Fittest Execs 2014 – Individual competition finalists

FEMALE 25 – 39

Jessica Connors
Executive director of operations, Core Health Group

What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of? “Half hour to one hour cardio and/or yoga completed four to six times per week. My cardio includes swimming, biking and/or running.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “Personal fitness clears my mind and lowers my stress, thus opening my mind to more creative ideas and solutions at work. Also, when my workout habit is established, it most likely also means that I am displaying discipline in my spiritual and personal life as well, thus giving me a sense of accomplishment that carries into my workday.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “When I am physically healthy I feel greater self-worth, and that I am living up to my full potential.”

Heather Mangold
President, Mangold Creative
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“To be honest, not much. I’m really excited that you added the Individual “most improved” category this year. Health and wellness is important…and it becomes neglected easily when you are building a business. I’m excited for the opportunity to publicly turn over a new leaf with this year’s event and take advantage of the WAC membership, fitness and health evaluation and motivation to get back to ‘fit.’”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “I really think it’s crucial. Less stress, more motivation, clear and level headedness for friends, family and work – and of course, much more energy. Plus, feeling good and looking good translates to confidence and poise in the workplace.”

Andrea Tarrell
Director of marketing, HNI
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Not a whole heck of a lot at this point. I’m hoping to use this competition as inspiration to get moving!”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “Fitness impacts every aspect of your life – personal and professional. You need to be healthy to have the energy to give it your all at the office and at home.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “I think the wellness program sends a strong message that the company leaders care about the physical and mental wellbeing of all employees. The company gives us the time, resources and funds to improve our personal wellness, wherever we are in that journey.”

FEMALE 40 – 49

Maureen Arndt
Vice president of operations, The Starr Group
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I work out four to six times a week. I am currently running five days a week with long runs on weekends. I also like to fit in some core and strength training with my favorite Jillian Michaels or Bob Harper DVDs.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “It allows me to destress, refocus and strategize, which in turn allows me to be the best I can be for our employees. It also allows me to lead by example and encourage and support others working on their wellness initiative.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “Being fit allows me to keep up with the demands of my professional and personal life.”

Dominique Beaudin
Director of technology, HNI
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“My primary activity is running. I run 30 to 50 miles per week, alternating days with other activities, including core work, weight training, walking, cycling and elliptical. For the past two years, I have competed in a marathon every month. I also try to get at least one Ashtanga Yoga class in each week.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life?
“I’ve always been fit but adding the long distance running had benefits way beyond daily fitness. I find my stress level is much lower and my moods are much more stable since I began running. Since I began running and racing, I have made so many new friends.”

Susie Falk
President, The Falk Group
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Run three to five miles on weekends, lift weights, walk or hike daily.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “Work-life balance is critically important to my agency. The team knows that health and wellness plays a very important role in their productivity and the overall health and wellbeing of the agency.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Start small. Incorporate something as small as a short walk into your day. Take the steps, skip the carbs, get 8 hours of sleep and turn off the electronics at night.”

Patricia Metropulos
Executive director and CEO, Kathy’s House
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Vinyasa yoga two to three times a week, four-plus mile walk three times a week, daily meditation and stretching.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “For me, exercising provides endurance and mental acuity to deal with day to day operations of a very dynamic organization. Moreover, keeping fit ensures that I have a ‘space’ in which to detach and think broadly, which often leads to innovative problem-solving and long-term/strategic planning. As someone working in the health service/hospitality industry, being fit also helps me to serve as an example of healthier living.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “It allows me to continue to participate in activities I love and be part of various ‘tribes’ that I cherish (hikers, yogis, kayakers).”

Patti Schauer
VP-finance/HR, Core Creative, Inc.
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Weekly – Playing tennis, steps, yoga, and a couple of total bodywork classes.” How does personal fitness affect your work life? “Stamina to keep a high level of energy throughout the day.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “It has really become an important aspect of our culture in that it has encouraged employees to interact through lunch and learn classes, team challenges, sharing of recipes, and cheering on others as they improve their lifestyle.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “From a personal fitness plan, one should exercise right away in the morning. Otherwise, I find that there are always ’emergencies’ or other commitments that take away from that time.”

FEMALE 50+

Wendy Brucker
Administrative manager, KHS USA, Inc.
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I like to mix it up. In the morning, I prefer stretching and strength training. During my lunch hour, I walk two to three miles. In the evening, I like to get my cardio in. There is nothing better than going for a nice bike ride in the cool evening air!”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “Working on my fitness exposes me to so many great people, places, and things. For example, when I go out on the walking trails during my lunch hour I try to really take in my surroundings. Typically I see beautiful wildflowers, birds, grass snakes, but best of all it’s the people on the trails that inspire me.”

