Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Fitness Management's Thanksgiving Traditions

thanksgivingHappy Thanksgiving!!  Some of you have already been active by participating in a Turkey Trot or Drumstick Dash, others may be enjoying some morning coffee while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, or on the road traveling to see family, and those extra special individuals are busy cooking today’s feast.  We all celebrate differently and have family traditions and things are thankful for.  We are thankful for our amazing staff and the hard work they put in year round.  We asked them to share what they are thankful for, what their favorite Thanksgiving dishes are, and about their family traditions.

Thanksgiving has always been an important holiday for the entire family to get together. When I married my husband at first we had to split Thanksgiving between the two families. After the first two years of doing this, my husband and I asked to hold the entire day’s events at our place and invite all family from both sides. We also invited family friends. This was turned into a wonderful tradition that allowed everyone to get together and not run from one place to another throughout the day. This leads to my thing I am most thankful for, which is my WHOLE family and that we do not have a division of "my family" or "your family."  -Cathy Hampe

We have some competitive people in the family, and they do a lot of “trash talking”.  We usually have some sort of dodge ball, kickball, or bball game….which is hilarious in itself because not all of us are athletic! I have one aunt that brings board games every year and no one ever wants to play, so that’s usually another funny episode because she’s trying to talk anyone and everyone into playing with her.  -Lisa Larkin

This probably started when we were teenagers, but my brothers and I would set a plastic trash can a certain distance from the throwing line. Then we would throw a football at the trash can to try to hit it. If we hit it, the trash can was moved farther away. If you missed, you were out. Very simple, but always a good time with my bro’s.   -Michael Boyle

My favorite part is introducing healthy options to my boyfriend’s family.  This is the 3rd year I will be cooking with his mom, it’s really fun to watch them devour the healthier options that they would have never imagined liking. I’m also thankful for the loving family I have supporting me, near and far.  –Sarah Johnson

My dad’s entire family started the family reunion type Thanksgiving back in the 1980’s with my grandfather having seven siblings. We used to rent out an old farmhouse and since have moved to various churches. The entire meal is a pot luck and having family coming from all over the world there is an amazing selection of food... Greek breads, German desserts, Asian salads, the best part of this meal is the homemade ice cream!  -Amy Briggs

My favorite part of the holiday is just getting to spend the day with my family.  It is so nice to be able to relax, enjoy each other’s company and be thankful for one other.  I am most thankful for my children, family, friends and health!  -Shawna Kendrick

I am thankful that a have the most amazing family, a wonderful job, my house, and my two awesome dogs!  After dinner, our entire family crowds into the living room to watch the Dallas Cowboys play football.  -Diana Price

My oldest son served in Iraq and missed Thanksgiving with our family for 4 years in a row.  Thanksgiving is so important to us because we feel so thankful that he is home and is able to spend Thanksgiving with us again! He has been home for the last 5 Thanksgivings, but I never forget the importance of being blessed when I look across the table and see him among us!  -Ruth Reyna

I enjoy waking up Thanksgiving morning to do a local 5k Turkey Trot with my family- no better way to start the day than with some exercise!  My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is pie, pie, and more pie. Did I mention pie?  -Stephanie Parsons

This isn't really a tradition, and it only happened last year. But my wife and I were trimming our turkey in one of those disposable tin foil turkey pans. Our dog was right under foot waiting for something to drop. After about 5 minutes we look down to see our dog's head soaking wet. Apparently the pan sprung a leak and the turkey grease was running off the counter right into our dog's mouth in what I can only imagine was pure bliss. Surprisingly not a drop touched the floor and I'm sure this goes down as one of the greatest days of our dog's life. So from now on, we'll probably give our dog some turkey grease with her food. (the turkey was good too!)  -Doug Trefun

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal is the dressing.  I only eat dressing once or twice a year and I ask my mom to make it.  She uses my grandmother’s recipe that I loved so much as a child.  -Matt Reeves

Our family tradition is getting in circle all holding hands telling what we are thankful for, toasting to them and then we do a gobble off. Whomever has the best turkey gobble gets to take the traveling turkey home for the year. For some reason the turkey has never made it to my home.  -Sheila Heavin

