Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Despite Economy, Residents Show Gym Memberships Worth The Money

Some Say Stress Relief Is Part Of Motivation In Doling Out Dues

“Despite money being a bit tight these days, it appears people are still willing to pay for gym memberships to stay in shape and relieve some of the stress caused by the recession. Fort Collins Club, 1307 E. Prospect Road, was doing a brisk business Monday as members flowed through the doors to use the club’s pools, weights, basketball courts and other amenities. Club member Troy Soukup, 29, said a gym membership is well worth the money. It’s a stress relief type of deal,’ said Soukup while sitting in the club’s restaurant watching sports on the television. ‘It’s not only the health benefits, but kind of a social type (event). We all play basketball.’ Exercise increases energy levels and serotonin in the brain, leading to improved mental clarity, according to webmd.com. Soukup, who works in real estate, is typical of many Fort Collins residents who refuse to cut their gym memberships, in turn using it as a refuge in this down economy. Cliff Buchholz, owner of Miramont Lifestyle Fitness, said memberships at his three Fort Collins clubs is holding steady because people are concerned about relieving stress and rising health-care costs. ‘It certainly is a stressful time; exercise can reduce stress, and it is an inexpensive way to get a break,’ said Buchholz, who has 16,000 memberships among the three clubs. Todd Heenan, Fort Collins Club’s general manager and owner, said that since the recession set in, his 2,500 memberships have remained consistent. ‘We’ve found more than anything people are continually cutting back on large expenses, but they are still looking for entertainment,’ Heenan said. ‘It relieves stress and is entertaining.’ Other clubs throughout Fort Collins reported similar stories. Rich Davis, spokesman for the Old Town Athletic Club, 351 Linden St., reports the club hasn’t been hurt by the recession at all. ‘Statistics will tell you that health club memberships are the first thing to go in a recession,’ Davis said. ‘We haven’t noticed it here. We have seen a growth of 5 to 7 percent in the past six months.’ The Old Town Athletic Club reports 1,500 members, most of whom either work or live downtown. While the club’s attrition rate has gone up 50 percent since last September, it has maintained its membership level, and the attrition has gone back down to normal rates of 1 percent, Davis said. ‘I think that anyone you talk to that works out on any regular basis or part-time basis will tell you exercise is a great stress reliever,’ Davis said. ‘Not surprising that maybe people are grumpy when they walk in but happy when they walk out.’ Milo Carley, franchise owner of Snap Fitness Center, 1015 S. Taft Hill Road, said his membership has remained consistent over last year. ‘I haven’t noticed anything,’ said Carley, who would not disclose his membership numbers. ‘I think people start taking better care of their bodies when health insurance starts going up.’ Curves, 1829 E. Harmony Road, saw a drop in membership when gas prices rose last year and the recession set in. Owner Matt Fries said they lost about 50 memberships because of the recession as some members, or their spouses, lost jobs. ‘We have seen a handful come back, but we do think we have at least seen the end of the bottom falling out,’ Fries said. Today, the 250 members at Curves, a fitness club specifically for women, is holding steady, and new customers are inquiring, Fries said. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, as of January 2008, there were 29,636 health clubs in the country with 41.5 million members. The IRSA club’s average member retention rate is 73 percent. Health-care expenditures in the U.S. have reached $2.2 trillion and are expected to almost double by 2017, according to the IHRSA, which touts the economic benefits of keeping employees healthy through regular exercise. ‘I think people start taking care of their bodies when they don’t know if they are going to have job or health insurance,’ Carley said.”

2009 Fitness Trends

“IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association) held their annual conference this month - a monster of an affair which draws the who's who of fitness equipment manufacturers, club owners and enthusiasts in general. Not surprisingly, computer-based fitness games and health data for the web stood out as big trends. One part irony, one part ingenuity, the health industry is using the very tools that are contributing to obesity to try and reverse the trend. For better or for worse, here's what's new and popular in the world of fitness. Speed board: A parabolic, self-powered treadmill that adjusts speed according to how far forward or back you are on it. Cybex FT-450 Functional Trainer: For all the hype this multipurpose cable machine has received, I really don't see what the hype is about. I guess it's kind of neat that there's an adjustable padded piece that unfolds from the machine but when you really think about it, this can take the "function" right out of a machine designed to be ‘functional’. Treadwall: Think treadmill, only vertical! Yes it is a moving climbing wall. A great idea for clubs (and homes, I suppose) with vertical restrictions. Plus, you don't have to wear a harness. Gravity Treadmills: This isn't your mother's treadmill, but maybe it should be. Using gravity differential technology, an advanced air pressure regulation system, enclosure sealing component and other technology that only NASA rocket scientists comprehend, this super-treadmill takes weight off you your body to lessen impact and improve speed. Jacob's Ladder: A self-propelled, moving ladder placed at a 40 degree angle. The faster you go, the faster it goes - which sounds as scary as...well, the movie Jacob's Ladder. xrkade: An active gaming lifestyle that simulate real sports. Interactive games include; boxing, skateboarding, soccer, biking and dancing. Xrkade targets the younger gaming enthusiasts and has actual gyms throughout the U.S. Other Cool Fitness Toys and Popular items Vibration training and vibrating exercise machines continue to be popular with companies such as powerplate . Fancy Heart Rate Monitors. Suunto has a monitor that measures EPOC (Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption) or how much you are continuing to burn after a workout. RealRyder: The spinning bike that moves side to side. Also new, this thing where you can actually take the bikes outside and get this... ride them on real roads! Fitness Anywhere continues to make waves with augmentations to their TRX training systems.


Exercise Reduces Migraine Suffering, Study Finds

While physical exercise has been shown to trigger migraine headaches among sufferers, a new study describes an exercise program that is well tolerated by patients. The findings show that the program decreased the frequency of headaches and improved quality of life. The study is published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain. The study used a sample of migraine sufferers who were examined before, during and after an aerobic exercise intervention. The program was based on indoor cycling (for continuous aerobic exercise) and was designed to improve maximal oxygen uptake without worsening the patients' migraines. After the treatment period, patients' maximum oxygen uptake increased significantly. There was no worsening of migraine status at any time during the study period and, during the last month of treatment, there was a significant decrease in the number of migraine attacks, the number of days with migraine per month, headache intensity and amount of headache medication used. Individuals with headache and migraine typically are less physically active than those without headache. Patients with migraine often avoid exercise, resulting in less aerobic endurance and flexibility. Therefore, well designed studies of exercise in patients with migraine are imperative. ‘While the optimal amount of exercise for patients with migraine remains unknown, our evaluated program can now be tested further and compared to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatments to see if exercise can prevent migraine,’ says Dr. Emma Varkey, co-author of the study.


Missoula Club Offers High-Tech Workouts

“The national economy may be struggling, but one Missoula health club is bucking the trend of low-cost fitness. Stafford Fitness features home to Movie-theatre like TVs and a fine wood grain bar, and they're bucking a national trend in cheap 24 hour fitness operations with little to no staff. At Stafford, if you want to spend hundreds a month, you'll never have to workout alone again, but for the rest of us, you can still get one-on-one treatment once a month, and at a membership price still below $100. While every gym is going to have your basics, at Stafford there's high tech equipment, the bikes are connected to the Internet and you can race your friends from out of state. The folks that run Stafford say the equipment here is more like what you'd find in trendy U.S. cities like San Francisco, or in Europe.”


Aquatic Center Preps for Opening

“It’s the little things that make the Cullman Wellness & Aquatic Center so special, Cullman parks director John Hunt said. ‘The water has to be 86 degrees and the air 84 degrees,’ he said, standing beside the center’s competition-sized indoor pool and large hot tub. ‘That way it stays nice and doesn’t steam up in here.’ The public will have a chance to check out the new 110,000-square-foot campus at the grand opening ceremony on April 5 at 2 p.m. Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines will be on hand for the grand opening, and there will also be live music, food and guided tours. ‘Everyone in the community should come out,’ Hunt said. ‘It’s going to be a great day.’ The final phase of construction work is on schedule and officials expect no problems meeting the April 5 date. ‘The final touches are being put on and we’re really looking forward to the open house,’ Hunt said. The center will include a large fitness area stocked with new work out equipment, two competition pools for swim meets, a large basketball court, indoor walking track, a hot tub, vortex pool, waterfall, an outdoor pool and outdoor water slides. ‘This facility is something the residents of Cullman should really be proud of,’ Hunt said. An all access, 12-month single membership plan for the center costs $45 per month, while a family plan is $65 per month. The 15,000-square-foot fitness area will be managed by One Fitness, formerly SportsFirst, which is owned by Cullman Regional Medical Center. Jim Weidner, CRMC president and CEO, said the name was changed to reflect the larger scope of services offered. ‘That better represents what we’ll be bringing to the people,’ Weidner said. The fitness area will include access to 125 new stations of Cybex work out equipment (see the Spring 2009 issue of the Cullman Magazine for a full breakdown of equipment). Exercise classes, pilates classes, aerobics classes and spin classes will all be offered, as well. The facility also includes a gymnasium large enough to host two recreational league basketball games simultaneously. ‘For years, we’ve had 42 teams playing in one gym at Ingle Park,’ Hunt said of the department’s recreational basketball program. ‘This is something we need. Now we’ll have more space to host basketball games.’ A suspended walking trail with a rubberized track is above the gymnasium, acting as a balcony above the court. Saunas will also be available for members in the respective locker rooms. A massage therapist will also be on hand at the center, though massages are not included with membership. Conference rooms and multipurpose rooms will also be available for rent, which can be used for private meetings or gatherings.”


