Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

How to Set Corporate Fitness Goals That Lead to Success

goal setting, corporate fitness, resultsAnother new year is here, and with that come high fitness expectations that your corporate wellness participants place upon themselves. When members come to us with New Year’s resolutions, our first step is to teach them how to set appropriate goals that will lead to success. Once you have the general picture of what your clients are hoping to achieve as well as why it’s important to them, you can help in fine-tuning their goals.

Let’s use the SMART acronym model to walk through goal-setting for the typical New Year’s client who says, “I want to lose weight.”

S = Specific

Steer away from vague goals. Not only will it help keep your client focused and on track, but it will help you, as the professional, create an appropriate exercise program for them. In our example, since the client’s goal is weight loss, she could say, “I want to lose 50 pounds.”

M = Measureable

You can’t set a goal without knowing how to measure success. Preferably, you’ll use numerical data. In our example, we can measure pounds. If a client has a goal of “getting in shape,” have him or her choose once specific item that can be measured, such as blood pressure or minutes spent walking.

A = Attainable

Setting a goal that can’t be attained in the first place is bound to fail and lead to discouragement. Tell clients when certain goals may not be possible or healthy for their bodies. Let’s pretend that for our fictitious client, a weight loss of 50 pounds would be a stretch, at best, and possibly put her in an underweight category for her body frame. We could suggest that a different amount might be more attainable, so her new goal is, “I want to lose 30 pounds.”

R = Realistic

Here is where you can help your clients evaluate whether their goals are realistic for their individual lifestyles. If other priorities or any other issues might get in the way of achieving a goal, you could scale down the goal into smaller mini-goals in the beginning.

T = Time-bound

There must be an end date to the goal; otherwise members can easily get distracted and push aside the goal until before they know it, another New Year’s is here. Set a date and mark it on the calendar to keep a constant focus on progress. The more lofty the goal, the longer the timeframe that should be dedicated to accomplishing it. Our client’s complete goal is now, “I want to lose 30 pounds by July 30, 2012.”

Smart goals = success!

Want to find out how NIFS staff in your corporate fitness can make a difference for your employees?  Check out our case studies.

Find out more with NIFS Case Studies.

Topics: corporate fitness program corporate fitness weight loss goal setting new year resolutions

Join Your Corporate Fitness Center's Walking Groups

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

exercise group, walking groups, walk at workI think walking, no matter what speed, is good for your health. Granted, you are going to burn more calories, get your heart rate up higher, and cover more ground if you pick up the pace while walking. Walking is low impact and doesn’t require equipment or a gym membership. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes and possibly a walking partner.

Research shows that regular, brisk walking can better your heart health just the same as jogging or vigorous exercise. It can be gentler on your joints than other forms of activity. There is also a decreased risk of injury with walking compared to other forms of exercise.

A brisk walk can help clear your mind after a stressful day at work and help to decrease your waistline at the same time. Walking on a regular basis can help to improve your mood and self-esteem, which will lead to a happier and longer life for you!  

Check with your corporate fitness center to join walking groups this summer and fall. Working in corporate health and wellness, I’ve created walking/running route maps so that members can get some fresh air while being active at work.  

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program disease prevention

Using Fitness Centers to Train for Yard Work

This blog was written by Lori Griffin. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

yard work, exercise, fitnessMany people who are inactive find the task of yard work exhausting and draining. The simple act of pulling weeds can leave them feeling achy and sore the next day. Yard work doesn’t have to be backbreaking. When your muscles are ready for all of the pushing and pulling required by your lawn, the time spent outside can be a nice distraction from busy life.

There are several fun tools around your corporate fitness center that can help you prepare for your final few months of yard work this fall. Try this mini circuit and share with us the tips and tools you use to stay fit for yard work.

Upright Sled: 50-meter sled push at a moderate weight and pace

  • Place hands a mid-height position on the sled.
  • Keep your spine neutral and drive with your legs as you push the sled.

