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Bellevue game designer Bungie partnering with downtown gym BFit to keep employees healthy | Udate

The gymnasium on N.E. 10th Street has a new name: Sweat Equity

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Curtis Creamer loved his job at Bungie, the Bellevue-based game developer that is most renowned for the ultra-popular Halo series on Microsoft Xbox.

But when he suffered a heart attack, partly the product of a host of poor health habits tied to the long and stressful hours the position required, he knew he had to make a change.

"I was contemplating a big lifestyle change, which involved not working at Bungie anymore," he said.

When Harold Ryan, the owner of Bungie, heard Creamer might leave due to health concerns, he made some changes of his own.

For more than a year, the company has partnered with BFit Bellevue, a gym on N.E. 10th St. owned by a Newport Shores couple to provide lunch hour training to employees.

Personal trainer Nick Merrill oversees the circuit training, sending the desk-dwellers through rigorous yet enjoyable exercises with kettle bells, medicine balls and cardio routines.

Creamer said while the physical benefit has been solid, roughly 15 pounds lost and far more strength, it has been the mental adjustment that made the real difference.

"It really helped my ability to deal with the stress at work," he said. "Get that physical exercise and get mind and body together."

Zach Russell, another Bungie employee and friend of Creamer, said he too had fallen out of shape due to the grind of his professional career and the responsibilities of a growing family. But thanks to the support of Creamer and his boss Ryan, has lost roughly 40 pounds and on the path to a healthier life.

"It had been a while since I've been in decent shape," he said. "I just never had the time and never made the time."

Finding a block of time during their already scheduled workday was critical for Creamer, Russell and the rest of the dozen or so Bungie employees that regularly find their way to BFit during weekdays. Bungie also offers healthy snack and drink options for employees, something Creamer and Russell said makes it easier to remain dedicated to their fitness.

"It is great," Creamer said. "It is something done for the benefit of employees."

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