Are You Our Future Wellness Coordinator? Apply Today!

Wellness

WellnessThe Motley Fool Wellness Program has been in place for about 2.5 years now and has created quite a culture shift within our organization. We have always been a “relaxed” atmosphere with amazing benefits (unlimited vacation, no dress code, mobile workstations, etc.) and the addition of our Wellness Program has been another staple to our fantastic environment. We have had tremendous support from our leadership team, specifically our CEO Tom Gardner. With his 100% backing, we’ve been able to grow this program.

However, our wellness program is measured to a different standard as it was not set in place to lower health care costs, reduce absenteeism, encourage presenteeism, or any general wellness metric; our program was created as an additional benefit because it was intuitive to push for a healthier and happier workforce. All the aforementioned benefits will automatically occur, but none are our driving metric to promote a healthy and well workplace.

The Motley Fool encourages a well-rounded path toward wellness, offering physical, nutritional, and spiritual benefits. We offer weekly boot-camp, yoga, meditation, and Zumba classes, while also providing on-site massage and chiropractic care. We gather three times a week to play basketball, soccer, and floor hockey at a nearby gym and Fools can buy a heavily discounted membership to said gym. The Fool also has a free on-site gym, locker room, and showers for those that need a quick exercise break, and we recently added standing desks and a treadmill desk in the office to help combat sedentary lifestyles. We’ve removed soda from vending machines, replacing unhealthy items with healthier options, while also providing free fresh food from local vendors twice weekly. We also provide health seminars on topics like stress management, healthy smoothie workshops, and body inflammation.

At our annual health fair, we bring in a wide array of vendors, ranging from acupuncturists, to physical therapists, to local farmers’ market vendors selling their nutrient-dense food. At the fair, The Fool also provides free biometric screenings and immunizations to all employees and their spouses. Lastly, The Fool employs a personal trainer that helps create individualized plans for any employee that wants one. The goal of our wellness program is to provide a variety of activities to help suit our employees’ needs in the everlasting pursuit of wellness. It is NOT to enhance our bottom dollar or to “fit in” with other workplace wellness programs looking to cut health care costs.

Are you a fitness-minded person who wants to be a Fool? We’re looking for Wellness Coordinator to keep all of the above programs running. Check out the job description to find out more and apply!

 

Setting Goals for the New Year? Let Motivation Lead You to Success!

Goals

GoalsHow do you measure success in exercise? Do you measure it by X amount of pounds or body fat percentage lost? Or by X inches gained/lost, depending on your goal? How do you measure success in business or your personal life? Do you measure it by how many promotions or personal triumphs you’ve achieved? Success is incredibly relative to an individual but one common denominator that (should) define success is your effort level.

I recently read a great article in a popular health magazine, discussing what it takes to reach your absolute max potential in exercise. There is only a fraction of a percentage of folks who tap into their reserve, and literally give everything they have to whatever race, event, max lift, etc., they are attempting to complete. The example they provided was a physical stress test on a treadmill: Imagine you have nodes and a breathing apparatus attached to your body and you’re walking on a treadmill and gradually the doc increases the incline and speed to the point where you’re sprinting “as hard as you can go.” Are you in fact sprinting all out? Most likely, since this is just a stress test, you’d eventually give up as any normal person would. The example continues by asking the client what they would do if they were offered a million dollars to continue for another minute. Everyone in their right mind would do everything in their power to stay running for that extra 60 seconds. My point is that most people find themselves quitting before they really need to; I’m not advocating you push until injury, but there are many levels one can push themselves to between when they’d actually quit and their literal max.

If you aim to reach any of those levels in any aspect of your life, not just exercise, you’ll probably find yourself accomplishing a lot more than you thought was possible. I’ve helped mentor a handful of coworkers who have reached their personal success in very different ways. One Fool had the right mindset and wanted to get super healthy due to a risk of inheriting some unfavorable health traits. We came up with a 6% body fat reduction goal and he surpassed it by providing maximum effort every week, while shifting priorities and changing his lifestyle. Another Fool had a goal of working his dream job at TMF and,since I had recently lived this fantasy a couple years ago, I helped him realize his goal by doing everything in his power to succeed (volunteering on projects, putting in side work to help his cause, etc.) while letting the decision makers do the rest. Both Fools gave their 100% effort without knowing what the results would be. Both Fools happened to succeed.

