Q&A: Blueprint for fitness

Monday, April 26, 2010

It doesn’t have to take a lot of money or space to create a place for employees to get a workout in, says Chris Hunter, CEO of Onlife, which works with companies to establish wellness programs and onsite fitness centers. With some careful planning, unused office space can be shaped up in no time, he told HME News recently.

HME News: How much space do you need to create an onsite fitness center?

Chris Hunter: A company might just have an extra conference room or file room where it could put a couple of benches or some cardio equipment and make a gym. You can have a space as small as 20 feet by 12.5 feet, which is about the size of two small standard offices put together.

HME: What kind of equipment can you get with a small budget?

Hunter: There are different options. Adjustable dumbbells—which don’t take much space—are about $500 to $700. Benches can cost about $500 each. You can put together a pretty nice set of equipment, including a treadmill, for under $10,000.

HME: How do companies maintain the fitness space?

Hunter: They can outsource that. There are folks out there that can do that easily and cost effectively. Maintenance on the equipment is pretty important. You don’t want to make the initial investment and then have the treadmill break down.

HME: Why not just pay for employees to join an outside fitness center?

Hunter: The No. 1 reason people give for not exercising is they don’t have enough time. Having an actual room on site creates a buzz in the company. If you have leaders in the company, not just the executives, but people who are influential, start using it and people see that activity, it’s a real opportunity to change the culture of an organization. It sends the message to people that this is valued.