Four months ago, today, we kicked off the first-ever Hailey Sault 120 Day Fitness Challenge—no pressure to participate and no guarantees of success. The main message we heard from our trainer and program architect, Eric Franklin of XMT-3 Training, was this:

“You will get out, what you put in. It’s that simple. If you do your daily food logs, if you participate in the weekly group workouts—as well as two or three more on your own—you will be successful.”

We started this challenge with the hope and the goal of improved fitness and we’re up and running, with:

  • a gym, branded as “The Box”
  • weekly group workouts led by Eric
  • a daily food and exercise diary program (a few people participate)
  • we definitely drink more water—evidenced by the increased visits from the Culligan man
  • a supply of protein powder and ingredients for delicious energy shakes

What we didn’t anticipate was the renewed sense of teamwork we would experience.

We didn’t expect the changing conversations around eating and food. We didn’t anticipate the creative workouts led by employees, on days our trainer wasn’t involved. We didn’t expect to be asked for a “good quality” punching bag, so folks could box more often than once a week. Very good stress reliever!

The next phase? The Hailey Sault Zero Holiday Challenge! More than half of us have committed to staying the same weight from the week before Thanksgiving to the first week of January. Eric’s given us an eight pound gain zone—in other words, as a group we can’t gain more than eight pounds. Yikes! But, if we do that, participants get an extra half-day off during the first quarter of 2017.

Finally, we are currently in the planning stages for the 2017 Hailey Sault Fitness Challenge. A big thank you to Eric Franklin, our trainer and nutrition coach. He has helped us transform our company. And, in the midst of all this, we’ve had many of our most profitable months this year. Coincidence?

If you’ve considered establishing your own fitness challenge or something similar at work, listen to what participants are saying about our challenge:

Senior Writer:

I love the camaraderie. I am excited each Wednesday to try new exercises. I feel stronger, more willing to push myself.  I never really did anything with weights or ropes or even knew how to approach a whole body workout. I’ve felt sore in places I didn’t even know you could feel sore, but it is an invigorating sore. My goal is to have Michelle Obama arms by summer. 

Senior Strategist:

I haven’t worked out with coworkers before, as I usually work out alone. I think it’s been a team builder. Cheering each other on, pushing ourselves and taking time to be healthier, together. It’s wonderful. And fun.

Traffic Manager:

My husband and I have increased our walks with the dog from just under a mile to two miles a day. (Even the kids have joined us on occasion.) We have made an increased effort to walk outside even when the weather hasn’t been cooperative. I have definitely toned up and feel stronger. I also enjoy doing the workouts as a group—it keeps me focused.  

Senior Strategist:

Having a focus toward better health and some personal accountability has helped me with consistency in what I eat and how often I exercise. Hailey Sault has provided tools and encouragement, but no pressure. That makes all the difference in the world.”


Before the fitness challenge I felt depressed many days, lethargic, and hated how I looked in the mirror. After the fitness challenge I noticed a definite change in my mood and others noticed as well. I just feel more energized and happy about life. My diet changed in that I eat healthier (more fruits, veggies, protein) and have cut my portions in half. I’ve lost a couple pounds and feel more confident in my body.

Creative Director:

The power of working out in a group was an unexpected surprise. The encouragement, the positive atmosphere and the ‘not wanting to miss out’ factor has motivated me in a way I haven’t experienced before. Who wants to go and work out by themselves with a gym full of strangers when you can work out with all of your best buddies? The bond you have with your coworkers is strengthened even more, and absolutely everyone is in a fantastic mood afterwards. Everyone knows that working out provides oxygen to the brain and our brains are lit up with powerful creative powers! We are an AMAZING team! 


Three things come quickly to mind:

  • Learning about—and using—the MyFitnessPal app has been golden! It takes all the guessing out of how I’m doing. I love seeing on a daily basis how exercise affects the “bottom line” of reaching weight goals (and carves out some leeway for fun food items, too). I really feel like the app sets me up for success.
  • The group workouts have an energy to them that lasts the rest of the workday and into the evening. I feel so productive and so upbeat after every workout!
  • Eric’s presence and leadership has been essential to getting off to a good, solid, successful start.

