Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Corporate Fitness: Free Workout Friday

C  Users kgootee Dropbox Images Worksite Fitness resized 600We don’t really know how other management companies do what they do for their clients; corporate fitness services aren’t easy to secret shop.  But we are great at what we do – we’ve got the satisfaction survey feedback and testimonials to back that up.  If your company works with NIFS in their corporate fitness center, there are a TON of services our staff provides to your employees at no extra cost.  Yes, that’s right.  We give a TON of services that are FREE to your members.  We take the “it costs too much” barrier for much of your workforce out of the equation up front because our primary interest is in helping your people live well. We don’t have shareholders to impress, and we don’t put up fancy bells and whistles that mask a very lean menu of complimentary services.  Nope – we’re not fancy-schmancy.  Instead we are a hard working, compassionate crew who are focused on serving your employees.

So enough babbling about us.  We’ve provided a FREE workout for you below along with a listing of some of our many complimentary services that are available to your employees when you provide NIFS as the staffing partner for your corporate fitness center.  There are a lot of great benefits we provide to the client as well – to find out more about those benefits, contact us.

This workout includes both strength exercises as well as cardio intervals to really kick up the intensity and burn more calories in a short amount of time.

  1. Body weight squats: 12-15 reps
  2. Push-ups (regular or on knees): 10-12 reps
  3. High knees: 30-45 sec.
  4. 1-arm dumbbell row: 12-15 reps per arm
  5. Alternating lunges: 20 reps (10 per leg)
  6. Mountain climbers: 30-45 sec.
  7. Shoulder press: 12-15 reps
  8. Overhead tricep extension: 12-15 reps
  9. Bicep curl: 12-15 reps

*Go back to #1 and repeat workout for a total of 2-3 sets, as time allows.

Finish with one round of each of the following for core:

  1. Stability ball crunch: 20 reps
  2. Russian twist: 20 reps (10 per side, alternating)
  3. Core plank: hold until fatigue
  4. Supermans: 20 reps

Want more workouts like this? Consider using NIFS to professionally staff your worksite wellness or fitness center. Here is a list of all the completely free services that NIFS’ staff members can offer to your employees:

  • Exercise Consultations- A NIFS health/fitness specialist will sit down with the employee, asking him/her specific questions relating to their currently level of activity, past experience with exercise, exercise preferences, and goals in order to make detailed recommendations.
  • Exercise Prescriptions- Upon completing a consultation, your employees will be able to receive a detailed workout plan from a NIFS health/fitness specialist. The employee will run through the workout at least once with a staff member to insure that he/she understands the workout, demonstrates proper form, and feels confident repeating the workout on their own for the following 6-12 weeks. Members may have repeated exercise prescriptions.
  • Individual Fitness Assessments (IFA)- Employees will have the opportunity to schedule a series of exercise tests to gauge their current level of fitness in five different categories: body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic capacity and flexibility. The NIFS health/fitness specialist will administer the tests accurately and give a thorough breakdown of the employees of their results, as well as show comparisons to national averages for their age/gender. These results prove to be valuable in helping the employee more clearly define their exercise goals.
  • Routine Blood Pressure Screenings- Any employee may utilize the NIFS staff to routinely check his/her blood pressure. The NIFS staff will keep a log of the readings that the employee can share with his/her family physician, which can assist in decisions of medication. When high blood pressure is identified, NIFS staff can make recommendations for exercise, diet and stress level to help lower those levels.
  • Educational Print Materials- Each month, NIFS staff will provide one newsletter, one John Journal and at least two bulletin boards to be posted throughout the worksite. These materials include a wide range of topics, and the content covers national health observances and events specific to that particular month.
  • Stretch Breaks- If you are responsible for hosting a long meeting for your employees, contact NIFS staff to present a “stretch break.” Stretch breaks are designed to last 5-10 minutes and will leave your employees more energized and tension-free, keeping them more alert and productive in the middle of lengthy meetings.
Topics: corporate wellness corporate fitness program corporate fitness worksite wellness muscle toning NIFS corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment weight training

Corporate Fitness: Foam Roller Therapy for Beginners

foam rollerYou may have seen foam rollers in your corporate fitness center and wondered what to do with them or how they benefit the body. Using a foam roller involves a technique called self-myofascial release. The idea is that when deep pressure is applied to areas that have been overworked or carry tightness, the soft tissue tension is released, allowing for better flexibility, improved performance, and decreased pain.

