Jesse Itzler Offers Education in High-Energy Living

Jesse Itzler Offers Education in High-Energy Living

Marcia Caller Jaffe

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Glean some out-of-the-box inspiration from our interview with Atlanta business rock star Jesse Itzler, a co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, a former hip-hop recording artist, an extreme athlete and a wildly successful entrepreneur.

Itzler co-founded Marquis Jet, which he sold to Berkshire Hathaway and its NetJets subsidiary, and ZICO Coconut Water, which he sold to Coca-Cola. He is raising four young children with wife Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. Besides all that, he is a motivating, positive, introspective and humble whirlwind of a man.

Jesse Itzler says his occupation “is to squeeze every ounce out of life.”
Jesse Itzler says his occupation “is to squeeze every ounce out of life.”

Basketball star LeBron James said Itzler’s book, “Living With a SEAL: 31 Days Training With the Toughest Man on the Planet,” was “hilarious.”

Itzler is speaking at a sold-out fundraiser for the Jewish Educational Loan Fund on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at Flourish in Buckhead. You can join the waiting list for tickets at

JELF has lent more than $10 million to more than 4,000 Jewish students in Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas and Virginia since 1961.

Jaffe: Reading your bio, I would infer that you are a daredevil.

Itzler: No, not really. I want to create an environment or pattern to challenge myself. Life gets hard. Experiences make it easier to deal with it.

My occupation or what I do for a living is building a life résumé. I don’t dwell on victories. I look for the next challenge. The harder, the more alive I feel. I am not one to quit. I push past discomfort. Yes, my occupation is to squeeze every ounce out of life.


Jaffe: Why do you support the Jewish Loan Educational Fund? You are headlining their Aug. 30 event.

Itzler: I think it’s a great cause to see how one’s dollars directly benefit others. I want to help and inspire the students who have benefited from JELF loans.


Jaffe: What is left for you to achieve on your bucket list? I know you have jogged 100 miles in 24 hours.

Itzler: I have business goals also, but my physical goals are to master Israeli krav maga (a martial art) and bike ride cross-country.


Jaffe: You are rearing four children under the age of 7. What is your philosophy toward that?

Itzler: I let each child experience his/her own journey. I want them to be able to handle difficult things, observe me using good habits and doing positive things.


Jaffe: I see your mother was an educator. What was your home life like?

Itzler: I was the youngest of four — sounds funny for someone 48 years old. It was a happy childhood. We were allowed a lot of freedom but with an iron fist. We had space and boundaries. We always had family dinner together. My mother had a cowbell (laughing). When she rang that bell, we all promptly returned home!

Also, my mother would not fly on a plane, so we took family road trips.


Jaffe: That’s ironic since you were in the aviation business. What healthy living tips can you share?

Itzler: I eat nothing but fruit before noon. I was greatly influenced by a book by Harvey Diamond, “Fit for Life.” By the way, cereal is a marketing ploy. I am anti-big-breakfast.


Jaffe: Leave us with some parting words that readers may not know about you.

Itzler: Hmm, that’s a tough one. I’ve been 30 for the past 18 years and will continue that for many more years. I do wish I had time to read more.


Jaffe: I get that you don’t rest much.

Itzler: That is correct.


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