Corporate Fitness: Setting a Culture of Wellness in the Workplace

Corporate fitness programs aren’t just for big companies with big budgets.

Corporate executive lifting barbell during fitness session

It’s no secret that as a society we’re getting fatter.   This poses an expensive problem for companies who are paying for health care plans for their employees.  Overweight individuals statistically cost their employers more due to more medical visits, more sick days taken and higher usage of prescription drugs when compared to average weight individuals. Creating and encouraging a culture a of wellness through a program of corporate fitness for employees just makes good fiscal sense.

Large companies often have robust health and wellness programs complete with professionally staffed fitness centers, onsite clinics and a host of other offerings that only a large budget can handle.  However, small companies with small budgets can most definitely embrace and encourage wellness at the workplace as well.

Corporate fitness success stories in small companies

There are small companies right here in Silicon Valley that are taking steps to create a healthier workforce and proving that it doesn’t cost a fortune to foster a culture of wellness at the workplace.  It simply takes top level support, a little creativity and some dedication to finding cost effective resources. Last year I met with one of the partners at San Jose accountancy firm  Abbot Stringham Lynch (  and was really impressed with things they’ve put in place for their employees in order to encourage healthy habits.  Although they’d be considered a small company with just 55 people at the firm, they planned and built an on-site fitness center when they took over the building in which they operate.  On-site showers make it convenient for employees to get cleaned up before heading back to their desks.  In their on-site self service kitchen they’ve got pantries, refrigerators and freezers filled with snacks and food that can be put together to create a meal. This offers employees an easy way to grab a quick piece of fruit in the afternoon, or put together a salad for lunch.  The firm had a surge in births amongst employees, so they created a “mother’s room” where female employees can take few minutes to collect breast milk for their infants.  Although this may not seem to be part of a “health and wellness” plan, I’d say it goes a long way towards employee satisfaction.  Happy, well cared for employees are going to be more productive employees.

Bay area mortgage lender RMR Financial ( has given employees pedometers to track their steps, and they’ve purchased access to an online accountability program ( where employees can log exercise activities and get incentive rewards.  Employees can also track their fitness/weight loss progress at a measurement station right in the office.   We recently awarded RMR Financial with our “Healthy Business of the Month” award because they’re a small local company putting an effort into employee wellness.  In order to honor and support their efforts at making employee wellness a priority, we gifted their employees with a free one-month membership to our fitness boot camps in San Jose and Los Gatos.    We look at it as a win-win-win for all concerned:  RMR Financial has another fitness “offering” for their employees (that cost them nothing), the employees get a great workout several times a week to help improve their fitness, and we get to help a few more of our community members get in shape by helping them lose body fat and tone their muscles!

If there’s a notion out there in SiliconValley that only the larger companies have or can afford fitness and wellness programming, these two cases studies show this isn’t true.  Whether a company has a huge budget, a small budget, or even NO budget, wellness at the workplace can be fostered.

Health care costs are going to keep spiraling higher.  The best cost containment method Silicon Valley Companies can employ is to help their employees move more and eat better.



Fun, Fitness and Community at Halloween Boot Camp Workout in Willow Glen

Calories were burned, food for the needy was collected, and smiles were everywhere on Saturday, October 30th at the Second Annual “Freaky Fat Loss” Workout for Charity in Willow Glen.  We dressed in Halloween costumes and worked out to Halloween music while we supported those less fortunate in our community by collecting canned good to donate to Second Harvest Food Bank.  We don’t have the official weight of our donation yet, but we think we collected about 200 pounds of food.

NBC 11 weekend weatherman, Craig Herrera, and his dog, Cooper, joined the event and worked out with us.