What is your favorite non-food related way you spend this holiday with your family? Every year we do a “Turkey Bowl”. My dad’s family gets together at the local college and plays flag football on the field. Last year we had over 50 people play from ages 4-65. We do a traditional tailgate in the parking lot after the game. It is a great way for us to get together before we go our separate ways to other relatives houses for thanksgiving dinner. It’s also a great way to be active before all the holiday treats.  -Mistie Hayhow

I’m thankful for our healthy girls and to not be pregnant and nauseous this Thanksgiving.  –Emily Davenport

My personal fav is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. But my grandmas pumpkin pie always has a strong family presence.  -Bethany Garrity

My family always participates in the Galloping Gobbler, which is a 4 mile race back in my hometown. My entire family dreads it but we all do it because it is something that my mother loves to do! She gets so excited every year, that she wakes us all up around 6 am to the Rocky Theme Song blaring!! It’s an interesting way to start Thanksgiving! -Margaret Allgeier

I am thankful for family.  -Christy Monday

My immediate family gets up at the crack of dawn and drives to Ohio where my great aunt and extended family gather for Thanksgiving lunch.  Afterwards, we take a walk around the farm to get in some activity after the big meal.  The rest of the visit is spent catching up with family, watching the Macy’s Day Parade and football.   -Melissa Cusick


What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management employee health and wellness thanksgiving traditions

3 Must Do's During a Fitness Center Renovation (Part 2 of 2)

In part one we discussed ways to keep your members active throughout the renovation
personal trainerproject.  Now it is finally here, the moment you and your members have been waiting for (drum roll please…) The Fitness Center is reopened!  People are excited, expectations are high and there are lots of questions.  How do you use this new machine?  What settings are correct for me?  Etcetera, etcetera!  Your next steps are imperative for ensuring that members know how to use the new machines safely and are satisfied that their wait was worth it!  Breaking down the process into three sections will set you and your fitness center up for success.  Start off with general information about the new equipment and gradually get more specific by offering the following:

1. New Equipment Orientations

Begin by offering new equipment orientations to small groups.  The goal of the New Equipment Orientation phase is to provide a general overview of the new equipment to the small group by indicating where adjustments can be made, how to modify the amount of weight, safety features along with any other bells and whistles that apply.  Offering an overview of the new machines with specifics on how to use them can be a great resource for members that are interested in trying out the machines independently after gaining preliminary information.  The New Equipment Orientations could be paired nicely with an informational presentation where members have the opportunity to engage in a Q and A session. This is still the general information phase.  Residents wanting individualized instruction can register for a one on one appointment in which the machines can be adjusted specifically for them.

2. One on One Appointments

It is time to make the sessions personal by going one on one.  Begin by taking a member around to each new piece of equipment and adjusting the setting and weight resistance correctly for that individual.  Record the settings onto a program card that the member can then access each time he/she visits the Fitness Center.  Keep in mind that you could be reviewing a lot of information at one time…and this could become overwhelming to the member.  If this is the case then offer to meet with the member again in the near future to review the machines again.  Between the follow up sessions to review the new equipment and the member having access to his/her program card to practice setting the new equipment independently, each member’s comfort level with the new equipment should significantly improve.

3. Exercise Prescriptions:

Now comes the fun part: Add variety.  As the member becomes more comfortable with the new equipment, now is the time to fuse the new pieces with the old.  Create an Exercise Prescription Routine based on the member’s goals that include a variety of machines, bands, dumbbells, body weight exercises…having fun yet?  Well your member’s should be!  Follow up with the member every so often to ask about their exercise routine and be prepared to present a new and fun challenge.

Now your members are familiar with the new equipment and can take ownership of their fitness routines.  They can touch base with Health Fitness Specialists as needed and can move forward into the great services that your fitness center provides.  Before you know it the renovations will be a thing of the past.

Are you considering renovations in your Fitness Center or have you already been through this process?  What worked for you?

Download NIFS Benefits of Staffing Webinar

3 Must Do’s During a Fitness Center Renovation (Part 1 of 2)

group workoutIt is a time of change and excitement.  Out with the old and in with the new.  Things will be bright and shiny and…different.  During the short or lengthy time that your fitness center is undergoing renovations, how do you gratify your members?   Having a cutting edge  corporate or active aging fitness center is what everyone strives for…but if you don’t have any members waiting for the renovations to be completed, then the doors will close before they can be reopened.  Keep three things in mind during your fitness center renovations to ensure that your members are knocking on your fitness center’s door the minute they are reopened: 1. Keep members active 2. Keep members interested and 3. Use what you have.

