Workout Meetings: Would You Ever Work Out With Your Boss?

More employees are breaking a sweat with their bosses. But is this professional?

workout meetings_ two coworkers at the gymphoto credit: shutterstock

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, when it comes to your relationship with your boss, you’re always going to want to put your best foot forward. And with the rising popularity of workout meetings, it looks like that means you’ll be lacing up your favourite pair of trainers, too.

Workout meetings are just like you might expect. Instead of an appointment with your boss at her office or a boardroom, it takes place at the gym while you’re both breaking a sweat.

The rising popularity of workout meetings

A recent Wall Street Journal video shares how two coworkers at ZMC, a private equity firm in New York City, use workouts as part of their business day.

“I made a decision that I was going to make fitness a really important part of my life. And that I was no longer going to make a workout the last thing on my priority list. And I wasn’t going to cancel it necessarily if something else came up,” says Strauss Zelnick, the founder and CEO of ZMC.

“I would say to people, I can meet with you in the office. Or if you want, I go to the gym every day for an hour and you can have an hour with me if you come to the gym. And people began taking me up on it.”

He insists that he always gives his employees an option about where they’d like to meet. He also admits that not everybody is as interested in going to the gym as he is.

One of Zelnick’s employees, Ben Carus, regularly takes up his offer to meet at the gym. Craus says that while he found it unconventional at first, he doesn’t think that there’s any discomfort or awkwardness about it. “The only awkwardness is when he kicks my butt, because he’s more fit than I am,” says Carus.

Are workout meetings inclusive?

Although Strauss’ initiative to get his employees moving is admirable, Carus brings up a good point. Since every person is at a different fitness level, it might not be the most inclusive way to meet his coworkers.

Depending on the size and culture of the company, the opportunity to regularly meet with the CEO for an hour at a time may not always present itself.

Strauss doesn’t mention it in the video, but I’d love to know if he’d still meet with his employees for an hour of his time if it were outside of the gym.

On the other hand, the CEO his sessions at the gym to another more conventional way of conducting business. “In the same way that people golf with colleagues and business associates, it’s an opportunity to be involved in an activity that hopefully you both enjoy. I just don’t play golf.”

Take a walk instead

Instead of playing golf or working out at the gym, I think that Strauss should take a note from Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. Walking meetings were a preference with the late Apple CEO. Today, Zuckerberg, Barack Obama and Richard Branson are also known to be fans of walking meetings, too.

According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review , walking can lead to creative thinking, which is everyone can use during important work meetings. Those who regularly participate in walking meetings claim that it helps create a more honest and productive dialogue.

Do you ever have walking meetings at work? Would you workout with your boss? Let us know by tweeting at us at @besthealthmag.