ARCHIVED  September 24, 2010

Who are Northern Colorado’s Fittest Execs?

It took all summer, but we finally have the answer to that question.

Fifty participants, both as members of teams and as individuals, started out in April being poked and prodded and timed and tested by Banner Health professionals. Then as part of the 2010 Banner Health Fittest Execs Challenge, they walked and ran and biked and hiked and sweated their way through August to another round of testing.

The results were tallied, the numbers crunched, and the winners named on Sept. 16 at Bixpo – and profiled inside.

But everyone who knows that good health is good business is a winner.

Overall Fittest Individual

Fit get fitter with Fittest Challenge

At 50, Ginger Watts is fit, probably more fit than most with her love for biking, running and hiking in Colorado’s great outdoors. Now, she has the distinction of being named Northern Colorado’s fittest executive.

Watts earned the highest score among those who signed on for the 2010 Fittest Execs Challenge, issued by Banner Health and the Northern Colorado Business Report. Her score was based on body composition, blood work and fitness tests before and after the 90-day challenge, in which she scored excellent in all but one category – which she later raised to excellent to achieve her goal.

Watts, a former aerobics instructor, said she was proud that she was able to increase her pushups and sit-ups within the challenge – try 45 pushups in one minute.

“That was after a night where I had been up all night with food poisoning,” she said. “My goal was not to fall back. For me, competition drives me to excel.”

Watts is a district sales manager for American Family Insurance in Fort Collins. And while she’s more at home hiking a trail, she also can be quite the workaholic.

“Summertime is probably my weaker time. I work a lot. I can easily stay at my office until well after dark,” Watts said.

Watts moved from Glenwood Springs to Fort Collins a little over four years ago, but she said she spent more time on work than meeting people and learning the trails.

“Being new to the area, this forced me to get out there and get involved,” Watts said. “I have been so consumed with my work since I moved.”

Watts was just beginning to get out more when the Fittest Exec challenge began. She joined a hiking group to add to her regular daily routines of a morning Insanity workout, followed by a nighttime trip to the gym on the spinning bikes or elliptical trainers. As the weather got nicer, her hikes and runs got her out of the gym.

“It worked out dually well for me,” Watts said. “I’m able to make friendships locally, explore new trails and hiking is my true love, so it was a well rounded fitness routine for me.”

– Sharon Dunn

MOST IMPROVED INDIVIDUALS

Hartig, Lockwood both Most Improved

For both Kevin Hartig and Mark Lockwood, getting involved in this year’s Fittest Executives Challenge had a very positive outcome.

Hartig and Lockwood tied for Most Improved Individual during the summer-long fitness contest.

Hartig, president of ESC Engineering in Fort Collins, said frequent business traveling made it necessary to try a little harder to maintain his exercise routine.

“I decided I wanted to get a better feel for where I stood fitness-wise and track what I was doing this summer,” he said.

For Hartig, 45, the extra focus on fitness was just part of an ongoing desire to stay fit and healthy. “I just try to keep an eye on what I’m doing with my exercise regimen and a reasonable diet,” he said.

Hartig said he typically works out two to three times a week on strength training and also runs three to six miles a week and walks six to eight miles weekly in his neighborhood. He’s also gotten into yoga. “It really works for me,” he said. “It provides a great deal of benefit.”

Hartig said he found the challenge a good way to heighten his awareness of his fitness.

“It was great,” he said. “It was nice to get an index of health assessment at the beginning and then see where I was at along the way.”

For Mark Lockwood, partner and owner of Investors Properties in Fort Collins, getting involved in the Fittest Execs Challenge was an outgrowth of a resolution he made early in the year to get in shape.

At 53, Lockwood said he’d noticed it wasn’t as easy as it used to be to stay fit. “I found myself at a point where I’d entered my 50s and the body just doesn’t do what it did when you’re in your 20s,” he said. “It doesn’t automatically come off anymore.”

Lockwood maintains a rigorous schedule of exercise, taking spinning classes, weight lifting, swimming and playing pick-up hockey games. He also took part in this year’s Ride the Rockies bicycle tour in June.