Tire and Sledgehammer: 15 sledgehammer hits on the tire

  • Face the tire with an appropriate weight of sledgehammer.
  • Place one hand toward the head of the sledgehammer and the other hand near the bottom of the handle.
  • In a controlled manner, swing the sledgehammer over the shoulder of the hand that is near the head.
  • As it comes over your shoulder toward the tire, bend your legs and let your top hand slide down to meet your bottom hand.
  • Grab near the head of the sledgehammer and repeat.

Monster Rope: 30-foot plank pulls

  • Wrap a monster rope around a stable post with one end of the rope near the post and other laid out away from the post.
  • Near the post, align yourself in a plank position.
  • Keeping your hips level, reach out with one arm and pull the short end of the rope.
  • Do this until the other end reaches the post.
  • Rest for 30 seconds and switch arms.

Boxes: 15 squats with dumbbell placement

  • Holding onto the head of a dumbbell, position your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Staying on your heels, squat down and place the dumbbell on the top of a box that is approximately knee high.
  • Stand up, focusing on keeping your core engaged and upper body upright.
  • Squat back down, grab the dumbbell, and stand up in the same manner.
Topics: corporate fitness program exercise at home corporate fitness centers

Corporate Wellness: How Do You Know Your Trainer Is Competent?

This blog was written by Penny Pohlmann. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Have you ever thought about hiring a personal trainer? When choosing a personal trainer to work with, you should feel confident that the person you're hiring is not only qualified but is someone who will listen to you and your specific goals when it comes to exercising and improving your health.

You may be surprised to know that some certifying organizations do not require a formal education in the field of health and fitness to sit for their personal training exam. Now, this is not true of all certifications. But there are so many certifying bodies out there; how do you know which ones are reputable?

personal trainer, corporate fitness center managementRecognized Fitness Organizations

Here is a list of organizations that are recognized by the NCCA, a group that evaluates and measures organizations' professional competence, as certifying organizations that meet its Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs.

Making Sure Your Corporate Fitness Manager Is Qualified

Want to ensure your employee health and fitness program is staffed with qualified personnel? When interviewing a trainer to hire, he or she should maintain at least one certification from one of the organizations listed above. Additionally, he or she should also be able to produce a current copy of his or her CPR/AED certifications. These guidelines should help you determine who and what is the best fit for you and your fitness needs.

Topics: corporate fitness program exercise

Employee Health: Strokes Rising Among Young and Middle Aged

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

heart health, exercise, young, wellnessIt’s scary to think about younger generations having an increased number of strokes. My mom had a stroke a couple years ago. At the time she didn’t know it, but she has high blood pressure and cholesterol, which are risk factors for strokes.

I think it’s important that younger and middle-aged people start going to the doctor and know whether they are at risk. Some risk factors for stroke cannot be changed, such as age, heredity, gender, and previous history of stroke or heart attack. But some risk factors are controllable.

Obesity, smoking, overuse of alcohol, and high blood pressure are all reasons why the number of strokes has increased in younger people. Get into the gym or walk outside to start burning calories. Then continue to do some sort of physical activity every day.

Do you know your numbers? If not, schedule an appointment with your doctor and know your cholesterol, HDL, and LDL levels. If they are unfavorable, ask your doctor what you can do to improve them. Living a healthy lifestyle is important for your present and future.

Does your corporate wellness program provide an onsite fitness center? If so, be proactive; take advantage of the great resource made available to you.

Topics: employee health corporate fitness program disease prevention

More Reasons to Use Corporate Fitness Centers

This blog was written by Dan Walker. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Last time we looked at three of the top benefits of utilizing your company’s corporate fitness center: cost, convenience, and the environment. Today we will look at three more reasons why you can’t afford to pass up what your company has to offer in its fitness center.


This isn’t entirely universal, but most corporate fitness center staff members are college educated and certified through a reputable organization such as the ACSM, NSCA, or NASM. This ensures a high level of expertise in helping you to exercise the right way and reach your goals.


