By GAIL COLLINS
Special to the Daily Sun
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Common Goal Realty took their name to heart with team-building for health. They revolutionized the office refrigerator with lean meats, sugar snap peas, fruit and protein drinks.
Their energy levels soared and carried over to their personal lives. Lenders don’t bring sausage biscuits to meetings anymore because the staff recoils.
“The Pawlickis teach ‘clean’ eating,” said Joe Haughey. “We eat five meals a day. It speeds up our metabolism, and we don’t get hungry.”
Valerie Caro, co-founder with father Joe, confirmed this. “I’ve eaten more than ever before in my life and lost weight.”
Sarah Pawlicki of Build Your Own Body Gym works with local employers to get a handle on good health to reap radical results. She evaluates businesses to establish needs particular to their workplace.
Does a job require small, repetitive movements? Or are injuries from heavy lifting a concern? Could your team of desk jockeys be at risk due to poor ergonomics? And is absenteeism on the rise?
Other consultants assess companies, but simply hand employers a report and walk away. Pawlicki, a certified Sports Nutrition Counselor and Life Style Fitness Coach, implements the fix. She organizes classes in diet and tobacco cessation, for example, or designs and teaches a workout program to address specific problems.
“Americans should be the healthiest people in the world when you look at how much money is spent, but not enough attention is given to preventative care,” said Pawlicki.
She utilizes mind, body and soul and explained, “We’re not solely focused on your weight or lifting weights in our gym. The attention is on emotional and physical well-being.”
HEALTH COSTS SOAR
Recent talk has centered on rising food and fuel prices, but health insurance premiums have ratcheted up 10 times faster. And while these health costs hiked 30 percent from 2001-2005, salaries grew only 3 percent. The average policy for family coverage now totals $12,106. This makes it tough for employers to offer health care benefits and maintain a healthy bottom line, too.
In a 2007 survey, Kaiser and the Health Research and Education Trust noted a growing awareness in preventative care for controlling these escalating costs.
But how do care and costs affect one another? The obesity epidemic, for example, if left unchecked, seeds a host of other diseases like hypertension, heart disease and Type II Diabetes. These compromise work performance while conversely upping the price tag to treat this medical tornado.
At Armstrong McCall, a beauty supplier, heavy lifting is the issue. Pawlicki designed eating and workout plans that resulted in weight loss and muscle gain to prevent strain injuries. Their workers and workplace got leaner with her passionate support.
Stress is a huge factor in many settings. When employees are under pressure, they might cope with destructive behaviors like smoking, drinking and drugs.
“People run on such high levels of stress that the cortisol never drops, and their bodies run on overtime. All the time!” Pawlicki said. “We teach them how to recognize stress — mental and physical — and bring those levels down.”
NUTRITION IS KEY
Nutrition is the key to health. Every client is counseled on diet regardless of size or condition to promote immune health and well-balanced eating.
“People know they need to eat right, but they have no clue to how to make it work in their lives,” said Pawlicki. “We show them.”
Since their assessment, Ciao Bella Salon owners Risha Campbell and Desirea Gutierrez coordinate meals for work. “I’ll bring the chicken and she’ll bring the salad and rice,” said Campbell. “We prepare good food ahead of time, so we don’t grab things that are bad for us.”
74% of the population doesn’t engage in regular physical activity, so coaches create both individualized programs and group activities to get people moving. Clients perform their routines at Build Your Own Body gym or other fitness centers or at home. “It’s essential to find something that you enjoy and stay active,” Pawlicki said.
Documented in over 120 studies, promoting health for employee well-being increases productivity and lowers costs for a positive return. The results for Common Goal Realty: fewer sick days, high efficiency, focus and discipline for the long haul.
“The investment is small for the large personal return,” confirmed Realtor Stephani Allen. “And we’re modeling good behavior for our family.”
The agency fosters friendly competition aided by watchdog accountability. Their Inspiration Board — a goal-setting technique — is plastered with articles, mottos, and of course, dreams like a trip to Mexico to show off their new bodies.