The good news is there aren’t many wrong ways to use the roller. You can use this tool on the back, quads, hamstrings, hips, glutes, IT band, and more. Typically, you will lie on the roller with the affected area pressing into the foam. Then, use your body weight to slowly roll back and forth on the roller.

You can compare the feeling of the foam roller to a deep-tissue massage. Some people will find the pressure to be therapeutic as it breaks down tension that they have been experiencing. For other people, the pressure can be too much, especially on tender areas, so it may be borderline painful. Start by rolling gently, perhaps supporting some of your body weight, so that it is not all bearing down on the roller.

Runners especially tend to benefit from foam roller therapy. When used on a regular basis, it can prevent tightness in the back, hips, and legs. If your corporate fitness center does not have a foam roller, consider investing in one of your own. They are inexpensive, ranging in price from $20 to $40 at your local sporting goods store. This article shows a foam roller routine that can be done once per day, leading to benefits in only two weeks.

Topics: corporate fitness corporate fitness centers pain relief

Corporate Fitness Review: Insanity® (Part 1: Pros)

man wiping sweat resized 600DIG DEEP! This is the encouraging motto of the Insanity® fitness DVD workout that is captivating the fitness world. This DVD set showcases the workout that was featured on the Dr. Oz show. All types of exercisers, from former athletes to soccer moms, are taking the challenge. It promises to burn fat and give you the toned look of a beach body.

With this workout's allure, you are probably curious to know if it's the workout for you. This post is dedicated to the pros of the Insanity series. See part 2 for the cautions to be considered for this type of training.

Shaun T, the creator of the 60-day total body conditioning plan, gives you 10 action-packed workout routines that will challenge your body through plyomeric interval training. This style of training is one of the hardest workouts on the market, characterized by high-intensity exercises with little to no rest in between. Recent studies have shown that high-intensity interval training can be just as effective as traditional exercise. If you are conditioned enough to handle the workout, it can be effective for weight loss and muscle toning. Other pros of the DVD set include the following:

  • The exercises require little or no equipment. Many are body-weight exercises that require little space to perform.
  • It includes a variety of specific workouts, which allows you to change the workout from week to week.
  • You receive a nutritional guide that emphasizes the importance of consuming the right amount of calories to sustain an intense workout regimen.

If you are well conditioned, this style of exercise can be very effective. However there are some concerns of injury associated with intense exercise. Read “Corporate Fitness Review: Insanity® (Part 2: Cons)” to learn how you can make the workout a bit saner.  

Topics: corporate fitness centers high-intensity workouts interval training DVDs

Top 10 Corporate Fitness Center Management RFP Questions

handshaking partners resized 600In our more than 20 years of managing clients' fitness centers, we’ve filled out our fair share of requests for proposals (RFPs). We’ve seen hundreds of questions, and we’ve written hundreds of pages. (It’s a lot of tree-killing, we know.)

I’ll be honest: we’d rather just get to know a client, talk about if and how we can meet their needs and exceed their expectations, and then build a business partnership from there. The whole RFP thing is, well, impersonal and frankly exhausting. That’s ironic considering this business is about relationships; helping people improve their health is about as personal as it gets.

Of course, I understand a company’s need to benchmark all candidates and set up some kind of apples-to-apples comparison among vendors. But there has to be a better way to do that “do we want to do business together?” dance.

Despite my griping, RFPs are indeed here to stay, and we’re not always on the back side of an RFP. Occasionally we get asked to outline some relevant RFP questions prior to the issuing of the request. After all the question-and-answer we’ve worked through, I thought I’d put these out there as our top 10 favorite questions to answer. Some of the questions make it on our top 10 because we feel confident with our answers. Other questions made it onto the list because it helped us improve our service to current clients. A few, and maybe you can spot them, made it to the list because of how downright ridiculous they are.