With 2013 looming, we all have a great chance to start fresh through some New Year’s resolutions. Set yourself a few attainable goals and if you are 100%, without a reasonable doubt, giving your everything, you can live with the results whether good/bad; there is literally nothing else you could have done. Even upon “failing,” you have gained much more through maximum effort in terms of discipline and development. So let’s take 2013 as a time to lose the extra 10 pounds, or foster a better relationship with your coworkers, or spend more quality time with your family. Because if you’re not trying as hard as you can, why waste your energy and try at all?

Shared Struggle Brings People Together

Tough Mudder race

Tough Mudder Staying healthy through exercise is not the easiest of tasks as it takes time, dedication, and discipline. Here at the Motley Fool, we’ve created a new culture of wellness with the focal point being exercise. As the Wellness Fool, I try to encourage a well-rounded strategy for personal wellness, but exercise and fitness remain at the heart of my intensions. However, the common thread through all fitness-related activity is collaboration. Although I do personal training with the individual Fool occasionally, our weekly schedule revolves around group exercise activities from our flagship Foolish Fitness classes (boot-camp style classes), to our Yoga classes, Zumba classes, and our twice-weekly open gym runs where we enjoy basketball, floor hockey, soccer, and volleyball.

Getting healthy is the primary goal, but a powerful secondary benefit comes from the collaboration amongst Fools from all over the company.  I’ve led over 350 of our Foolish Fitness classes now, and we have Fools from our tech department, helping Fools from our marketing team, pushing Fools from editorial – all for the collective gain of the individuals, and company as a whole. Although we are not a large company, there is a chance that some of these Fools might never have said more than a friendly, “Hi” in the hallways if not for these activities. You get to know someone’s real character when they’re sweaty, tired, and pushed to their physical/mental limits. And to come out together, smiling, and pumped-up through a common struggle brings us closer together.

So recently, a group of 12 Fools got together and started training for the Tough Mudder, a 12-mile obstacle course challenge, where you are pushed to your breaking point in order to complete the challenge. Now I call this event a challenge and not a race because you are not timed and are encouraged to simply finish the course. We all came away with cramps, cuts, and bruises, but yours truly ended up splitting my temple open at mile 1. We trained so hard for this, and I wasn’t going to quit on my teammates. On the other hand, I felt bad for delaying my fellow Fools while waiting for the medic to arrive, so I encouraged them to go on without me and I’d try to catch up. Once again, we trained so hard for this that they weren’t going anywhere without me, and we finished the challenge together.

The old cliché remains true that if exercise was easy, everybody would be doing it. The reality is, staying healthy and active is not easy and is downright uncomfortable at times. However, if you are going through a common, shared struggle together, the journey seems less daunting, and everyone is better off for it.

Why Wellness? Because We Care…

Wellness

Wellness

To help the world invest. Better.

The Motley Fool’s purpose, undeniably, places the interest of our members and followers at numero uno but who is going to look out for us Fools in Alexandria, VA?

That’s where I come in, the Wellness Fool.

Just a little background before I explain what the heck a Wellness Fool is – I previously worked for our Tech Department as a Quality Assurance Analyst for 3+ years but realized it wasn’t exactly my cup of (green) tea. My heart was with fitness and nutrition. After several meetings and proposals with the powers-that-be, the Fool offered me a position to help get every Fool on the path to Wellness.

What exactly is wellness you ask? The best definition I’ve ever come across and my humble translation follows:

Wellness is a “multidimensional state of being describing the existence of positive health in an individual as exemplified by quality of life and a sense of well-being”. – Charles B. Corbin, Arizona State University

Translation: Wellness is not defined by the extraneous actions you perform, but by the ease of your mundane, daily activities.

