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Personal trainer Gary King lifts a kettlebell at One on One Bodyworks. He says stress makes exercise important for busy executives.
Personal trainer Gary King lifts a kettlebell at One on One Bodyworks. He says stress makes exercise important for busy executives.

Get Fit for the Corner Office

Posted online
While there are plenty of studies and research to indicate healthy eating habits and daily exercise bring benefits, finding time to eat right and work out is a challenge for many busy professionals.

“Most people who have high-level jobs also have a high level of stress,” said Gary King, a personal trainer and owner of One on One Bodyworks in Springfield. “They often deny themselves the time to take care of themselves and suffer the health effects.”

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that 25 percent of adults in 33 states, including Missouri, had a Body Mass Index of 30 or higher, indicating obesity, a condition linked to heart attacks, stroke and Type II diabetes.

Art Hurteau, president of A&M Pizza, co-owns and manages 16 Domino’s Pizza stores and enlisted King’s help to improve his health 14 years ago.

At the time, he was in his late 30s and realized he’d packed on a few pounds.

“Through the years, I had gym memberships but didn’t go,” Hurteau recalled. He was disappointed to learn that his BMI had crept up to 27.

He hired King, who drew up a nutrition and exercise plan – and held him accountable to it. King charges $55 an hour for personal training sessions and $199 for complete nutritional package recommendations.

After just three weeks of working the program – exercise three times a week and a wellness plan, Hurteau said his BMI dropped to 16 and his energy and concentration levels improved.
These days, Hurteau exercises at home, runs five days a week and meets with King once a week for help shaking up his exercise routine.

“Like most people in business, I am easily coached when I have a plan,” Hurteau said.

Hurteau said that King’s program developed discipline and brought unexpected benefits.

“It gave me more energy to enjoy my kids when they were little and has helped me guide them with healthier eating and exercise habits,” he said. “It also made me happier. When you’re stressed, it spills into all areas of your life.”

Dan Langhofer, president of PaperWise Inc., realized the upside of daily exercise and an overall wellness plan several years ago, and he wanted to help his employees reap those benefits, too.

While the company had some exercise equipment on site, Langhofer also hired a personal trainer, Mollie Crawford, to work with his staff. Weekly exercise boot camps and yoga classes are available through PaperWise’s wellness center for employees and their spouses. Chief Operating Officer Bev Baker said about a third of the company’s 45 employees participate regularly.

“We believe in the work and home balance, that’s why we open it to spouses, too,” Baker said. “We want our employees around a long time, and in order to do that, we need them healthy.”

A health risk assessment showed that the employees who participated in the wellness program at PaperWise lowered their blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but another benefit to healthy eating and exercise may be lower health insurance premiums for employees and companies.

To help business leaders understand the importance of health and wellness, insurance company Ollis & Co. opened a wellness center, complete with exercise facilities and a kitchen, at its Springfield office, 2274 E. Sunshine St., in October.

“Our goal is to bring in CEOs and upper management to show why wellness is important,” said Cameron Black, wellness director. “The rationale is that health care costs continue to rise, and the only thing making a difference in those costs are wellness programs.”

Black said that in addition to bringing in CEOs to visit the center, Ollis & Co. holds seminars there, and companies that hire Ollis to handle their wellness plans can use the center, too.
Black said Ozarks companies that have wellness plans in place typically see about a 5 percent drop in health care premiums, and companies that offer incentives in gifts or premium reduction have employee participation rates of about 99 percent.

“I’ve seen powerful stories of people who have lost weight and have gotten off medication,” Black said. “When (companies) see the value it brings to them, it’s a no-brainer to take it to their employees.”

The path to better health isn’t necessarily paved with strenuous, difficult cardio workouts, said Shauna Smith, a personal trainer with Studio One Pilates in downtown Springfield.

“Pilates is a mind-body, thoughtful exercise,” Smith said. “I think busy professionals enjoy the connection, and it helps them get their minds away from work.”

For Studio One client Karen Thomas, president of Oxford Healthcare, Pilates is a tool that helps her relax and de-stress.

“Some people watch television. I exercise,” said Thomas, who has practiced Pilates as part of her exercise routine for 10 years. “If I don’t do it, I get irritable and edgy.”

Smith said the studio sees about 250 people a week, with group sessions for $18 apiece. Private training, she said, costs up to $55 an hour.

Studio One has nine instructors who teach Stott Pilates, but Smith said in January, she’ll take over the studio, reopen it as The Bodysmith and add tai chi to the roster.

Thomas said her workdays begin at 4:30 a.m. and don’t usually end until after 7 p.m., but the key to finding time for exercise is flexibility.

“If I can’t do it in the morning, I make time at the end of the day,” she said. “It’s not selfish to spend time for yourself. It enables you to be better at what you do.”[[In-content Ad]]


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