1.  Keep members active:

These may or may not be items that members have utilized before so seize this opportunity to demo the equipment and provide workouts with the item.  These exercises can carry over with the member’s routine long after the renovations are completed. 

  • In addition to the smaller equipment, provide exercises using only body weight.

    • Burpees

    • Lunges

    • Planks

    • Push-ups

…what else?   There are tons!  Create a workout with combinations of the body weight exercises.  Try intervals or time based challenges.  Some members might love to make it a relay in a group setting.  Be creative.

  • Group Fitness Schedule

    • Market your Group Fitness Schedule.  This is a great opportunity for members to expand their fitness regimen to include a group fitness class that has caught their interest.  Body Pump, Boot Camp, Circuit, Body Stretch…whatever suites a member’s fancy. 

    • Add a bonus group fitness class(es) to the schedule.  This will provide a nice option for members who are disappointed that their regular exercise routine was thrown off due to renovations.  Implement a group fitness class that you’ve been wanting to test out.  Whether the class is a staple in the schedule or a promotional session, seize this opportunity to promote your group fitness classes.

2. Keep members interested:

  • Programming

    • Your plans for programming will most likely differ from the norm.  Keep members interested by implementing an attendance based incentive program to encourage members to keep up with their activity routine then list several options.

  • Communicate

    • Keep your members informed by maintaining an open pathway of communication.  Communicate to your members about what is happening in the Fitness Center.  What are their fitness options in the meantime?  Helpful tools: residential newsletters, in-house TV stations with daily event information, flyers in common areas, personal notices and phone calls can all be means used to successfully communicate.

3.  Use what you have:

  • What sets your facility apart? Do you have access to:

    • Pathways

    • Trails

    • Recreational sports areas

    • Lakes/water

    • Swimming pools

    • Fields

    • Stairs

As long as it’s safe, the world is your playground.  Target local features and landmarks to mix into the planning. 

Have you found other successful alternatives to exercise while the Fitness Center was undergoing renovations?  Share your best solutions!

 Watch the webinar: Build a Better Fitness Center 

Topics: corporate fitness centers senior living fitness center nifs fitness center management

Free Workout Friday - Maintain Not Gain

Free Workout FridayOur staff is kicking off our annual Maintain Not Gain program at our client sites.  This program is structured to help individuals maintain their weight through those months filled with tasty food and delicious treats that surround the holidays.  As you gear up for the holiday parties and events stay on track by following our Free Workout Friday blog postings to keep your workouts on track.  We aren’t saying you can’t enjoy the food, we just suggest proper portion sizes and that you don’t skip out on your workouts! 

If you aren’t a member at one of our client sites and would like help staying on track, “like” NIFS Fitness Management on Facebook and join our Facebook edition of Maintain Not Gain.  Watch for the links to submit your initial weight November 16 – 22.  Watch your newsfeed for tips to stay on track and submit your final weight in January.  If you maintain and not gain through the holidays you will be eligible for a prize drawing! 

Now let’s get started with a great, easy workout to keep you on track! 

WARM UP with a 5 minute walk or anything to get your muscles warm!

10 squatsMNG logo

15 pushups

20 alternating lunges

25 bicep curls

30 jumping jacks

35 bicycles

STRETCH, you never want to stretch a cold muscle, so always do so once the muscles are warm!

Beginner: Repeat 3-5 times, with short or minimal breaks.

Intermediate-Advanced: Complete as many times as possible in 25 minutes. 

Topics: employee health exercise nifs fitness management maintain not gain

Four Pillars for an Engaging Wellness Program in Senior Living

We recently wrapped up our Build Vitality webinar series for 2013 with the fourth and finalpillars of resident wellness webinar titled, Build a Better Wellness Program.  The focus was on four key areas - pillars, if you will - that cultivate a compelling living-well culture in retirement communities.  

Your wellness program should be evidence-based.

That doesn't have to be as intimidating as it sounds.  In fact, you probably already have some evidence-based programming built into your wellness offerings.  They are fairly easy to find in physical dimension programming. Administering a senior fitness test?  That's evidence-based. Providing balance training and fall-prevention support?  That's evidence based.  

Your wellness program should be resident-specific.

