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During a meeting in February, a senior level manager hinted that he was going to get the staff involved in fitness. He is based in Asia and the meeting was held in the U.S. He talked about how in his office, there is time blocked off during the work day for employees to participate in an exercise class, and he described group activities outside the office as well. The people in the meeting room looked a little sheepish and the quiet was telling.

pale face with emoticon of trouble and rage

About two months later, my company introduced the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) campaign. The challenge is a fitness competition for a 100-day duration that extends beyond teams within the company to organizations around the globe. GCC will provide an activity tracker device and online coaching/information to encourage everyone to reach 10,000 steps per day. Through the website and app, online tools will also be available to engender behaviors that lead to better nutrition and sleep patterns. The website and apps are available for a full 12 months from the start of the campaign. Anyway, that’s my understanding from reading the GCC website.

So, the question is, why am I dreading this? I believe that companies should encourage their employees to live healthy in the same way they should embrace flexible work schedules, and provide paid maternity and paternity leaves. But when I was approached to join a team, I stayed silent for quite a while. Then it got to a point where my department needed just one more member (seven is the required number), and I felt obliged. So with trepidation, I agreed.

Along the lines of Ayn Rand, I am more of an individualist than a team player. I have become proficient in the team player role because the team concept is embedded in corporate culture. Outside of the corporate arena, I have always been drawn to activities where the only competition was myself, trying to work a little harder than the day before. Solo activities such as skating, biking, yoga and walking are more to my liking than team sports. It’s more than that though. I feel that health is a personal pursuit and am not driven by banding together with others. I don’t look for walking buddies or gym-mates. I use a food tracker but don’t participate in the app’s community option. The whole rah-rah cheerleader thing turns me off. Maybe it conjures up bad memories of color war at summer camp. I am the Scrooge of social fitness.

cheerleader and football player

Image courtesy of stockimages by FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If I am successful in losing a few pounds, it will be from fear of humiliation rather than healthy behavior assimilation, in which case a relapse is likely once the competition ends. I’ve known people who found fitness motivation through social interaction. When the social element went away, the pounds returned.

Well, it starts on May 25th. I’ll keep you posted.