MOST days you'll find Andrew Wright, utilities manager at Red Stripe, taking laps around the company's Oval whether early morning or late afternoon. That's just his warm-up routine before hitting the weights in the gym. And while his focused moves give the impression of a high-performance athlete, Wright isn't clocking reps, weight or time. He's just working out because it makes him happy.
“It's all about balance,” says Wright. “One of the essential parts of maintaining a responsible lifestyle is keeping balance for mental wellness and physical health.”
And for someone who has maintained a fitness regimen for 11 years claiming the workplace gym as his home, he should know. But steadfast as he may be now, Wright wasn't always so determined, or convinced of the notion that working out, especially at work, was a good idea.
The motivation to keep going came oddly enough when he took breaks from the gym. Wright noticed that on those days, his mind was less sharp, and he was more irritable. “I just realised it made me happy to go to the gym. It made me feel a lot lighter and more energised.”
Wright's experience that regular exercise boosts his performance at work is more than a feeling. A recent Leeds Metropolitan University study examined the influence of exercise among office workers with access to a company gym, asking over 200 employees to self-report their performance daily. The findings are no surprise to Wright — on days when employees visited the gym, their work changed. They reported managing their time more effectively, being more productive, and having smoother interactions with their colleagues.
“When the mind needs to relax, I use it as an opportunity to exercise,” says Wright.
Most fitness enthusiasts will testify that they had stuttered starts with awkward form and moments of disillusionment. That was Wright's beginning too. True dedication to staying active only took hold six years after his first workout.
Luckily, his job never got in the way. In fact, as a Red Stripe employee, he and his colleagues have access to a fully outfitted gym, courts for basketball or netball, and the venue for Wright's warm-up of choice, the jogging track hugging the famous Red Stripe Oval.
Wright recommends rethinking exercise as a part of your job; that way, you will make time for it.
“Just start. I know that's the hardest part, but once you start, you'll miss it when you don't do it,” says Wright.
He also advises fresh starters to keep company with like minds. “My gym partner has the same mentality, so we connect through exercise and motivate each other especially on those days when we feel less inspired to work out,” he said. “The clarity you get from regular exercise helps your performance at work. Don't short-change yourself.”