Santa Cruz Stories: Sjamsir Sjarif - Swimming Is His Life, One Lap At A Time

"On April 18, Sjamsir Sjarif will once again celebrate his birthday by swimming his age: one lap for each year. That means 74 laps this year, more than two miles. It's a ritual he has performed on every birthday since he turned 47. But it's much more than just exercise. ‘I'm not just counting laps,’ Sjarif says. ‘I'm reviewing my life.’ He explains that when he first sinks into the water, he imagines being in the womb again. ‘Then I begin the first lap, the first year of my life.’ During his initial three circuits, Sjamsir says, he creates images from stories told by his mother. ‘The fourth lap starts the real memories of my life. And so on - until the last minute of that year." His expressive face opens into a wide smile. ‘I feel peaceful in the water.’ Sjarif swam his first birthday laps in 1982 after a three-week class at Harvey West pool. ‘Before that, I just knew how to splash,’ he chuckles, demonstrating. Now he always travels with his swimsuit and goggles, watching for a pool. His regular swim site, Harvey West, is closed this year; instead, Joe Schultz, director of Parks, Open Space and Cultural Services, has offered him complimentary admission to the Simpkins Swim Center on April 18. Born in Indonesia, Sjamsir was the son of a grade school teacher. He followed in his father's footsteps, earning a degree in education and history before teaching at the junior high level. He also keeps busy and healthy at his gym, 24 Hour Fitness. ‘I do TKB (turbo-kickboxing) and zumba - I recommend that to anyone,’ he says. ‘Also salsa and other dancing.’ He laughs delightedly. ‘Often I'm the one man. I love that.’ Will Sjarif continue his yearly birthday swim? ‘Absolutely. All my life.’ And considering that one of his father's siblings lived to be 114, he may be in for a long swim.”


Make Iowa a U.S. Health Fitness Center

“Reinvent Iowa as the fitness center of the United States. Instill a culture of physical activity and healthy eating with special emphasis on Iowa youth. Initiate walking programs as a first step to get Iowans of every age to become more active every day. Physical activity energizes, lessens stress, stimulates the brain, increases productivity and leads to further fitness pursuits, as well as better academic performance. It was astonishing that of all the wide-ranging and thoughtful essays in the last two Sunday papers, none touched on Iowa's current and future health - especially since our state and nation face a health crisis that predates the economic crisis. The alarming prediction that this generation is the first that will not live longer than their parents should demand we give fitness for long-term health high priority in any plans for Iowa's future.”


Rapid Weight Gain In Infancy Linked To Risk Of Obesity At 3

“Childhood obesity researchers have begun looking back to infancy for clues to explain why some children become overweight while others don't. A baby's birth weight and weight gain in the first days and weeks of life can predict obesity, studies have shown. A new Boston study in Pediatrics that factored in weight as well as length -- a baby's Body Mass Index -- says it's not just how much a newborn weighs, but how quickly weight is gained in the first six months that raises the risk of obesity at age 3. Dr. Elsie Taveras of Children's Hospital Boston and her colleagues from Harvard and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care studied more than 500 children in Project Viva, an ongoing Boston-based study of pregnant women and their children. They measured each child's weight and length at birth and 6 months, and then weight and height at 3 years. After accounting for babies who were premature or underweight at birth, they divided them into four groups based on their weight-for-length gain. The children in the highest quartile at 6 months had a 40 percent risk of being obese at 3 years old compared to a 1 percent risk for children in the lowest quartile. Breastfeeding versus bottle feeding didn't explain the difference in how rapidly the babies increased their weight, the researchers found. Their sleep duration -- an obesity risk factor in another Taveras study -- also didn't make a difference. ‘We related weight gain in the first six months of life with obesity,’ she said in an interview. ‘But we're not at a point yet where we know how to intervene to prevent this rapid weight gain. We're not even close to knowing what predicts that fast growth in the first months of life.’ Excessive weight gain during pregnancy could be a factor, Taveras said. Or parents might not be picking up on their infant's hunger or satiety cues. Even beliefs that "baby fat" will go away could be affecting how parents think about feeding their children. ’There are a lot of parents who think children who top the growth charts are healthier than children who don't,’ she said. ‘The [study] results could really be a wake-up call that we might have some misconceptions about what healthy growth is.’”


Friday, March 27, 2009

Weight Lost. Life Found.

How One Calgary Man Fought His Way Up From Rock Bottom

“Frank Barajas can't tell you how much he weighed at his peak. That's because he doesn't know; he was too scared to step on the scale. What he did know was that he didn't feel good and he didn't look good. ‘I wouldn't go to the doctor. They didn't have to tell me -- I knew I was sick,’ he says. At that point, he decided to focus on his career and nothing else. Beer and wing nights with colleagues replaced soccer and swimming. He didn't eat regular meals, binged at night and was a regular smoker. ‘I was not a happy person,’ says Barajas, now 42. ‘I was chasing the wrong dreams, doing things for other people and not doing things for me. I was lazy and I didn't feel like doing anything. My self-esteem was tanked.’ Then, one day in 2007, Barajas woke up and looked himself in the mirror. And he asked one question: ‘What the hell am I doing?’ That day, he started making small changes to improve his health. He cut soda pop from his diet and moderated his portion sizes, eating only two pieces of pizza instead of eight. When he weighed himself a short time later, he didn't like what he saw on the scale: 337 pounds. More determined than ever, he kept up with his improved diet and, in two short months, lost 30 pounds. In January 2008, for extra help, Barajas joined a gym -- the World Health Club's Macleod Trail location -- and began working out with trainer Clayton Tokar. ‘Clayton pretty much said, 'You're going to be pushing daisies here pretty quick,' says Barajas. ‘He said, 'You smoke, you've got bad eating habits, you're overweight.' Everything possible that was wrong with me, he laid it out.’ Tokar recalls their first meeting. ‘I motivated Frank because I was in that mood that I didn't think he was the type of person who would step up.’ Barajas went over and above, not just to prove Tokar wrong, but to meet his own goals. On the day of their first meeting, Barajas drove to a hilltop, smoked one last cigarette and threw his pack over the cliff. He began exercising five or six times a week, slowly building up to hour-long strength training and cardiovascular workouts. (He works out with Tokar once a week, another trainer once a week and on his own the rest of the time.) He also began following Tokar's nutrition plan, which has him eating balanced meals and snacks every day. He cut out alcohol and, when he went out with friends, would eat only the veggies off the plate of chicken wings. And to help him stay on track, Barajas told everyone he could about his goals -- for the accountability and the support -- and kept a journal of his progress. The results of his incredible efforts have been outstanding. Since that first weigh-in, Barajas has lost roughly 135 pounds. He's gone from triple extra-large shirts to a medium/ large; his pant size has gone from a 48-inch waist to a 33/34-inch waist. While all of those things thrill Barajas, he revels in the small things, like being able to see the veins in his arms or the knuckles on his hands. He can tie his shoes now. And he's putting those shoes to good use. ‘I can actually keep up with my friends when we go hiking,’ he says. ‘I'm actually kicking their ass going up hills!’ Tokar is proud of Barajas and the major strides he's taken, both literally and physically. ’Nineteen times out of 20, people don't discipline themselves to the point that Frank did,’ he says. Barajas says he's had a lot of support from other gymgoers, who congratulate him or simply give him an encouraging nod. These days, beyond inspiring those who see him busting his butt at the gym, Barajas is hoping to inspire his own mother, who is fighting a rare form of liver cancer. Another one of his goals is to become even more fit and drop another 20 pounds or so along the way. (He just started documenting his story on www.youshouldknow.com and is encouraging others to share their stories, as well.)”


Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack

But Inactivity Makes Benefit Vanish Quickly, Researchers Say

“Any exercise program can improve blood flow after a heart attack, but the benefit vanishes just four weeks after exercise is stopped, a new Swiss study finds. ‘The main goal of our study was to determine the impact of different types of exercise on vascular [blood vessel] function,’ said Dr. Margherita Vona, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the Clinique Valmont-Genolier in Glion sur Montreux. ‘The conclusion was that in our patients, after a heart attack, all types of exercise were useful for correcting vascular dysfunction, without any difference among aerobic, resistance or combined training.’ But the improvement in blood flow seen in the 209 heart attack survivors enrolled in the program was lost four weeks after they stopped exercising, according to the report in the March 31 issue of Circulation. ‘These data imply that good, long-term adherence to training programs is necessary to maintain vascular benefits on endothelial dysfunction,’ Vona said. Participants in the trial were randomly assigned to aerobic training, resistance training, a combination of aerobic and resistance training, or no training at all. Endothelial function was measured by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), the amount that blood vessels widen to increase blood flow. FMD more than doubled, from 4 percent to 10 percent, in both exercise groups. There was no significant change in FMD in the non-exercising participants. However, the increase in FMD was lost a month after the regular exercise program ended. ‘This aspect is particularly important in patients with coronary artery disease, in whom correction of endothelial dysfunction could help to slow the progression of atherosclerosis and probably avoid new cardiovascular events,’ Vona said. None of the exercises caused problems for the participants, she added. The resistance training program followed American Heart Association guidelines, Vona said. ‘Following the guidelines of the American Heart Association, all people can do resistance training,’ she said. ‘Many papers show beneficial effects of resistance training on cardiac and muscle function, in normal people and also, for example, in diabetic subjects.’ The study does add some insight to the well-worn subject of exercise and the heart, said Dr. Johnny Lee, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. One is about the type of exercise that should be done, Lee said. ‘Most of the time, we tell patients about aerobic exercises -- running, jogging and swimming,’ he said. ‘We haven't thought that resistance exercise, lifting weights and the like, can have an equal benefit. This shows that it does. That there was benefit from aerobic exercise was no surprise. What was a surprise was that resistance exercise gave equal benefit.’ Second, the loss of benefit after exercising stopped that was seen in the study participants, who by definition are in the highest cardiac risk group because they have had heart attacks, carries a message for lower-risk people, Lee said. ‘If this applies to the sickest patients, that if you stop you are going to lose the benefit, it shows that continuing to exercise can only have a positive effect if you are a normal subject with no heart disease,’ Lee said.”


