Staying Fit on Dealer Hours

The car business does not lend itself to healthy physiques, but a few simple changes can make a world of difference to your body and mind.

May 2017, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by G.P. Anderson

A wise man once said you can’t look like a million dollars eating off the dollar menu. I wonder if he ever sold cars. In our business, part of creating a winning edge is the way you look and the impression you make. You know how to run your shop and work effectively, “butt” how big is yours? Do you still fit into the pants you wore your first day?

Just like 20 years ago, when the industry had to embrace email, texting and online research, we need to embrace eating with nutritional value. Seventy percent of all fast food is sold in the drive-thru. Morning, noon and night, we are bombarded with advertisements that tell us the new triple bacon cheeseburger will make us happy and the latest home fitness device will prevent it from affecting our waistlines — plus free shipping if we order now!

The hours, weeks, months and years pass. The health issues stack up along with the pounds. You’re drinking coffee all day to keep the buzz going and liquor in the evenings to slow you down. Before you know it, you’re ready to float over the next sporting event.

“You’re not taking lunch now, G.P. I have a deal coming your way!” “You’re not going home now, G.P. My customer just showed up!” The stress and pressure generated by this job messes with your body and tells your brain to consume whatever’s within reach.

My oldest son, Lucas James, is a celebrity personal trainer in Scottsdale, Ariz. He suggested I take a gallon of water to work, eat natural snacks like almonds and fruit, and get eight hours of sleep every night. Easy, cheap, highly effective.

Flexibility is the ability to adapt to change. Raise your odds of success by investing in a good scale and tracking your pounds the same way you track your PVR. And lest we forget, our customers spend thousands of dollars on automobiles and F&I products. They expect us to be sharp and alert. Fitness and attitude go hand in hand. Join the gym. Hire a personal trainer. OK, so it costs money. What are you spending on takeout? Invest those dollars in yourself.

Joe Girard is the world’s greatest car salesman. Even he worked out, every day. Fitness guru Jack LaLanne often asked, “Would you get your dog up in the morning with a cup of coffee, a doughnut and a cigarette?” Of course not. You’d be arrested!

Eat a big breakfast at home, have a healthy snack every two hours, and drink lots of H2O. Cut your caffeine to one or two cups a day. When you feel like drinking or smoking, take a walk or a bike ride instead. Think sharpening your stamina. Think advancing your career. Think the power of your will. You can do it. 

G.P. Anderson is finance director of Thielen Motors Chevrolet Buick in Park Rapids, Minn., and a 25-year industry veteran. He is ACE- and AFIP-certified, a 2008 F&I Pacesetter and winner of the inaugural 2011 F&Idol contest. Email him at


  1. 1. Matthew Hilty [ June 06, 2017 @ 06:41AM ]

    Thanks for sharing. I recently quit smoking and started exercising again. I used all the excuses for a few years, but I ultimately decided I didn't want to die in my chair. It's a major lifestyle change, but the only other option is more excuses and an early death. For what? Money I can't spend? So my employer recognizes my commitment? Higher PVR? I'd rather be around for my children. Again, thanks for sharing. The timing is perfect.

  2. 2. K.Rostomily [ June 06, 2017 @ 10:40AM ]

    Great article. It was very hard to be healthy in the dealership...especially when my healthy snacks would get raided by the mice that roamed the store at night lol!

  3. 3. Rose Quinn [ June 06, 2017 @ 12:28PM ]

    Super awesome and great reminders GP!!!! Love reading these.
    I have an issue with an employee right now whose comfort zone ends at her nose.. I'm going to write "Flexibility is the ability to adapt to change." on my office wall this week.. see if that sinks in while I'm meeting with her.

  4. 4. Shane B. [ June 06, 2017 @ 07:34PM ]

    Great read GP! Thanks for sharing. Trust your son is doing well too.

  5. 5. Frank Anthony [ June 07, 2017 @ 07:11AM ]

    It needed to be written. But I like the humorous touch. Keep the articles coming! Yours are the first I read.

  6. 6. C. Heitman [ June 15, 2017 @ 10:04AM ]

    GP your one in a million yourself! Do me a favor please and never stop being who you are, what you bring to the industry and the genuineness of all your articles. Best in life as life endorses you.

  7. 7. Oliver Braxton [ July 07, 2017 @ 08:20AM ]

    Being a Australian in New South Wales, I enjoy your articles. Car business here is some what different and some what the same. Either way it can be bloody hell at times. Keep up the great work and perhaps we will meet at the Summit. Cheers!


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