Start your own exercise club at work

Posted at 11/11/2012 2:28 PM | Updated as of 11/12/2012 10:41 AM

Work and family commitments can make fitting regular exercise into your life a challenge, so an innovative solution is to start up your very own "workout at work" club, which can combine on-site convenience with the opportunity to exercise with friends and colleagues, saving travelling time and also injecting some regular fun and fitness into your day!

Whether your club convenes for an early morning session, a lunchtime energizer, or an end-of-day rejuvenator, it makes real sense to workout at work.

In this article, we guide you through the process, covering the whys, hows and wheres, and give you a multitude of tips to help you get started and make your "workout at work" club a success.

The benefits of working out at work

Countless studies have identified that fit, healthy and happy workers are more productive, enjoy their work more, and importantly take far fewer days off due to sickness. So for an employer, it makes sense to promote exercise and a healthy lifestyle in the workplace, as this will attract a better caliber of employee, encourage staff commitment, and reduce staff turnover.

From the employee’s point of view, an employer who provides additional benefits such as the chance to work out is an employer that everyone would like to work for — and so it follows that successfully appointed staff are likely to enjoy their work and working environment more.

Frequently, by the time you arrive home, either family demands on your time or simply that "end-of-the-day feeling" can mean that your planned trip to the gym, exercise class or running club just doesn’t happen. Exercise is a proven energizer, which means that at the end of a workout you will actually have more energy, and you’ll be invigorated and feel a million miles away from that desire to slump in a chair at the end of the day.

With your "work out at work club," you can also include a variety of workout timing options to fit in with your schedule — which can bring extra benefits such as saving travelling time to the gym, missing the bulk of the rush hour traffic, and helping your post-lunchtime work focus so that you are more efficient.

How to start your workout club

To begin with, you have to garner interest and support from as many people as possible at your workplace and importantly, at every level of the organisation. You’re not just looking for people to train with — you’re also looking for higher level support, which could manifest itself in terms of start-up funding for equipment, installation of showers, extended opening times to allow staff members to use existing facilities, or even flexible working arrangements to allow staff to participate in sessions.

Try initiating the following six-point plan to get your "work out at work" club off the ground:

1. Plan your workout club

Before you "go public" with your idea, you need to ensure that there is some substance behind the concept, so forward planning is essential. Your ideas don’t have to blueprinted, funded and set in concrete, but your work colleagues will want to have some idea of several key points — including:

* How often will the club meet or be available for?
* Where will the club meet?
* How much will it cost?
* Who will be responsible for organization?

Sketch out your basic ideas so that everyone can see you’re serious, and then field queries confidently so that you generate some interest.

2. Promote your workout club idea

Next up from the planning stage is contacting everyone. You’ll need to present the idea to the whole company. For large organizations, email or the intranet is an ideal medium — but you could also consider staff bulletins, meetings and face to face contact so that no one is excluded. For smaller companies, the staff canteen or simply the office is ideal, as even a few posters on noticeboards will raise awareness.

3. Get help from work colleagues

During the contact stage, if you’ve done your homework and have presented the concept well, there will be interest. At this stage it is key to harness the interest so that tasks and responsibilities are shared equally. You won’t want all the organisation to continually fall to you!

4. Firm up your workout club plans

Now it’s time to begin putting your concept in place. Logistics, general organization, fees (if any) and any special arrangements such as late locking up times and showering facilities all need to be finalized.

5. Test drive your workout sessions

It’s a good idea to do a couple of dry runs for your "work out at work" sessions and use them to iron out any teething problems, so that everything is running smoothly by the time you’re ready for the full launch. Run some sessions solely for the organizing team, as this way you can all get together afterwards to discuss any areas for improvement.

6. Full launch of workout at work

By this stage you should be ready for the full launch. Key information to communicate will include:

* "Work out at work" club meeting times.
* Types of training offered — for example, running, gym, studio, circuits, aerobics, sports or outdoor workouts.
* General arrangements and logistics.

And then you’re ready to go!

Keeping the momentum going

Once you’ve got your fledgling "workout at work" club off the ground, it’s important to maintain the momentum and keep everyone interested. Again, the day-to-day organisational duties need to be shared, which is why it is important that there is a group to manage all the tasks, rather than just yourself.

Newsletters, bulletin boards, emails, or even a club webpage won’t be too difficult to organize. What you don’t want to happen is for the initial enthusiasm to dry up — so the focus needs to be wider than simply managing the weekly training sessions. If you can crack that then you’re likely to find the club growing and your work colleagues will keep on coming back for more!

Clearly, getting a workout at work club off the ground requires time and effort, but with so many benefits — from time saving and improving work performance to keeping fit and healthy — working out at work will be a real bonus.

When the blood is pumping round after your workout, it’s a proven fact that your thought processes improve and so the combination of more energy and fun at work is extremely attractive!

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