Kim Dandrea
Director – personal insurance, David Insurance Agency
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“My weekly fitness regimen as a triathlete fluctates by what time of year it is in the season. I train about 12 hours per week, with the longer efforts on the weekends. In addition to cycling, swimming and running, I also do strength training and yoga.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “We increase productivity and teamwork and reduce absenteeism. It contributes to the overall wellbeing of our employees and this year, we are outreaching to their families. We are also bringing this out into the communities we serve to be a role model.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “It’s been responsible for me not missing one day of work in the six years I have worked at David Insurance.“

Bette Hanel
Executive director, Laurel Oaks
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I try to walk at work daily. I do golf about two times per week.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “I find that I am tired if I do not get exercise.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “I have more energy.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “We do not get a lot of participation, but from those who do, it helps to keep them active and they tend to be the more positive employees.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Just do it!”

Mary Starr
Executive vice president, The Starr Group
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“A daily workout consisting of a combination of running, biking, swimming, weight training and bikram yoga. I am also active in triathlons, organized runs and the Tough Mudder.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Don’t delay! Consider wellness an investment and not an expense. Investing in your employees signifies a conscious concern for their overall health and wellness and in return promotes productivity and loyalty. The full return of your investment is not always easily quantifiable, but I am 100 percent convinced that we have a more vibrant workforce because of our wellness initiatives. Our annual employee satisfaction surveys tell us how much our employees value our investment in their health.”

Lori Zindl
President, OS Inc.
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Group circuit training four to five times per week with a trainer for 45 minutes; running, walking or biking 30 to 60 minutes every day.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “Working out consistently keeps my stress level in line. It helps with mantaining a high energy level and getting more restful, quality sleep. Exercising with my employees on a daily basis strengthens our relationship as a team and builds camaraderie.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “When I feel fit, I also feel younger! Overall I have a better, more positive mental attitude when I’m taking care of myself.”

MALE 25 – 39

Matt Bilitz
Director of mission advancement, Wisconsin Lutheran High School
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I have been very inconsistent in my workouts and have not done any official workouts for six months.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “Being fit is important for mental health as well as physical health. Exercise is a perfect way to relieve some stress and also to stimulate brain activity. Healthy diet and exercise creates more energy at home as well, which equals more quality time with family.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “A fit workforce keeps the out of pocket health care costs down, which can have a big impact on our finances. More energy means more productivity from our staff and our teachers.”

Mike Mangold
Lion tamer, Mangold Creative
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I play golf twice a week but that is not a vigorous enough workout. I look forward to getting back into the swing of things again. While I enjoy working out in my home gym, it has become something that will often be put on the back burner for time on the couch.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “When staying active and stretching properly, the difference in how I feel is drastic! When in a fitness ‘slump,’ I’ll experience low back and leg pain as well as lack of motivation.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “Naturally, when you look good you feel good. I love my clothes and would like to look a bit better in them.”

Matt Shumlas
Director, sales and account management, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Weight training and cardio five to six times a week. Ice hockey player and coach on the ice three to four times a week.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “It gives me energy and stamina for long days and gives me a sense of pride in living our values as a health insurance company.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “We are a health insurance company that walks the talk and offers our employees several ways to be healthier.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Show your employees you care by taking part in wellness initiatives, leading by example and being a cheerleader for others.”

Kyle Smith
Owner, Heaven & Earth Acupuncture
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Two to three times weekly run, two to three times weekly bike and one to two times weekly swim.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “Helps guide our practitioners to become healthier so that we can help others through their health and wellness needs.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Health and wellness fairs can give your employees access to local health practitioners that they might not know exist. Many employees I have met at local businesses have expressed interest in acupuncture services, but haven’t reached out because they don’t know where to start or whom to see.”

Cameron Yazdani
Director, Schenck SC
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Weights, running medium distance and hills, tennis and defaulting to taking the stairs.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “Helps me with energy to take on every challenge, every day.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “From my days as a collegiate athlete, the focus was on the team, transparency (aka depth chart) and statistics to make decisions. The businesses I help become more successful as I imbue those same components.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “1. Consistency, 2. Intensity, 3. Form, 4. Diet, 5. Sleep”

MALE 40 – 49

Tom Bruseth
President, Warehouse Equipment
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“A short, 10 to 15 minute workout each morning; two nights of league softball in the summer; one night of league basketball in the winter; strength training three to five times per week; three to four triathlons each year; most weekends are spent biking, running or doing something physical. It’s important to not overdo your workouts. Whatever you do, make it fun, mix it up, and do it consistently.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “Being healthy keeps me alert all day. I never have to worry about that after lunch or late day crash period.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “Fit employees are generally more eager to help in most cases and can keep the insurance rates lower.”