Sunburst EMS 'Going Green', Building Unique Clean Energy Product

“The 'Green Revolution' is coming to Sunburst EMS - in the form of a contract to build unique new clean energy generators for Connecticut-based innovator, The Green Revolution, Inc. The Green Revolution™ is essentially an electricity generating unit that allows people to create clean, Renewable electricity each time they exercise at a Green Revolution-equipped health
club. The device attaches to a stand exercise bike used in Indoor Cycling classes and employs pedal power to generate electricity, converting human effort generated during aerobic activity into clean electrical energy. The power that is generated by the exercisers is immediately available to the club's electrical system. The Green Revolution™ uses a grid-tied inverter to convert and deliver usable electricity.”


Sustained Physical Activity Better For Preventing Obesity In Kids

“Several bursts of exercise that last five minutes or more might be better for preventing childhood obesity than are intermittent physical activity sessions lasting four minutes or less throughout the day. That is the key message from a four-year study that researchers at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada conducted. The findings appear in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. ‘If two children accumulated 60 minutes of daily physical activity, the child who accumulated more activity in bouts is less likely to be obese than the one who accumulated more of their activity in a sporadic manner,’ said Ian Janssen, Ph.D., lead study author. For the nearly 2,500 participants, ranging from 8 to 17 years old, 66 percent of physical activity took place in short sessions lasting less than five minutes. Among those who moved the most throughout the day, 34 percent of the sporadically active were overweight or obese, compared with 25 percent of the 'bout' children. Jocelyn Miller, Ph.D., a child psychologist with Dean Health System in Madison, Wis., agreed that longer sessions are better for preventing childhood obesity. ‘The real benefits of daily physical activity build the longer the activity is sustained,’ she said, adding, ‘Since videogames first hit the market, many children don't know how to play with toys, do pretend play or build things.’ U.S. guidelines recommend that school-aged children participate in 60 minutes of daily physical activity, but those guidelines are open to interpretation. Janssen said there are no stipulations as to how to accumulate the 60-minutes each day. He added, ‘If parents, teachers and policy makers believe kids are getting 60 minutes of continuous physical activity in a one-hour physical education class or activities like basketball practice, they are way off base. Children are often inactive during these periods.’ James Sallis, Ph.D., a psychology professor at San Diego State University, said, ‘According to the energy balance model, all energy expenditure should help reduce risk of obesity. I encourage all forms of physical activity, even sporadic activity, which is natural to children.’ Miller tells families that if they want children to be active, they have to be active. ‘Take a walk or bike with your child. Children often don't notice they are being active if it occurs in a social context.’”


Association Between Older Adults' Concern For Personal Health, Walking Difficulty

“Older adults who worry about their health engage in less physical activity, and those who participate in less activity are more likely to report having difficulty walking, according to a new study. The research, featured in the current issue of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, was conducted by lead author Kin-Kit Li of The University of Hong Kong when he was a doctoral student at Oregon State University, and coauthored by Bradley Cardinal and Samuel Vuchinich, faculty members at OSU. Mobility, which declines with aging, has been identified as one of the key topics in aging research, as walking difficulty reduces quality of life. Most studies have emphasized the behavioral or physiological mechanisms that lead to walking difficulty among older adults. Not until recently have researchers started to look at possible psychological effects. Health worry has been suggested to have an interesting mix of effects on health behaviors and outcomes. Some studies have suggested health worry may be considered a protective mechanism, which motivates people to engage in health behaviors such as regular physical activity. However, this study showed the opposite relationship. In a representative sample of older adults in the United States, people with a high degree of health worry engaged in less physical activity. Health worry, physical inactivity, and walking difficulty may actually combine to have a negative effect on each other, the researchers say. ‘Our research shows that a key component to avoid walking difficulty in older adults is to resolve health worry issues earlier in life,’ said Cardinal, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science at OSU. Health professionals often use warnings of diseases and premature death to promote physical activity. The authors suggest that health-related information should include appropriate self-regulation and coping strategies for health worry. Instead of using health threat as a motivator, evidence-based programs for behavior change should be implemented. ‘Using threats and fear-tactics to encourage physical activity in older adults will not work,’ Cardinal said. Cardinal's past studies have shown that matching various behavioral change strategies with participants' readiness for change is effective. In addition, implementing screening tools, such as the revised Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire prior to initiating a physical activity program, should be considered for use more widely among older adults. These strategies would ease concerns about the associated risks of participating in physical activity, the authors note, and as a result older adults could benefit from increased physical activity participation.”


Depressive Symptoms Reduced, Self Esteem Improved By Regular Exercise In Overweight Children

“Less than an hour of daily exercise reduces depressive symptoms and improves self esteem in overweight children, Medical College of Georgia researchers say. The study included 207 overweight, typically sedentary children ages 7-11 randomly assigned to either continue their sedentary lifestyle or exercise for 20 or 40 minutes every day after school for an average of 13 weeks. The 40-minute group sustained the most psychological benefit, according to research published online in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology. The MCG researchers were the first to demonstrate this dose response benefit of exercise - meaning the more the better - on depressive symptoms and self worth in these children. Benefits came despite the fact that the children's weight did not change much over the three months. ‘Just by getting up and doing something aerobic, they were changing how they felt about themselves,’ says the study's first author, Dr. Karen Petty, postdoctoral fellow in psychology at MCG's Georgia Prevention Institute. ‘Hopefully these children are taking home the idea: Hey, when we do this stuff, we feel better.’ The study focused on fun activities that increase heart rate, such as running games, jumping rope, basketball and soccer and typically included short bursts of intense activity interspersed with lower-activity recovery periods. Participants in these activities reported feeling better about themselves. "If you feel better about yourself, maybe you are going to do better in school, maybe you are going to pay more attention," Dr. Petty says. MCG is compiling a mound of evidence that supports the case that these go hand-in-hand.”


A Different Perspective On Obesity 'Epidemic'

“Headlines tell us the nation is getting fatter, and that obesity has become an epidemic. But there is more to the story, according to one University of Houston sociologist. While she acknowledges that there has been a shift in body weight over the years, assistant sociology professor Samantha Kwan looks at obesity from a different perspective. The term obesity was constructed by the medical community, Kwan says. And the use of the Body Mass Index, which measures obesity, as the main factor to define obesity, has resulted in the media greatly overstating the rise of the condition. ’This epidemic has been constructed to the benefit of the medical industry that has in part medicalized the treatment of obesity over the years,’ Kwan says. ‘While there may be a rise in 'obesity,’ the BMI is not always accurate. Some scholars describe this epidemic more as a moral panic. While there may be some truths to rising rates, they have been overstated.’ Kwan, who has been studying gender and body image since 2001, examines how cultural beauty messages about fat interact with other cultural messages about fat, such as health discourses. This is summarized in her article ‘Framing the Fat Body: Contested Meanings between Government, Activists and Industry,’ published in February's Sociological Inquiry. ‘I am trying to get students and audiences to understand that there are competing cultural meanings about the fat body,’ Kwan says. ‘Fat does not, in itself, signify unhealthy and unattractive. These are cultural constructions. We as a society say what it means to be fat, and right now cultural discourses say it's ugly and unhealthy to be fat. … It's also assumed that the body is a reflection of the psyche, including one's moral fiber.’”


Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate'

“National guidelines urge all Americans to engage in "moderate physical activity" at least 2.5 hours a week, but what does that mean if you're out for a stroll? A new study provides the answer: It's equivalent to a brisk walk, or about 1,000 steps every 10 minutes. ‘Now we know what moderate is,’ said the study's lead author, Simon J. Marshall, an assistant professor of exercise and nutritional sciences at San Diego State University. He suggests that people use pedometers to figure out if they're exercising at a high enough intensity. The U.S. formerly recommended that people get 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week. But last fall, Marshall said, officials changed the guidelines to simply say that people should exercise 150 minutes a week. ‘They dropped the per-day recommendation because there wasn't a compelling argument that people who exercised four days a week were any worse off than those who exercised five days a week,’ Marshall said. For walkers, however, it was not quite clear what "moderate" activity meant, although some exercise specialists suggest that people walk 10,000 steps a day. ‘Most people are familiar with the recommendation to get 30 minutes of exercise most days,’ said Dr. David Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. ‘Fewer people know that needs to be moderate intensity, and fewer still know what that means.’ In the new study, researchers enlisted 58 women and 39 men, with an average age of 32, to walk on treadmills while a machine measured their energy expenditure. The idea was to determine what level of activity was in the moderate range. The findings of the study, which was funded by the federal government, appear in the May issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The researchers found that moderate exercise amounted to 92 to 102 steps a minute for men and 91 to 115 steps a minute for women. ‘It's a bit like a brisk walk,’ Marshall said. ‘If you can imagine you're late for a bus, you're in a hurry. It's not a leisurely stroll, it's a brisk walk.’”


