Keeping employees fit: Corporate CrossFit
By Shawn Lim
Workplace wellness programs have been offered by wellness companies and fitness gyms
since the mid-1990s to organisations and companies who are interested in keeping their
employees fit and healthy. After all, a healthy employee is a productive employee.
In Singapore, there are already a wide range of corporate fitness programs being offered,
from Mixed Martial Arts to Yoga and Boot Camps. Now, even CrossFit is being offered to
employees of a multi-national corporation.
Believed to be the first for a CrossFit affiliate in the world, NorCal CrossFit, owned by 2008
CrossFit Games winner, Jason Khalipa, partnered with HGST Inc, a subsidiary of Western
Digital Corporation to offer CrossFit classes to its employees.
The partnership first begin in the United States and is now offered in countries in Asia where
HGST Inc offices are located: China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
Instead of opening an affiliate these countries, NorCal CrossFit outsources the running of
the program to a local affiliate. Once the local affiliate has been identified and it agrees to
run the program, CrossFit certified coaches from the affiliate will then undergo training by a
NorCal CrossFit coach before running the program by themselves.
To minimise disruptions to the local affiliate’s business, NorCal CrossFit and HGST Inc pays
for the building of a separate gym and equipment for the program.
HGST Singapore’s CrossFit classes are run by CrossFit Hub and the gym is located in HGST
Singapore’s office building in Kaki Bukit.
Classes are conducted six times a week and usually four times a day at 7am, 12pm, 3pm and
6pm. The classes are free and only available to HGST Singapore’s employees.
Head Coach of CrossFit Hub, Xin, who coaches the CrossFit classes at HGST Singapore,
noticed that employees who come for the classes are now more energized and stronger
than when they first started.
“I see a lot of improvement in the HGST CrossFit members. Some of them tell me that they
feel stronger and more energetic after doing CrossFit regularly for a month,” Xin explained.
“It was a very successful program for HGST’s employees in the States and I’m glad that their
employees in Asia get to enjoy the program too.”
NorCal CrossFit corporate CrossFit is certainly a game changer in the world of corporate
fitness programs. In an interview with CrossFit Journal in 2013, HGST Inc’s President,
Michael Cordano, credits the program for strengthening the bond among his employees.
“We spend more time at work than we do at home. So let’s try to make it a place where
people feel comfortable. Frankly, you can build more camaraderie across the organization,”
“What you hear from people is, ‘I’m meeting people I never met before.’ So you meet them
in a different context. It’s not the hierarchical context of a corporation. So everybody comes
in here; you’re just working out.”