Here at the Fool, we try to offer a wide array of wellness benefits from boot-camp classes, to yoga, to meditation, to healthy snack fridges, to massages, etc. – all free or at minimal cost to our employees. You would think the primary goal in all of this would be to lower health care costs, reduce absenteeism/turnover, and to boost ROI. Although these are all amazing positive side effects, the goal from our executive team has always been to create happier and healthier Fools! At our last health fair, our bio-metric screening nurse claimed we were the healthiest company, collectively, she had ever screened for! Our employee turnover is already among the lowest in the industry, and I’ve heard on multiple occasions (shhh, don’t tell their bosses) that multiple Fools have come INTO WORK on their days off, just to attend some of the fitness classes! So what is it that I actually do? One of the best parts of this job is that there is no blueprint for the position. For the last year, my day-to-day activity has never been the same: I manage all the wellness benefits, initiatives, and relationships with our vendors; I lead the boot-camp classes every week; I work individually with many Fools who prefer having their own individual plans and check-in with them on a monthly basis; and I walk around the office making every Fool feel guilty on pizza and cake days. However, my most treasured accomplishment is this new sense of culture that has developed; it is not easy trying to get 200+ people on a path to wellness. But some of Fools that have been with me from Day 1 have begun self-managing, and that is always the goal of a personal trainer or wellness coach.

Give a Fool a fish, and you feed them for a day. Teach a Fool to fish, and you feed them tremendous amounts of omega 3s and DHA for a lifetime.

Looking to get going yourself in 2012? You don’t have enough time, right? I don’t have facts around me but I’m assuming the #1 excuse for avoiding exercise is not having enough time. Unless you eat, sleep, use the restroom, work, commute, spend time with family for 24 hours, you actually have time. Even if that time is 10-15 minutes because those 10-15 minutes is better than 0 minutes, right? Too tired after getting the kids ready for school, working a full day, making dinner, and getting the kids to bed? Guess what boosts your energy? Exercise! Eat your lunch at your desk, and go for a walk during your lunch instead. Set your alarm 15-20 minutes earlier, down a glass of water, and go hard for 15-20 minutes, 5 days a week, and I guarantee you’ll start seeing some changes; not only will you be energized for your day, you’ll get the session out of the way, will drop the guilt hanging over your head, AND see physical changes. Watch TV much? Get down on the ground and break a sweat while enjoying your favorite show. Have a dog? They need to be walked to tame their tempers so get moving with them! Bring the whole family on the walk as family. Walk time is a great bonding time. Preparation is key to eliminating wasted time: choose your workout clothes the night before and have them ready or, better yet, sleep in them and wake up ready. Park your car in the furthest spot possible, use the restroom on the other side of the building, take the stairs instead of the elevator – just keep moving and watch how your mood and energy change. The biggest hurdle is getting started, and since results breed results, once you get started and see some positive changes, you’ll be MAKING time to exercise.

A Gift You Don’t Want for the Holidays

Fool Fitness
Fool FitnessThe major weight gains, for most people, occur between Halloween and New Year’s. For Fools, we think of all the Halloween candy we have in the office when our kids come through to trick-or-treat. We have to consider the Thanksgiving feast we provide during our all-hands monthly meeting. And don’t even get me started about the desserts and booze at the Fool holiday party. Like you, most Fools start “letting themselves go” for the holidays because they know New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner. Mix that with the fact that our bodies naturally preserve fat during winter months to stay warm and we’re outside less because of the cold, equals a recipe for weight gain.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can still enjoy all the holidays have to offer while keeping the weight and fat off, without the guilt!

Weight and fat gain is all about calories consumed vs. calories expended; if you know you will be indulging one evening, work that much harder in the gym that day. No time for exercise? (Yeah, right — that’s another blog post.) Enjoy some goodies in moderation by taking a smaller plate, or enjoy that buffet just once, or focus on socializing instead of just eating and eating. If you get started on an exercise plan before New Year’s hits, not only can you enjoy splurging every so often during the holidays, you’ll also be on a good track post-holiday season into the new year. Go ahead and enjoy the holidays guilt-free, as long as you do so in moderation while staying active.