In no apparent order, here are NIFS's top 10 favorite RFP questions:

  1. Describe your candidate interview process. Describe the credentials of your fitness staff.
  2. Explain your philosophy on collaborating with other wellness vendors. Provide examples of when you have worked with other vendors to create well-rounded programs for your clients.
  3. What steps do you take to provide a safe fitness center for the members?
  4. How do you measure member satisfaction? Provide an example of a tool you use to measure satisfaction.
  5. Do you have any experience implementing fitness trails? Would you be able to support this initiative in our employee park?
  6. Please provide a summary of what you expect us (the client) to do to make the onsite fitness center successful.
  7. Explain your experience at designing and equipping corporate fitness centers for other clients.
  8. What services are provided to fitness center members free of charge? What services does your staff provide that are fee-based?
  9. Do you have any experience with bicycle loan programs? We would like to consider having bicycles available for checkout for employees to use for exercise or as transportation from one building to another. Describe how you can support this initiative.
  10. What is your philosophy on leasing versus purchasing equipment?

 Feel free to use these questions in your next RFP, or call me to discuss other options. If you have a ridiculous question to add to this list, please leave your comment below. We’re all ears!

If you’d like NIFS to fill out an RFP for fitness center management for your business, contact Bethany Garrity at or 317-274-3432 x208. We’ll do it, but we’d rather spend time getting to know you, discussing your needs, and deciding whether the business partnership is mutually beneficial.

Topics: corporate fitness centers corporate fitness managment Fitness Center RFP request for proposal

Top 3 reasons to outsource fitness center management

Emily works with member.jpgOf course, it’s horribly self-serving for us to say that staffing your onsite fitness center and wellness initiatives isn’t a DIY (do it yourself) project.  We’re not above shameless self-promotion, but the truth is, the consequences of making fitness center management a DIY initiative can be costly.  Read on to learn NIFS top three reasons to outsource fitness center management of your retirement community or worksite fitness center. 

Reason #1: Your actual dollar cost is only part of the cost/benefit picture

If you’re reading this thinking, “Outsourcing is expensive – way more expensive than hiring my own personnel”, you’re right.  Of course, costs come in two types: direct and indirect.  So don’t stunt your thinking about this by looking only at the invoice from the outsourcing partner against your compensation profile for your own employee.

Reason #2: Outsourcing fitness center management provides expertise you can't build on your own

We would never lean toward such exaggerations as to say that health promotion, fitness, wellness (insert your favorite name for it here) is akin to rocket science.  It’s not hard, like organic chemistry hard.  But it’s challenging in that call center, customer service kind of way.  Let’s face it, anyone one who works in customer service knows that the hardest, and most rewarding, part of their job is working with the customer.  NIFS staff are in that same customer service spot.

To that end, there is a benefit to having a pool of like-minded peers who are doing the same type of work, sharing in successes, problem-solving through challenges, and brainstorming new ideas together.  When you hire an outsourcing organization to provide your staffing, they have that built in peer support.  When you hire your own wellness professional – they’re essentially on their own to build a peer network of support.

In NIFS case, the support network extends well beyond peer support.  Our staff-built intranet provides program creation ideas, internal form links, peer-to-peer continuing education and more.  All of these staff resources are a benefit to our clients. When they hire NIFS, they not only get their own manager, they get indirect access to our other 70+ like-minded professional peers.

Reason #3: Outsourced partners are experts in fitness so that you don't have to be.

Risk management related to both the physical spaces and the programming connected to those spaces is an important consideration for our clients.  They don’t lose sleep over their liability exposure in our programs though.  Maybe that’s because we’ve been managing corporate and CCRC fitness centers and wellness programs for more than 20 years.  Maybe it’s because all of our staff -- administrators, managers, and specialists – are all fitness and wellness experts.  We know the industry standards for waiver language, pre-activity screening, industry-appropriate certifications, subcontractor liability management, etc.  Speaking of which, when was the last time you checked the status of the liability insurance for your contracted group fitness instructors?

For more on assessing liability in a corporate fitness program, download our white paper here.

To read about managing liability in a retirement community fitness center, download this white paper.

