The health habits of the world’s top billionaires

From counting calories to naked kitesurfing, welcome to the weird and wonderful world of billionaire fitness regimes.

Peter Iantorno March 31, 2015

The curious life of a man with a 10-digit bank account is inherently different from that of a normal person, or even that of a millionaire. Why? Because he knows that at any time, he could stop everything, jack in work for the rest of his days and he'd still have more than enough money to live a life of complete and utter luxury.

Just imagine what it would be like to be a billionaire. Living with all that money, the knowledge that you don't need to do another day's work in your life and that you can buy unlimited quantities of the finest food and drink the world has to offer.

Staying healthy can't be easy. Of course, in most cases the people who top these lists of the super-rich have earnt their place due to their hard work, determination, drive to succeed and never-say-die attitude - characteristics which lend themselves perfectly to resisting the temptations of idleness and gluttony, and staying in shape.

So it's no surprise to see that some of the world's top billionaires are also dedicated fitness freaks. Here are the health habits of some of the richest men on the planet:

David Murdock healthy

David Murdoch

Closing in on his 92nd birthday, David Murdoch, the billionaire CEO of Dole Food - the world's largest producers of fruit and vegetables - is still health personified. While building up his business empire amounting to some $3.1 billion, Murdoch has always stuck staunchly to his healthy-eating ethos, which he not only credits for giving him such a healthy lifestyle so far, but also claims will see him live to age 125!

According to an interview he gave to Forbes magazine, as well as eating a mostly vegetarian diet including approximately 20 servings of fruit and vegetables per day, Murdoch also exercises daily, riding horses, practicing yoga and even lifting weights. Maybe that 125th birthday party could be on after all...

Bill Gates healthy Bill Gates
The richest man in the world with a net worth of $79.2 billion, there's a lot to admire about Bill Gates (despite the controversy surrounding his foundation at the moment, which we've covered here). As well as his unrivalled wealth, the 59-year-old is also in pretty decent physical shape.

But how does he manage to find the time to keep fit amongst his doubtless packed schedule? Well, it turns out that the richest man on the planet likes to squeeze in an hour on the treadmill in the mornings. As you'd imagine for a man as busy as Gates, the workout time is far from wasted, as he likes to use his hour to think of business and philanthropy ideas - including, famously, the Big History project: an educational approach currently being piloted on high-school students in America.

Warren Buffett coke Warren Buffett
With a net worth of 72.3 billion, 84-year-old Warren Buffett has a rather less regimented approach to health and fitness than many of the world's other top billionaires. His simple philosophy is that there are no inherently bad foods, and the only reason people put on weight is because of overeating.

"If I eat more than 2,500 calories a day, I'm going to gain weight," he said while appearing on US TV channel CNBC. "If I eat less than 2,500 a day I’m going to lose weight. I’d like to choose the 2,500 calories that I eat. If somebody told me that I live a year longer by eating nothing but broccoli and asparagus from now on, I would just say... I’ll stick with the Cheetos and the Coke."

It's not an approach that is going to win the world's third richest man any praise from dietitians - especially as his company Berkshire Hathaway is a major investor in Coca-Cola - but if he's got to the ripe old age of 84 living that way, who is anybody to say he's not on to something?

Richard Branson ladies. Sir Richard Branson
And finally, with a net worth of 4.8 billion, he may not be quite in the same league as the likes of Gates and Buffett in terms of wealth, but when it comes to fitness, Richard Branson is up there with the best 'em. In an interview with The Daily Mail, the 64-year-old revealed intimate details of his health and fitness regime. "I pop into the gym when I'm travelling, play tennis and kitesurf," he said.

He also commented that while he still enjoys a drink every now and again while relaxing on his private island, he's always up early in the morning to, "swim round the island, which takes about an hour-and-a-half. It's beautiful and there are eagle rays and giant turtles to see."

It certainly sounds like an idyllic exercise routine, and that's before you even mention one of the more unusual ways Branson has kept fit in the past: kitesurfing with naked model Denni Parkinson on his back! Check out the video below to see what we mean. If only we could all work out on Necker Island...