Health & Wellness

This Company Pays Employees to Exercise: ‘If They Come to Those Workouts, They Are on the Clock,' Says CEO

Source: Chris Cavallini / Nutrition Solutions

Companies all around the world are focused on how they can better support the physical and mental wellness of their employees and prevent burnout. Some workplaces have even started offering days off just for mental health.

At Nutrition Solutions this looks like paying their staff a little extra money to exercise.

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On Wednesdays and Fridays, every employee at the meal-prep company has the option to attend a free exercise class before the workday starts. For many, the incentive is hard to pass up.

"If they come to those workouts, they are on the clock. They're getting compensated whatever their pay rate is to be there," says Chris Cavallini, CEO of Nutrition Solutions.

"It's basically logged into their normal pay, just like the regular hours they would work. It works exactly the same."

Essentially, the sessions can be thought of as overtime for personal and financial gain, with employees having the autonomy to go as often, or as little, as they'd like.

"It gives them the benefit of getting [exercise] out of the way, so after work they can go home, and work on their personal goals, spend time with their family and loved ones," Cavallini says.

Exercises range from body-weight calisthenics, outdoor runs and even "mental toughness training" like body plunges in ice water.

'The real reason we do it is to help our team develop resilience'

Chris Cavallini, CEO of Nutrition Solutions, guiding one of his employees during an ice bath session.
Courtesy of Chris Cavallini / Nutrition Solutions
Chris Cavallini, CEO of Nutrition Solutions, guiding one of his employees during an ice bath session.

In the military where he was "paid to train and stay fit," Cavallini saw firsthand how exercise improved his discipline and overall quality of life.

"I believe the key to living a strong life is having a strong mind. And I think in order to create and build a strong mind, you have to first build a strong body," he says.

As he began taking his business more seriously, he saw investing in his employees' well-being by encouraging physical activity as a no-brainer.

"I want to ensure my team has the tools to become the healthiest, fittest and most dominant version of themselves," says Cavallini.

"The real reason we do it is to help our team develop resilience," and improve the way they respond to stress by experiencing adversity through challenging exercises, he adds.

More and more people attend each year since the initiative was first implemented in 2016, he notes. It started with just Cavallini and one other employee going to the workouts, but now classes fill up to as many as 40 people.

"Having systems that are set up to help them optimize their physical health and mental health, and help them significantly elevate their mindset, it certainly helps us as a business," Cavallini says.

"Making this investment into them becoming a better version of themselves is a fail-safe investment, and it's definitely one that I would suggest, in one shape or form, that other leaders implement. The return is you're going to have a stronger, more disciplined, more energized team member."

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