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 [email protected].