Health Tip: Try Kickboxing

“Kickboxing is a very popular form of working out, and classes are offered at many gyms. The American Council on Exercise offers these suggestions to help you safely begin a kickboxing regimen:
Avoid working too hard and too long, beyond the point of fatigue.
Avoid using weights when kicking or punching. This could injure your joints.
Don't lock your joints as you kick or punch.
As a beginner, don't kick too high or too hard. You should first learn the proper technique and give your joints and muscles time to adjust.”


Health Tip: Asthmatics Don't Have to Stop Exercising

“Exercise is good for most people, even asthmatics who have their doctor's approval. The American Council on Exercise offers these suggestions to help reduce your risk of an asthma attack while exercising:
Keep your inhaler or other asthma medication nearby, in case you become short of breath during exercise.
Warm up for at least 15 minutes before exercise.
Take plenty of time to cool down, and slowly decrease your activity.
Drink plenty of water before exercise.
Don't exercise outdoors when air quality is compromised by allergens or pollution.
Don't overexert yourself.
Breathe deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Don't push yourself too much. Give yourself a break, especially if it feels like you're on the verge of an asthma attack.”


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cybex Launches New Products at the IHRSA Trade Show

“Cybex International, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYBI), a leading manufacturer of premium exercise equipment for the commercial and consumer markets, launched new exercise equipment at the 28th Annual International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) International Convention & Trade Show. 10,000 industry professionals from more than 70 countries attended the IHRSA show which was held in San Francisco, California, USA from March 16-19, 2009. Shown for the first time at the IHRSA trade show, was CYBEX’s FT-450 Functional Trainer. The FT-450 is a total training solution, offering more training options and versatility than any product in its class. Whether training for the upper body, lower body, isolated, or fully integrated, users and trainers are offered literally hundreds of exercises in one machine. The new Functional Trainer is useful to athletes training for specific sports movements as well as more casual users who want to improve their fitness level. CYBEX also launched new Plate Loaded and Free Weight strength lines at the show. The equipment offers modern lines and styling created to complement the entire range of CYBEX strength products for a single integrated look in any facility’s environment. The new plate loaded and free weight design provides the CYBEX brand identity customers value in strength equipment. ‘The IHRSA show is one that the Company looks forward to each year. With the launch of our new plate loaded and free weight lines, introduction of our new FT-450 Functional Trainer, and the CYBEX Institute educational lectures in the booth, CYBEX had a lot of exciting things to talk about with customers,’ stated Ed Pryts, CYBEX Sr. Vice President, North America Sales. ‘The IHRSA show is the largest trade event in North America for CYBEX which makes it an ideal place to showcase new products, highlight Company activities and meet with customers.’ John Aglialoro, CYBEX Chairman and CEO stated, “This was one of the best IHRSA shows. The CYBEX brand is stronger than ever, which is a tribute to our solid range of both cardiovascular and strength training products, the passionate people we have working for the Company, and the CYBEX Institute. The CYBEX Institute is the research, training and education arm of the Company. It’s a statement that CYBEX believes and can prove through research that our products deliver the results and efficacy that the CYBEX brand stands for.’”


Awareness: Calculator Gives Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

“British scientists have developed an online tool for predicting your risk of developing adult-onset diabetes. Predicting risk of type 2 diabetes in England and Wales: prospective derivation and validation of QDScore (BMJ) The researchers examined medical records of more than 2.5 million people over 15 years, excluding patients who already had diabetes or whose records were incomplete. They found nine significant risk factors: age, ethnicity, body mass index, smoking status, socioeconomic level, family history of diabetes, diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and use of steroid drugs. They calculated the relative importance of each of these factors, and incorporated them into a formula, or algorithm, that quite accurately predicts the 10-year risk for Type 2 diabetes. Their study was published online March 17 in BMJ, and there is an interactive Web version of the algorithm at www.qdscore.org. Dr. Julia Hippisley-Cox, the lead author, said that two of its features — postal code and ethnicity — were specific to Great Britain, but that the algorithm will ‘give you a fairly accurate notion anyway,’ even without specifying those two factors. Dr. Hippisley-Cox, who is a professor of epidemiology at Nottingham University, added that for those who find they are at high risk, weight loss and exercise are essential. “Those are the interventions that have been tested,” she said. ‘If you play around with the obesity measure, you can see how your risk will change if you lose weight.’”


Max Baucus is Mr. Health Care

“Among Democrats, Max Baucus is known mostly for his apostasies. So crucial was the Montana Senator to passing George W. Bush's tax cuts in 2001 that he was rewarded with a prime spot at the signing ceremony in the White House East Room. Two years later, it was Baucus who helped Republicans pass a pharmaceutical-industry-friendly Medicare prescription-drug bill, even as his party's congressional leadership was shut out of the process. It is understandable, then, that when Democrats took back control of the White House, many in the party were more than a little dismayed about Baucus' position at the helm of the Senate Finance Committee — the legislative linchpin for just about everything that Barack Obama hopes to accomplish, from rewriting the tax code to curbing global warming. But Baucus has been surprising almost everyone, most notably by the zeal with which he is tackling what could be the toughest challenge of all: overhauling the health-care system to provide coverage for the more than 45 million Americans who lack it and to bring soaring costs under control. Indeed, Baucus' proposal, unveiled in an 89-page white paper eight days after the election, was even more ambitious than Obama's, adding a requirement that individuals who are not covered by their employers purchase their own health insurance, much as car owners must carry auto insurance.(Read "Senate Democrats Optimistic on Health Reform.") And while many have argued that health-care reform should be postponed until the economy is fixed, Baucus has put his foot on the accelerator with a declaration that he intends to see it passed in the Senate by August. "This is kind of why I hired out for this job," he told me on a recent morning in his Western-themed Senate office. "Now is the time. The stars are aligned." That, of course, remains to be seen. Baucus' importance in reforming the health-care system, however, has grown. Unlike the Clinton health-care campaign that ran aground in 1994, the Obama White House's plan is to give Congress the lead in fashioning health-care-reform legislation. And the two Democrats who had been expected to spearhead that task have been sidelined. Former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to be Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services in early February amid revelations of tax problems, and Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Senate Health Committee, has had to work behind the scenes as he battles brain cancer. All eyes are now on Baucus, whose Finance Committee has always been integral to figuring out how to pay for health-care reform. But it wasn't initially clear that he was the ideal point man for the overall effort. "People had been concerned that [Baucus] was not as knowledgeable about the full breadth of health care," says Andy Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union, which has been at the forefront of the drive for health-care reform. ‘But he's there. He understands the contours of the debate. He understands the nuances involved. He's pushing everybody at a relentless speed. Without him, we wouldn't be where we are today.’”


Episode #1 from IHRSA (X-Force Strength Equipment) [Video]

“Taku and I attended the IHRSA convention in San Francisco last week and saw some really great equipment. One of the first stops we made was to the X-Force Strength Equipment booth. This video will show and describe how the equipment works. Suffice it to say we had a blast and this video is just scratching the surface of the cool stuff to come.”


Episode #2 from IHRSA (Suunto) [Video]

“Here’s the next installment in our IRHSA 2009 trip. We visited the Suunto Heart Rate Monitor booth and talked to them about some of the new features of their monitors. Some of the new models measure E.P.O.C or Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption. Basically it gives you real-time feedback on how many calories you’re continuing to burn after your workout. According to the Suunto team, it factors in your personal statistics (height, weight, lean mass, etc.) as well as the exercise intensity. All around, some very cool new features in the Suunto heart rate monitors.”


Episode #3 from IHRSA – Woodway Treadmills [Video]

“We didn’t make it long at the conference before we ran into this new treadmill from Woodway. For those who have never heard of Woodway, they make what are arguably the best treadmills available. Totally bombproof. This particular parabolic treadmill is self-powered, meaning there’s no speed control. The user controls the speed by subtly moving further up or back on the concave platform. As the user moves forward, the treadmill increases in speed and as you move back, it slows down. After we got the rundown from one of the Woodway reps, Taku gave this baby a shot. Trust us when I say it’s considerably more challenging than it looks. If you get the chance, give this piece a try. u know how much we love interval training at Hybrid Fitness. This baby is an exceptional piece for doing sprint interval training. We’ve got lots more to come so stay tuned for more crazy and cool videos from the IHRSA 2009 show.”


