TORONTO, Ont. — Success with Healthy Trucker’s Healthy Fleet Challenge doesn’t just come in form of being on the top of the online leaderboard. Success can be measured with the inches shed and pounds lost at the end of the competition. That is, of course, what the challenge was meant to do – get people up and moving to become healthier.
TST Solutions L.P.’s nine-person team saw results both on the leaderboard and on the scale. The team claimed first place for the last leg of the race in May and came second overall in the five-month Challenge. Not bad considering TST was late to the Healthy Fleet party and started the challenge in late January, when the competition had already begun.
But the company says its greatest success with the competition wasn’t beating the other fleets that signed up, but losing the extra weight they had been carrying around.Combined, Paul Bomben and Reg Peters of TST Overland lost 75 lbs over the course of the five-month challenge. Both Bomben, 55, and Peters, 60, say the weight they shed couldn’t have been dropped without the challenge and what it did to their company.
“I think Paul and I both agree that though we had planned on losing some weight before we even started the challenge, certainly we couldn’t have done it without the Fitbit and without the challenge and the camaraderie it brought to our company,” said Peters, the vice-president of corporate accounts at TST.
Bomben, the vice-president of operations at TST said the challenge acted as motivation since the members in the TST team (comprised of executives within the company) were a naturally competitive bunch.
“Because it was a competition, and we’ve got a pretty aggressive group to begin with, when we didn’t do all that well in January our goal was to make up for it during the rest of the competition,” he said. “There was a little jawing back and forth between team members and threatening back and forth to kick those at the bottom of the leaderboard off of the team. So that got everyone going and walking more.”
Bomben and Peters both admitted that during the challenge they changed their eating habits as well, which helped contribute to their weight loss success.
“It was a combination of both (eating better and exercising more) but certainly, the thing with the Fitbit and the challenge is that you’ve got a constant reminder,” said Bomben. “If you’re going to sit there and watch TV, you may as well go for a walk.”
Peters agreed, saying his older dog even got too tired on the long walks Peters started taking when he began the challenge. “I have an older dog and now I have to take him for a short walk around the block and then take him home and then I go for my hour-long walk,” he said.
Bomben added that the challenge changed the dynamic of the company. He said he had noticed little changes around the office that were the result of the Healthy Fleet Challenge.
“Around here, we’ve got an elevator in the building and none of us take the elevator anymore,” he said. “People are going out for walks at lunch, which no one did before. And it’s funny, we find ourselves, if we do go out for lunch, we’re not parking at the nearest spot, we park further away to get our steps in.”
The challenge even changed the mindset of the company’s senior staff that all want a piece of the healthy pie, so to speak, said Bomben and Peters.
“We’ve recently finished a couple of general managers’ meetings and we introduced the idea of the Fitbit and we’ve got a number of them who already have gone to get their own Fitbits and they’ve started walking more,” Bomben said.
“It’s almost like the football pool, everyone wants in. Now even if you get someone on the phone, instead of talking about the game on the weekend, its ‘Oh I got my steps in and this is what I did.’ And even around the office, people are saying, ‘Hey you look like you’ve lost a lot of weight, how did you do it?’”
Bomben said the challenge has engrained healthy habits to everyone at TST and he says he believes it will continue even though the Healthy Fleet Challenge is over (for now).
“One thing having a five-month challenge, it really becomes part of your lifestyle now,” said Bomben.
Peters added now that the competition is over, there is still some jawing back and forth between employees at TST who aren’t walking as much in these summer months.
“Let’s put it this way, we’re all waiting for the next challenge,” he added.