Make fitness boot camp a part of your corporate culture and you will build strong teams, increase productivity and change the lives of your employees. Successfully organize and conduct your own fitness boot camp program. Implementation of a corporate fitness boot camp program costs almost nothing and results in increased productivity, less sick days, cohesive teams and lower health care costs.
For Whom Is Fitness Boot Camp?
Fitness boot camp is designed for all ages, all sizes and shapes, as well as all fitness levels. It is great for beginners and those who have never exercised before as well as for the regular exerciser. Fitness boot camp will enhance existing wellness and fitness programs or completely replace them.
Perfect For Busy Schedules
You will learn how – with little or no cost – to organize your very own fitness boot camp cells/teams. I call this the busy person’s workout, because it covers the strength, cardio and flexibility all wrapped into one workout session. Consult with your physician before beginning this or any other fitness activity.
What You Get With Fitness Boot Camp
- Builds strong teams.
- Incorporates company, family and life core values.
- Complete-body, encompassing strength, muscle endurance, flexibility and cardio.
- Can be started anytime.
- No strict workout regimen.
- Dynamic, always focused on progress.
- Can be done indoors and/or outdoors.
- For men, women, teens and children.
- For pre-beginners, beginners, intermediates and advanced.
- For young and old.
This workout is for the company looking for a creative way of getting its employees in shape while strengthening team spirit, increasing productivity and reducing absenteeism.
The purpose of implementing fitness boot camp cells/teams is to actively take on the role of getting employees, club members, family members and friends in shape and build strong, cohesive teams.
Workplace Benefits of Fitness Boot Camp
- Little to no cost.
- Use existing employee and management structure to organize.
- Enhancement of corporate culture.
- Healthier and happier employees.
- Enhanced team spirit.
- Reduced illnesses.
- Reduced loss of work time.
- Reduced injuries.
- Increased productivity and performance.
- Weight-loss and weight management.
- Nutritional guidance.
- Stress relief and stress management.
- Enhanced communication.
Appoint Team Leaders
Appoint team leaders for each cell, which will be made up of approximately six to twenty employees. This is a company-wide approach, from senior management all the way down to front-line employees. Any member of management can simply step in and join the workout with any of the teams to promote their relationships with employees while working on their own fitness and demonstrating, by example, how important this is. Management participation is a non-threatening way for senior- and mid-level management to join in on what is offered as serious fun with special emphasis on fun and teambuilding.
Decide on how best to organize your initial team cells and appoint team leaders or coordinators (one for each cell). Then, assign one individual to support all team coordinators of all the cells and to track the programs. That individual could be the wellness coordinator, supervisor, manager or some other employee. That individual should already possess a heightened level of enthusiasm for fitness and have a desire to help others.
Different Fitness Levels Train Together
All fitness levels train together. Have all employees sign a waiver for the program. If any members have medical issues, those employees would then only perform those exercises that are permissible by their physician; for example, walking but no jogging, no abs work, no squats or lunges due to knee injury. Often a simple modification of an exercise is possible. Those with medical restrictions would then perform their alternative exercises during the time the rest of the team is performing their (unmodified) exercise; or they will simply modify the team’s exercise to a safe range of motion suitable to their medical limitation.
Organize Fitness Cells
Those employees who work together on a regular basis should be organized as a part of the same fitness cell. You can organize the cells by department or cross-departmental. Have managers or peers come together; mix various management levels. Rearrange the mix of employees every six months, if you desire. Whether your business is customer service, sales, banking, law office staff, fire and rescue, hospital staff, law enforcement, school, college or university, or small business with a handful of employees, boot camp fitness cells are right for you.
Indoors or Outdoors
Another exciting aspect of fitness boot camp is these workouts can be done anywhere, whether indoors or outdoors. Keep it interesting by changing workout location, where feasible, and look for opportunities to incorporate your environment into your workout. For example, park benches are great for performing dips, and the entire team can wrap their resistance bands – also called exercise tubes – around a tree for a group upper-body exercise.
You choose a time to fit your schedule. Whether it is 10, 20, 30 or 60 minutes for fitness boot camp, it all adds up to an accumulative health benefit. I strongly recommend at least twice a week, once a week at a minimum, as a part of a corporate program with emphasis that the employees work out four to six times per week all told. If you cannot schedule fitness boot camp twice a week, schedule the frequency that will work. Make it a part of your corporate culture and your employees will take this into their private fitness routines. There is a clear connection between fitness and workplace performance.
Combine Workout with a Business Meeting
Combine a meeting with fitness boot camp. There is no better way to get those creative juices flowing while problem solving than to engage in hearty exercise. Start with an issue to be considered or a problem to be solved, and then perform an exercise or two. Stop and discuss. Then do it again with the next agenda point, until all issues and muscle groups have been addressed. Who says you cannot combine work with pleasure?
Anyone Can Do It
The training is easy, and the exercises are very basic and easy to perform. The mix of exercises follows the principles of simplicity and fun. Technically, this is called functional training. Functional training focuses on training the body how it is used in activities of daily life.
