Mark Verstegen, The Smartest Man In Fitness, Wants To Solve The Obesity Crisis

Other coaches and managers in the sports world and beyond soon realized that the same system could help keep their high-dollar players healthy, improving both performance and career longevity. In 2006, Exos started working with the U. S. Navy and Special Forces to help develop and protect their “human capital.” By applying the Exos system, the military is able to better prepare soldiers for deployment, help them return to duty following injury, and assist their transition back to civilian life. “I don’t know what I would have done without help from Mark and Exos,” says former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, author of Lone Survivor and an Exos regular. “I might have ended up in a wheelchair” due to injuries he sustained in Afghanistan. Luttrell now visits Exos at least once a year for several weeks.

It wasn’t long before corporate America and Fortune 500 companies like Adidas and Humana came knocking, looking for a performance edge. Like professional sports and the military, they knew that success rests on the shoulders of their personnel. Optimal productivity requires employees who are fit, healthy, and motivated. Even more urgent, escalating health-care costs, particularly post-recession, were becoming a massive drag on budgets. Verstegen knew you couldn’t simply step in and train office workers, some of them “nonmovers” grappling with health issues, the same way you did elite athletes. The key was delivering individualized programs-or “personal game plans,” as he likes to put it-in a way that was effective under the circumstances (busy schedules, physical limitations, etc.). Enter Exos Journey in 2017, an application that creates and manages employee fitness programs, based on the four pillars; it can be deployed at almost any location with a few basic fitness tools. In some cases, Exos has placed trainers and chefs on corporate campuses to provide additional support. It found that employees were more likely to embrace the system with assistance and encouragement from a trained professional. The need is critical because research shows that most existing employee-wellness programs have no discernible impact on employee wellness.

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Photo credit: Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC - Getty Images

Exos currently employs more than 4,500 people at over 400 outposts globally. The same solutions are now making their way into the public-health system thanks to a collaboration with the Mayo Clinic. At its Rochester, Minnesota, headquarters, there is a full Exos-designed and -staffed training center, with Exos providing training for both staff and patients. Consider a recent Exos innovation, the 3D Movement Quotient, which uses video analysis and markerless biomechanics to assess movement quality instantly and set up training protocols right away (rather than in weeks). This allows it to be used more often and more widely. It’s just one of the tools Exos is creating to help greater numbers of people improve mobility and resolve pain.

Verstegen, now 49 , says he feels a responsibility-a word he uses often-to bring his four-pillar system to as many users as possible. He’s not just interested in assisting elite populations; Exos, he believes, can help fix what he describes as a national crisis. “Reactive health care is broken,” he says. “Seventy percent of the issues clogging our health-care system are lifestyle-related. If we can remove them, if we can get people upstream of the disease state, it’s a win-win for everyone.”

Do these Mark Verstegen-approved exercises to build superior core strength.

Unilateral Squat to Press

Grip a dumbbell or kettlebell in the rack position. Squat and then stand, then press the weight straight up from your shoulder. Perform 5 to 10, then switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

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Photo credit: Matius Griek

Side plank with Cable Row

Get into a side plank (propped on an elbow, hips raised), holding an exercise band looped around an anchor. Raise your top leg. Grip the band and do a set of 5 to 10 rows. Switch sides and repeat. Do 3 sets.

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Photo credit: Matius Griek

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