For the past two years, it's not been unusual on temperate days to see employees at Penn Treaty Network America riding stationary bicycles in the company parking lot during their lunch break as an instructor guides them up and down imaginary hills.
Penn Treaty in Salisbury Township is one of many companies in the region where CSS Fitness Group, a Center Valley-based company, brings its cycling, yoga, weight lifting and Zumba classes.
“We go right to the company and set up what we need and pack up when we’re done,” said Wayne Snyder, who founded the company in 2013 after becoming disillusioned with his deskbound job.
In cooler weather, CSS Fitness brings the cycling classes indoors.
“The group cycling is our flagship class,” said Snyder, who co-owns CSS Fitness with Amanda Grant, the company’s director of personal training and nutrition.
“We have 30 bikes in a truck and can set up anywhere. Basically the company just has to open their door and put us in a room,” he said.
Since its founding, CSS Fitness has grown to 12 instructors and personal trainers. It counts Dun and Bradstreet, Lafayette College and Rodale among its clients.
The company has found a niche in helping businesses run their health and wellness programs.
“What we found is many HR departments run health and wellness programs. They’re not experts in fitness. We come in from an expert standpoint and manage the process from beginning to end and give measurable results,” Snyder said.
Penn Treaty, a long-term care insurance administrator with about 165 employees, has contracted with CSS Fitness since 2016 to provide a wellness program to its 165 employees, said Ryan Stephens, director of human resources at Penn Treaty.
Penn Treaty initially contracted with CSS Fitness for a cycling class once a week, and has since expanded to four days of classes that include yoga, strength training and Pound, a high-intensity cardio and strength class using drumstick-like batons.
“Everyone has a busy schedule and this program gives them an opportunity to take advantage of it over lunch,” Stephens said. “A lot of the employees don’t have time to work out after work hours.”
“It’s something our employees love and at this point, we see no reason to stop offering it,” Stephens added.
The cost of CSS Fitness’ classes ranges from $3 to $12 per person, depending on a number of variables, such as class size and if an employer helps subsidize the cost.
The lack of showers and locker room at some companies hasn’t posed a problem, Snyder said. He said employees change in restrooms and use sinks or special athletic wipes.
“They head back to the office and no one is the wiser,” he said.
CSS Fitness handles all the payments and sign-ups, which are done through its website or smartphone app. Employees also have access to classes at CSS in Center Valley, and virtual training and community forums on fitness and nutrition on its app.
“We grew so much where managing all of our participants, data and billing dictated that we had to get technology behind us with a smartphone app and web portal,” Snyder said.
TAKING A LEAP
The company was born out of two competing feelings Snyder said were growing inside him: a passion for working out – he’d been teaching cycling classes and boot camps at a local gym – and disillusionment with his desk job. He’d been working in corporate America for more than 30 years.
“Before I began CSS, I really enjoyed waking up in the morning to work out. I had energy and was excited. I thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I was as excited to go to my real job?” Snyder said.
“After saying to my kids for so many years they should find what they’re passionate about first and then find a job in it, I literally woke up one day and had to go to work and realized, I’m not passionate about this at all,” he said.
Snyder quit his job and then over the course of a year, his plans to start a mobile fitness company jelled. He bought some stationary bikes, put them on a truck and the concept evolved from there. He had a background in transportation logistics, which came in handy for synchronizing the movement of the goods and services he was offering to companies around the region.
“I ended up taking a leap and found something I’m passionate about. Now I can wake up excited to do what I do,” Snyder said.