How Tim Perreira is building a life around health, purpose, and total freedom
Leading Well: An interview with Tim Perreria, founder of PER clothing
Welcome to Leading Well: An interview series of leaders embodying healthy living to the benefit of all aspects of their lives. By sharing their experiences here, the hope is that maybe one story helps you in some small way, in turn so you can lead well.
I started following Tim on LinkedIn a few months back and am so glad that I did. Not only is he creating a clothing company around sustainable practices, he’s doing so on the foundation of taking care of his own health, and inspiring others to do the same.
Talk about leading well!
Right from the beginning I could tell how ambitious he is. Along with running his business, he’s actively engaging with his audience on social media, creating content across a variety of platforms, and practicing what he preaches every single day.
Plus, there are few people I see on LinkedIn promoting cold showers as much as he does!
One thing I really appreciate about the work he does, is his willingness and courage to open up about mental health. He’s actively sharing his own story, and slowly trying to break down the stigma one conversation at a time.
How does taking care of your health and fitness impact your life as a whole?
It's shaped so much of who I've become. I love looking back to the first time hitting the gym at 14 years old to get stronger for baseball and how that built a passion that has led me here.
It's more than eating chicken breasts and doing deadlifts. It's about loving yourself, the commitment to constantly learning and grow. It's about building self-trust through perpetually keeping your word to yourself (i.e., I told myself I'd wake up at 5 a.m. today, take a cold shower, meditate and go to the gym. Am I going to keep my word to myself or am I going to hit snooze, bail on the shower and workout another time? There is such power when we earn our own trust).
And when you trust yourself with the little things, you trust yourself with the bigger things in life. To take on more, make a massive leap, try new things, dare to be great.
So for me it's about showing myself that I care deeply about my own wellbeing and have that self-respect. And I feel like we can't accomplish what we want to in life if we don't have that solid foundation of self-love.
Why is self-care so important to you?
From 2016 to mid 2020, I battled depression and a slew of other health issues. Though I was working out a ton and eating fairly healthy, I was not in a good spot. I realized I couldn't be there for others in my life the way I wanted to be if I didn't start taking care of myself first.
What are 3 health habits that you focus on the most, and why those specifically?
Nutrition - Eat whole foods. No processed shit or sugar and I really limit alcohol now. I feel so much of our systemic health issues can be solved by just eating real, whole foods. Is it an animal or plant? Great! Eat it. Forget fad diets and just get back to the basics.
Move daily - I'm in the gym strength training 4-5 days a week and jiu jitsu 10-15 hours a week. I feel it's imperative for us to just go sweat! Get out of our minds and into our bodies - feel the connection, push through the suck, and celebrate the fact you started.
Meditation - I just crossed the one year mark on meditating every day and absolutely cannot imagine my life without it now. It has helped me be more patient, creative, loving, selfless, thankful, driven, and really get more comfortable realizing what I can and cannot control.
Who supports you on your health and fitness journey, and in what ways do they help you?
Hmm, I'd say my parents, but they unconditionally love and support me with anything I do.
It's more me supporting their health journey and doing whatever I can to help them keep striving to get healthier. Being a resource or sounding boards for others with health has become a huge passion of mine.
What advice would you have for busy leaders, professionals, parents, or anyone looking to take control of their health and fitness habits for good?
First, really look internally to figure out your WHY first. Is it to be able to be there for your kids? Be a good leader to your team? Help support your parents? Maybe you just want to feel good and vibrant and have a high-performing body for as long as possible.
Second, it can be overwhelming to think of all the things you COULD be doing with health and compare it to where you're at. Focus on one thing and start super small. Build trust with yourself first. Keep your promises to yourself and start to become the kind of person that prioritizes their health - your mind needs some time to trust + learn what it's capable of.
Want to start working out? Just focus on laying out your workout gear on the floor the night before. Then move on to just getting dressed in that gear. Then on making it to the gym. But take it one step, one day at a time.
Start small, but make sure you start.
What’s something that you tried in the past that didn’t work for you, and what did you learn from the experience of trying it?
Really anything long form. I have a hard time staying engaged with something like 20+ min of spin or running. I can workout for 2 hours if it's changing and has me doing different things, but 20 mins straight of spin makes me cringe.