Michael Lovell
President, Marquette University
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“My weekly fitness regimen varies some in the warmer and colder months. In the summer, an average week would include running 50 miles, cycling 125 miles, and swimming 8000 yds. I also strength train two to three days a week. In the cooler months, I put the bike up, strength train four to five times a week, swim a little more and run about the same distance.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “I feel like I get to meet a completely different cross section of people on campus and across the city in my running and cycling groups. Many of these individuals have become my close friends and I have learned a lot from them.”

Mike Sekula
Vice president supply chain management, Inpro
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Running, weight lifting, biking and swimming.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Decide what you want to do, be it rock climbing or your first marathon, and set time aside for it. Dedicate yourself to it and make it a priority, just like any other important meeting or deadline you deal with. It’s very easy to blow off, but once you commit and get in a routine, it will become addictive. My other advice is try to get your workout done in the morning. With our very busy schedules for work and kids and whatnot, you can say you’ll get your run in over the lunch hour or after work, but things always come up.”

Jeff Weis
Managing partner, Masters Building Solutions
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Strength training two times per week, cardio one to two times per week.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “It helps me to perform better overall. I have more energy and I think more clearly.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “I have more energy, I sleep better and I feel better.”

David Woida
Senior VP/managing director, NorthMarq Capital
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Most of my weekly workouts revolve around triathlon training. I bike at least four days per week, run at least four days per week and swim at least two days per week. In addition, I try and get in two to three days of strength training, and stretching/foam rolling is a very important part of the program to help in injury prevention and recovery.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “It is a well-known fact that healthy people who eat right and work out are more productive at work and have fewer sick days. I think we try to keep this in mind when promoting our health and fitness initiatives. It is good for the individuals, and it is good for the organization.”

MALE 50+

Christopher Gorenc
President, Converted Products, Inc.
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I typically do a 90-minute cardio workout in the morning before work. In the evening, I usually do another 90-minute P90X workout. I try to get five to six days in every week.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “I believe that a good fitness program along with a healthy diet gives me the energy to tackle all that owning a business can throw at me. I know that feeling good about yourself physically often translates to a mental toughness and focus that I feel promotes success.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “I have witnessed a transformation in my office as others see the results a good fitness and diet program can offer.”

Mike Kwiatkowski
Vice president, PNC Bank
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“My goal is to work out six days per week. Two to three times a week I’ll take a spin class and the other days I’ll do weight training or an occasional group class at the WAC.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “Being fit provides me energy and enthusiasm to be active with family and friends after work and on weekends. It also has allowed me to set a good example for my family. My daughter recognizes the benefits of physical fitness and enjoys working out, which gives us something to do together.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Don’t wait. Start now.”

Glen Ringwall
Co-founder, Ringwall Manion Group, UBS Private Wealth
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“Cross Fit, cycling, weights and running.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “It is a physical refresher and a mental distraction.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “Fitness enforces discipline for workouts, diet control and serves as a comparable to other challenges in life.”
How does fitness or wellness affect your overall organization? “We generally have a health conscious team, all are involved in a fitness regimen of some kind.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “Stick with it. Fitness doesn’t come easily and there are no shortcuts… it hurts for everyone and is fleeting if not maintained.”

Ron Stokes
COO, Roaring Fork Restaurant Group
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I run two to three times a week, entering into an occasional half marathon, 5K or 10K. My wife and I bike every weekend. I also lift weights three times a week and have recently started to work with a personal trainer.”
Other than the obvious health benefits, how does being fit improve your life? “The health and fitness steps I take daily give me an energy for tackling all of life’s challenges that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t set goals in the health/fitness area of my life. My relationships are better a work and home because I can give more to those relationships knowing that I am at my very best. Perhaps one of the biggest areas it impacts is stress management.”

Joe Swanson
SVP of operations, Regal Ware, Inc.
What does your daily/weekly fitness regimen consist of?
“I try and exercise/workout six times per week. It is a combination of cardio, strength training and some stretching/flexibility work.”
How does personal fitness affect your work life? “I start my day with my workouts. It’s an integral part of my day. Working out gives me confidence in my job. We are all busy and work a lot of hours and I feel incorporating a fitness schedule really helps me stay strong, more focused and more stress-free at work.”
What advice do you have for other executives interested in starting either a personal fitness plan or corporate wellness initiative? “We believe a wellness program will be critical to attracting and retaining the next generation of Regal Ware employee/family members.”

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