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

All-Hours Fitness Centers Running Popular Among Residents

“A new trend in the fitness industry reveals an obvious truth: People value convenience. Twenty-four-hour fitness chains have been spreading rapidly throughout the country, and Livingston County is a part of the movement. Area 24-hour gym members say having unrestricted access for their workouts better fits their schedules, which don't always match the operational hours of traditional gyms. ‘I usually work until 9, and most gyms close around that time,’ said Annie Krupinsky, a member at Snap Fitness Center in Howell, which is open 24 hours. ‘I don't have to worry about rushing to get here or rushing to get my workout in.’ Snap Fitness, like many 24-hour workout spots, operates with member access cards. During unstaffed hours, members can enter the locked facility with their cards. The Howell Snap Fitness Center on Michigan Avenue is secured with surveillance cameras and an emergency alarm system. The center includes the most used types of exercise equipment, such as free weights and cardio and resistance machines, as well as 24-hour tanning services. ‘People love it,’ said Matt Letten, who owns the Snap Fitness Center on Michigan Avenue in Howell. ‘People are always talking about the convenience factor. It's the proximity to their homes and the fact that they don't have to rush to get here before it closes.’ In addition to the Howell location, there is a Snap Fitness in Hartland Township and another opening soon in Brighton. There are 59 franchise locations in Michigan with 27 more in development. Snap Fitness, based in Minnesota, began franchising in 2004 and now has more than 1,600 centers operating in the United States, Canada, Mexico and India. In 2004, the company had an annual revenue of $150,000, and by 2007 had an annual revenue of $18 million. Similarly, Anytime Fitness, also open 24 hours, is growing in popularity. The 24-hour gym franchise has locations in Hartland Township and Hamburg Township with others scheduled to open in Howell and Brighton. There are 33 Anytime Fitness centers in Michigan with 14 that are scheduled to open soon. Last year, the number of Anytime Fitness Centers in the United States and Canada grew from 593 to 958. The company opened its 1,000th location in January. Also, the two chains do not include pools, basketball or racquetball courts in their gyms, which cuts operational costs and allows owners to offer comparably lower rates than chains that provide extra amenities. Life Time Fitness, which also offers chain locations open 24 hours, provides spa and child-care services and basketball, racquetball, and tennis courts as well as workout machines and weights. The chain doesn't have a Livingston County location, but the Life Time Fitness in Novi offers single memberships starting at $59.95 per month.”


GeoFitness Physical/Mental Stimulus Plan Helps Increase Results in School State Standardized Tests

“GeoFitness, Inc. launches Learnercise, new learning and fitness programs for elementary through high school children, during the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance Convention (AAHPERD: undefined, undefined, undefined%) in Tampa, March 31- April 4, 2009. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that children under 18 receive 60 min of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. During the Los Angeles town hall meeting on March 19th 2009, President Obama talks about the importance of ‘making sure that we have proper nutrition programs in our schools; making sure that we've got effective physical education programs for our children.’ GeoFitness, Inc. is a leading provider of movement-based products and curriculum that are developmentally appropriate, easy to use, and cost effective to increase fitness and academic achievement for students of all ages. Their programs include choreography and games -- hip hop, partner and Latin dancing, aerobics, kickboxing and functional fitness training. Learnercise programs include learning elements like math, the alphabet, colors and shapes, geography, time and nutrition. ‘There is no doubt that fitness is important for any age group. GeoFitness can support existing fitness programs and ad the element of learning, which increases academic achievement and state standardized test scores. 3rd graders in a central Florida school increased knowledge of multiplication by 30% after 6 weeks of using Learnercise programs. We work together to get everyone healthy in mind and body,’ says Dr. Mitchell, Founder and President of GeoFitness, Inc. ‘The best way to nourish children's brainpower is to get them up and moving. Our kids need to be physically active to help their brains function better. When we interact with information, we process more and better,’ says Neurokinesiologist Jean Blaydes Madigan. The benefits of physical activity as a power source for learning have already been proven. Research shows a link between exercise and increased brain function. ‘We're putting kids in P.E. class prior to classes that they struggle in and what we're doing is we're finding great, great results. Kids who took P.E. before they took the math class had double the improvement of kids who had P.E. afterward,’ said Paul Zientarski, who helps run a learning readiness program at Naperville Central High School in Illinois.”


Beliefs About The Causes Of Obesity Predict Support For Policies To Combat The Problem

“With obesity reaching epidemic proportions in the United States, new research has found that an individual's personal beliefs about the causes of weight problems are a reliable indicator of whether he or she will support public policies designed to combat the problem. The research, led by the Yale School of Public Health, found that people who view growing rates of obesity as due to bad individual choices are less likely to back a range of potential public health responses such as changing school lunch programs, food labeling or imposing taxes on junk food. Conversely, those who see obesity as the consequence of external factors - such as public manipulation by the food and beverage industry or the lack of healthy, affordable food in certain neighborhoods - are more likely to back government intervention in the form of new health policies and programs. ‘Our results suggest that viewing obesity as a matter of personal responsibility lowers public tolerance for government regulation, while emphasizing the social and environmental causes of obesity has the potential to drive up public support,’ said Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., assistant professor in the division of Health Policy and Administration, and the study's lead author. The study surveyed 1,009 people on their views about the causes of obesity and their level of support for 16 policy responses, taking demographics, health characteristics and political attitudes into account. The research also determined that political ideology was not the dominant predictor of whether people would support government intervention to combat obesity (with the exception of tax-based policies). Also, their own weight and exercise levels were not major factors in explaining their support for obesity-related policies. Other researchers included Mark Schlesinger of the School of Public Health; Kelly D. Brownell, director of Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity; and Victoria L. Brescoll of the Yale School of Management. Details of the research will be published in the March issue of The Millbank Quarterly”


'Born In The USA' Might Mean Higher BMI For Asian Americans

“Socioeconomic status alone might not be as reliable a predictor of body mass index (BMI) in U.S. residents as previously thought, according to a new study. The influence of gender, ethnicity and birthplace are also worth considering when screening for obesity risk and other BMI-related health issues, argue study authors led by Emma Sánchez-Vaznaugh, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California San Francisco's Center on Social Disparities in Health. The researchers used data from the 2001 California Health Interview Survey conducted in seven languages and dialects which comprised 37,150 people between the ages of 25 and 64. Of these, 56 percent were whites, 6 percent were black, 13 percent were Asians and 25 percent were Hispanic. The connection between SES and BMI ‘differed markedly’ by ethnicity and varied within ethnicity, according to the researchers. The widest disparity occurred among Asian subgroups. ‘Although Asians as a whole may appear healthier than whites, this is not necessarily the case when we separate Asians according to birthplace and gender,’ Sánchez-Vaznaugh said. The study appears online in the American Journal of Epidemiology. While many accept that lower socioeconomic status relates to higher BMI, particularly among women, the researchers questioned whether this is the case and if the correlation holds true within gender and ethnic groups. They also looked at the significance of being born within or outside of the United States. ‘U.S.-born Asians/Pacific Islander men with low SES income and education had among the highest average BMI of all groups combined,’ Sánchez-Vaznaugh said. In this group, the average BMI was about 31. ‘By contrast, foreign-born Asian women had the lowest BMI irrespective of income and education levels,’ she said. Average BMI was about 20 for these women and slightly more than 25 for foreign-born Asian men. Most experts consider a person with a BMI of 30 or above to be obese. ‘When treating people who are vulnerable to obesity, clinicians should keep in mind that this research identifies societal factors not just individual choices as important contributors to BMI,’ said Sánchez-Vaznaugh, who is also an assistant professor for San Francisco State University's Department of Health Education. Sánchez-Vaznaugh noted study limitations: for instance, they could not substantiate participants' self-reported height and weight. In addition, because data collection did not occur over time, researchers could not show a causal relationship between SES and BMI. Her research was supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's Health Policy Research Fellowship Program, which is directed by a National Program Office at the Center for Advancing Health.”


Spin Your Way To A World Record At Lifetime Fitness Plano

“OK. This is cool. Way cool. Put on your bike shorts and listen up. The folks at Life Time Fitness Plano are lugging in bikes for a spin class tonight -- more than 400 at last count. Whatever for? Originally to merely offer a sunset ride in the facility's outdoor water park. Now, in addition, it's to set a Guinness World Record for the largest spin class! Last we heard, 420 people had registered; the record for a class is 412.”


Snap Fitness Opens Downtown

“Snap Fitness, a 24-hour fitness franchise, is now open in a 6,000-square-foot downtown space on the first floor of the Wichita Executive Centre. The fitness center, which will cater largely to Wichita’s downtown business people, opened Monday. It features 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week access to its cardio and strength-training equipment. Minnesota-based Snap Fitness has about 950 franchises in 48 states. Franchisee owner Paul Johnson, who owns 11 workout facilities, heard about the city’s need for a downtown workout facility after visiting with Dave Lundberg, director of sales and leasing for Real Development — also a Minnesota-based company that Johnson has done business with before. ‘People within a four- and five-block radius will love it,’ Johnson says. ‘What’s nice is being open 24 hours and spreading out usage, so a person coming in won’t have to wait to use a machine. ... Our thing is that it’s fast, convenient and affordable.’ Johnson says the fitness center will employ about 10 people, including three personal trainers. Along with workout equipment and free weights, the facility includes showering facilities and in a few months, by gaining access to a neighboring room, it plans to add an aerobic room. Staff will be on hand from 6 a.m.-7 p.m., after that, members can gain access to the facility with a key card. Johnson says he is hoping to have at least 1,000 members. ‘We’ve had a great response from corporate people, so far,’ he says.”


To the Bay & Back Again

“Anyway we had a blast up in the Bay attending the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) Convention and Trade Show at Moscone Center. Here are a few shots straight from the show floor.”


Top Trainer Honor

“Anthony Carey, founder of Function First training studio in San Diego, was named ‘Trainer of the Year’ on March 18 by PEP (Personal Professional Fitness) at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association’s 28th annual convention and trade show in San Francisco. The PFP ‘Trainer of the Year’ award honors those who have achieved excellence in the field of professional fitness training. Carey is recognized for his exceptional leadership, business management, motivational and instructional abilities. ‘Anthony is a demonstrated leader and innovator in our industry and very deserving of the award,’ says Shelby Murphy, editor of PFP. Carey is CEO of http://www.functionfirst.com, a corrective exercise studio. He was cited for his ‘cutting-edge presentations that skillfully apply the latest research in biomechanics, corrective exercise, functional anatomy and motor control and their relationships to musculoskeletal pain and function.’”


