Strauss Zelnick

Q&A with Strauss Zelnick

The media mogul on biking, birthdays (and, yes, how he gets those biceps).

As a partner in ZelnickMedia Corporation and Chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software, which publishes the Grand Theft Auto series, Strauss Zelnick has provided millions of gamers with jolts of adrenalin. Just before the release of his first book, Success: A Concise Guide to Having the Life You Want, the media investor and executive told us how he gets his own rush.

Last week’s workout:
Monday morning I trained with my trainer, Andy Slizewski; later that day I did 45 minutes on the erg (I often do two-a-days). On Tuesday, I did 45 minutes of free weights by myself. On Wednesday, another 45 minutes on the erg. Thursday, I cycled in Central Park at 6 a.m. with a friend and worked out with two colleagues after work. Friday, I trained again with Andy. Over the weekend I boxed and took spin and yoga classes.

How he fits it all in:
At the beginning of the week, I enter all my workouts into my Outlook calendar. Just as I prefer not to cancel meetings, I try hard not to to cancel a scheduled workout. Exercise is a big part of my social life: It's how I get to see my friends and I also work out with my sons. And the ZelnickMedia culture encourages fitness; when I want some informal time with a colleague, we’ll often work out together.

Least favorite exercise:
I hate squats and pull-ups, but I do them.

His favorite decade so far:
I’d say right now is the best time ever. I feel really good. The only downside is that at my age, you probably have less time ahead of you than you have behind you. But you never know.

Best tip he’s ever gotten:
The book Younger Next Year encourages everyone to do 45 minutes of exercise, six days a week. Just like you go to work every day and don’t complain, you should suck it up and exercise every day. Just do it, in that Nike sort of way.

His latest obsession:
I’m excited about yoga. It’s not really consistent with my personality, but I like the way it makes me feel.

What his kids would say about him:
That I’m an exercise fanatic, but that I’m a reasonably good dad despite that.

What book is on his bedside table:
I just started a biography of Robert Oppenheimer.

Best gift he’s ever received:
A really nice car from my father-in-law for a big birthday. I'm not telling you the make of the car or which birthday it was.

What totally relaxes him:
A firm sports massage.

Biggest vice:
Chocolate.

Motivation secret:
Probably variety. And being with other people. You can’t slack off when you’re training with someone else.

Style icon:
It would be a disservice to any icon, given that I generally look as though I came out of the spin cycle. My view about style for a man is basically: less is more.

Health hero:
Probably Dave Zinczenko, editor in chief of Men’s Health.

Best vacation:
Every year we go to Clayoquot Wilderness Resort in Canada. It’s camping with really comfortable tents and beds and great food. It’s off the grid and it’s wonderful.

On his bucket list:
Put it this way: If I’m not living my life the way I want, I change it.

Number one reason for taking care of his body:
It makes me feel like I’m in my 20’s, despite exterior evidence to the contrary. It convinces me that anything is possible and allows me to live optimistically and enthusiastically.

Message he’d like to send to the world. (Only catch: It has to be 140 characters or less.):
Wouldn’t it be nice if we worked together to make things better instead of complaining that things are bad?

Photography by Sarah A. Friedman/Contour by Getty Images