Many gyms have thousands of members and simply aren’t able to do much more for you than take your membership dues each month. But in corporate fitness centers, programming, classes, and education are top priorities with the goal being to get as many members as possible plugged into what is offered. Your company really sees a return on investment only if your health is improved through what the facility has to offer. You can rest assured that you are their top priority, not making money off membership dues.

Stronger Relationships

corporate wellness, employee health, exerciseWorking out with your coworkers gives you a chance to spend time with them in a new and different way. Taking group fitness classes together, working out with someone, or buddy training with someone else are all great ways to build teamwork and rapport outside the office. Often enough, different incentive programs and friendly competitions take place throughout the year, giving you yet another way to build a bond with those you work with.

The health benefits of regular exercise, which you can get at any gym, are well documented. But corporate fitness centers offer much more than your average commercial gym membership. Among those benefits are a better price, a more convenient location, a professional environment, expert staff, more guidance in your fitness journey, and a chance to build better work relationships.

If you aren’t already experiencing all the benefits your company’s corporate fitness center has to offer, go check it out today!

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program exercise corporate fitness

2011 Group Exercise Trends for Corporate Fitness Programs

This blog was written by Penny Pohlmann, MS. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Why have group exercise classes remained popular since their introduction in the '80s? I don’t think it’s the leg warmers and leotards, but I could be wrong. Perhaps it is the motivation and social interaction that come with exercising with a group. Or it could be the time-efficient solution in our time-stressed culture.

Whatever it is that continues to draw people to participate in group exercise classes, this area of the fitness and exercise world goes through trends and fads much like other areas in life. Here are some trends you can expect to see in 2011.


This Latin-inspired dance class is exploding right now. The Zumba motto, which is “Ditch the Workout; Join the Fun,” is a perfect way to describe how its participants feel about the class. “It’s so fun you forget you’re working out,” one of my members said to me. I think the bass-thumping music has something to do with it, too.

Boot Camp

You guessed it: This military-style class attracts both men and women for the no-frills approach to working out. Boot camp groups have been growing in popularity for the last several years, and they are still on the rise in 2011. Instructors lead their recruits through pushups, jumping jacks, lunges, and sprints before the sun rises.

Early mornings aren’t for you? Because of their popularity, health clubs and gyms are offering many indoor boot camps at all times of the day.

C  Documents and Settings kgootee My Documents Dropbox Hubspot Images group yoga resized 600Yoga

This slow paced, gentle exercise class known for its stress-relieving style of mind and body exercise is especially popular in corporate fitness centers. In addition to the traditional style of yoga, called hatha yoga, look for other forms to emerge in 2011, like power yoga and hot or bikram yoga

Group exercise class offerings can be a key factor in the success of a corporate fitness center. If you don’t already offer group exercise classes in your wellness center, they may be the best motivation to get your employees to get on board with exercise.

Topics: corporate fitness program exercise group exercise muscle toning

Workplace Fitness Workouts Benefit Sedentary Employees

This blog was written by Veronica HofMann. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

CubeFarm resized 600Many people spend a majority of their time at work. This is where we go each day, and while we are there we have plenty to keep us busy. After we leave, we also have work to do—making dinner, cleaning house, and caring for the kids. So how can we possibly squeeze in one more thing? We all know how important exercise is, but many times it falls to the bottom of our “to-do” lists...until now.

Many employers are bringing exercise to the workplace. With new worksite wellness programs for employees, they are encouraging folks to be active even while sitting at their desks! Portable pedal machines, which are similar to a mini stationary bike, can be placed under a desk so that you can exercise even while sitting at the computer.

Employers are also encouraging walking groups, giving instruction on how to exercise at your desk, and offering pedometers to employees so that they can track their progress.

