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Written by Mattie Crombez

Posted on 07/04/2022

Mattie Crombez

Discussing the benefits of sport at work with our personal trainer!

At Bits of Love, we make sure to value our physical wellbeing.
For World Health Day, we interviewed our personal trainer Joey Lagast to gauge what the current state of exercising at work looks like in the information technology sector and discuss how this can be improved.

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Due to the sedentary nature of our jobs, we often spend long and uninterrupted periods of time simply sitting still at our desks. Although being desk-bound might seem fairly harmless at first, being mostly stationary is actually what poses the greatest physical risk to our team.

Since the very beginning, Bits of Love has been exercising as a group in order to combat this and ensure optimal performance. We initially did this by going to fitness centres together, but this had unfortunately always felt like a subpar experience: 

  • everyone is spread out across the room using different equipment, 
  • there is little to no supervision, 
  • and, as an employer, there is an inherent sense of responsibility in making sure that the exercises are performed correctly and safely. 
This means that our end goal has always been some sort of direct coaching.

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At the onset of the COVID pandemic, this tradition of ours had unfortunately come to a complete standstill. We noticed that our team members weren’t able to see each other nearly as frequently, if at all. In an effort to remain in best physical and mental shape, personal trainer Joey Lagast has been visiting our office twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5 – 6 PM.

What’s great about working with Joey is that all of the plans and exercises are truly tailor-made. After all, our level of fitness in the office is fairly high, and we can always count on him to make sure that these workouts remain a challenge. As a result, our colleagues are highly motivated to consistently work out in groups, which makes for an added layer of genuine togetherness and sense of community.

In terms of convenience, the fact that we’re able to take off from our desks and immediately get to work without relocation couldn’t possibly be overstated. Here are some of the highlights of what we discussed!

Why is regular exercise an important aspect within the framework of a digital product studio?

Physical activity isn’t just important for your body. In addition to building muscle mass and conditioning your heart and circulation, exercise also improves mental well-being and your ability to focus. Ensuring good blood supply to the brain is one of the most important ways to improve brain health: more blood means more oxygen and nutrients, which ensure that your concentration and working memory improve and suppress unimportant stimuli in your environment. Dopamine, adrenaline, and serotonin are triggered after exercise. In other words, the more physically fit you are, the larger your hippocampus grows. This is the part of your brain that’s important for memory and learning capacity, ultimately resulting in a positive impact at complex work within a digital product studio.

What’s the main difference between personal training and a standard gym membership?

If you regularly visit a fitness center, you will undoubtedly see one or more fitness instructors. These people will show you around and can offer help where necessary in order to perform the exercises properly, but this cannot be compared to personal training. Instructors generally stick to giving explanations, whereas personal trainers actively guide you throughout your personal trajectory. As this also encompasses your overall lifestyle, PTs take on a lot more than your average instructor would.”

What are some of your favourite exercises?

I prefer compound exercises. This means that you train different muscle groups simultaneously during these kinds of exercises. This is the opposite of isolation exercises”, in which you focus on just one muscle group. Some of the benefits of compound exercises: Calorie burn is higher, Building muscle mass and muscle strength is more efficient, They improve your coordination and balance, The workout is shorter and gives a better result.”

It quickly became clear that the Bits of Love team has a dynamic company culture. It struck me that the group is very attached to each other. They’re critical of themselves, but also of their colleagues, automatically raising the level of exercise to a much higher standard. Additionally, they are remarkably curious and ambitious.”

Joey Lagast,
Personal Trainer

How did this collaboration with Bits of Love start?

Following the first lockdown, I started doing PT sessions at home. Jessica, Managing Partner at Bits of Love, began doing workouts thrice a week at 6 AM

After a few months, this concept was pitched to and subsequently carried over to the employees of Bits of Love. Since then, we’ve been training outside of their office every Tuesday and Thursday in between 5 and 6 PM.” 

Did anything stand out to you at the start of our collaboration?

It quickly became clear that the Bits of Love team possesses a dynamic company culture. They see being physically fit as a game changer and as something to win. By exercising in a group every week, you automatically start setting the bar higher for yourself and for others. Everyone is always very supportive, which is important because motivation and healthy competition are the key to achieving personal (fitness) goals​.It struck me that the group is very attached to each other. They’re critical of themselves, but also of their colleagues, automatically raising the level of exercise to a much higher standard. Additionally, they are remarkably curious and ambitious, which you can also tell from their sports activities outside of work.”

Training together is a kind of team building; it’s just fun to do things together. These sessions also serve as a great opportunity to forget about our problems for a while.”

the Bits of Love team 🖤

Have you learnt anything from us along the way?

Good coaching requires continuous change. In order to do this effectively, you need to remain curious and always keep asking why. By asking these questions, you discover new perspectives and abilities that you probably wouldn’t have known otherwise.

Only by opening yourself up to other opinions can you develop further and have your role as a coach truly mean something. At Bits of Love, I really learned how to apply these why-questions effectively.”

Do you think other companies are paying enough attention to the physical wellbeing of their team?

Could you see more companies and organisations placing a higher emphasis on the importance of physical exercise and its encouragement in the near future? If not, how could this situation be improved?

Companies are increasingly aware of the importance of health in the workplace. A healthy, energetic, and committed workforce makes for a strong company. This can only be achieved sustainably if sufficient attention is paid to the health of the employees, which I hope can be said to be common knowledge by now. The importance of generally healthy habits cannot be overstated, especially in times of COVID-19. It’s these habits that strengthen the immune system and overall well-being of your employees, both at home and at work. This is why it’s important as a company to reach out to health professionals to set health policies and work on a demand-driven basis, with goals reaching from improving physical, mental, and emotional resilience, to boosting an engaging team experience. There are plenty of opportunities to build a positive and inspiring company culture.”

Curious to see how this kind of attention to detail and care goes in practice at Bits of Love? Discover more about us and familiarise yourself with our approach.

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