OFFICE WORKOUT CHALLENGE – BY L&T HEALTH AND FITNESS
2011 MACMA AWARD WINNER
NICKY LOWRY, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY, CANDIDATE MS HEALTH PROMOTION
Results 2011-2013:
Objective:
The goal of the OWC is threefold:
I. Increase fitness center usage
II. Motivate inactive members to become active again
III. Help members adopt healthier lifestyles
Program:
The Office Workout Challenge (OWC) is an annual fitness challenge hosted by L&T Health
and Fitness at the headquarters of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
in Washington, DC. Since it’s inception in 2002, the OWC participation numbers have grown
each year, and it has become a highly anticipated event. The program format is an 8 week
team challenge, with teams of 10 individuals competing against each other to win a highly
coveted plaque which is engraved with the winners’ names. An average number of 200
members participate each year. Points are awarded for participation in:
I. Health seminars
II. Health screenings (additional cost to participant)
III. Triathlon week (using stationary bikes, treadmills and rowers)
IV. Nutritional challenges
V. Team building challenges
VI. Regular physical activity
VII. Individual goals of weight loss, body fat % loss, and strength increase
The 2011 OWC had 24 teams (238 members) participating; double that of the previous year.
There were a possible 9,600 workouts that could be completed during the 8 weeks, and there
was a 50% workout completion rate.
Results 2011:
The 2011 program brought about:
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
Loss of 335 pounds
31% decrease in body fat
195 pound strength increase
Return to center of nine inactive members
Increase in center usage; 50% workout completion rate
The program also produced an Increase in revenues from health screenings and personal
training, although this was not one of the program objectives.
This chart shows the results from the OWC for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013. There were
four individuals in 2011 who had exceptional weight and body fat percentage losses which
skewed the data slightly. Even considering these outliers, the average losses, gains and
participation rates each year are substantial.
Discussion:
Population Engagement:
Fundamental to the success of any intervention is capturing the attention of the target
audience and maintaining their interest throughout the program. By offering a combination of
varied and creative activities such as seminars, screenings, personal training, pyramid
challenges, a triathlon week, body blast workouts and other team challenges in a short 8 week
time period, the L&T staff keeps the population interested and the participation numbers high.
400
350
300
250
2011
2012
2013
200
Teams:
A team has a built in social support network, and its relationship to behavior change success
is well established. One of the main reasons worksite health programs are so well received is
because of the built-in social support from coworkers (McKenzie, Nieger & Thackeray, 2012).
As the target population works together in a team challenge format, the OWC program
harnesses the motivation that is inherent in a social support system and competitive
environment .
150
100
50
0
Weight lost (lbs)
Body Fat lost (%)
Strength gained *
Workouts completed (%)
* In 2013, the strength test changed from bench press to push ups in order to bring the OWC into line with standard
fitness assessments.
Behavior Change Models:
Designing a successful intervention is best done with an understanding of behavior change
theories (Glanz, Rimer & Viswanath, 2008).
I. Precede-Proceed Model – stresses outcomes rather than inputs, and relies on population
participation in defining their own high-priority goals (Glanz et al., 2008). The OWC
utilizes this theory by offering participants pre-challenge goal-setting sessions to allow
individuals the opportunity to set their own goals emphasizing their personal outcome
desires.
II. Ecological Models - state that there are many factors working together to influence
behavior change. By creating a social network of support through the team interaction,
and offering programming before/after work and during lunch, the OWC is employing
interpersonal and institutional/community constructs from these models (Hayden, 2009).
References:
Conclusion:
Glanz, K., Rimer, B.K. & Viswanath, K. (2008). Health Behavior and Health Education. San
Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons
Hayden, J. (2009). Introduction to Health Behavior Theory. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett
Publishers
McKenzie, James F.; Neiger, Brad L.; Thackeray, Rosemary (2012). Planning, Implementing, &
Evaluating Health Promotion Programs: A Primer (6th Edition). Benjamin Cummings: Kindle Edition.
The OWC in general, and the 2011 program in particular, has a significant impact on the
fitness center membership. People anticipate the challenge every year, and start planning
their teams and strategies well in advance. The program attains its high level of success
through target population engagement, use of teamwork and competition, and by being
grounded in known behavior change models.
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Office Workout Challenge - International Association of Worksite