This kind of worksite health promotion program is a way to encourage even the most sedentary individuals to get moving! Time is what we all need more of. If our employers encourage us to exercise while we work, it would be easier for people to begin and stick to an exercise routine. This may even encourage people to continue to exercise outside the workplace.

Even if this is not something your employer suggests, there are many things you can do on your own. A few examples are

  • Go on a walk after lunch.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Exercise in the break room.

With enough participation, you could even negotiate a group rate at your local health club. Some clubs even offer a lunchtime membership!

What have you done at your job to encourage exercise?

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program

Corporate Wellness Coaching Success Stories

This blog was written by Samantha Whiteside. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

Have you ever wondered how your health would benefit if your company had an onsite corporate fitness center? Well, luckily for a company in Roanoke, Virginia, they don’t have to wonder. Employees simply make their way to the top floor where the onsite fitness center is located and staffed by the National Institute for Fitness and Sport, a corporate fitness center management company based in Indianapolis, Indiana.

How a NIFS Wellness Manager Made a Difference

A few employees made a promise to themselves and the Wellness Manager in January 2010 to lead a healthier lifestyle. The NIFS Wellness Manager made it her personal mission to help these employees reach their goals through personalized exercise plans, nutrition consultations, individual personal training sessions, weekly weigh-ins, educational handouts, and inspirational e-mails with information ranging from stress management to meat alternatives.

Three Portraits of Codescribe the imagerporate Wellness Success

Here are some success stories from the company:

  • One employee lost 40 pounds over a nine-month period and is now maintaining her healthy weight. She additionally was able to come off of blood-pressure and cholesterol medications and is leading a life she only dreamed of.
  • Another successful employee who worked with the NIFS staff was able to lose 42 pounds in a nine-month time frame and is also keeping his weight off. In addition to his great weight loss, he has decreased the pain in his knees and feet, has found a love for running, and has inspired his family to lead a more active lifestyle.
  • With an astounding 67 pounds lost in nine months, another employee has also been able to keep her weight off with the help of NIFS. Furthermore, she was able to come off of her blood-pressure medication. And under her doctor’s watchful eye, she decreased and eventually relinquished her depression medication.

These are only three examples of how an onsite corporate fitness center—staffed by a corporate fitness management company—and its caring, dedicated employees, can benefit any company workforce. What do you think you could gain (or lose, rather) with the help of an onsite corporate fitness center?

Topics: corporate wellness employee health corporate fitness program overweight employees

Corporate Fitness Programs: Reasons to Use the Onsite Fitness Center

This blog was written by Dan Walker. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.

As a Health Fitness Specialist working in the area of corporate describe the imagefitness, I’ve seen firsthand how beneficial corporate fitness centers and company wellness programs can be. Today I’ll take a look at three of the top reasons why utilizing your company’s corporate fitness center is a no-brainer.

  1. Cost: Corporate fitness centers usually offer a significantly lower cost of membership than commercial gyms, if not offered to you for free altogether. Your typical gym membership will cost around $50 per month. If you choose your company's facility over the local gym, you will save $12,000 over a period of 20 years (if it’s offered to you for free)! Even if you had to pay half of the normal fee ($25), you would still save $6,000.
  2. Convenience: Whether your company is made up of one building or an entire campus, the fitness center is usually only a short drive or walk away. This sure beats fighting traffic before work, and especially after work when you’re tired and already don’t feel like going to the gym. Sometimes convenience is all someone needs to start and actually stick with an exercise routine.
  3. Environment: Most corporate fitness centers have significantly fewer members than your average gym, simply because only employees (and sometimes family) are allowed access. Don't underestimate the value of not having to fight the crowds to get in a good workout. And as much as we all love the children in our lives, not having to fight with them over workout machines (like you might have to with the local high school kids at a commercial gym) can be a real relief.

These are just three of the great benefits of corporate fitness centers. Next time I’ll take a look at a few more of the reasons why I feel passing on your company’s fitness center is a mistake you don’t want to make.

Topics: exercise at work corporate fitness program corporate fitness