Fitness Fun at Clif HQ
We try not to sweat the small stuff, but we do like to sweat. Arrive early at Clif Bar & Company and you might just hear the rhythmic beat of a custom music mashup. It’ll be coming from our 2,500-square-foot onsite gym, where a dozen Clifsters will be sweating through an indoor spin class wearing a funky array of workout gear that sometimes ends up being worn all day around our office.
Stop by our headquarters at noon on Monday and you might see a bunch of folks in shorts heading outside for a lunchtime run with our CEO Kevin Cleary. Visit us later in the afternoon and you could see one of us straining to hoist kettle bells during a private session in the gym with one of Clif Bar’s four personal trainers.
We have a lot of fitness opportunities at Clif Bar—just one of the many onsite benefits designed to support employees in all aspects of their lives. “Employers have the responsibility to take care of their employees’ health, to invest in their people’s lives beyond their desks,” says Kevin. “We want to help them live healthy, active lives.”
That’s been the case at Clif Bar since our earliest days. Twenty years ago, with only about 35 employees, we had a small onsite gym with one part-time personal trainer. “Wellness is the backbone of who we are,” says Joe Phillips, a personal trainer here for 18 years. “Our founder, Gary Erickson, is a climber, cyclist and active outdoor enthusiast. He wanted to maintain that lifestyle within the company.”
Consider it done. Along with the gym, our fitness digs include massage and bodywork rooms, yoga and dance studios, and locker rooms. In addition to spin bikes and kettle bells, the gym features a bouldering wall, elliptical machines, treadmills, rowers, free weights, cable crossovers, cybex machines, gymnastics rings and ropes. Our trainers lead 35 group classes a week—from yoga and Zumba to body sculpting and meditation. They also lead outdoor groups in everything from walks and bike rides to ultimate Frisbee matches. For employees who prefer a more personal touch, trainers conduct about 25 individualized personal training sessions a week.
In keeping with Gary’s original vision, working out is encouraged at Clif Bar and an employee benefit. Employees can work out 30 minutes a day on company time—or, said another way, we’re paid to work out 2.5 hours a week. The gym, classes and training are free. (Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture and physical therapy services are subsidized).
“The fitness culture was a key factor in my interest in working at Clif Bar,” said Kevin Grossman, a sales coordinator who was a casual runner and triathlete at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I really like the community. When I get to the gym at 6:30 a.m., I see the same group of people every day. Morning workouts wake me up and get me mentally prepared for the work week.” (Really Kevin, 6:30 a.m.?).Product commercialization manager Katherine Peck (aka KP) not only uses the gym, but teaches a popular spin class two days a week. She came to Clif Bar as a runner, got hurt and started spinning for rehabilitation. She loved the workout, but began leading classes because “I thought the music could be better.” A talented singer/songwriter, KP switched out rock and slow house music during her spin class for custom mashups, remixes, Top 40 and hip hop.
Joe says about 80 percent of Clif Bar employees take advantage of the company’s fitness offerings. His goal is to reach the other 20 percent: “Our bigger vision is to address the needs of every employee, to bring about lifestyle changes that improve their quality of life. We take a holistic approach focused on diet, rest, exercise and stress reduction. If we cover those bases, we’re helping people live more whole lives.”
And we’re building community. “We connect through work,” Joe says, “but through fitness as well. That bond is unique. When we sweat together, we bond at a different level.”
Clif Bar Fitness by the Numbers
- 2,500 square-foot gym
- 33-foot bouldering wall
- 4 personal trainers
- 25 personal training sessions per week
- 35 group training classes per week
- 400 towels used per week