Lockwood said the fittest execs challenge was a good experience for him. “You sort of have your baseline and you look forward to going in and seeing what goals you made,” he said. “Part of the whole thing is tracking your progress. It shows you can do what you set out to do if you apply yourself.”

– Steve Porter

OVERALL FITTEST TEAM

Culture key to Capital West’s overall fitness

Health and fitness seem to be key components of the culture at Capital West National Bank in Fort Collins.

This became ever more evident during the past three months as a team of employees adopted a few changes intended to foster employee health and fitness at the bank.  The changes yielded huge returns and the team from Capital West was named the Overall Fittest Team in the Northern Colorado Business Report/Banner Health Fittest Execs Challenge.

The crew was led by Senior Vice President Curt Bear, who took over from the former bank president who resigned a short time after originally committing the team to the competition.  The cohesiveness of the team coupled with their competitive nature enabled them to stay focused on the competition and adhere to the lifestyle changes that were the foundation for their success.

The team’s achievement stemmed from key lifestyle changes involving exercise and nutrition.  Bear said that at least three times a week team members would eat lunch during a quick break and go to the 24-hour Fitness gym across the street for the rest of the lunch hour.  In general their eating regimen emphasized more fresh fruits and vegetables.

The synergy that resulted from the team members witnessing each other adopt the changes served as motivation for further improvement. 

Bear reported that the male team members focused their energy on weight training exercises, while the females engaged in cardiovascular workouts.  He said that the lifestyle changes that were implemented for the event have had a profound impact on each of their lives and he expects that the changes will be permanent. 

The other team members were; Curtis Carlson, Chelsey Bourdeon, Ali Almquist, Nvart Idinyan, and Rayno Seasar.  Some of these names also appear on the roster of most enthusiastic exercisers in the Daily Endorphin part of the Challenge – not really a coincidence. 

– Ross Manley

MOST IMPROVED TEAM

Ewing-Leavitt sets lasting example

The team from Ewing-Leavitt Insurance Agency had a straightforward goal going into the Fittest Execs Challenge competition. “We wanted to win,´ said President Steve Ewing.

Ewing admits his firm has a natural competitive spirit. However, the desire for Ewing-Leavitt to be named the Most Improved Team in the Challenge goes beyond the glory of the win.

Ewing wanted his staff to get in the gym to show clients and other insurance firms that having a healthy workforce is entirely possible.

“We wanted to show we weren’t stereotypical insurance folks,” Ewing said. “We can be an example to the industry.”

Only five employees from the Ewing-Leavitt firm could participate in the official Fittest Execs Challenge, but as competitive as they are, that did not stop the rest of the firm from hitting the gym and tracking everybody’s numbers.

“It was contagious for the entire office to participate,” Ewing said.

Family members even caught the spirit.

In telling the audience at the Fittest Execs luncheon how the decision to get healthy has impacted her life, Christy Herbert, a vice president at Ewing-Leavitt, talked about her son joining her in the pursuit of getting fit. And even though the Fittest Execs Challenge has come to a close for this year, Herbert said she and her son still sit down each night to talk about what they did at the gym that day or the nutritious meal they ate and enter their exercise minutes into the Daily Endorphin tracking site.

After a 90-day competition, the temptation to stop going to the gym and reverting back to poor diets is not a concern of Ewing’s for his employees. On the contrary, Ewing is confident those former temptations and lazy ways have been replaced with new habits of eating healthy and staying active whether it be playing with the kids or going to CrossFit.

“It takes 30 straight days to form a habit,” Ewing said. “That stuff has impacted.”

– Noah Guillaume

It took all summer, but we finally have the answer to that question.

Fifty participants, both as members of teams and as individuals, started out in April being poked and prodded and timed and tested by Banner Health professionals. Then as part of the 2010 Banner Health Fittest Execs Challenge, they walked and ran and biked and hiked and sweated their way through August to another round of testing.

The results were tallied, the numbers crunched, and the winners named on Sept. 16 at Bixpo – and profiled inside.

But everyone who knows that good health is good business…

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