If you’re the “I’ll fix my own brakes” or, “I’ll build my own home addition” type, then you’re more adventurous then I and perhaps you should hire your own wellness professional.  If you’re looking for an outsourcing solution that is more trustworthy and reliable than your mechanic, and less expensive than your home addition, consider checking NIFS out. 

Read our case studies (Sagewood | Marquette | NextGear) to see how we’ve provided scalable and cutting edge solutions for our clients.

Learn how we find the best staff in the business.

Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness Wellness in the Workplace employee wellness senior center solutions corporate fitness centers senior fitness fitness success Fitness Center

When Upper Management Exercises in the Corporate Fitness Center

This blog was written by Mechelle Meadows. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

workplace fitnessWe’ve all learned that exercise can play an enormous role in lowering one’s stress level and boosting a person’s mood. Supervisors in the workforce are no different—regular exercise has been shown to help those in management roles more effectively cope with their stressors.

This article writes that, unfortunately, when supervisors become overwhelmed with workplace pressures, their direct subordinates are the ones who become victims of the supervisors’ venting, hostile behavior, or negative comments. Therefore, regular exercise routines can not only enhance the physical and mental health of the supervisors, but also the wellbeing of the employees working for them.

Another reason why supervisors, especially those in a company’s upper management, should exercise is to lead by example. When you talk to an average new employee about exercising at the worksite, one of their fears is that their boss might view them as slacking off or just looking for ways to get out of work. When supervisors make exercising in their corporate fitness centers a priority, it shows to their subordinates that taking time for one’s own health is important and acceptable, provided that work duties and deadlines are still being met.

On a larger scale, when upper management, including CEOs and vice presidents, make fitness a priority, it sets a healthy climate for the entire company.

If you are a supervisor of even one individual, consider how your healthy—or unhealthy—choices can impact those around you. Set the standard in your work environment by becoming a leader in health.

Topics: stress corporate fitness centers productivity businesses corporate rewards Fitness Center health culture

Corporate Fitness: Four Ways to Relieve Sore Muscles

This blog was written by Lisa Larkin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

elderly woman stretching resized 600When starting a new exercise program, you may get sore. Muscle soreness comes from the breakdown of muscle fibers. But don’t let that drive you away from the corporate fitness center. Here are four good ways to ease the pain.

  • Rest from lifting and go for a light walk. More than likely, you are sore from strength training or lifting weights. Your body may need a rest day from the weights, but go for a light walk to get some blood flow to the sore muscles. Sitting around could make the soreness worse.
  • Take a hot bath. Soaking in a hot bath will help your circulation and soreness.
  • Use foam rollers or massage. Rolling out your muscles on foam rollers will help to work the soreness out, although it may hurt a little at first, just like with massaging the muscles. Start out gently rubbing or rolling the muscles, and then as you work the soreness out you can target the muscles more aggressively.
  • Stretch after you work out. Don’t skip the stretching component of fitness! Spend about 20 minutes stretching after your workouts.

 If you are just getting back into working out, always start out slow. If you start with long, intense workouts and then cannot move the next day due to such painful muscle soreness, you will be more likely to skip the next few days. Don’t skip days; just focus on areas of the body that are not sore.

Next time you overdo it in the corporate fitness center, remember these tips for relieving your pain and keeping up your workouts.

Topics: exercise at work exercise corporate fitness centers weight training

Tackling Workplace Fitness at Lunchtime

This blog was written by Anna Hiple. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

workout at work, lunchtime yogaDo you find it difficult to make exercise part of your daily routine? You may be surprised at just how easy it is to squeeze in bouts of activity. Lunchtime is one such opportunity. Not only will you torch a few calories, you’ll tackle your afternoon tasks with a clear mind and increased energy levels.

Hit the Corporate Fitness Center

Consider visiting a local or corporate fitness center to complete your own workout or take a class. Just be sure to increase the intensity (think circuit training) to compensate for the fact that you may be performing a shorter workout than normal. Leaving your office for a walk or a run is also an appealing option to many people. Don’t want to do it alone? Organize a walking group! On days like these, it’s probably a good idea to bring your lunch from home to ensure you have enough time to eat.

