The C-Suite Insider: Clif Bar CEO Kevin Cleary Pays Workers to Exercise 2.5 Hours a Week

And don't expect CEO Kevin Cleary to respond to email after 6:30.

ByABC News
October 28, 2014, 4:35 AM

— -- Health buffs and athletes know Clif Bar and Company for its organic energy bars. They may not know that the company pays its employees to work out, an initiative led by super-active CEO Kevin Cleary.

As part of ABC News' "C-Suite Insider" series, Cleary gave the lowdown on his personal habits and what makes him and Clif Bar tick.

Based in Emeryville, California, and founded in 1992, the company was named after founder Gary Erickson's father, Clifford.

Cleary explained how he maintains an active schedule with three young sons. It helps that employees at the privately-held company are paid two and half hours each week of work time to exercise.

"We have a great gym," Cleary told ABC News at the first annual Quickbooks Connect conference hosted by Intuit in San Jose, California, last week. "We encourage everyone to get out and exercise."

How many miles a week do you run?

Twenty miles a week.

"I sit down on Sundays and I map out my week," Cleary said. "This sounds ridiculous, but I look at my week from Monday to Sunday and I carve out the time: when can I get rides in, when can I get runs in, then I plan it right then. I've got them on Excel spreadsheets since 1999."

His workouts sometimes include running during the work day.

"It's a good example for me to set for people at the company," he said. "There's a lot of times I'll go out for a run then I'll walk back through the company; and I'm going to a meeting and I'm still sweating, because I'm squeezing the workout in."

How much sleep do you get?

"I try to get eight hours, but inevitably it's considerably less. When I get up in the morning is when my first kid gets up. I've got three little boys. It is like clockwork: at 6:30 a.m. they are in our room, 'Dad! Dad! Let's go downstairs and hang.' So, that's my alarm clock," he said. "For hours of sleep, I would guess it's around six."

Do you ever sign off?

"I don't send out emails at night. I don't send them out on the weekend. I may do work, but I won't send out an email," Cleary said. "I don't want to set the expectation that people should be working at 7 or 8 at night. I get home at 6:30. I put the phone in my home office. I leave it there, then I'm just dedicated to my kids. Once a week, I cut out of work early and I'm coaching my twins -- they are 6 -- their soccer team, and I coach their baseball team. It's important for people to see me doing that and see it's okay."

How long does it take you to bike to work?

"I try to do this once or twice a week where I leave the house around 7 and I commute. It's about 25 miles to work on bike. Then at the end of the day, I'm back on my bike, getting back home. It's a great way to just think about things, think about business, think about my life. It's my time," Cleary said. "It takes about 1 hour, 20 minutes each way."

How do you hydrate?

"Water. I actually don't drink any caffeine," he said. "Never coffee, sodas, stuff like that. Water is what gets me through. I make sure I've got a full glass with me I'm carrying around any time."

What do you eat when you're throwing up your feet?

As the leader of a health foods company, it's not surprising that Cleary is a fan of salads and vegetables, but his favorite foods during his celebratory moods are a different story.

"I celebrate with a glass of Zin or a Cab, then it's with a big bowl of pasta with my grandmother's sauce," he said. "That's been handed down two generations to my wife, who still makes it, and my mom. It reminds me of her and where we've come from. I'm of Italian decent. It's a ragu, it's hearty. I actually don't know the recipe, but my wife and my mom know it. The boys don't know it."

Favorite music and TV?

"I am a huge country music fan. I love Tim McGraw and Blake Shelton."

American Ninja Warrior is his favorite television show.

"My kids now want me to build an obstacle course in our backyard."

And yes, he would try out to be on the show.

"I've kicked it around with some of our trainers at work. I would," he said. "Right now, I have my sight set on a half Ironman next year, but after that I would love to give that a shot."