This really should go without saying, but I can't tell you how many times during my consulting work in senior living communities across the US, when I ask activity directors why they're doing a specific program, they cannot provide me with a sound answer.  When your programming is focused on the residents, on the community, and on the Community (outside your four walls), you can cultivate meaningful, engaging, fulling opportunities for living.

Your wellness program should be data-driven.

How much do you spend on group fitness classes each year?  Have you ever evaluated the impact of that money?  If you host roughly eight classes per week, you're probably spending $10,000 per year on group fitness.   When was the last time you dumped $10,000 on something without asking about the impact of that money?  Get the data you need from your wellness programming so that you understand if/how it's working for your residents and for your business.  

Your wellness program should be story-worthy.

What's the point if you can't capture resident stories of life well lived?  This really is the capstone - if the other three pillars (evidence-based, resident-focused, data-driven) are all aligned, the stories will inevitably follow.  Get creative in how you use the stories both to engage more current residents and to communicate to prospects how they can live well at your community.

To get the details behind each pillar, watch the 30-minute webinar using the button below. To download all four webinars in our Build Vitality Series, go here.  


Watch the Build a Better  Wellness Program Webinar

Corporate Wellness: Free Workout Friday - Turkey Trot Training

free workout fridayThanksgiving is almost here! That means it’s time to sign up for your local Turkey Trot, Drumstick Dash or your own personal Thanksgiving Day 5K! Studies have proven that your metabolism increases for several hours post-workout, so make a priority to squeeze in some exercise and boost your body’s calorie burning abilities before the big feast. If you do happen to be training for a 5K on Thanksgiving Day, see below for a sample training program that starts on Monday, 11/11.  So today, we want you to go for a brisk walk because you need to pick up the pace on Monday!

Note: This an aggressive running plan, as Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. It is highly recommended that you have done some running prior to starting this program, and that you are comfortable running 1+ miles. If you are a beginner runner, make a goal of finishing the 5K through a combination of walking and running.  You can easily just walk through this schedule to help prepare for your event of choice.

11/11: Run 1 mile

11/13: Run 1.25 miles

11/15: Run 1.5 miles

11/18: Run 1.75 miles

11/20: Run 2 miles

11/22: Run 2.25 miles

11/25: Run 2.5 miles

11/27: Run 0.5-1 mile

11/28: Race day! Run 3.1 miles!

On days in between runs, focus on cross-training, for example weight-lifting or non-impact cardio (elliptical, biking, swimming, etc.) Allow for 1-2 days of rest each week.  Check out past Free Workout Friday videos for cross training options.

Happy turkey trotting and drumstick dashing!

Topics: employee health exercise active aging nifs fitness management fitness

NIFS Member Speaks: Ashley Shirley, Fit After Kids

NIFS members speak

Ashley Shirley, one of our corporate fitness members out of Ohio, shares her story and the benefits of utilizing the NIFS Fitness Management staff at her onsite corporate wellness center.  After having two kids she relies on the NIFS staff for accountability and to keep her going!  

"Eating healthy and being fit was a way of life for me before having 2 kids. It was just something I wanted to do for myself. When I got pregnant with my first child I gained 75 lbs, so I went from 155 to 230 in a 9 month period. It was extremely hard on my body. After my second child I was pretty much right back to where I was after my first one. I was miserable because I knew that it wasn’t the way my body was made to be. It’s hard to work out when you have two little ones at home, so having the wellness center here at work is an extreme blessing for me. I take advantage of it every day on my lunch hour. I love the fact that we have an option to take classes if we choose to and I also take advantage of Monday boot camp and will be starting Wednesday TRX classes. Another reason I keep coming back is because I have accountability through Adrienne. She is awesome! She gives us the workout of our lives every time we walk in the wellness center. Member's Speak - AShirleyEven if I’m not taking a class with her she is always there for encouragement and to help me become the best I can be by educating me. She pushes me personally to be better than I knew I could be, and she stretches me way past my comfort zone! For her position, that’s a compliment! There isn’t a class I take that I don’t wake up the next day feeling it. She is all around a sweet person and really makes it a comfortable atmosphere to workout in. Since my last child was born last October I have lost close to 60 lbs! She has been there every step of the way cheering me on! I’m not the only one who feels this way either, we sure do love her!"

*Weight loss claims or individual results vary and are not guaranteed.

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Topics: corporate wellness employee health nifs fitness management employee health and fitness NIFS member speak testimonials