I think it actually made me realize this parallels with a lot of things in my life and showed me there's an opportunity for me to lean into it to figure out why I prefer change and stimulation over the alternative.
What’s a belief you used to have about being healthy and fit that you recently changed your mind on and why?
The idea that I'll be happier when I get a six pack, lift a certain amount of weight, or weigh a certain number.
Goals are great and serve a purpose, but I was tied up in the end result thinking it'd make me feel like I made it (hint, it didn't).
But through that process I've learned that health is not a six pack or weighing 185 pounds - it's instead the daily decision to act in alignment with my values. To think, OK if I value health, what decision would I make here? And let that guide me.
So at the risk of being too cliche, it became defined much more about the journey than the destination.
What’s your guilty pleasure food?
Coffee ice cream. Can't keep it in the house for more than 12 hours.
However much is in front me, it will all be consumed!
Favourite type of exercise and why?
I'll say two, I fell in love with kettlebells during the pandemic. I had one 53 pounder lent to me by my gym and it got me through the tough months. So functional for core strength, stability, cardio, unilateral work, and so many fun skills to keep your mind working.
But I love jiu jitsu. I do 10-15 classes a week now - it's amazing for strength of course, but even better for the mind to keep it learning, and incredible cardio workout. Shoutout to Lōgōs in Denver! :)
Favourite meal of the day and why?
Breakfast one million percent! I'm not sure of the why since it's definitely more of a biological drive than a conscious decision, but ever since I was a kid I've loved to eat massive breakfasts.
Now instead of 6 Eggos, 3 bowls of cinnamon toast crunch, 3 scrambled eggs and a bagel, I've switched to healthy options but at times the same volume!
Mostly just packed with protein, veggies, and healthy fats to hold me over until later in the day.
An activity you’ve never tried before but really want to do?
Kite surfing. Living near the bay in San Francisco for a year, I loved seeing those guys rip on the water for hours. Looked so fun to be cruising on the open water and catching massive air like that.
I was actually going to take my first lessons in St. Martin on my 30th birthday a few years ago, but learned it was a 2-3 day commitment and was leaving the next day. Soon enough!
A famous person you’d want to workout with and why?
Marcus Filly. Not famous by most people's definition, but fairly well known in the fitness/CrossFit space. I love how he approaches his content, message, and just his ethos. Very intentional with nutrition, workouts, and his mindset on building a functional body.
His programming was the first one I ever followed that I felt strong, looked good, and never felt burned out or injured. Would be such a great learning experience for me to get next to him for 60+ minutes.
If you could go back in time, what’s one thing you’d like to tell your past self in regards to taking care of your health?
It all starts up top. Your mind is the foundation on which you can build true vitality.
What to do next
Here are my key takeaways from my interview with Tim.
Understand your why. Get crystal clear on the reason you want to become healthier. When you know why you want to do something, it makes the “how” much easier.
Start small and stay patient. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much. Make a promise to yourself that you can keep, and continue to stick with the habit for as long as possible so you can reap the rewards.
Focus on the basics. Eat mostly whole foods. Move everyday. Take care of your mental health. No need to complicate things more than they need to be.
About Tim Perreira
Former college athlete turned tech sales pro, Tim struggled to find purpose after sports. Years of job hopping, while having 'success' in sales roles, left him feeling unfulfilled and looking for answers for why nothing was working for him. He had made President's Club, gotten raises, been promoted, but felt a massive hole in life.
Doing all the right things to become successful left him feeling anything but.
After being fired four months into the pandemic for not hitting sales quota, Tim made the decision to follow his passion for mental health + wellness and create a company focused on improving the health of men. His purpose now is to help people get healthy, do the things they've always wanted to do, and crush the stigmas that have plagued men's health.
He founded PER, which creates men's workout shorts from recycled plastic bottles. Check our PER clothing now!
Tim is also running a new program called The Gameplan, which is a 30 day plan focused on the fundamentals of holistic health.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, grab a copy of my Fit for Life Method, 5 simple habits you can follow to become the healthiest version of yourself. It’s yours when you sign up!