RealRyder: A Spin Bike That Moves

“While attending the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association convention last week, I was roped into a 20-minute spin class on a RealRyder bike. Even though I was in my jeans, I knew this was a piece of equipment I wanted to check out. It is a spin bike that moves side to side, which mimics banking a turn on a road bike. Inappropriate attire aside, the class was great. Learning how to make the bike lean (a combination of leaning and turning the handlebars) was a bit challenging at first, but I got the hang of it. I could feel my abs and arms working a lot more than they would have on a regular spin bike. The true challenge comes when you stand up and pedal while trying to keep the bike relatively centered. The side-to-side sway of the bike felt almost like riding on the road. To see how the this moving spin bike increases your calories burned per workout, read more. The RealRyer should help you burn more calories per workout: The more muscles activated means the more calories burned. If you have a chance to try one, I highly recommend it. More and more gyms, from British Columbia to Tennessee, are adding these new bikes to their cardio arsenal. Check the RealRyder website, find "Facilities" in the drop-down list under the "Partners" tab, to find out if a gym near you offers RealRyder spin classes. If you are interested in installing one of these bikes in your home gym, be prepared to drop about $2,000. Have you ridden a RealRyder? Tell me all about your experience below.”


RealRyder: A Spin Bike That Moves

“While attending the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association convention last week, I was roped into a 20-minute spin class on a RealRyder bike. Even though I was in my jeans, I knew this was a piece of equipment I wanted to check out. It is a spin bike that moves side to side, which mimics banking a turn on a road bike. Inappropriate attire aside, the class was great. Learning how to make the bike lean (a combination of leaning and turning the handlebars) was a bit challenging at first, but I got the hang of it. I could feel my abs and arms working a lot more than they would have on a regular spin bike. The true challenge comes when you stand up and pedal while trying to keep the bike relatively centered. The side-to-side sway of the bike felt almost like riding on the road. To see how the this moving spin bike increases your calories burned per workout, read more. The RealRyer should help you burn more calories per workout: The more muscles activated means the more calories burned. If you have a chance to try one, I highly recommend it. More and more gyms, from British Columbia to Tennessee, are adding these new bikes to their cardio arsenal. Check the RealRyder website, find "Facilities" in the drop-down list under the "Partners" tab, to find out if a gym near you offers RealRyder spin classes. If you are interested in installing one of these bikes in your home gym, be prepared to drop about $2,000. Have you ridden a RealRyder? Tell me all about your experience below.”


Heart Health, Inc. Attend IHRSA 28th Annual International Convention and Trade Show

“Heart Health, Inc. (PINK SHEETS: HHEL) is pleased to announce that the Company's CEO, Michael Kron, attended the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) 28th Annual International Convention and Trade Show, which was held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. The Convention and Trade Show ran through March 19th. IHRSA is the fitness industry's only global trade association. IHRSA represents over 9,400 ‘for profit’ health and fitness facilities and over 740 supplier companies in 78 countries. Mr. Kron held several successful meetings with key distributors, re-sellers and fitness manufacturers who are interested in integrating Heart Health's heart monitoring technologies into their products. Mr. Kron explored both the after-sales retrofit market, as well as, integration of the Company's technology into new built fitness equipment. ‘The Fitness Equipment Industry is very competitive and manufacturers are looking for ways to differentiate their offerings, especially for their higher end products. We also believe there is a trend among the 42,000,000 paying members of fitness clubs to be genuinely interested in improving their overall health, not just looking good at the beach. There is also a growing trend for corporations to initiate wellness programs as a means of lowering medical costs and having happier and healthier employees. Our heart monitoring technology goes beyond taking one's pulse and can assist in managing one's heart health,’ stated Michael Kron, CEO of Heart Health, Inc.”


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Obesity Can Shorten Lifespan Up To A Decade

“Obesity shaves two to four years off the average lifespan, while being very obese can shorten your lifespan by 8 to 10 years, according to a new analysis of 57 studies including nearly 900,000 people. Men and women with BMIs between 22.5 and 25 were the least likely to die during the study's follow-up period. ‘This is scary and something that we should pay close attention to,’ says Ali Mokdad, Ph.D., a professor of global health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle. The new findings actually underestimate the true impact of obesity on society because they don't address the costs of obesity-related illness and other factors, says Mokdad, who was not involved with the current study. The study, published online March 18 in the journal The Lancet, was conducted in part by the eminent epidemiologist Sir Richard Peto of the University of Oxford. Peto and his colleagues in the Prospective Studies Collaboration, a team of dozens of researchers from around the world, say they did the new study to figure out exactly how body mass index (BMI) relates to mortality. Researchers also investigated how smoking influenced this relationship and how excess weight affected death risk from specific causes. Given the difficulty of losing weight, the authors of the new study say, it may be best if people are motivated to prevent the weight gain in the first place. For example, a person who held their BMI steady at 28 rather than going up to 32 (typical of the increase seen in middle age) could extend their life by two years, the researchers say, while a young adult who maintained a BMI of 24 rather than going up to 32 could add three years to his lifespan. Health.com: BMI success story: How one woman lost 44 pounds For this to happen here, Mokdad notes, the United States government is going to have to do a much better job of supporting prevention efforts. A ‘bailout’ for such efforts that translated to healthier American and workers could be a pretty effective economic stimulus, he added.”


Great Balls of Fitness

“Goodness, gracious, great balls of fitness! When Jerry Lee Lewis said, ‘You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain,’ he wasn't talking about working out, but the latest staple in fitness classes are balls and they can definitely shake up your workout routine in 2009. Look around a health club or gym and you will see balls are everywhere! Medicine balls, Stability balls, Sponge Balls, mini weighted balls. They lend an element of playfulness and have proven to be very effective. As Mark Twain once said, ‘Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under different conditions.’ If you are stuck in a rut with your workouts, shake it up and play ball! The Stability Ball has had long-standing success in the world of rehabilitation and physical therapy. Due to their effectiveness in developing balance and core strength, athletic trainers, coaches, personal trainers and physical education teachers began to integrate them into their programs. Now you will be hard pressed to find a gym, an instructor or a trainer who doesn't use this ball on a regular basis. They are extremely versatile and can take the most basic exercise and make it automatically either easier or harder. Medicine balls are also one of the oldest forms of strength and conditioning training. In ancient Greece, the physician Hippocrates had his patients throw them back and forth for injury prevention and rehabilitation. Medicine balls offer a great alternative to your workouts. First of all, they prepare your body for realistic motions. You're not fixed to a single plane of movement and you can add throwing, swinging, and rotational movements. This is a great way to strengthen the supporting muscles and tendons around your key joints -preventing typical injuries to the shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle areas. Sponge balls were designed for mind/body classes and have become an excellent tool adding dimension to many traditional Pilates or yoga exercises. Though small, soft and innocent in appearance and touch, these little guys provide a powerful punch when used correctly. The sponge ball is used to enhance core muscle activation or help with technique for postural alignment. Most sponge balls are about 8 inches in diameter (like a playground ball) and should be soft and squishy when being used. The soft mini, weighted balls are another great mind/body tool. They are different from the sponge balls in that they are smaller and lightly weighted- usually two or three pounds each. They add a new dimension to many Pilate's exercises and are also a great way to change a regular old yoga class into yoga with strength. The 4 inch balls should fit nicely into the palms of your hands and feel like a heavy bean-bag. The balls range in weight anywhere from 1 pound to 8 pounds each and come in many fun colors. So try a few of these toys and have a ball. By adding different forms of resistance, you change up the way you work your muscles, you keep the mind engaged, and you keep your body constantly challenged!”


Most Mass. First Responders Overweight

“More than 75 percent of emergency responder candidates for fire and ambulance services in Massachusetts are either overweight or obese, researchers said. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, Boston Medical Center, Harvard University and the Cambridge Health Alliance found firefighters, ambulance personnel and police are expected to be physically fit to perform strenuous duties without compromising the safety of themselves, colleagues or the community. Traditionally, these professions recruited persons of above-average fitness from a pool of healthy young adults; however, the candidate pool is currently drawn from increasingly heavy American youth, said senior author Dr. Stefanos Kales of Cambridge Health Alliance and Harvard Medical School. The researchers reviewed the pre-placement medical examinations of firefighter and ambulance recruits from two Massachusetts clinics between October 2004-June 2007. Candidates older than 35 and those who had failed their services' minimum criteria were excluded from the study in order to focus only on young recruits and those most likely to go on to gain employment as emergency responders. Among the 370 recruits, about 22 percent were of normal weight; 43.8 percent were overweight, and 33 percent were obese. The study, published in the journal Obesity, found today's young recruits are significantly heavier than older veteran firefighters from the 1980s and 1990s.”


