Time. It’s the biggest hurdle to staying fit for most guys toiling the 9-to-5. And with ever-increasing pressures on the job site, “work” can cast an even bigger cloud over our personal lives. Simply finding a gig that won’t sabotage your exercise regime can be a major challenge. But it’s not impossible. What if you could work for a company that values fitness just as much as the bottom line? Envision a workplace that offers employees state-of-the-art gyms and athletic facilities, rewards for being in shape, cafeterias stocked with healthy snacks, preventive medical care so you can monitor your cholesterol and blood-pressure levels along with other hidden health hazards— plus assistance for losing weight or quitting smoking.
Guess what? Such companies do exist—and we’ve found them. These are businesses that know personal fitness isn’t just good for an individual’s well-being but also for the bottom line. Study after study shows workplace fitness helps decrease absenteeism, increases productivity, reduces turnover, and ultimately produces a healthier workforce that requires significantly lower medical costs. One caveat: We tried to stay away from companies based in the athletic or fitness industries. That would be too easy. It would be news if these organizations didn’t help their employees stay fit. So you won’t find many fitness centers or sporting-goods makers on the MF Fit 15. (The few exceptions were just too good to ignore.) Instead, think of this list as the most surprisingly fit companies—companies large and small that are typically not in the fitness business but seem to know how to keep their employees lean and ripped anyway. In other words, the MF Fit 15 are the companies that truly get the MF way of life—and would be just plain cool to work for too.
GOOGLE (12,200 employees worldwide)
Mountain View, Calif.
It isn’t just the crazy stock prices that make Google so impressive. No, the company’s headquarters is more like a playground than what you would expect from a multibillion-dollar industry leader: Exercise balls and lava lamps are a staple throughout the hallways. Google’s top-notch complimentary fitness center features free weights, a rowing machine, and a lap pool, plus the campus has a climbing wall and a beach volleyball court. Employees enjoy roller hockey games on company grounds twice a week. To keep their fuel tanks full, the food in all 11 of the company’s gourmet cafeterias is free. That’s right, free.
WHEELER INTERESTS (19 employees)
Virginia Beach, Va.
When this real estate development firm was ready for new headquarters, CEO John Wheeler—a self-proclaimed fitness junkie—decided to design the facility himself, with the goal of creating a space that could foster better health for his employees. The layout of the new building, which opened last fall, spread necessary facilities as far apart as possible, forcing employees to walk as much as possible. An on-site, state-of-the-art gym, not typical for a company this small, was also a vital part of the design. The fitness center is free for employees and offers complimentary yoga, massages, physical therapy, and personaland performance-training sessions from two on-staff trainers. Even more impressive: The building was built on a Lynnhaven River tributary, giving employees access to kayaking, canoes, and other water sports.