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Early Bird Exec David Pacey

Gathering Energy through Morning Exercise


Among the growing ranks of early risers are more than a few corporate leaders. Grand Hyatt Taipei general manager David Pacey uses early mornings to foster his health, boost his energy, and achieve tranquility.



Gathering Energy through Morning Exercise

By Ming-ling Hsieh
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 390 )

As he warms up with a series of sun salutations,Grand Hyatt Taipei general manager David Pacey's breaths gradually grow longer and deeper. As he moves through his Ashtanga yoga routine, his sole focus is controlling his breathing, the bustle of downtown Taipei or the arrival of the Global Hyatt CEO that afternoon seemingly not part of his world.

Pacey enjoys his solitary mornings, when he generates a day's worth of energy and calm doing aerobic yoga or cycling up the hills north of the city.

It's my time,"Pacey says as he slows down. " It's Dave's time."

Eight years ago, when he was promoted from the food and beverage department to become the general manager of Hyatt's hotel in Manila, his world was turned upside down. In the habit of resting or exercising during slower times of the day for food and beverage services (such as between 2 and 5 in the afternoon), he had to change his entire routine and reschedule his personal time to the early morning.

"A hotel is like a city that doesn't shut down, he says. "Once my workday begins, it potentially could continue on throughout the day, and never stops."

Pacey now routinely gets up at 4 in the morning. If it's a yoga day, he drinks a cup of green tea that slowly helps his body awaken. At 5, he heads to the hotel where he parks his car and then takes a taxi to a nearby yoga center for a 6 a.m. class. He's back at the hotel by between 7:30 and 8:00, ready to begin his day.

On other days, he grabs an energy bar, banana or toast for breakfast and then heads outside the Taipei American School where he gathers with some cycling club friends for a 90-minute ride to Beitou or Yangmingshan.

The early morning exercise energizes him for his workday. Four years ago, Pacey began studying yoga, and quickly came to feel his body recharging its batteries.

"My "Qi" was not disrupted"says Pacey, who has been in Asia for most of his career and appreciates Eastern philosophy. "It energized me, and gave me a nice, calm, solid foundation for a busy day."

His morning time also instills him with an inner calm.

On his yoga days, he takes a free practice class, where everybody follows their own routine and moves at his or her own pace. When he?s out cycling, although he?ll chat with his friends along the way, his mind is completely focused on riding.

Pacey concentrates on his own breathing, making sure it is smooth, strong and balanced.The concentration and calm brought by his exercise sessions give him a fresh start mentally that leaves him ready to tackle the day?s tasks.

That?s the advantage of free time in the early morning, Pacey says. Although he had his own time during his days running the food and beverage department, it often came when his body had little energy and he needed to rest. Or he would unconsciously think about his duties for the evening that were soon approaching.

" The earlier part of the day is that point of time where I could be selfish and do what I want, and not feel bad about doing this, "Pacey says with a laugh, fully appreciating the time of day when problems have yet to explode in his face and he can enjoy himself.

David Pacey's Early Bird Secrets

1. Get plenty of rest: Pacey does not force himself to get up early every morning. If he has had to work late or attend a late-night activity that prevented him from getting to bed early, he takes stock of his situation and doesn't force himself.

2. Develop a routine: Make getting up early a regular part of your life.

3. Find reasons to be excited about getting up early. Don't let it become a struggle or torture, because that makes it impossible to appreciate the joy of the early morning.

Translated from the Chinese by Luke Sabatier