Here are a few photos of all the fun we had:

Craig Hererra of NBC 11, his dog Cooper, and Becky Williamson
Craig Hererra of NBC 11, his dog Cooper, and Becky Williamson

Doing pumpkin push ups at the Halloween boot camp in San Jose
"Princess Leia" and "Luke Skywalker" doing pumpkin push ups

Craig Herrera awards "Lucy" the award for best costume
Craig Herrera awards "Lucy" the award for best costume

Doing Pumpkin twists at Freaky Fat Loss 2010
Doing Pumpkin twists at Freaky Fat Loss 2010

Cooling down after the workout
Cooling down after the workout
The "Freaky Fat Loss 2010" gang

In addition to Whole Foods Market, the following local businesses generously donated items for our raffle:

• Leslie Steinberg, Independent Consultant with Pampered Chef

•  Connie Umbenhower

•  Kelly Cornell, Nutrition Consultant

• Pat Zahn, Creative Memories Consultant,

• Rozenhart Family Chiropractic

• Ana Maria Sanchez, Reiki Master Practitioner,

• Jenifer Klein, Independant Silpada Representative

• The Running Revolution,

• Athletic Performance,

• Georgianne Pillsbury, Registered Investment Adviser,

Thanks to our generous donors, Whole Foods Market, Craig Herrera and all our participants.

Let’s do it again next year!

If you’re interested in checking out a lifeSport Fitness boot camp is San Jose, Campbell or Los Gatos, please log on to and request a FREE one week trial at boot camp!

FREE Halloween Boot Camp in Willow Glen!

It’s that time of year again!

Time for the Freaky Fat Loss Workout for Charity!

lifeSport Fitness will be treating you to a FREE boot camp workoutcat-n-jackolantern thumbnail on

Saturday, October 30th at 10 am in Willow Glen

(St. Francis Episcopal Church–1205 Pine Ave., San Jose 95125)

So, gather some canned goods and  throw together a Halloween costume,  an uncarved pumpkin, an exercise mat and some water.

It’s time to come together as a community and gather food for the needy while you grab a FREE boot camp workout for yourself!

We’ll work out to spooky  music while we take you through a full body workout that includes pumpkin squats, pumpkin push ups and the all-time favorite:  pumpkin burpees!

You could be the lucky one to win the prize for BEST COSTUME!

Craig Herrera, the weekend weatherman at NBC 11, will be on hand to work out with us and to declare the winner of the Best Costume prize.

We’ll provide you with a great full body workout plus some awesome raffle prizes after the workout.

Whole Foods Market will be on hand with snacks and goodies after the workout as well!

If you’d like to grab a spot at this FREE boot camp workout in Willow Glen, click on the link below:


Last year at this event, we collected 150 pounds of food which we donated to The Second Harvest Food Bank.

This year our goal is 300 pounds of food!

Let’s get this party started!

Be there on October 30th to join in the fun.   You’ll do your body and the community some good.

Space is limited, so grab your spot now by clicking the link below!


Come to my FREE boot camp workout in San Jose!

Let’s celebrate Spring and support the American Cancer Society!  You’re cordially invited to……….


Saturday, May 1st, 2010, 8 am

Oster School —  1855 Lencar Way, San Jose 95124

I’ve been asked to take part in the festivities at the Cambrian Relay for Life on Saturday, May 1st.  In case you’re not familiar with “Relay for Life”, it’s a 24-hour event in which teams take turns walking around a track throughout the night.  It’s a way to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer, as well as to honor those who are survivors–and of course, raise money to help fund research for a cure.

Throughout the 24-hour event there are various activities going on—-so, I guess you could say I’m one of the activities!  I’ll be doing a “Wake up your Workout” warm up and mini boot camp at 8 am.  I’ll try to rouse the ones who got to take a cat nap in their sleeping bags during the night, I suppose!

I’m donating my time and some $$ to to event in honor of three former clients of mine who are breast cancer survivors:

Yvonne M. ,  Sunny C., and Diana A.

and two very wonderful ladies who lost their battle with breast cancer

Barbara Podgorny and Nancy Stoney

So, what does this have to do with YOU?

