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.