Exercise in Your Office

No time to get away from your home or office? Mix bodyweight strength-training exercises such as pushups, squats, lunges, and sit-ups with cardiovascular exercises like marching, jumping jacks, stationary jogging, or jumping rope. Small hand weights or resistance bands can be tucked away in a drawer for a workout at a moment’s notice.

Just Get Moving at Lunch

At the very least, get up and get moving on your lunch break. At work, walk a few flights of stairs or do some laps around the building. If you need to purchase your lunch, skip the company cafeteria and walk to a restaurant (a healthy one!) that’s farther away.

Topics: exercise at work worksite wellness corporate fitness centers exercies at your desk

Olympic Inspiration - Mind and Body Matter

This blog was written by Bethany Garrity. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

There’s a good chance on this Monday morning that you have a little bit of an Olympic hangover after opening weekend of the 2012 games in London.  Yes, sports fans, they have arrived!  After all the qualifiers, prelims, and other drama (security debacle anyone?), the torch has been passed and the highly anticipated amateur sporting event has begun.

Did you watch the opening ceremonies?  Was it what you expected?

Our blog is full of articles that talk about ways to stay well, tips for getting in more exercise, ideas for getting the most out of our staff in your corporate fitness center or retirement community fitness center, etc.  And if you're reading regularly, you've probably read the recommendation that adults get 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week.

Did you know that, depending on the sport, many Olympians train anywhere from 3-5 hours per day with typically only one day of rest?  Eighteen to 30 hours per week!  That really puts my struggle to get a 30 minute run into perspective!

I heard a story recently about the history of the games, and, it turns out that the Greeks originally intended the games to focus on more than just body.  They believed that the mind was an important part of the games.  So there used to be (wait for it) poetry competitions as part of the games!  Who knew?!

Why, you ask, is poetry no longer part of this globally loved tradition?  Ironically, globalization of the games made it harder for translation of submitted poems to be effective, and,  according to Olympics organizers, quality was also an issue.  Poetry fell out of the games in the 1948 Olympics. 

We've returned to London for the 30th Olympiad, and I'm on the edge of my seat for what great stories will surface about the amateur athletes around the globe who've come together in London in pursue of the gold.  In the Olympic spirit, I’ve left my own poem below about the games.  (I’m more of an athlete than I am a poet…thank goodness!) Olympic Torch resized 600

Roses are red
It’s time for the Olympics

If you’re moved by the ceremony, the athleticism, the purity of the games, take a stab at your own Olympic-sized poem in the comment section below. If poetry isn't your thing, play our Olympic trivia challenge on our Facebook page.  

Topics: Be inspired senior wellness programs fitness corporate fitness centers Olympics

Corporate Fitness Center Turns 20 Years Old!

This blog was written by Bethany Garrity. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

A few weeks ago, I had the distinct pleasure of joining one of our long-time staff members at his corporate client’s fitness center for their 20th anniversary.  In the last 20 years, that location has relocated once, and evolved significantly; the offerings have changed as trends in the fitness industry have changed. 

Step aerobics has been replaced by indoor cycling offerings, and Zumba fills a spot once held by more “old school” group class formats.  They’ve gone through several treadmills, and other types of equipment.  (Though they still have a few original cardio pieces that are kickin’ it!)

Perhaps most importantly, we’re proud to say that the manager of the facility has NOT changed…and his members love him for it.  NIFS knows how important personal relationships are to successful corporate health initiatives, and Scott has helped more than his share of associates make positive lifestyle changes over the last several years. 

SW old  SW new 

The 20th anniversary celebration was marked with fun carnival-type games (great for ANY fitness level!), fun prizes (necessary for any celebration!), and brand new selectorized strength equipment from Cybex.  They've been a great partner for us with great equipment, and solid service.

Corporate Fitness Games Cybex strength

NIFS is proud to be a long standing provider of fitness center management services for this client, and we’re grateful to Scott for his long service to his members.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program exercise corporate fitness Wellness in the Workplace worksite wellness employee wellness corporate fitness centers business fitness solutions