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David MacDonald, CEO of Softchoice Corp., runs on the treadmill at his office gym. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)
David MacDonald, CEO of Softchoice Corp., runs on the treadmill at his office gym. (Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail/Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail)

CEO David MacDonald hones his competitive edge - on skis Add to ...

David MacDonald's workouts are going downhill quickly. For the second year, the CEO of Softchoice Corp., a Toronto-based technology distribution company, is training to race slalom and Super G. In the spirit of competition, the 54-year-old is setting an aggressive course to increase his speed on skis.

My goal:

"To improve my ranking by 15 spots."

My workout:

"I work with a coach at the Craigleith Ski Club who's a former member of the Canadian National Ski Team. I work on gates most weekends and do dry-land training.

"Most of my workout is running 25 miles a week along Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto close to my office. I use a GPS watch to monitor my BPM [beats per minute]and get my heart into a certain zone, keep it there and watch the distance. I'm working on improving my pace: I'm running nine-minute miles and I want to get it down to 8.5-minute miles by spring.

"Every second day I do two sets of 30 to 40 reps of leg press, and rotate in sit-ups, chin-ups, pull-downs, sit-ups."

My lifestyle:

"I travel to meet sales leaders, attend customer and investors meetings. We assist customers in selecting, acquiring and managing technology in the financial, manufacturing and public sector. I fly 100,000 miles a year in North America or 70 flights a year.

"I eat lot of fruits and yogurt in the morning before I get on the plane. I take cereal bars with me. Lunch is a salad. I avoid carbs at dinner, but I love fish, steak, pork and chicken. I'm a chef. I love to cook salmon or roast beef and I like to do a lot of French sauces. Desserts and cigarettes I shy away from, but I enjoy wine."

My motivation:

"To set a tone and leadership style with the organization to look after oneself and have a balanced lifestyle, keep energy up and keep [my]body in the kind of shape it takes to be a CEO and role model for 1,000 people."

My anthem:

"When preparing for skiing I like Coldplay's Viva La Vida."

My challenge:

"To make sure you don't find other things to interrupt your routine, challenging my time. So I reserve it so nobody else has dibs on that time. My secretary knows not to book anything between 6 and 8 a.m. I have to defend that time in the morning aggressively."

The critique

Power up the ski workouts

Meg Sharp, executive director of personal training at Cambridge Group of Clubs in Toronto, suggests Mr. MacDonald add power moves to boost his muscular strength, which will improve his skiing performance.

"David should have a personal trainer ensure he can perform a squat, split squat, lunge and dead lift. Once he has mastered these movements within a five-to-seven-rep range, he should incorporate plyometrics such as squat jumps, explosive lateral jumps and dynamic lunges."

Sprint to increase running speed

Ms. Sharp says interval training is the method Mr. MacDonald needs to follow if he wants to run faster.

Her prescription: "David should run a quarter-mile in 1 3/4 minutes at a seven-minute-mile pace, and then run a quarter-mile at an easy pace to recover. Repeat six times, working up to 10 intervals. To progress, he could increase the speed or duration of his intervals."

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