THE SO­CIAL SWEAT WORK

If you want to get ahead, hold your next client meet­ing in the weights room, not the board­room: sweat­work­ing is the hot new way to climb the ca­reer lad­der. And that means a fresh take on ac­tivewear

Men's Health (UK) - - In This Issue -

The gym is of­fi­cially the hottest place to do busi­ness. Here’s how to dress to bench press

It takes an hour of brisk ex­er­cise to off­set eight hours hunched over a desk

It used to be that if you were per­spir­ing pro­fusely in a meet­ing, it was be­cause you’d ei­ther failed to suf­fi­ciently pre­pare or you were stink­ingly hun­gover (not nec­es­sar­ily mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive or, let’s face it, en­tirely un­re­lated). Now, it’s most likely be­cause you’re ‘sweat­work­ing’. Prob­a­bly.

“Sweat­work­ing is about com­bin­ing your pro­fes­sional meet­ings with your work­outs, to the ben­e­fit of both,” ex­plains Steven Ward, CEO of non-profit fit­ness lobby Ukac­tive. “It’s an ef­fi­cient way to get some ex­er­cise while de­vel­op­ing a greater rap­port with clients and col­leagues.” Du­bi­ous? Don’t be. Sweat­work­ing is a bona fide thing, and yes, real peo­ple are ac­tu­ally do­ing it. Global fi­nan­cial gi­ant PWC is team build­ing at bou­tique stu­dio 1Rebel, while RBS is get­ting fresh air with Green Gym. For num­bers­driven City in­vestors and Sil­i­con Val­ley ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists alike, cy­cling is “the new golf”.

In­evitably, the prac­tice orig­i­nated in New York, the city that never puts its phone on sleep. And like most State­side trends, it’s mi­grat­ing over here. “We’ve cer­tainly seen a con­sid­er­able uptick in mem­bers sweat­work­ing,” con­firms Alex Shep­herd, man­ager of the up­wardly mo­bile body tem­ple, Equinox, in Lon­don’s Kens­ing­ton.

But why? Well, the rise could be seen as a di­rect con­se­quence of time crunch. But it’s also down to the tight­en­ing of ex­pense ac­counts that no longer stretch to three-mar­tini lunches (a £20 spin class seems com­par­a­tively cheap). Then there’s the grow­ing un­der­stand­ing that eat­ing and drink­ing like a Mad Man is nei­ther sus­tain­able nor ad­vis­able for body or ca­reer. And when you con­sider the rise of re­mote work­ing, for which gyms are in­creas­ingly cater­ing with cafes, juice bars and even lounges, the idea doesn’t sound so far-fetched.

Be­sides, sweat­work­ing pre­cip­i­tates ben­e­fits beyond the ob­vi­ous. Steve Jobs would take walk­ing meet­ings to pro­mote cre­ativ­ity and fos­ter a sense of col­lab­o­ra­tion (lit­er­ally head­ing in the same di­rec­tion). Step­ping up the pace only fast-tracks such feel­ings of intimacy. And not just in the chang­ing rooms. A Barry’s Bootcamp trip could even re­sult in ‘ trau­matic bond­ing’: a shared painful ex­pe­ri­ence that forges far stronger con­nec­tions than Linkedin. And it’s an un­shake­able ex­cuse to bake fit­ness into your sched­ule.

In short, sweat­work­ing works – of­ten un­ex­pect­edly so. “One mem­ber landed a voiceover job by talk­ing in the steam room,” says Shep­herd. “He was over­heard by a cast­ing di­rec­tor, they had a more for­mal dis­cus­sion in the lounge and he was hired there and then.” Gor­don Gekko had it that lunch is for wimps. But lunchtime work­outs? That is where the new power re­sides.

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Pho­tog­ra­phy by Luke Kir­wan Styling by Eric Down

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