Senior Designer:

I’ve seen a handful of running-related injuries disappear over the course of the challenge as a result of gaining strength in the weaker areas of my body. I find that I have more energy later in the day when working out mid-day, and it’s made me more productive. Many of the exercises are something that I have a hard time committing to doing on my own, so it’s been great to do them as a group. As someone who typically exercises alone, there’s something to be said for working out in a group setting. It’s motivating, fun and challenging at the same time.

As a byproduct of the group workouts, I think it’s also made us a more cohesive team. There’s a new dynamic that gets brought to the table with the group workouts. You get to see a different side of your coworkers that you typically don’t see every day, which is really fun and sometimes surprising. Like watching someone boxing, trying something new for the first time or pushing themselves mentally/physically beyond where they used to be. It’s great to see coworkers gain strength, motivation and confidence—all really good things that I feel exercise brings to one’s life. These are qualities that then spill over into our work lives and home lives.

Finance Director:

My experience with the 120 Day Fitness Challenge has been awesome.  I would always tell people when they talk about physical exercise that “I Have A Desk Job” then I chuckle and still do nothing.  Yes, I do a lot around the farm but nothing on a regular basis.  Our weekly workouts with Eric have brought a gym into the Hailey Sault workspace—I am more mindful about what I eat even though I’m not writing it down, that will come in time.  My metabolism, stamina and muscle tone has increased to the point where I can actually help Dan hoof bales of hay without dying.

PS – Our yoga sessions on Thursdays have been outstanding as well. I never knew how much stretching really feels good after Eric kicks our butts on Wednesdays.

Office Manager, Executive Assistant:

The 120 Fitness Challenge has been nothing but a much-appreciated bonus to me! The weekly workouts really enhance my regular 2-day-a-week training sessions and they help keep me focused.

I’m thrilled at how this group activity has brought so many of us closer together. I love that we cheer each other on without judgment. I love the positive energy and ‘high’ everyone has after the workouts. I love that everyone gets to experience the awesome positive force that is Eric Franklin.

I also like the fact that we have participants of all ages. That’s a great sign of how being healthy at every age matters!

Interactive Designer:

It has helped me remember how much better I feel when I’m active. Between this and Joe’s inspiration early this summer to go running in the mornings, it’s the best shape I’ve been in and most active I’ve been, in at least 5 years. These things and the fact that you have helped turn ‘The Box’ room into a workout facility by getting all the equipment for us have motivated me to keep this up, and run more races next year. I’ve run three 5Ks this year, and before this I had never run more than a 2 mile race, and that was over 5 years ago. I have also been trying to eat better, not necessarily go on a diet or lose weight, those don’t really matter to me, but just eating healthier foods, and finding some protein bars that I like—I have you to thank for that (Clif bars have now become a regular in my diet).

Also, with the weekly workouts, not one of them has been the same—Eric is always switching it up and teaching us new things every week—that has been really nice and is a very cool part of this because I never know what exactly to expect, which I love. If it was the same thing every week, I could see us, at least myself, not looking quite as forward to it as I sometimes do. And he’s just an inspirational dude. He’s always full of positivity, and that book “As A Man Thinketh” is an excellent book, really got a lot out of that and just talking with him from week to week has been a healthy thing for me.

Heartfelt words from a Senior Writer:

The first day I went (it started while I was out on vacation), I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect and was surprised at how good it felt to work out and get those good chemicals flowing in my body in the mid-afternoon. But also how good it felt to do it as a group, supporting each other.

The next few weeks, for some reason I was always tired on Wednesday and really hesitant to lag behind the more fit folks I was tasked to work out with … but I went anyway. And each time I was glad, coming away with more energy. And good vibes. 

When I had to miss a day—hey, sometimes work deadlines don’t wait—I found myself on two occasions using it as a rationale to get some hard exercise another way, so I biked to the mall from work (uphill for a few miles) as hard as I could. Normally I wouldn’t push myself for the helluvit. Not since I was a young buck, when I did that kind of thing every day. So … It’s refreshing and hopeful, as a forty-something, to feel like youthfulness is right there within your grasp. If you find ways to just … try.

That’s what’s cool about the tools of the Hailey Sault workout space: many are simple. Like the bands for resistance, a box for hopping and pushups, a clump of iron for lifting in every kind of way. It’s another reminder of youth. That you can just run the stairs, run the block, do your pushups and situps, and get results. But the difference here perhaps is that it’s scheduled. We’re committed to be there, and not let ourselves and our peers down.