With Greater Manchester placed in tier three Covid restrictions, followed by National lockdown, one boss is going the extra mile to ensure his staff keep sharp, fit and focused through winter.
Phil Foster, CEO of Bolton-based Love Energy Savings, has pulled on his shorts and laced up his trainers to lead his team in daily video workouts live from his garage.
The half hour sessions, which have been running since the first lockdown in March, are experiencing a surge in popularity now that people are once again reluctant to return to their gyms and experiencing tighter restrictions on social mixing in Tier 3.
And with the almost 300 team mates at Love Energy Savings working from home for the foreseeable future, the 8am Instagram workouts with the boss internally dubbed ‘the Joe Wicks of Bolton’ ensure colleagues have something to look forward to on a daily basis.
Phil, 47, says: “I wanted to give my team something to focus on through lockdown outside of work to keep them active, focused and strong and whilst still ensuring we all felt part of the same family. I’ve always kept fit, but never been a fan of this kind of HIIT workout before. However, when the pandemic forced us all out of our office it was time for us all to do something different.
“I’ve grown to love it and seen the benefits it has for the health and the mental wellbeing of everyone.
“These are not all gym bunnies who are joining the session, people all have different reasons for taking part – some want to stay fit, lose weight or just see their team mates.
“It’s great for me to see so many people and their families – my wife and son get involved each day, too.
“With new restrictions meaning the prospect of a long winter at home, there is going to be a real de-motivation for a lot of people. It’s so important for your happiness as well as your fitness to have something to look forward to each day and provide a distraction from what’s going on in the world.”
At the same time as keeping its staff in tip top condition – throughout lockdown Love Energy Savings has been providing a shot in the arm for the nation’s small businesses – who have been facing significant pressures – by driving down their energy bills by an average of £875 a year.
Holly Pepper, who works in IT, says: “The workouts are structured well, covering cardio, glutes, abs, shoulders, everything! I feel so fresh, motivated and happy afterwards. I’m pretty sure I’m more productive too. Aside from the exercise aspect, it is another reminder of how great a place this is to work. The fact that our CEO has thought to do this for us, and done it every day even on his holidays, encourages you to do it too.”
Holly’s colleague Ben Birch, who works in Operations, adds: “I’ve not missed one class. While we are at home it just keeps you focused – keeps the mind and body active.
“Also body wise I’m feeling in the best shape I’ve been in in five years – I’ve lost over a stone – and can feel muscle gain. It’s completely changed my mentality and become part of day-to-day life.”
People worker Laura Higson adds: “I’ve never actually worked my muscles before, previously I would go to the gym on a cross trainer for 30 minutes and that’s about it.
“This came at a perfect time for me, the gyms closed down due to Covid-19 and I had all my baby weight to lose. Without the sessions from Phil, I wouldn’t have the motivation to work out five days a week. Now I’m back working, I can’t always make the live sessions however I still complete my work out later on in the day. Altogether I’ve lost three stones. This is from eating a healthy diet, working out daily and going for regular runs. I feel so much healthier.
“I really appreciate Phil taking time out of his daily schedule to do the live work outs for such a long amount of time.”