Train the Trainers
Once you have identified your trainers, they need to be trained. To implement this program the trainers will only need a few basic exercises. Start with these basics and, with time, gradually introduce new exercises. The trainers are not just watching. They are performing the exercises with their team members as they guide and encourage them through the workout.
Three Basic Principles
- Warm-up. Perform toe raisers to warm up the body.
- Stretch. Stretch each body part briefly right after exercising it.
- Strength and cardio. Alternate between upper and lower body exercises.
This approach is safe and does not require much training to implement. Participants are to stay in touch with their bodies and do only what they can do. If they can only perform a partial motion of an exercise, that is acceptable and is still working the muscles. Use the following list of basic exercises to get started. You will find a description of these exercises in the book titled Boot Camp Fitness for All Shapes and Sizes by Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret..
Start With These Exercises
- Standing crunches
- Standing lunge
- Arms and shoulders stretch
- Triceps and upper back stretch
- Standing straddle and stretch
- Standing hamstring stretch
- Biceps curls, resistance band
- Shoulder press, resistance band
- Upright row, resistance band
Ground Rules for Fitness Boot Camp
There are ground rules to follow. These rules are designed to build strong, supportive teams and team members. Focus on the basic approach of the workout to guarantee progress for all team members, while having fun.
Keep the workouts safe. Ask about medical restrictions and remind participants to stay in touch with their own bodies. The workout is designed to take the employees out of their comfort zone periodically so that fitness progress can be experienced. The comfort zone will differ for each individual. A team member only modifies an exercise for medical reasons or due to fatigue level and then continues to exercise that body part.
Do not allow the question of liability to cause the program to be rejected or terminated. The advantages of this fitness program far outweigh any questions of risk or liability. Seek legal counsel to mitigate any risk. Require all participants to stay in touch with their own bodies and do only what they can do.
As a team progresses, new exercises can be incorporated into the workout, periodically changing the routine, location or sequence of exercises. Introducing something new keeps it interesting.
The fun factor cannot be emphasized enough. The workouts are all performed in a light, upbeat and positive atmosphere with an emphasis on mutual respect and concern for all team members. Humor is an important element, as long as it is not demeaning, inappropriate in language, or content. No foul language is to be used by any team member. Treat the workout like a game and have a blast.
Variety is the spice of life. In addition, variety is one of the principles that keeps the workout interesting and actually plays a role in surprising the neurological system into supporting greater fitness progress.
Complete Body Workout
Complete body workout means strength, cardio and flexibility. It also means upper body, lower body and abs. Every workout will include all of these in varying degrees. This is easy to apply. Simply spoken, what you will do is jog or walk; stop and work a body part; jog or walk; stop and work a body part until the entire session is complete.
Are you indoors and can’t go outdoors? Be creative and perform the exercises while alternating between upper and lower body. You will get a cardio workout as well. Every session may have a different emphasis. For example, the upper body may be emphasized, while the other areas are still being worked. The order of exercises may be random, as long as there is alternation between upper and lower body.
The core values of the company are to be consciously practiced and illustrated during the workouts. Core values are designed to make us better employees and better persons. For example, the core values of the U.S. Army are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless-service, honor, integrity and personal courage. A clear understanding of the company core values is an essential part of the training. During each training session, a particular core value or values should be emphasized to talk about. This can be accomplished by selecting an appropriate quote or quotes or a life or business scenario or anecdote that best demonstrates the core value.
Enhance Workplace Performance
The practice of core values of a company is very important for the long-term success of the company and for great employer/employee and employee/customer relations.
All people have different skill sets and different levels of performance. The object of fitness boot camp is to make all team members feel appreciated and motivated regardless of performance levels. That is the secret to enhancing the performance of all.
Team members will all have different fitness levels. Some will have stronger upper bodies, some will have greater flexibility, and some will have better cardio. Each team member focuses on his or her individual fitness progress based on his or her very own fitness level and not the fitness level of other team members. All team members support each other in their individual quests to improve. Fitness boot camp is not only about physical strength, it is also about mental strength.
Mental fortitude pushes us to improve and go beyond our present fitness level. In order to improve mental fortitude, 100 % effort is required of all team members. One hundred percent effort means that if a team member, during the course of an exercise, gets so fatigued that the complete exercise cannot be performed, then that team member will not simply quit, but will modify the exercise to the point of being able to continue. Without a struggle, there can be no progress. This is where the mental fortitude is actually being strengthened again along with the body. Strengthening of mental fortitude will carry over into the workplace. This is very powerful. This keeps the mind and body in the mode of saying, “Hey, I can do this! I will not stop! I won’t quit!” This is what adds the challenge to the fun.
Count Reps Aloud Together
All team members will count exercises with repetitions aloud and enthusiastically. The only exceptions are laryngitis and those who cannot speak. This works the diaphragm and has a very positive team-building impact on team members. If you happen to be in an environment that will disturb others by counting aloud, whisper instead.
Start your fitness boot camp corporate wellness program today.
Please mention the author when citing or reprinting this article. The author is Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.