Get Fit experience best when shared

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2015 Get Fit Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook and then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 21. This week, IB checks in with the group from Hausmann-Johnson Insurance, which is competing in the team challenge, and is made up of Barry Richter, David Kruse, Melissa Schultz, and Kyle VonRuden. Stay tuned for future blogs from the team.

Getting fit and staying fit. It’s not complicated, yet it’s far from easy — and it’s best when done as a group. This has been our takeaway from this year’s IB Get Fit Challenge.

When we began the challenge, our team from Hausmann-Johnson Insurance had a good idea of some fitness basics: eat more fresh foods, drink lots of water, limit sugar and fat intake, and stretch/exercise regularly. But if you do an online search for “fitness tips” or “best ways to lose weight,” you’ll find a seemingly endless rabbit hole filled with information that is proclaimed as gospel on one site and condemned on another. We’ve learned that you have to tune out the white noise and make the simple, good choice: go for mixed greens with your sandwich rather than fries; skip the soda and try an unsweetened iced tea, or better yet, water; and rather than spending the day binge-watching the sixth season of “Parks & Recreation” (again), get outside to your local park and recreate there. It’s what Leslie Knope would want you to do.

These simple choices, when made consistently, help foster a healthy mind and a fit body. But like most things in life this is easier said than done. Old habits die hard and new ones are even harder to cultivate. We’ve found that the best way to counter this regression to the mean is to have a concrete, achievable, and impactful goal. Melissa’s 10-week intensive cross-training/kick boxing course has helped her nearly triple the amount of pushups she can do in one minute. David’s desire to run a half marathon has gotten him out of bed in the early-morning hours on more than a few occasions. Kyle’s drive to be a more fit/active dad prompted him to dust off his cleats and run around the pitch as the coach of his children’s soccer team. And Barry’s goal of overhauling his diet has helped him become more aware of the effects his food choices have on his energy level throughout the day.

From the very beginning, our team has sought to share this experience with our entire office. Rather than having to beg individuals to participate, we had so much interest that we were forced to pull names out of a hat in order to determine our participants. We each view our participation as an opportunity to give back to the office and, to that end, we’ve instituted a number of programs that will continue long after our participation in the Get Fit Challenge has ended: Fresh Fruit Fridays, lunchtime walking groups, monthly Fitness Field Trips (office outings to Devil’s Lake, paddling on Lake Monona, etc.), and continuing our Lunch N’ Learn programs regarding nutrition, portion control, and other healthy living topics.

We’ve truly enjoyed our time participating in the Get Fit Challenge and while we look forward to our final tests as a measure of our success, we know that the real challenge begins the day this one ends. The lessons we’ve learned will only matter inasmuch as we are able to make them permanent fixtures in our daily lives and in our office culture. Let the real challenge begin!

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference.

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