ArcelorMittal Dofasco recently celebrated the end of another successful Personal Best program.

The third annual wellness and fitness initiative helped 314 employees race their way to better health through increased activity levels, healthy eating and specific fitness goals.

New for this year was a Tractivity monitor to help count the number of steps each participant took and a team competition to encourage people to keep walking. The goal of the competition was to either cover the Route 66 distance (2,448 miles) or the TransCanada trail (14,283 miles). The Tractivity monitors were a key factor in keeping participants motivated to increase their activity levels and, in many cases, showed employees how inactive their daily lifestyle can be.

The program began and ended with biometric screenings that measured body fat, blood pressure, glucose levels, cholesterol and other important health factors. During the five-month challenge, coaches tailored flexible programs for each participant, which included free training sessions in one of our on-site gyms, a detailed exercise manual and nutrition tips. Upon completion of the challenge, each person reviewed their improved results with a personal fitness leader and discussed tips to continue their wellness journey.

Each year, the number of participants grows as employees notice the dramatic improvements their Personal Best co-workers have made. Around 20 per cent returned in 2014 to continue their fitness journey and one team (Team Neon) even had a 94 per cent completion rate (number of team members who saw the five month program through to the end).

“The level of participation exceeded our expectations,” says Lindsay Knight, Lifestyle Coordinator. “The participants went above and beyond what we asked of them and turned exercise and healthy eating into a fun, team event, which was the secret to their success.”

Bruce McConachie, (Pipefitter, Hot Mill), lost a significant 5.8 per cent body fat by using an online exercise tracker (myfitnesspal) every day, riding his bike to work, wearing the Tractivity monitor and reducing his night time snacking. “Knowing that I was going to be re-measured was part of what kept me motivated,” says Bruce.

Leading the way to a healthier 2014, was the senior management team who competed in the Around the Bay Road Race and encouraged employees to keep going. In June, Brad Davey, VP of Commercial, gave a particularly poignant talk about his battle with cancer and inspired other employees to get fit.

“Hearing Brad speak about his struggle to overcome cancer, made me want to work harder to lose weight and get fit,” said Giovanni Cisternino, (Millwright, Hot Mill). Joining the Personal Best program for the third year, Giovanni had already lost an incredible 107 lbs, and this year set his sights on fitness. “I was determined to compete in the 30KM Around the Bay Road Race. It took a lot of willpower and encouragement, especially with the cold winter we had, but I finished the race in a ‘personal best’ of 2 hours and 41 minutes!”

Impressive results such as Giovanni’s inspire Personal Best participants to come back for more. The daily fitness classes, healthy eating seminars and smoking cessation programs keep people motivated and drive Dofasco employees to be the healthiest they can be.