Entertaining clients or prospective partners is a big business in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But are three-course lunches and wine-soaked dinners becoming a thing of the past?
Many professionals are moving away from conducting business over meals or drinks, as those old standbys are both sure fast ways to rack up unnecessary business expenses. But an even bigger concern in this season of resolutions is all those extra calories – not to mention lack of physical activity – that can really pack on the pounds. In fact, a study conducted by CareerBuilder and Harris Interactive found that 26% of the overweight workers they surveyed attributed their weight gain to dining out regularly. An alarming 56% said their weight gain was due to sitting behind a desk most of the day.
The solution? Leaders in major cities like London, New York, and Los Angeles are implementing “sweatworking” into their business models. The fashionable new term describes the combination of physical activity and networking. After The New York Times coined the phrase in 2011, the concept has been trending nationwide.
Sara Kidwell (pictured below) is a manager at Viverae, a Dallas-based health and wellness company which partners with corporations to impact the health of their employees. She tells us that “sweatworking” may be a new term, but not a new concept. “Men have been ‘sweatworking’ for a number of years,” says Kidwell. “Think racquetball, golf, and pick-up basketball. But the trend really took off when women adopted it.”
So what makes this new form of networking so hot? Kidwell explains, “Asking a client to join you for a workout can create a better bond than simply sharing a meal or sitting in a board room. It breaks down the barriers, and allows people to get real. A sweat-fest with a dose of feel-good endorphins connects you on a level that could take months or years to accomplish in a traditional meeting setting.”
Texas-based designer Eric Renteria of Etiquette Vintage Design (pictured below, left) is another ‘sweatworking’ devotee. “I find that most people who are on the hustle like to accomplish as many things as possible,” he notes. “Being able to push each other mentally and physically helps build trust and respect.”
Renteria “sweatworks” with a group of working mothers with infants. “I am the only male and non-baby carriage pushing person in the group,” Renteria explains. “We meet four days a week and go on four- to six-mile runs. We cover various topics of business and brainstorm.”
James Scott (pictured above, right), another multi-tasking local professional, has also adopted this new strategy. A technical consultant at Mary Kay, he says that staying fit and healthy has always been a trend in his office. He sees “sweatworking” as a perfect way to replace boring meetings with fun activities. Says Scott, “One of the things I love about ‘sweatworking’ is how easily you can transition from discussing your topic, focusing on your activity, and thinking to yourself. Lulls in the conversation are okay when the activity is at a constant.” He adds, “Have you ever stared in silence sitting in a conference room? Awkward!”
Like Renteria, Scott enjoys “sweatworking” over long-distance runs, but one thing he’d like to try is kayaking or canoeing. He explains, “You can rent a two-person kayak at White Rock Lake and spend an afternoon exercising, enjoying the scenery, and getting business done!”
Inspired? We are, too! So, we asked Kidwell for her top local recommendations for getting our “sweatwork” on. Here are her picks:
The Katy Trail: “When the weather is great in Texas, you’ve got to take advantage of it! The Katy Trail is a great place to walk, run, or bike, while talking shop. Grab a Kombucha at Company Café afterwards.”
Equinox Clubs: “This posh gym chain sets the stage for a great experience with trendy décor, mood lighting, and their signature fresh scent piped throughout the building. You can sweat it out together in one of their cutting edge classes, or hit the gym floor to pump some iron together.”
Exhale Spas: “You will definitely bond over the intense burn of a Core Fusion class at Exhale. A mixture of Pilates, yoga, and ballet, this workout has a little of everything. The rooftop pool is a beautiful place to cool down.”
City Surf Fitness: “Chances are, this will be a new adventure for both you and your colleague. It’s a great place to bring that West or East-coaster who is feeling homesick. Hang ten!”
The Yoga Movement: “Jenny Parum and Carter Twitty are the feel good instructors at this Dallas studio whom you can count on for a Zen experience, even for a yoga novice.”
FlyWheel: “This ‘sweatworking’ option combines stadium spinning with an arm workout using weighted bars. It’s the latest spin on spinning that will net a ‘yes’ on your meeting request from any cycling fan.”
Finally, a word to the wise on “sweatworking” attire. As casual Fridays aren’t the place for cut-offs and flip-flops, a business-focused workout isn’t the place for beat-up old sweats. Likewise, skip any exercise attire that may be overly revealing. Don a simple, streamlined look, and pack a small towel and bottle of water for yourself and your guest.
Now, what are you waiting for? Let’s get “sweatworking!”
Sara Kidwell headshot by Ethan Dussault. Eric Renteria and James Scott headshots by Sylvia Elzafon. Additional images via MensFitness.com and MindBodyGreen.com.