Neil Blumenthal, 37, a founder of the eyeglass brand Warby Parker, keeps a hectic work schedule, but his mornings are ruled by his children: Gemma, 2, and Griffin, 6. While he makes breakfast in the family’s Greenwich Village apartment, his wife and fellow entrepreneur, Rachel Blumenthal, attends a workout class.
Here’s how he stays in shape with minimal effort and other life hacks.
Since having kids, I no longer need an alarm clock. My 2-year-old usually starts yelling, “Daddy!” anywhere between 6 and 7 a.m. She’s in a crib. I go and get her out of bed. Thankfully my 6-year-old is starting to get himself dressed.
I am on breakfast duty. My life hack is to make enough hard-boiled eggs in the beginning of the week so you have them for the whole week. My other specialty is French toast.
I am not eating what the kids are eating, though. I’m usually just drinking water. I’ve always been a big water drinker. Also I’m not terribly hungry in the mornings. I also do no caffeine. I’ve never had a cup of coffee. I don’t need it or crave it. On the breakfast thing, actually, I once met Hugh Jackman and he was telling me how he prepared for the Wolverine movies. He would fast 12 to 14 hours between meals.
It’s all about your gut and biome, and it’s healthier to give your gut a break. So I’ve fooled myself into thinking that if I don’t eat until midmorning, I’m fasting basically seven to 12 hours. The only thing is the Wolverine look is definitely not happening yet.
While the kids are eating, I do my New York Times seven-minute workout in whatever I wore to bed. In all honesty when the workout came out in 2013, that was right when my son was like 2 years old. It was very difficult to work out, and this was the promise of being in decent health: doing interval training in seven minutes seemed too good to be true.
I was happy to embrace it, and all my friends still make fun of me for that. It’s not like playing an hour of basketball, but you definitely do feel it. Often Griffin and Gemma will jump in and do some situps or jumping jacks with me. Gemma will sometimes get on my back for the push-ups.
I prefer shaving oil to shaving cream. I find that I’ve got dry, sensitive skin, so that tends to protect my skin better. Dermalogica has a great one. Then I use the Bumble & Bumble Curl Conscious Defining Crème on my hair. I don’t spend a lot of time.
I grab a pair of jeans, a crew-neck navy sweater and Air Max 1s and I’m good to go. I’m into sneakers, but also more into just Nike as a brand, frankly. I love how they have scaled with integrity. I believe they have had a really positive impact on culture, whether it’s women in sport or equality of all sorts of types.
I’m usually looking at my iPhone scanning for any urgent emails as I’m walking from room to room, getting ready in the morning. I’m usually checking email till late at night, too, so there are no real surprises. It’s never off.
That’s perfectly appropriate for some people. I think some people will optimize for balance, so they think a lot about work-life balance. My wife and I think more about work-life integration. We’re both entrepreneurs. She has a start-up called Rockets of Awesome.
I also got some good advice from Walter Robb; he’s a co-founder of Whole Foods. I asked him, “What do you say when you get asked that question about how to find work-life balance?” He said, “I tell people it’s the wrong question. I don’t optimize for balance. I optimize for impact.”
Usually three days a week I’ll take Griffin to school, and then I’ll walk to work provided it’s not zero degrees out. I’m able to walk on the High Line then. I find the days I’m able to walk to work, I’m a clearer thinker. I’m more decisive. My days are just better.
When I don’t have breakfast or a lunch meeting, I’m usually eating something on the run in the office. I order sushi at least once a week. Blue Ribbon is a block away from the office. But often it’s soup from Hale & Hearty. They’re the fastest.
I’m constantly chatting with peers. Mickey Drexler has become a dear friend of ours and is on our board. We often grab lunch or breakfast together. He’s somebody that understands brand and deeply believes in quality products. Those tenets are universal and timeless.