Your Sick Employees Are Costing You Money

Increased health of employees --> increased productivity --> increased profitability. This is not just an attention-grabbing talking point that personal trainers use to drum up business. It’s backed by research! Keep reading…  

I recently had the honor of participating in a panel discussion about health and fitness for the East Cobb Business Association. The ECBA is like a local chamber of commerce for businesses of varying sizes. It was a lively, productive discussion and the diverse group of business owners in attendance lobbed great questions about general health and wellness topics at me and my fellow panel members.

I couldn’t help but leave the discussion that day, however, thinking we missed the mark on addressing what should be a key priority for all business owners: employee wellness. 

There’s no denying that we are rapidly getting sicker as a population, and with chronic diseases that are largely preventable through regular exercise and other positive lifestyle changes. These diseases are the leading driver of healthcare costs in the U.S., costing us $3.5 TRILLION annually, a price tag that has more than doubled since the year 2000. That figure should get business owners to pay attention! Our illness-riddled working population is impacting the bottom line. 

Studies are now showing that mental acuity is directly linked to physical activity. Here are just a few of the cognitive benefits individuals get from a regular exercise routine: better concentration, memory, and creativity, lower stress, and an enhanced ability to learn and retain information. Additionally, employees who work out also report an increased ability to manage their time, enhanced productivity, and more effective relationships with their colleagues. 

I could go on and on about this, but the bottom line is that inactive, unhealthy employees end up being ineffective, expensive employees. If you own a business or are in leadership at a company, you should consider implementing some sort of employee wellness program sooner rather than later. Employee surveys have actually shown that a huge majority (87%) of workers want their employers to offer these types of benefits! So not only do these corporate wellness and fitness programs lead to better productivity, less absenteeism, and lower healthcare costs, but they most likely will help you recruit better job candidates as well!

Strength Training Strengthens Your Brain

I’m definitely biased – and maybe I’m living in an echo chamber – but I think it’s common knowledge now that strength training is a critical component to any fitness or health regimen. Whereas in decades past it was widely accepted that you could maintain a level of fitness just through regular moderate aerobic activity, these days folks pretty much understand that hopping on the elliptical for 30 minutes, 3 times a week whilst paging through Southern Livingor watching an episode of Gray’s Anatomy isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to lift some weight. 

Now researchers have also discovered that strength training is not only beneficial for physical appearance, functionality, longevity, metabolism, and general usefulness, it’s also good for your brain. Recent academic studies have uncovered that strength training is more efficacious than aerobic activity in preventing cognitive decline and even Alzheimer’s. But don’t take my word for it, check out this articleand the studies referenced therein. And then go do some deadlifts. 

 

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Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the new smoking. You’ve likely heard that saying before and maybe even scoffed at the absurdity of it. After all, it’s 2018 – everyone knows smoking is a hazard to your health of the first degree. But as smoking rates have declined in the U.S., we have become increasingly sedentary and that lack of movement is seriously impacting our health. Where throughout most of human history we moved constantly, our modern lifestyles demand no such consistent, low-intensity activity. We sit to eat, sit in our cars, sit at our desks, sit in front of the TV. 

Check out this article from the Mayo Clinic.The moral of the story is get up and move! Even the most basic, seemingly insignificant additions of movement to your day add up and help combat the scourge of our sedentary culture. I'm typing this right now at my standing desk.  

 

Gym Equipment Round-Up

I love gear. I mean, I really love gear. I don’t like superfluous stuff, but I obsesses over procuring the exact right gear to fulfill specific purposes – I don’t want *extra* stuff, I want *perfect* stuff.

In my lifetime, my gear obsessions have evolved with my evolving interests – the perfect trail running shoe, the perfect hiking backpack, the perfect multisport adventure GPS watch, etc. But since about 2013, I’ve been building out the perfect gym. I’ve had some missteps along the way, but what I have now I’m exceedingly happy with.

It’s not too much; it’s just enough. And I can assure you that every single item gets used. One of these days, I will post a video blog (vlog?) tour of the gym, but for now here’s a roundup of our equipment:

Concept 2 Rowers (2)
Concept 2 Ski Erg  
Assault Bike
Assault Air Runner Treadmill
PaceMaster Platinum Pro Treadmill
Kettlebells (70#, 53#, 35# x 4, 25# x 2, 15# x 2)
Dumbbells (Sets 50#, 40#, 35#, 25#)
Center Mass Bells (70#, 50#)
D-Balls (150#, 100#, 60#, 30#, 20#)
Wall Balls (25#, 20# x 3, 16#, 14#, 10#)
Indian Clubs (25#, 5# x 2)
Crossover Symmetry Bands
Assorted Sandbags (130#, 120#, 80#, 40#, 30#)
Atlas Stones (145#, 115#, 95#, 70#)
AbMats (2)
Weight Vests (40# x 2, 20#, 10#)
50’ Rope
Battle Rope
Westside Reverse Hyper Machine
Rogue GHD Machine
Rogue Yolk
Rogue Westside Butcher Prowler
Rogue E-Sled + Straps and Harness
Full Set Rogue Jerk Blocks
Paralettes
Rogue Flat Bench
Adjustable Bench
Rogue 20”-24”-30” Soft Boxes (2)
Rogue 20”-24”-30” Plyo Box
12” Plyo Boxes (2) 
Gymnastics Mat
Gymnastics Rings (2 Sets)
Pure Strength Outdoor Rig
15’ Climbing Rope
Wall Ball Targets (9’, 10’)
Pull-up Bars (5)
Rogue Matador Squat Station
Rogue Monster Rack
Spud Pulley Cable System
Rogue Monster Landmine
Chains (120#)
Many Assorted Bands
7’ Deadlift Bar (45#)
Ivanko Power Bar (20KG)
Rogue 2.0 Multipurpose Bar (20KG)
Rogue Rich Froning Bar (20KG)
Lynx Hybrid Bar (15KG)
Rogue Cerakote Bella Bar (15KG)
Rogue Bella 2.0 Bar (15KG)
Shorty Bar (15KG)
Stainless Technique Bar (15#)
Buffalo Bar
Rogue Squat Safety Bar
Giant Cambered Bar
Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar
Earthquake Bar
Compact Farmer’s Carry Handles
Regular Farmer’s Carry Handles
Zercher Squat Harness
Lifting Platforms (3)
Bumper, Competition, and Iron Plates (1,735# Total)
COMING SOON: Edge Fitness Standard Belt Squat Machine

Discipline > Motivation

All the way back to 1993 when I just started running track as a freshman in high school, I have kept a training journal. Back then the journals were all hand-written of course (I still have a few – they’re amusing). My recordkeeping eventually evolved from those paper journals into Excel spreadsheets and then finally into a smartphone app that I downloaded in November 2014.   

As of today – nearly four years since I began logging workouts in this app – I have entered 1,413 workouts. That averages out to about a workout every single day. Of course I didn’t train every day for four years – I value rest days and I’ve even been injured a few times – but I have done quite a few two-a-day workouts and most importantly, I’m very consistent. 

Consistency takes discipline and discipline is more effective than motivation. I wasn’t motivated to work out every day for the last four years; I probably wasn’t even motivated the majority of those days. But when something is important to you – like health and wellness is to me – you will do it even when you don’t have sources of motivation to tap. That’s discipline. 

Motivation is fleeting, unreliable, and sometimes just isn’t there. So instead be disciplined. As Jocko Willink says, “Discipline Equals Freedom.”