch-ups while on Sundays, I write new schedules. It takes about five hours per show to get the content prepared. A lot of work goes into each show, and I spend basically all day Sunday preparing for episodes for the following week.
I meditate at night, and that’s partially because I struggle with sleep. I also like to meditate right after doing a workout on the Peloton at my usual hour (6PM). After getting off the Peloton, you sweat so much that you keep sweating and I want to use that time effectively, which is why I meditate in that 10 minute “post-sweat” time.
Since I keep US hours, I go to sleep between 2:00-2:30AM and then get up slightly before 8AM. On a bad day, I get five hours and on a good day, I’ll get six.
I have this habit where I can’t go to bed if I have more than 10 emails unread, so I’ll sometimes check emails until 5AM to get to nine unread emails. I know it’s ridiculous, but that’s just how I am.
The hardest thing for me is that I have three different jobs at the same time, so it’s a huge amount of work. I have the UK fund, the US fund, as well as a media company with employees to manage. It’s three full-on jobs and seven days a week. I’m also on six boards since we take board seats on every company that we invest in. It’s a high volume of work, but I love it.