Friday, May 28, 2010

David Patchell-Evans of GoodLife Fitness Awarded CVCA’s 2010 ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ Award

“Canada’s Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, is pleased to announce that David Patchell-Evans of GoodLife Fitness, is the recipient of CVCA’s 17th Annual ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’. Established in 1992, the purpose of CVCA’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award’ is to promote, highlight and celebrate the achievements of entrepreneurs who lead private equity or venture-backed Canadian companies. “ From the purchase of his first club in 1979, Patch, as he likes to be called, has built the largest chain of fitness clubs in Canada; the fifth largest in the world; and the largest in the world owned by a single individual, with 275 clubs across Canada. Patch is Chairman of IHRSA (International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association) the largest health and fitness association in the world representing 78 countries. In an effort to inspire kids to get active, Patch founded the GoodLife Kids Foundation in 1999. In 2007 he was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Canadian Medical Association for his passionate support of autism research and the founding of The Kilee Patchell-Evens Autism Research GroupGoodLife has been an investee company of Penfund, the CVCA nominating member, since March 2006, and the company has shown consistent revenue and profit increases through acquisitions and organic growth. Annual EBITDA has increased by 219% from 2005 to 2009 with the increase expected to grow to almost 350% through fiscal 2010. With 750,000 members today, one in every 45 Canadians is a GoodLife member. Penfund has experienced excellent risk-adjusted returns on its investments in GoodLife. ‘Patch’s vision and tenacity make him an outstanding entrepreneur,’ said John Bradlow, a Partner at Penfund. ‘He is also a generous philanthropist who gives back to his community. I cannot think of a candidate more deserving of this award.’”

Sweating Sustainably

Working out at the gym is no longer just a feel-good gesture for your own body, it now produces enough power to pay for the electricity that allows people to use the machines. Nearly 40 million people belong to more than 26,000 health clubs in the United States today, according to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. Imagine if every one of these health clubs installed the ReRev system. If you can figure that each one is producing enough energy to sustain an entire house that would mean that at least 26,000 homes would be ‘off the grid’ in the entire nation. Seven or eight years ago, nothing similar was even thought of—and now all the skepticism has finally been able to create something that is a huge benefit for people and gives everyone an incentive to go to the gym for more than just feeling good...

Fit People Release More Fat-Burning Molecules During Exercise

“Fit people have more fat-burning molecules in their blood than less fit people after exercise. And the very fittest are even more efficient, on a biochemical level, at generating fat-burning molecules that break down and burn up fats and sugars, the study reports. A better understanding of these fat-burning molecules, called metabolites, may not only boost athletic performance, but help prevent or treat chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease by correcting metabolite deficiencies, the researchers said. Previous studies had investigated changes in metabolites generated by exercise, but researchers were limited to viewing a few molecules at a time in hospital laboratories. But in the new study, a technique developed by the MGH Heart Center in collaboration with MIT and Harvard allowed researchers to see the full spectrum of the fat-burning molecules in action. They used mass spectrometry -- which can analyze blood samples in minute detail -- to develop a ‘chemical snapshot’ of the metabolic effects of exercise. To trace the fat-burning molecules, the researchers...

Exercise Boosts Health of Cancer Patients

“Exercise during and after treatment improves quality of life and eases fatigue for patients battling either breast or prostate cancer, a new study finds. ‘Using exercise as an approach to cancer care has the potential to benefit patients both physically and psychologically, as well as mitigate treatment side effects,’ study lead author Dr. Eleanor M. Walker, division director of breast services in the department of radiation oncology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, said in a statement. Walker and colleagues created a program called ExCITE that encouraged 30 female breast cancer patients and 20 prostate cancer patients to collaborate on individualized exercise programs. The researchers followed the patients, aged 35 to 80, during their treatment and for a year afterward. Before patients joined the exercise program, the hospital's cardiology division evaluated their skeletal muscle strength, endurance and capacity for exercise.

