It sounds cliché but it’s true! Our ‘ForceFit’ program came about after the success of implementing lunchtime yoga every Thursday. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, we admit, but it was surprising to see who joined in and really enjoyed it. We pride ourselves on putting our people first and so we wanted to offer something that complimented our culture.
ForceFit is a 3-week program that includes fitness classes to get the blood pumping, yoga to relax and focus the mind and healthy food to fuel our brains. The program offers exercise, relaxation and nutritious food during work hours but also encourages people to train and eat well outside of work by offering workout tips and recipes.
1. Are you seeing more of this now – businesses promoting health and wellbeing to their employees?
Chung – Not enough. I thought ‘wow’ when I got asked by Force24 to do ForceFit. You guys are lucky to have the space and opportunity to get involved in something like this. Not many employers have this type of vision so I was excited to get involved.
Rachel – I have seen the interest in Yoga at lunchtime creep up because workers themselves are feeling the benefits but it’s refreshing to see something put in place for staff by the company itself. It’s also a pleasure for us teachers to do Yoga at lunchtime because it increases energy levels.
2. Is lunchtime exercise proven to help people?
Chung – Yep, absolutely. Leeds Beckett University did a study recently on 210 office workers. They admitted that although the initial idea wasn’t welcomed, those that did it increased their productivity by 17% and improved their ability to work together. You produce more brain cells, and therefore, capacity.
Rachel – Definitely. Exercise, particularly Yoga, relieves stress, reducing cortisol levels which can lead to weight loss. I get an immense feeling of wellbeing when I have that break during the day. The body is relieved of toxins and the breathing exercises manage stress and generally make you feel better.
3. So what have you got in store for us then?
Chung – Working with Phil the Force24 chef, I’ve developed a ForceFit booklet that has a diet and exercise plan, some tips on water consumption, what foods you should eat for good fats, complex carbs, protein and what fruit and veg to champion. There are some delicious recipes and an outline of the fitness classes that have been set. The sessions are focused on using your own bodyweight to train so they can be easily replicated at home or outside.
Rachel – I teach Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. We’ve had great success so far so we’ll continue with that. I guide the team through various poses, which they then do at their own pace.
4. How would you advise other businesses to implement a program like this to help engage their staff and promote health and wellbeing in the workplace?
Chung - Variety is the ticket! Not everyone is going to take it up in full so it’s about offering an approach that has a bit of something for everyone. You need buy-in from the top so that people know it’s a cultural thing that they’re encouraged to do.
For the nutrition plan, I made sure that there wasn’t any compromise on portions or quality of the ingredients. Force24's in-house chef, Phil, already makes delicious healthy food, but we found a way to improve it. The plan offers ways to improve your eating with recipes, hints and tips or you can fully take advantage of the meal plans put together.
The exercise plan was a variety of session types; sticking to 30 minute blocks so they can fit in with workload at the office and then a session after work for those who want to give it their all. Yoga classes are also there for those who don’t want to get sweaty and need relaxation.
To download the ForceFit plan, click here.