Welcome to Squad Talk, the Official Fit Company newsletter!
To launch our first edition, we’ve got a great interview we’d love to share with you. It’s with Julia Takishita at Hayes Software in Austin, Texas. They’re a mid-sized company that was looking to grow their health initiatives and maintain a healthy company culture. Julia shares with us some of the ways the Austin Fit Company Challenge got her co-workers motivated and helped keep her company fit and active!
Tell us a bit about your company. How did your teams get organized for the event?
We’re a relatively small office. This initiative really got started from top down. Our CEO and President Matt Winebright asked who wanted to spearhead the fitness initiative. A couple of us got together. Myself, Sean Benton, our Controller, and Javier Ayala, our Lead Software QA Engineer – basically representation from different departments in the office. We even enlisted the husband of one of our employees who coaches hockey who was thrilled to come on board and give us a hand!
Were you able to do anything as a team leading up to the Challenge to get prepared?
Yes – Friday workouts! One of our co-captains – Javier – is a certified crossfit coach and was generous enough to run lunch workouts for the team every Friday. Hayes Software even allowed us to use a conference room so we could exercise indoors and stay out of the Texas heat. Not every participant came to each Friday workout, but it was a great way to keep most of us training together.
Your company has attended a few challenges. Who participated this time around? Mostly same faces as last time or new ones?
This is our third Fit Company Challenge and our team size has grown to almost half of our company! This year, we had roughly equal numbers of new participants as returning ones. When putting together our teams, we made sure each captain had at least one returning participant. This way, they could share what to expect and help get people ready.
We also had the opportunity of bringing new people to the event – not just first-time participants, but also people new to our company. Some of them were pretty fit, and got to share their own ideas, workouts, training tips, and really coordinated with their teammates. It was a great way of welcoming them and bringing into our company culture.
What sort of goals did your teams set for themselves?
For some of us, signing up and finishing the Challenge was the only goal we needed. Though, some of the younger guys with higher athletic aspirations, got really motivated. Two of our teams challenged each other and raced to the top, aiming for the best times and results. It was really fun to see them get competitive in a playful, fun sort of way.
During the lead-up to the event, did you discover anything new this year? Maybe a tip or strategy for newcomers?
Beware the break rooms! We’ve got two in the office, and they’re always loaded with all kinds snacks and treats. In this case, it’s a perk but also a challenge. It can be dangerous to go in there alone and suddenly find yourself tempted by something sweet or savory…
On the topic of food, did you find that the office was eating healthier in the lead-up to the event?
A lot of us already had good lifestyles and made healthy lunch choices. But now, all of a sudden, we have team members on paleo or keto diets, who are vegetarians or vegans, all sitting around the table with apples, bananas, bowls of salad, fish, rice, healthy options, each of them talking about their meal programs, trading tips and strategies for better eating.
After completing the event, was there a lasting sense of unity among the participants?
Definitely! Right after the event our team went out for lunch. We all rehashed our trials and tribulations, talked about outstanding moments at the event and the funny ones too.
A little while after the event, we had our monthly staff meeting, and everyone who participated showed up in their event shirts. It was great. We got to answer questions and shared some photos on the company’s internal Facebook page.
Afterwards, we heard a lot of chatter around the office, so even the people who didn’t participate were really into it and interested.
Where does the Fit Company Challenge sit with your overall company culture?
The Challenge has enhanced our culture, and even become part of it. We all love the way it encourages everyone to participate, allowing those of us who are not totally physically fit and those who are crazy fit to be part of the same team and work well together. Plus, we got to learn from the athletes among us, while they got to work on their patience waiting for the rest of us!
Any final thoughts or comments you’d like to share?
We had a blast and are looking forward to the next one!
We hope you enjoyed our first interview, and would like to thank Julia one more time for holding the interview with us and sharing their experiences with the Fit Company Challenge!
Your Fit Company Squad