In-Shape Buys Local Health Club

“The owner of Total Fitness in northeast Bakersfield has sold the gym to another health club chain that plans to close it and open a new, larger location nearby later this year. Check out our expanded coverage of business and economy news. In-Shape Health Clubs’s acquisition of the gym became effective Monday. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. The Stockton-based company intends to honor all of Total Fitness’s roughly 1,300 memberships and hire all the club’s 20 or so employees at their current rate of pay, said Rob Farrens, vice president of marketing and sales at In-Shape, which has three other gyms in Bakersfield and a total of 34 statewide. ‘We’re honoring up to a year’ of pre-paid memberships, Farrens said. Total Fitness opened in March 2007 after owner Leigh Pozas bought out 7 Steps Fitness, an existing club at that location, 3201 Mall View Road. It was her first coed gym; she owns the two Total Woman Health & Fitness clubs in town. ‘It just turned out to be a bigger animal than I bargained for,’ Pozas said of the 2007 purchase, adding that the recent sale allows her to refocus on Total Woman. In response to customer requests for a new workout place in the northeast, Farrens said, In-Shape plans to open a 30,000-square-foot gym — roughly twice the size of Total Fitness — in about six months at the former Rite Aid at 2681 Oswell St. ‘Now we have the town covered,’ he said, ‘so we’re pretty excited.’”


Defined Fitness Unveils Expanded Health Club

“Defined Fitness unveiled its expanded health club at 3301 Juan Tabo NE on Saturday. The club has nearly doubled in size, to 59,000 square feet, and features new programming, such as the XRKade, where kids (and adults) can integrate video gaming with physical fitness. The gym also offers the Parisi Speed School, a national training program for young athletes to improve performance. Programs under the Mind Body Connection moniker will include Power Yoga, NIA, Tai Chi and Pilates. Another offering, Kinesis, is a multi-plane and synergistic workout for one’s whole body, according to Defined officials. And the E-L Inspire Circuit is a series of hydraulic equipment that provides extra support while exercising. Defined is partnering with Creamland Dairies to promote the benefits of drinking milk as well. A report, partially funded by the dairy industry, in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests chocolate milk is a better recovery beverage than water and some sports drinks. Creamland half-gallon milk containers feature a ‘skinny jeans’ panel this month and customers who collect three of those and bring them to Defined Fitness can get a free month’s membership with the purchase of another month.”


Whelan Says He Is Close To JJB Health Club Deal

“Dave Whelan is hoping to announce on Tuesday that he is the owner once more of a slice of the JJB empire, having spent Monday hammering out a deal to buy the retailer’s health clubs ahead of a midnight deadline. Mr Whelan, the founder of JJB Sports who sold his stake in 2007, told the Financial Times in an interview on Monday that a deal was imminent, now that he had unlocked funds from administrators to Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. However, one person familiar with the process said it was hard to see the sale being announced as soon as Tuesday given its complexity. JJB is simultaneously trying to finalise a deal on lending arrangements with its banks. Mr Whelan – founder of JJB and owner of Wigan Football Club – had more than £40m frozen in an account with Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. He deposited the funds with the bank in 2007 after selling his 29 per cent holding in JJB for £190m to Chris Ronnie, the now-suspended chief executive of JJB, and Exista, the Icelandic investment company. Mr Whelan said he had been paid a tranche of money a month ago, with the second lump sum released last week. This had enabled him to press on with a deal to buy the 50-strong chain of gyms for about £70m. He will rename the health clubs DW Fitness. The move has irked the Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man Depositors Action Group, which expressed concerns that Mr Whelan had got his money back before other depositors. ‘Our concern is that Mr Whelan has been given preferential treatment by the government,’ it said. Mr Whelan denied the allegation. ‘There has been no preferential treatment from the government as far as I know,’ he said. ‘The Treasury promised all depositors that they would get their money back.’ The sale of the clubs could be crucial for JJB’s survival. Wednesday is quarterly rent day, when it has to pay out millions of pounds to landlords. Its extension to a standstill arrangement on £60m of debt with its three lenders also expires on Tuesday. As part of its efforts to restructure, JJB is also expected to announce that it is entering into a voluntary company arrangement that allows it to avoid insolvency and continue trading by seeking a revised schedule to repay debts.”


Monday, March 23, 2009

Bay Area Gyms Roll With Punches Of Recession

“The recession may be leaving many of us fit to be tied, and some of us trying to cope by staying fit. While it can be hard to get yourself motivated and willing to work out when fears of job loss and financial security loom, exercise is one of the best antidotes to stress and anxiety, health experts say. That's a preventive medicine that many Americans have taken to heart: As of January 2008, the latest figure available, there were 29,636 health clubs across the nation, with 41.5 million members, in an industry that generated $18.5 billion in revenue in 2007, according to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association in Boston, which held its annual convention in San Francisco last week, showing off the latest in fitness machines and gym workout trends. The association projects little decline in membership during the coming year, noting that the industry has proved recession-resilient in the past. About 6,018 health clubs belong to association. A survey of 180 of those clubs comparing January's business to that of a year ago showed that two-thirds of the clubs met or surpassed their expectations in terms of revenue, memberships, new memberships and attendance, among other things. Perhaps surprisingly, during the last three months of 2008, as the recession kicked in, the trend among member clubs was an increase in membership, the association reported. In the Bay Area, health clubs are reporting mixed signals as the economy continues to falter. San Francisco gyms such as Sports Club/LA at the Four Seasons Hotel, World Gym on De Haro Street and Gold's Gym on Brannan Street have seen little, if any, decline in membership. Sports Club/LA reported an increase in the number of member visits in February over the previous year, at 31,000, and 200 new memberships in January, according to Vicky McGrath, the general manager. Where are some clubs feeling the pinch? In customers' buying habits, said Joe Talmadge, general manager of World Gym. Membership there is holding steady. The first quarter of the year is typically the gym's busiest, but customers are buying fewer personal training sessions or products at the gym, for a 30 percent decrease in revenue, he said. More two-for-one memberships and month-to-month memberships are being offered as a result, as customers worry about job security, he added. In some suburbs, the picture is different. Gold's Gym noted dips in its San Mateo and Redwood City clubs as clients with families hold off on their personal training sessions or drop memberships entirely. Specific numbers were not made available, but ‘our locations in San Francisco are not as affected as (in) suburbia, because in the city people have more disposable income and fewer children,’ said Letty Hernandez, general manager of Gold's Gym on Brannan. ‘People in suburbia will cut their luxury stuff out before music lessons for the kids.’ Gyms may be a great place to work out, network and feel a sense of belonging, but they are not the only way to stay fit mentally and physically, or to generate community. Fitness professionals interviewed for this story were happy to provide suggestions for no-cost home workouts requiring no equipment (see Page E1), and to advise getting out with friends to keep motivation up as you run, bicycle or walk together.”


High-Tech Fitness Equipment Keeps Users Engaged

“Working out is great for the mind and the body. It can also be really boring. To address those treadmill blues, the fitness industry is evolving to include many of the high-tech trappings found in the entertainment industry. Video interfaces. Musical overlays. Interactive competitions. They've all been fused with existing workout gear to get more people off their couches and into the gym. Some of the industry's latest efforts will be on display this week at the 28th annual International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association convention and trade show. The fitness folks will be at San Francisco's Moscone Center today through Thursday. ‘It's not just about the equipment they use, but attracting people to use it and integrating it into their daily lives. If people are entertained on a piece of equipment, they're more likely to use it longer,’ said Joe Moore, CEO and president of the association. So, what's the latest and greatest in gym gear? Here are a few things that caught our attention: How about working out in a video game, forgetting that your muscles are hurting, while biking as fast as you can through off-road trails, or catching air while snowboarding down a mountain? You can do it in the XRKade, an interactive video game arcade aimed at the youth market and made by iTech Fitness, a Denver company that makes interactive and active gaming technologies. Or check out the work of a San Francisco company, Fitness Anywhere, which has created TRX suspension training. TRX started as a few lengths of parachute webbing hand-stitched together with tools used to repair boats. That crude beginning eventually evolved into a newfangled set of nylon bands that helps you stretch things out and tone things up. It all connects to the TRX suspension anchor, a central structure that anchors the nylon bands. Next up, the Power Plate, a vibrating platform that you stand on while working out. It's made and marketed by Power Plate International. Celebrity clients include Martha Stewart, who has been using Power Plate products in her home-based training regimen administered by her trainer. While the Bay Area has a long and storied fitness history, the annual fitness shows draws an international clientele, revealing the industry's growth and reach. ‘Attendance from 75 countries is anticipated,’ Moore said. More than 10,000 people are expected to show up. While the show will showcase innovative ideas, the tight economy is not helping fitness entrepreneurs. Are gyms and health clubs, facing a global economic downturn, still prepared to buy new high-tech devices? ‘Absolutely,’ said Matthew Stevens, president and CEO of Western Athletic Clubs of San Francisco, which owns and operates health, fitness, and athletic clubs and sports resorts on the West Coast. ‘As the fitness industry has matured, reinvestment back into the business has become a major staple for success," he said. ‘At Western Athletic Clubs, we plan on spending over $8 million on our existing clubs, with at least 15 percent being spent on fitness equipment.’ Stevens says the health club industry is doing surprisingly well. ‘Usage across the industry has increased significantly. At Western Athletic Clubs we have seen a 12 percent increase year over year. Members seem to be replacing out-of-town vacations with more visits to their sports resort, athletic club, fitness center and/or gym.’”


Consumer Catharsis

“Although opportunities abound for those looking to save a buck, ‘millions of consumers have literally lost their entire incomes,’ said Michael Solomon, professor of marketing and director of the Center for Consumer Research at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. ‘And those who aren't directly affected by the recession—the ones who haven't lost their jobs—are still being affected by what they're reading and seeing on TV everyday. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.’ How to cope? Heading to the gym is gaining in popularity. U.S. health club membership increased 1.7 percent last year, said Rosemary Lavery, a spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association. ‘Gym members with existing memberships are using them, even more so, to get the most value and justify the price,’ she also said. ‘Numerous studies that show people who work out are happier.’ Club owners and operators are "saying to their members, 'We know it's tough, but you can't compromise your health.' New York-based Equinox Fitness Clubs has seen a spike in daily visits. "Our usage is up almost 20 percent since November," said spokeswoman Judy Taylor.”


