Welcome back to Squad Talk, the Official Fit Company newsletter!
We’ve got another great interview to share with you today. It’s with Leslie Tate and Joell Beagle at Alliance Abroad. Alliance Abroad is a mid-sized company that’s been coming out to the Fit Company Challenge for several years and Leslie and Joell are associates who have lead the way in bringing out awesome teams every year.
How many times has Alliance Abroad participated in the Challenge?
Leslie: We’ve participated in three Challenges so far. Each time, our participation has grown. At first, when it was new, only a few people got involved, but once people started going – and even if it was just to watch and cheer – our employees took notice. They got to see how simple and accessible it was, and then the numbers, along with the desire to work out both before and after the event, really went up.
What kind of participation do you usually get for the events? Is it mostly new people or the same ones returning?
Leslie: We see a definite a mix of past and new participants as our company grows more people join in.
Joell: We work as a visa sponsor here in the USA for bringing people over for a cultural exchange program. At the last challenge, we had several trainees in the office, we got three of our Korean and Brazilian exchange participants to join the event! It just goes to show that going in and being active together kinda crosses a lot of cultural lines.
That’s great! Does your company have an easy time making teams and putting people together for the event?
Leslie: When we make our teams, everyone likes to get really involved. We’ve got a higher level group that’s very serious about this.
Joell: They go to the gym together after the office for cardio and weight lifting. One of them is even a trainer. They try to ramp it up each year and train for higher targets than the year before.
Leslie: Of course, we tell everyone, that you can be as aggressive towards your goals as you want. After all, one thing we loved about the challenge is how it doesn’t encourage judgement between people who want to take it seriously and those of us who just show up to have fun. On event day, we end up all cheering for each other.
Joell: Overall, there’s different reasons why groups came together – some were friends outside work and said “why not” while others were natural athletes and really competitive and just gravitate towards each other. Things work great for the intense teams as much as those who show up because it’s fun and feels safe being active with other members of the team.
Did either of you find yourselves setting goals or fitness targets you wanted to reach this year?
Leslie: We’re a very diverse group in terms of age, demographics and fitness levels. A lot of people set personal goals for the different challenges. For instance, I wanted to run during the entire Overtime course, and I did it this year.
Joell: You also find that you have secret goals that you didn’t set but you surprise yourself and are like “Yes, that’s what I wanted to accomplish.” It could be holding a plank the entire time, or other little goals that matters in the moment when you achieve them.
What are some of the things you do around the office to get people fit and ready for the challenge?
Leslie: We do things like “office planks” a couple times a day. We give warnings, like “okay, in 3 minutes, we’re gonna plank!” and anyone who wants to join comes down to one side of the office and we plank for about a minute or two. Once it’s done, they go back to work and maybe they’ll join the next one in a couple of hours.
A couple times a day? That’s great! Any suggestions for other offices that might want to start something like this?
Leslie: Well, we figured out very quickly, that planking right around lunch is the worst time!
To wrap things up, have you noticed any changes in your workplace culture?
Leslie: I can honestly say there’s a lot more chatter around the office now about being active. We still enjoy our treats and snacks at birthdays, but we’ve also got our own soccer league, bowling league, and the participation in those has grown too as our company as a whole gets more interested in fitness and team work.
Events like this help us to get to know each other. People you might have only been acquainted with before could suddenly become your closest friend as your train and participate together.
In the months after each event, there are still people that stick together and keep working out as a team. They found workout buddies who they can better themselves with because they still feel that sense of teamwork they had during the challenge.
A huge thanks again to Leslie & Joell for holding the interview with us and sharing their experiences with the Fit Company Challenge!