There are a few ways you can participate in the Cambrian Relay for Life:

Organize a team to walk the event

Log on here for more info:

Donate to a team

One of my boot campers, Tina L., has registered a team for the event.  You can support her team by making a donation here:

Support Team Walk-a-Muck

Come out to the event

Enjoy my mini-boot camp at 8 am, and cruise by the various team tents/campsites. Many teams will be running mini-fundraisers by selling items at their  campsites.

After I put everyone through a workout, I’ll be doing a drawing at Team Walk-a-Muck’s campsite.  Come by their tent and register to win a certificate for 2 FREE weeks at a lifeSport boot camp in San Jose or Campbell.

Committed to your fitness success,


A Fat Blasting Workout for San Jose and Los Gatos boot campers!

This is a special blog post for customers in my fitness boot camps in San Jose and Los Gatos (as well as my private training clients). I’m always trying to encourage you to get a good workout in over the weekend.  So,  I decided to not only create a “no equipment needed” workout for you, but to also give you a little bribe to get it done!

You’ll have to watch the video to learn what the “prize” is for getting your workout in.

As usual, my furry sidekick, Noah, makes a cameo appearance (several, actually) in the video.  It’s amazing how he always manages to get right in line with the camera when it’s rolling.  In fact, this time, I think he’s trying to show you some version of our “core rotation” exercise we often do with exercise bands.  Maybe we could call it a “canine core rotation”?

So, if you’re game to get a quick, cardio interval workout in over the weekend, I’ve created one for you.  You don’t need to think about what to do.  I’ve thought it out for you.

Below the video, you’ll find a written version of the  workout in the event you want to print it out for reference.

Here’s the workout in case you want a written version:

Jumping jacks  (45-90 seconds)

Push ups (15 repetitions)

Jump rope (45-90 seconds)

Back extensions (15 repetitions)

Jump squats  (45-90 seconds)

Dips  (45-90 seconds)

Please watch the video for instructions on how to increase or decrease the intensity of each exercise.

I’m looking forward to your comments :-).

Committed to your success,


How To Build The Ultimate Circuit Training Workout For Rapid Fat Loss

In the past, the cornerstone of most resistance training workouts has been performing exercises in a straight set format. Essentially, this means you perform a certain number of reps for a certain number of sets of  a given exercise, and then you rest anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes based on your training goals before repeating this set/rep combo again. This is actually a traditional body builder program.  There’s nothing really wrong with it, and most “regular” folks you see at the gym are doing just this type of a program.  If they’ve got 60-90 minutes to get their strength workout and their cardiovascular training in,  and they’re getting the results they want, well then, they should probably keep doing what they’re doing!  However, there is a quicker way to get a great workout in.

A much more effective and time-efficient approach to ordering your exercises is utilizing the alternating set format. Here you’ll perform one exercise, rest for a very short period of time, then perform another non-competing exercise, rest for a short period of time, and so forth. Alternating sets allow you to work different areas of your body when you would otherwise be resting with the straight set format. Plus, by working another area of your body with a non-competing exercise you allow your body to recover from the previous exercise(s). The result is improved training economy and density: more work accomplished in less time, the cornerstone of any sound fat loss program.

There are several ways to perform alternating sets outlined below:

1.)   Supersets: Alternate between two different non-competing exercises (e.g. upper body and lower body such as push-ups and lunges). I really like this format and use it for my personal training customers in San Jose, as well as for many of my own workouts.

2.)   Trisets: Alternate between three different exercises (e.g. push, pull, and lower body such as push-ups, rows, and lunges).

3.)   Circuits: Alternate between four or more different exercises

Though supersets and trisets are excellent alternating set options, I believe circuit training is by the far the best option for time-crunched recreational exercisers who want to boost their metabolism and decrease body fat . That’s one reason why we  incorporate a strength/cardio circuit into about 90% of our monthly bootcamp workouts in San Jose and Los Gatos.  They incinerate calories, as well as develop lean muscle and cardiovascular endurance.