SF Tourism Business Takes Precipitous Drop [video]

Tourism is San Francisco's top money maker. But right now, the tourism industry is feeling the pinch of this recession. The city's convention and visitors bureau says hotel bookings are significantly lower than in recent years. There have been fewer hotel bookings, fewer conventions and trade shows. Big spenders, such as Cisco Systems and Network Appliances, canceled their conventions this year. And two less major shows at the Moscone Center means less money coming into hotels and city coffers compared to last year. ‘We had about 993,000 room nights. this year it's about 835,000 room nights,’ says Leonard Hoops of the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. Hoop warns that 2010 is shaping up to be worse, because of the recession and because groups that meet on the West Coast one year tend to meet on the East Coast the next year. This week, the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association returns to San Francisco for its 28th Annual Convention and Trade Show. Organizers say despite the economic downturn, about 300 exhibitors are participating; the same number as last year. Those at Precor, a manufacturer of fitness equipment, say the show is the company's largest marketing expenditure of the year. And they hope their sprawling display pays off with new purchases of treadmills and elliptical machines. Those attending the show say they are feeling the sting of the recession too. ‘What we came for is to again make sure we understand how we can improve our business in the recession,’ said Terri Foster, the general manager of a gym in Salem, New Hampshire. ‘We felt it was definitely worth the investment to come.’”


Garmin Links with Fitness Tech Brands to Maximize Wireless Workouts Through ANT+ Connection

“Garmin International Inc., a unit of Garmin, a supplier of satellite navigation, announced key alliances in the fitness industry that will advance the way users work out. The products able to link with certain Garmin devices through ANT+ wireless technology was announced in conjunction with the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) international convention and trade show in San Francisco. ‘Fitness enthusiasts everywhere will benefit from the rapid adoption of ANT+ technology by the biggest names in exercise,’ said Dan Bartel, Garmin's vice president of worldwide sales. ‘Wireless monitoring and data transfer makes every step easier before, during and after workouts.’”


Future Fitness: Infrared Light And Dancing Games [video and photos]

‘At this year's International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association's convention and trade show here in San Francisco, computer-based fitness games and health data for the Web stood out as big trends. Inactivity from sitting in front of computers can lead to obesity, but the health industry seems increasingly to be using computers to combat sedentary lifestyles and attract customers to gyms. At the IHRSA trade show this week, I saw computerized scales that talk to your watch, fitness data that automatically uploads to the Web, and arcade-style dancing games aimed at fighting flab. As gyms and fitness gadgets get more computerized, PC sales are seeing dramatic declines.”


New Brain Fitness Survey Reinforces Importance of Brain Awareness Week

“Alvaro Fernandez, CEO of SharpBrains and member of the World Economic Forum's Council on the Future of the Aging Society, previews today at the IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association) Annual Convention the results of a recent survey that reinforces the need for brain-related public awareness campaigns such as the ongoing Brain Awareness Week. ‘Every year, landmark research findings open new opportunities to help maintain lifelong cognitive health and brain fitness’ Alvaro Fernandez says, ‘The opportunity is immense - but we will need to ensure the marketplace matures in a rational and sustainable manner, helping consumers and professionals separate hope from hype and make informed decisions.’ Robin Klaus, Chairman of Club One Fitness Centers, adds that "as our population ages the fields of physical fitness and brain fitness will naturally merge and, as this happens, a whole new field of valued added services will emerge for our members. High quality informational resources such as SharpBrains' are crucial to the success of this merger."


dotFIT Worldwide and National Academy of Sports Medicine Partnership Press Release

“Today, at the 2009 International Health, Racquetball and SportsClub Association (IHRSA) conference, dotFIT Worldwide and the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), announced a strategic partnership to deliver a landmark online fitness resource for consumers and health professionals alike. Combining leading health, exercise, nutritional and technology resources into one comprehensive experience, dotFIT.com is designed to provide a complete online solution to help people achieve their health and fitness goals. Leveraging NASM’s expertise, research and evidence-based fitness solutions, dotFIT.com provides users with a wealth of information and customized digital tools to develop, monitor, maintain and improve their own personal health. Founded in 2008 by nutrition pioneer Neal Spruce and fitness visionary, Dr. Micheal Clark, CEO of NASM, dotFIT is poised to become the worldwide leader in personalized holistic health and fitness solutions. NASM’s position as the thought-leader within the fitness industry is critical to delivering a ‘best-in-class’ online fitness resource,’ said Spruce, CEO and founder of dotFIT Worldwide. ‘This partnership substantiates our efforts and affords us the opportunity to build a direct connection to NASM’s breadth of institutional knowledge and expertise for fitness clubs, leading health and fitness brands, their professionals and customers.’ For club owners and managers, the dotFIT private-label platform offers a fully customizable, branded fitness program which not only delivers the latest in industry knowledge, but allows owners to expand their service offerings into areas such as nutrition, supplements, equipment and coaching. ’The dotFIT model represents the future in health and fitness, providing consumers with a comprehensive resource to personalize and manage their overall fitness goals and empowering professionals with tools to engage and motivate clients well beyond the club doors,’ said Dr. Clark. ‘dotFIT gives us the opportunity to extend our industry knowledge and evidence-based solutions to a much broader audience.’”


FreeMotion Fitness Introduces iFit(R) Technology With Jillian Michaels Personal Training

“Consumers want results from their workouts, and not every club member has the budget for extras like personal trainers or a routine schedule that can accommodate personal trainer appointments. FreeMotion Fitness offers a solution to this situation with the introduction of iFit Workout Cards, now available on the FreeMotion Incline Trainer(TM), and soon available on the complete line of FreeMotion cardio. The iFit Workout Cards feature TV Trainer Jillian Michaels of ‘The Biggest Loser.’ These days, it's essential that clubs offer electronic personal training technology to allow consumers to have a planned workout schedule beyond the preset workouts in the console. Technology like the iFit® Workout Cards from FreeMotion fits that need. Consumers determine their fitness level -- beginner, intermediate and advanced -- and fitness goal -- weight loss, overall fitness -- and select an iFit Workout Card that meets their needs. Each card contains 24 individual workouts on a single card, each progressively more challenging than the previous, and designed for three new workouts every week for 8 weeks. Once a consumer completes each card they can purchase additional cards in the series. iFit workouts are sold on special completely portable USB sticks. Just like a personal trainer, iFit cards automatically change the speed and incline on the FreeMotion Incline Trainer, and provide audible coaching cues to keep the consumer motivated. New for IHRSA are iFit cards with the coaching and motivation of TV Trainer Jillian Michaels. Future releases of iFit for commercial fitness lead to customizable cardiovascular workouts. Club trainers will create a member's individual cardio workout at www.iFit.com and download to iFit Workout Cards. ‘FreeMotion Fitness wants to provide solutions for our commercial fitness customers, not simply sell the hard goods equipment,’ said Patrick Hald, CEO of FreeMotion Fitness. ‘By creating iFit Workout Cards for our commercial customers to resell to its members, we provide a new revenue stream to clubs and facilities.’ Hald noted that in general, club members use personal training services for strength training. The iFit cards, he said, open a way for clubs to generate personal training revenue from members who use a club's cardio equipment.”


Anytime Fitness Co-Founders to Receive John McCarthy Industry Visionary of the Year Award

“A simple idea backed by a visionary business model has helped propel Anytime Fitness Inc. to unprecedented industry success. Company co-founders Jeff Klinger and Chuck Runyon will be honored for their achievements with the 2009 John McCarthy Industry Visionary of the Year Award presented by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA). The award presentation will take place during IHRSA’s 28th Annual International Convention and Trade Show, which will be held March 16-19 in San Francisco, Calif. ‘We’re extremely honored to receive this award and it confirms what Chuck and I recognized early on about what consumers want in a health club,’ said Jeff Klinger, Anytime Fitness CEO and co-founder. ‘When it comes to fitness, people want flexibility and convenience in an inviting, hassle-free atmosphere. Our ability to deliver that is at the core of our growth and continued success.’ The John McCarthy Industry Visionary of the Year Award is presented to the individual(s) who has made an unprecedented or unique contribution to the advancement of the club industry as a whole. Anytime Fitness recently celebrated its 1,000th club opening and is the first co-ed fitness franchise to achieve this milestone. ‘Anytime Fitness has found tremendous success by providing something everyone values - convenience,’ said Joe Moore, President and CEO of IHRSA. ‘It is one of the first criteria people consider when choosing a health club, and Anytime Fitness has done a great job of uniquely capitalizing on this demand.’ In a market environment where many businesses are holding steady or downsizing, Anytime Fitness continues to grow. The key has been simultaneously keeping members and franchisees satisfied. In addition to providing a convenient fitness option in a small, friendly atmosphere, members appreciate monthly dues that are typically about half of what bigger clubs charge. A high level of satisfaction among Anytime Fitness franchisees also is contributing to the company’s continued growth. Franchise owners are attracted to Anytime Fitness’s proven business model, which focuses on smaller, more efficient gyms and cutting out expensive amenities such as pools and basketball courts. In addition to providing a scaled-down, yet high quality workout experience, franchisees benefit from state-of-the-art entry systems and security features, thus allowing them to operate remotely and with a minimal staff.”