New Sky Wall's The Limit At Gym

“Gym junkies will now be able to mix up their routine thanks to a fun machine called the Sky Wall. City Fitness Health Club is now the owner of a Sky Wall – a rock-climbing facility that was installed at the gym this week. City Fitness Health Club lifestyle director Chris Evangelou said it was the second Sky Wall in Queensland. She said across Australia there were only eight Sky Walls, which are manufactured overseas and distributed in Australia. Ms Evangelou said owner Steve Eden first saw the Sky Wall while in America at a gy conference and decided he wanted it for his gym. ‘It is fantastic piece of equipment; it is short and sharp and is good for cardio and strength. It is definitely something different and is a machine that can be used by anyone of any age,’ she said.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

24 Hour Fitness to Help Families Lose It With Jillian Michaels

“24 Hour Fitness, the largest privately owned U.S. fitness chain and a leading health club industry pioneer, is assisting families as they embark on their weight-loss journeys on NBC’s new television series, 'Losing It With Jillian.' The new show – featuring renowned fitness trainer and wellness expert, Jillian Michaels – will premiere on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 on NBC at 10 p.m. ET/PT, with future episodes airing each Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT. 24 Hour Fitness, a sponsor of NBC’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ for nine seasons, will be featured throughout the season, having provided ‘Losing It With Jillian’ families with one-year memberships to 24 Hour Fitness® clubs and complimentary personal training. In addition, each participant has been provided with the bodybugg® personal calorie management system, which takes the guesswork out of weight-loss by allowing users to track...

Instant Recess Promotes Health For Adults By Making Exercise A Group Activity

“The employees of Summit Health Institute for Research and Education (SHIRE), a nonprofit organization that fights obesity, are fittingly among the first in the city to embrace Instant Recess, a nationwide push to establish a daily 10-minute exercise break. Think coffee break or cigarette break, but good for you. ‘This is hard for folks to ignore. You can't say, 'I didn't know it was happening.' And if your boss has time to do it, so do you," said SHIRE's executive director, Ruth Perot, who removed her purple blazer to participate (but kept her pearls on). Vigorous moves such as lifting your arms and kicking your legs back elevate the heart rate, but the routines are accessible to everyone, from the 20-something interns to 79-year-old senior project associate Canary Girardeau. Even a wo...

Health Industry Cashes In On India's Obese [video]

“Many experts are concerned that as India becomes more affluent, it is also becoming less healthy and more obese. Diseases linked to a rich diet and lack of exercise, are overtaking poverty-related illnesses such as tuberculosis. India already has the highest rate of diabetes in the world. For anti-obesity clinics and companies in the health and exercise industries, India's galloping weight problem is proving lucrative.”

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Psycho Gym Is Old-School Tough

“The human body is pretty amazing. It pushes us out the door to run, propels us through the water when we swim, quivers us through our clumsy push-ups. Thus, it perpetuates the charade that we're in fairly decent shape. Tra, la and la. Then one day, we venture outside our comfort zone and into – the name itself should have warned us – Psycho Gym. This seemingly innocent storefront facility has no elliptical machines, no treadmills, no showers, no pool, no abs machine, no uniformed employees wiping off equipment. It does, however, have kettle bells, which look like oversize fishing weights and are the mainstay of the workouts. Plus, it has co-owners Travis Williams, 29, and Russ Kimzey, 31, who can show us (in no uncertain terms) how to use them. ‘Our philosophy is results at all cost,’ Russ says. ‘We get our clients the results fast by making them work out like they never have before. We do not accept excuses, and we do not tolerate whining. I am not Mary Poppins. There is no spoonful of sugar to help this medicine go down.’...

Exercise Limits: Just 1 In 5 Kids Live Near Parks

“Health officials say one reason so many American kids are overweight is that few have a nearby place to play and exercise. Only about one in five homes have parks within a half-mile, and about the same number have a fitness or recreation center within that distance. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report also finds that fewer than one in five U.S. high school students get at least an hour of physical activity a day. CDC says only about half of kids surveyed say it's easy to get to playgrounds, jogging paths or other places to easily exercise. The CDC also says only 37 states require physical education for all grades.”

