Ryan Serhant rarely misses a workout. By 5:30 a.m., every weekday, the 35-year-old Manhattan real estate broker and star of the Emmy-nominated reality television series “Million Dollar Listing New York” is in the gym.
Although his goal is to get in a full-body workout each morning, Serhant believes in switching up his daily workout routine to keep it interesting and stay motivated.
“On Monday, I may be doing deadlifts, working on lower-body strength on Wednesday and doing high-intensity cardio on Friday,” Serhant says.
While his toned physique reflects his commitment to health and fitness, Serhant admits he wasn’t always as disciplined. Growing up in Massachusetts, he remembers being a teen who struggled with weight issues and an insatiable sweet tooth.
“I loved eating Jell-O pudding, cake, ice cream and drinking sugary sodas,” Serhant admits. “I was 30 pounds overweight, but that changed when my parents built a makeshift gym in our basement and I learned how lifting weights made me feel better.”
Serhant believes his regular workouts also give him the energy and focus he needs to maintain his reputation as one of the top realtors in the world. His Serhant Team at Nest Seekers International is composed of more than 60 real estate agents and marketing support staff who have sold billions of dollars in real estate.
In addition to his busy real estate career, Serhant also launched his own entertainment and media company, Serhant Media Group, last year. He has a YouTube vlog with more than 300,000 subscribers and uses his social media presence (more than 2 million followers across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) to showcase real estate listings and offer fun and motivational business advice.
In February, Serhant and his wife, Emilia, announced the birth of their daughter, Zena, and this summer, his TV show “Million Dollar Listing New York” returns to Bravo.
His first book, “Sell It Like Serhant: How to Sell More, Earn More, and Become the Ultimate Sales Machine” (Hachette Books, September 2018), has become a playbook for those who want to succeed both in business and in life.
Although initially written with sales professionals in mind, Serhant says the majority of emails he receives praising his book aren’t from real estate or sales professionals.
“I’ve heard from doctors and dentists who are seeking to increase their business and writers who are looking for tips on how to sell their work,” he says. “I talk about how to identify the qualities that make each individual unique and special and how to use these attributes to set yourself apart from the crowd.”
In order to stay motivated while striving to accomplish your personal and professional goals, Serhant recommends embracing the following principles.
Tenacity: “Focus on putting one step in front of the other,” Serhant says. “If reaching a goal was easy, it would just be another item to cross off your to-do list. It takes strength and perseverance to get there.”
Resilience: “Every obstacle you encounter makes you stronger,” Serhant says. “If you aren’t challenged, you aren’t changing. Rather than feeling discouraged when you face an obstacle, look at it as proof that you’re making progress.”
Serhant admits that his early-morning workouts put him in the right frame of mind to tackle whatever challenges present themselves later in the day.
“The hardest part of my day is over when I leave the gym at 7 a.m.,” he says with a laugh. “If I miss a workout, I don’t feel as energized, awake or productive.”
In his book, Serhant talks about the four W’s: your work, your win, your why and your wall.
For Serhant, his “why” was revealed in 2008 while he was working as a struggling actor in New York City.
“One day, my credit card was declined,” Serhant says. “The thought of being broke and moving back home to live with my parents, in order to make ends meet, freaked me out.”
For Serhant, that moment served to be his “wall.”
“Your ‘wall’ is that memory you push away from, that serves to make you work harder,” Serhant says. “For me, my ‘wall’ was not wanting to fail and have to rely on my family financially.”
For others, a “wall” might mean leaving a bad job or relationship, or undergoing a health crisis that leads to embracing a healthier lifestyle.
When a friend suggested obtaining his real estate license, Serhant decided he had nothing to lose. His success in the field wasn’t instantaneous. In his first year, he made $9,000, yet he persevered and learned the importance of following up with clients and thinking on his feet. His hard work paid off: In 2017, The Serhant Team had their best year ever, completing $838 million in closed sales.
Train yourself to see food as fuel
After losing weight, Serhant says he learned to train himself to see food as fuel and began balancing his plate with fiber, healthy fat and protein.
For the past six months, Serhant has practiced intermittent fasting.
“For six days a week, I’ll eat between noon and 6 p.m.,” Serhant says. “I used to think people were crazy who did this, but I’ve seen the results and I may be addicted to it.”
Thanks to intermittent fasting, Serhant has lowered his body-fat percentage from 15 to 8 percent. To simplify meals, he uses a food service delivery program.
“For breakfast, I may have eggs and a protein shake,” he says. “Lunch and dinner are usually something like chicken with vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and cauliflower that I split into two meals and a protein shake.”
Saturdays are Serhant’s cheat days when he enjoys comfort foods, including pancakes, waffles, pizza and ice cream.
Learn to practice self-discipline
As part of his vlog series (available on YouTube and on his website), the real estate broker offers some of the motivational tips that he applies to his own life.
In one episode (vlog No. 66), Serhant discusses how to master the art of self-discipline.
“What are your weaknesses?” he asks. “What are the things you care about changing? Is your weakness your weight? If so, go into your kitchen and throw away all the crap that you own that is putting on weight. Drive home on the route that doesn’t take you past McDonald’s. Get an accountability buddy and tell them not to let you eat junk food, and do the same for them by helping to remove whatever temptations they may not have the discipline to change on their own.”
Serhant says the same principles can be applied to exercise, saving money and even finding more hours in the day.
“Once you figure out your weaknesses and temptations, you can move on to establishing goals and rewards,” Serhant says. “They can be hourly, daily or weekly goals, and your reward might be booking a vacation to a place you’ve always wanted to visit. Book it now, have it terrify you, and know that you’ll only be able to afford it if you put in the work you need to meet your goals.”
“Million Dollar Listing New York” returns August 1 at 9/8 Central on Bravo.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Ryan Serhant