Here’s an example of a 6 station cardio/strength circuit:

Exercise#1- Jump rope

Exercise#2- Dips

Exercise#3- High knee jog in place

Exercise#4- Pull-ups  (if you don’t have a pull up bar, you can do an inverted row at home by putting a broomstick across two chairs)

Exercise#5- Fast lateral shuffle

Exercise#6:  Push ups

Exercise at each station for 1 minute, and take a 10-15 second recovery break between each station.  At the cardio stations (1, 3, and 5) you’ll go “all out” for one minute.  At the strength stations (2,4, and 6), perform sets of 8-12 repetitions of the exercise, and then take a brief rest.  Beginners might get in 2 sets, advanced folks might get in 4 sets during the 60 second time frame (due to less rest time).

Perform this circuit up to four times for an excellent fat burning workout.

The key to creating the optimal hormonal environment for fat loss is to perform each exercise with maximal intensity while separated by brief rest periods in order to accumulate a high volume of total body work in the shortest amount of time possible. Circuit training provides for the best of both worlds and is thus simply unmatched for simultaneously maximizing fat loss and lean muscle gain.

When you’re short on time (and who isn’t these days!), nothing beats a high intensity circuit training workout.

Committed to your success,


FREE boot camp workout on Halloween morning!

Who wants a FREE workout in San Jose this month?

We’ve got you covered.

You’re cordially invited to “Freaky Fat Loss“, a boot camp style workout the morning of October 31st in Willow Glen.

Is there a catch to this freebie?  Yes, but just a small one.

We’re asking for a donation of canned goods in exchange for the free workout.

Our goal is to collect at least 150 pounds of food for the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Here are the details:

Time: 10:00-11:15 am

Location:  1205 Pine Ave., San Jose  95125 (in the main hall of St. Francis Episcopal Church)

All registered participants will be entered into a raffle for some cool prizes!

We’ll award a prize for best costume!

Pre-registration is required.  After you register, you’ll be given additional details on what to bring to the workout.

If you’re looking for a great boot camp workout right before the “season of over-eating” begins, mark your calendar now!

Click HERE to register!

Come join the fun

cat-n-jackolantern thumbnail

15-minute fat blasting workout

Okay campers, I’ve got another video for you. I recently had the pleasure of doing a “Lunch and Learn” presentation at Avalon Bay Communities, a local corporation.  The theme of my talk was “15 minute fat blasting workouts”.

So many of us are crazy busy these days, yet we hold on to the concept that the only “real” workout is an hour long run, or 1 hour of weights at the gym.  I beg to differ. When time gets short, our workouts need to change. My suggestion:  Increase the intensity, and shorten the time frame.

I asked the participants at my presentation to brainstorm a list of exercises that we could do with little to no equipment. Our list included squats, lunges, jumping jacks, push ups, dips, and a number of other body weight strength or calisthenic-type exercises.  From there we randomly picked 4 exercises and a work/rest interval plan.  Viola.  We’ve got a high intensity workout!

In the video below I demonstrate each exercise we chose, and I include beginner and advanced modifications on some of the exercises.  I also include suggestions for beginner and advanced exercises with regard to how many rounds of the circuit you should do (beginners:  you’ll be done in LESS than 15 minutes!).

Once again, my workout companion, Noah the wonder dog, manages to squeeze in another cameo appearance.  At one point in the video, he does his impression of a cow grazing in a pasture for you.

Give this quick, high intensity workout a try this weekend!

Committed to your success,


Fat Loss Workouts for San Jose/Campbell Boot Camps

Okay campers, I’ve had more than one person say “what are we supposed to do on our week off from boot camp??””.   Not to worry!  I’ve got you covered.

