In November the Bulletin asked readers to write in why they warranted seven weeks of free physical training at the Carmichael Gym. Around Christmas Laura Karpf, assistant director marketing in University Recreation and Natalie Freeland, assistant director of fitness, announced the victors:
Natasha Dillon, graduate services coordinator in physiology and Lynn Burris, executive assistant in facilities won the individual packages. Campus Enterprises won the group challenge. Here’s an update:
Lose Big, Win Big
Campus Enterprises entered the challenge in early January with 16 employees signing up from several divisions including the Student Center, Atrium Food Court, Port City Java, the dining halls and marketing. Everyone attended a one-hour training session each Friday morning.
Through the fitness assessments Freeland found many were novices to exercise and significantly overweight. Others were recovering from knee replacement surgery and several smoked.
“Most were unaware they faced health risks for diabetes and high blood pressure. It was impressive seeing everyone’s eagerness to participate,” Freeland says.
Getting Into Shape
Germaine Craddock, student trainer and freshman, whipped the team into shape with classes in spin, TRX, aerobics and weights. The sessions were only nominally adjusted for the unfit. So if someone couldn’t do press ups from the floor, Craddock suggested pushing from a bench. I attended one session and found the work out seriously intense.
Between the sweating and grunting, trainers offered nutrition counseling; such as making fresh fruit and vegetables 75 percent of your plate and water your beverage.
“This echoed my messaging, particularly during our One Change campaign. Hearing it from someone else helped,” says Lisa Eberhart, NC State dietitian.
The individual sessions were successful too. Dillon, the graduate support counselor, loved meeting her trainer twice a week for cardio and weight training. Already she feels fabulous.
“You feel so great after exercising, you wonder why you haven’t done it earlier,” she says.
Burris, the executive assistant, especially enjoyed the one-on-one fitness training in the private training rooms. She saw herself perform sets of four minute jumping jacks, basic TRX and lift progressively heavier weights.
“I now miss my endorphin rush when I don’t exercise,” Burris says.
Within weeks all participants saw great results. Anthony Brown, food service manager, lost the most weight within his team—20 pounds—by exercising three times a week and avoiding sweets and sodas.
Everyone lost inches from their waistline and reported feeling happier, more energetic and productive. The team fitness challenge also brought people closer. At the Friday session I attended, teammates gave each other high-fives and joked about their pain. Even Senior Director Randy Lait sweated alongside his staff.
“Seeing our boss working out each week with his team was a terrific message,” Eberhart says.
All participants plan to continue exercising and many extended their gym memberships. Three from Campus Enterprises consistently attend cardio dance classes at 6 a.m. and the entire department now walks to campus appointments rather than drive.
“This was a wonderful success story,” Freeland says.