By Kathleen Ganster
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Benjamin Franklin.
When it comes to health, the old Benjamin Franklin adage is certainly true. And companies are becoming more and more proactive in keeping their employees fit and healthy, which in turn, reduces days off due to illness, lowers inpatient and outpatient care and reduces absenteeism. And that reduces expenses.
“Researchers at The University of Pittsburgh have looked at ways to implement population health management and prevent chronic illness and found that the workplace is an ideal setting,” says Jordan Taradash, Chief Operating Officer for Myofitness.
“By leveraging the dynamics of workplace relationships, organizations can see better group results than if employees went about it on their own.”
According to statistics provided by Taradash, wellness and fitness programming can significantly reduce medical care expenditures for employers over a three to four-year program time-frame, primarily due to fewer chronic illnesses and visits to healthcare providers.
As the largest fitness and wellness company in Western Pa., Myofitness has over 20 years of experience in the field. They work with employers to create custom programming tailored to fit an organization’s specific wellness needs and the goals of each employee.
Myofitness was created 21 years ago by Tim Schilcher, Taradash’s partner, as an in-home personal fitness company.
“Tim developed a niche in this area by delivering scientific, evidence- based programs to his clients. Instead of body building, Tim employed functional training that focused on the core muscles and using your body instead of equipment,” explains Taradash, “It was a groundbreaking approach at the time.”
Taradash, who has a master’s degree in Public Health in epidemiology, joined Schilcher over three years ago to combine Tim’s fitness philosophy with a systematic approach suitable for large organizations.
“We looked at the research and felt we could offer important services,” he says.
And together, Myofitness Wellness was born. Their tag line, “Engineering Wellness” tells you exactly what they are all about.
Myofitness still has the personal fitness practice available for individuals looking for specific types of training, but company wellness has become the focus of their efforts.
When a company begins a partnership with Myofitness, a team of wellness experts do a deep immersion with company representatives to uncover the key health and wellness challenges facing the organization. Then a specific plan is developed to fit the organization’s and its employees’ unique needs and goals.
“The leadership discussion covers how the wellness and fitness program fits into their vision of the company,” Taradash says.
“We don’t just apply cookie cutting, one-size fits all programming to every company,” Taradash says.
“We use focus groups, employee surveys, and health risk assessments, among other tools, so we can develop an evidence-based, comprehensive wellness program that will show results.”
Using their team of wellness experts, Myofitness provides all the services onsite. These services include screenings, classes, individual counseling, diet and nutrition coaching, and a host of other wellness services. Also, all of these services can be accessed through a proprietary web-based portal, set-up on behalf of the company by Myofitness, for the organization and its employees to track progress, register for new courses and webinars, and engage in competitions.
According to Taradash , they create fitness competitions that provide a fun venue to kick-off programming.
“It is a great way to engage a population – we have co-workers team up and compete in step challenges, fitness minute sprints and other healthy competitions,” he says.
“The web-based programs are a big benefit,” Taradash says.
Billed as “Wellness on Demand,” classes and programming are available for employees to use at their convenience – even if they are overseas on business.
“They can log on through the portal to see how much saturated fat they ate yesterday, log fitness minutes or even take a yoga class. This unique platform is also how we make wellness a family affair. When we work with a company’s employees, family members also get access to our portal for free,” he says.
In their efforts to create wellness through-out the community, Myofitness is providing free services to the fitUnited program, an initiative by United Way of Allegheny County to battle childhood obesity. Myofitness has provided web portal services to help engage the community and children in fitness activities.
Even though Myofitness works with different organizations, Taradash stresses, the vision for Myofitness is about inspiring entire communities to take better care of their mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
“Our communities form the basis of our lives. If we are to succeed in the battle to prevent illness and change the health care paradigm in this country, we must all fight together,” Taradash says.