Frank Napolitano – President and CEO of GlobalFit

Frank Napolitano joined GlobalFit ( in 2006 as President and CEO. He plays a key role in helping the company develop health and wellness programs for businesses. Using wellness education, community support, and healthy lifestyle incentives, Frank leads GlobalFit’s charge to motivate large populations to increase their everyday activity levels. Prior to joining GlobalFit, he was Senior VP, Strategic Planning & Special Projects for Town Sports International, Inc. (TSI). TSI is the largest owner and operator of athletic clubs in the Northeastern United States, operating under brand names including New York Sports Clubs. Frank brings 26 years of experience in the health club industry, as well as various roles in business operations.

Frank Napolitano previously practiced accounting and law with two nationally recognized firms. He is Past Chairman of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), having served on its Board of Directors from 1993 ­ 1997. He recently served a second term on that Board. He received his JD at the Georgetown University Law Center and his BA in Finance, Accounting and Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Frank has a genuine understanding of the return on investment that health and wellness programs provide for both employees and employers.

What are you working on right now?

We are creating programs that go beyond health assessments, which measure risk factors but don’t encourage employees to make healthy lifestyle choices.  GlobalFit helps businesses implement programs that produce high levels of employee engagement as well as verifiable and measurable results. There is a transition in workplace wellness from providing incentives for the accumulation of information through health screenings and assessments ­ to providing incentives for actual behavioral changes. Small rewards for changes in behavior, like lowered insurance premiums or an extra vacation day, are becoming more commonplace. The idea is that healthier workers will miss less days at work and be more productive. Also, insurance premiums for the company will remain at lower levels.

3 Trends that excite you

1. According to results from PricewaterhouseCoopers Health and Wellbeing Touchstone Survey 2010, 67% of companies across the US intend to expand or improve their wellness programs in the next year.

2. The increasing amount of information on healthy living, nutrition and proper exercise. Social media has enabled millions to share their practical fitness advice turning everyday people into credible experts.

3. Growing federal attention to the benefits of health and wellness programs. Starting next year, grants will be available totaling $200 million over five years for small companies that start wellness programs focused on efforts such as nutrition, smoking cessation, physical fitness and stress management. Grants will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services. Also, Michele Obama’s focus on preventing childhood obesity is exciting.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I stay active! Some of my best ideas come when I am working out. I am able to clear my mind and focus. I’ll jot down a quick note and then share those thoughts with my colleagues for feedback. I also pay close attention to the news and social media channels. Developing ideas based off of emerging trends keeps me current, sometimes enabling me to accurately predict the next big move within my industry.

What is one mistake that you’ve made that our readers can learn from?

We are known for creating a fitness center network that provides the guaranteed lowest price for corporate users. The GlobalFit fitness network includes more than 12,000 fitness centers across the country, including chains like 24-Hour Fitness, Bally’s Total Fitness, Curves and Anytime Fitness.

Over time, we learned that GlobalFit had become thought of only as ‘the gym people.’ This is an important part of our work indeed, but our company offers so much more beyond gym memberships; and we wanted to make sure the world knew that. We have revamped our branding strategies, media outreach and social media efforts to promote and highlight other healthy living programs and products available through our company.

What is one book and one tool that helps you bring ideas to life?

My personal step count (calculated from my Destination: YouTM tracker) motivates my exercise routine and cooking habits. I sometimes calculate the number of calories for certain food items I have in my pantry from a great little book called The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter. I’ll eat what I want and then follow up later with the appropriate number of steps and amount of activity.

What is one idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Make your product or service an unobtrusive but everyday part of people’s lives. Our flagship program, Destination: YouTM, uses a small accelerometer clipped to an individual’s shoe to count steps. Data from this ‘Tracker’ is wirelessly uploaded to our site via data upload points strategically located in the workplace. After the initial setup, users don’t have to do anything to have their data uploaded automatically. Yet when they log into their personal homepage, their steps magically appear. Ease of use and implementation makes a service more attractive to consumers and also encourages usage over the longer period of time necessary to make activity a lifestyle. When you are a service vendor, doing all the work for your clients means they have to use fewer resources.

How can employers keep their workforce motivated after a health and wellness program has begun?

The best way to encourage employees is to offer a direct reward for positive behavior change. Activity is the magic bullet.  If you take the 15 major risk factors that put people at higher risk for injury, illness and disease, 8 of them are lowered immediately by increased activity. This is important because when people become even slightly more active, they tend to have more energy, lose weight, lower their resting heart rate, and maintain balanced blood chemistry. All of these qualities lead to employees who feel better, stay healthy longer and are less likely to sustain injuries

What personally inspires and motivates you to stay healthy and active?

I have been an athlete my entire life, but I can’t say that exercise comes naturally to me. I like to think of myself as one of my clients.  Consistent engagement with programs, exercising with other people, becoming more active in the same ways that we’re encouraging others is what keeps me motivated and moving.

There are people who love to exercise, but that is not most people. The reality is that we are fighting an uphill battle. So what we’re doing is giving people a way to make it happen.  We’re not blaming inactive people for any shortcomings. Exercise and movement does not come intuitively to most of our clients. It is our job to help and teach healthy lifestyles that are interesting, exciting, safe, fun and that protect an individual’s privacy. That’s what we do; strengthen mind, spirit, and body.