‘Cycling is my meditation.’ For the CEO of this health care startup, bike rides bring mental clarity

In our CEO wellness series, we ask executives about their day-to-day habits to gain insight into the tactics they use to minimize stress and maintain their well-being.

Adrian Aoun is founder and CEO of Forward, a startup aiming to be the first health care system to deliver high-quality health care to a billion people for free. Prior to founding Forward, Aoun was head of special projects for Larry Page at Google/Alphabet, where he founded one of the Alphabet companies, Sidewalk Labs.

Coffee or tea? And what do you put in it?
I’ve never been a big coffee guy, but a cup of tea every now and then is nice. Truthfully, I’m mostly just consuming industrial quantities of water constantly. The cooler, the better.

What is your go-to breakfast?
If I’ve been cycling, a big morning glass of orange juice post-workout is a must. I usually skip breakfast unless I’m meeting friends on the weekend. If I do find myself somewhere for breakfast, I’m usually looking for whatever their closest equivalent is to a “grand slam,” if I’m going to do it, might as well do it right!

Tell us about your workout routine.
I work out almost every day. Occasionally it’s going for a run, but most often it’s cycling. I live in San Francisco, near the Golden Gate Bridge, so most days I bike up north into Marin and through the mountains.

How many hours do you sleep on a typical night?
The Slacks usually stop coming by 10 pm or so, and I’m up around 5 am or 6 am It often takes me a while to fall asleep, so I sometimes need to delve through Reddit or tech news on my phone to help calm down my brain and help me fall asleep.

How do you de-stress?
Cycling is my meditation. I can’t be on my phone when I ride, so it gives me space to clear out my mental inbox and get to clarity on things that are running through my head but that I haven’t had the time to fully process yet. It also gives me time to call friends while I ride and just catch up and talk about life.

According to your phone, what’s your daily average screen time from last week?
Is 24 hours too much? No, I’m at 12 to 14 hours some days. It’s really just sleep and cycling when I can totally unplug.

What app do you use the most?
I’d love to say it’s something like Strava, but in reality it’s probably like Instagram or Reddit for when I need to unplug my brain and fall asleep.

When’s the last time you took a day off? What did you do?
I took a day off to go down to Santa Barbara with my cofounders at Forward and hang out for a long weekend. We’ve been building the company together for a little while now and took a few days to celebrate that. We biked together along the ocean and up into the mountains, hiked, and ate an unconscionable amount of tapas.

What’s one thing your company is doing to prioritize employee wellness?
Forward’s building the first at-scale health care system and trying to make health care more accessible and affordable by turning it from a service into a product. Obviously that extends to Forward employees as well—we give everyone a free Forward membership as well as resources like Modern Health for mental health.

What’s your favorite treat?
It’s a running joke at work and with friends how deeply I’m addicted to chocolate. If your restaurant has a dessert menu, I’m on top of the chocolate option like a chocolate-seeking missile.

What’s your favorite wellness product?
Whatever bike I’m riding into the mountains is easily the best wellness product for me, but on the digital side I really like the Oura ring and get a lot out of being able to track sleep and recovery.

Show us a photo of your happy place.

“The ride up to Mt. Tam is definitely a very, very happy place for me. It’s hard to imagine a better way to start the day.”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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