I’ve got a week’s worth of fat loss workouts planned for you!  As usual these workouts will work for any fitness level. Increase the intensity and impact if you’re a seasoned exerciser, back off on impact and intensity if you’re a newbie. Most of you have been with lifeSport Fitness long enough to know how to modify push ups, burpees, mountain climbers, planks or anything else Jackie or I throw your way.  If you’re not sure about how to execute a particular exercise, just email me at:  bootcamp(at)

As with every workout, please make sure to warm up for 5 minutes before starting any of these workouts.

Here are 4 workouts for you to do over our week long break

Workout #1:

Cardio intervals

You choose the cardio activity.  You can walk, run, bike, swim, or use a cardio machine at your gym.

Work out HARD (like breathless hard, folks!) for 30 seconds

Recover for 90 seconds

Repeat for 6-10 rounds, depending on your fitness level

Workout #2

Body weight strength workout

Perform  1 set of 20 repetitions of each exercise.  Rest for 15 sec after each set.  Repeat the sequence three times.  For added variety, change your hand placement on the push ups each time (example:  narrow hands, staggered hands).

Push ups

Walking lunges* (20 out, 20 back)



*(feel free to add dumbbells to these exercises if you have them)

Workout #3

Do the ” Fat Loss Weekend Workout” I posted for you last month

Workout #4

Steady State Cardio Workout (you don’t hear me promote these too much!!)

Pick your cardio exercise of choice. Do it at a steady, but challenging pace, for 30-40 minutes.  This is not a “walk your dog” or “chat with your buddy while you walk” type of workout.  Break a sweat.  Get a little breathless.  Yes, it’s  a “steady state” (e.g., all at the same pace) workout, but don’t make it a wimpy workout :-).

Campers who leave a comment before the end of the week that they have completed TWO of these workouts (tell us what workouts you did) get a couple of Prograde Cravers at camp next month!

Have a great week, campers!

Committed to your success,


Celebrity Trainer Comes To San Jose Boot Camp Location!

Guess what, campers!!?? You’re going to get the opportunity to work out with celebrity trainer, Rocco Castellano, at our San Jose/Almaden boot camp location on Friday, August 14th at 6 am!  I’m opening up this special class to ALL lifeSport boot campers, not just those registered at the Almaden location.

Rocco is ready to give you a workout you'll never forget!
Rocco is ready to give you a workout you'll never forget!

Rocco is a fitness colleague of mine that will be in San Jose for a few days (he’s training a Miss California pageant contestant here), so I asked him if he’d be willing to guest teach at one of my camps.  You can learn more about Rocco here:

Now, I gotta warn you….. Rocco and I have different (WAY different) teaching styles.   Rocco looks and acts like his last name should be “Soprano”. He’s gonna put you through his all body weight, no-muscle-left-untouched workout saturated with Italian anecdote and irreverent candor–and probably a few swear words (considered yourself officially warned 🙂  ). Rocco is pretty hard core, but he’s also very entertaining. You don’t want to miss this workout!

Our Almaden boot camp location is :  1260 Branham Lane, San  Jose 95118.  Class is held from 6:00-6:50 am in the quad.  Don’t forget water and a mat! And don’t even THINK about being late. You don’t want to get on this guy’s bad side ;-).

You can bring a guest. For FREE.  Just make sure they arrive early to fill out our usual camper paperwork.

See you on Friday, August 14th at 6:00 am (and not a second later!).


Now, on to your weekend workout…

This weekend, I’d like ALL campers from ALL locations to get in a basic High Intensity Cardio Interval workout.  You can use a machine at your gym, you can bike, swim or run.  It will take you less than 25 minutes, start to finish.   The mode you choose doesn’t matter as much to me as your INTENSITY during your intervals.  Get it done!

After a 3-5 minute warm up, do your activity for another 2-3  minutes as a steady, moderate pace. From there, crank it up into interval training with this pattern:

45 seconds HARD

45 seconds RECOVERY (easier level, but not “cool down” level)

Beginners should complete 4-6 intervals.  Advanced folks should aim for 7-10 intervals.

Don’t forget to cool down, drink water and stretch after your workout.

Have a great weekend!