America's Fittest Cities

“Not all cities are equal from a fitness standpoint. In some big cities one in three people are obese; in others it's only one in five. In some cities there is one baseball diamond for every 10,000 people; in others there are five times as many ball fields. So says this year's American Fitness Index report, published by the American College of Sports Medicine. It takes the biggest 50 metropolitan areas and ranks them by fitness levels...

Checking Up on the Doctor

“Doctors readily dispense prescriptions and advice, but what do they do themselves? A number of surveys, polls and questionnaires provide some clues—and some surprises. Physicians as a group are leaner, fitter and live longer than average Americans. ‘As a profession, we have not always taken good care of ourselves,’ says Edward Creagan, a professor of medical oncology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who writes the Mayo stress blog. But doctors who aren't fit learn their lesson the hard way, he says. There's a growing awareness that ‘if one is not psychologically, spiritually and physically fit, one will not go the distance in this profession.’ What's more, many studies show that doctors who exercise and watch their weight are more likely to counsel patients to do so and be more credible, too. ‘There's a strong link between what doctors do themselves and what they tell their patients to do,’ says Erica Frank, a professor of public health at the University of British Columbia who was the principle investigator on the Women Physician's Health Study (WPHS) which surveyed the health practices of 4,500 women doctors in the 1990s, and has studied U.S. medical students and Canadian doctors as well. ‘If we pay more attention to physicians' health, we'll have a patient population that is healthier.’ A look at what the studies have found: Exercise: Many physicians say they ‘embed’ it into their lives, making it a non-negotiable part of their daily routine, often early in the morning before demands pile on...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Riding A Surfboard With Nary A Wave

“Riding a surfboard through gnarly waves or veering down a steep slope on a snowboard can be fantastic exercise for youth.But if it’s not convenient to get your children to the ocean or mountains, an alternative is using a board that simulates surfing or snowboarding. With the XR Board, riders navigate a course by moving their legs and shifting their weight to mimick boarding movements, and this can increase muscle strength and conditioning for the real sports. Electronic, video, and computerized devices and games for exercise, known as ‘exergaming’ or ‘exertainment,’ are becoming more sophisticated and gaining popularity as tools to combat childhood obesity. ‘I think they can be effective. Any time you get kids up and moving it’s a great thing, but it depends on how the equipment is used,’ said Venona Orr, a Santa Rosa Junior College instructor of yoga, Pilates, weight training and body conditioning. ‘If you’re doing exercise regularly two to three times a week, you can get a benefit. Not just weight loss, but toned muscles, and working the heart and lungs. But not if you only use it once a month. Form and safety are always a concern when you’re working out on your own, and you have to watch out for repetitive motion,’ said Orr, who also is a personal trainer. Petaluma Valley Athletic Club invested in a...

Brothers Go Retro To Drum Up Gym Business

Not long ago Ben Filingeri and his brother Sal decided they wanted to go into the health and fitness industry. Only one problem: They were already in it. Three years ago, the brothers opened the Long Island Sports and Fitness Institute, a 24,000-square-foot health club that included a full-court indoor basketball floor.That was 2007. The brothers felt confident their big health club would take off, since the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association predicted gym memberships would spike by more than 1.5 million in a year. Instead, when the recession hit, the numbers, like many people’s going-to-get-in-shape vows, went the wrong way, tanking by 1 million members. ‘It got really rough,’ Ben Filingeri said.The brothers researched other health-club models and came upon Retro Fitness, a New Jersey-based franchiser. With 54 locations nationally - four on Long Island - Retro Fitness has a 1980s theme. That means ubiquitous music and graphics recalling the decade and such movies...

Racquetball Tries To Bounce Back

“Twenty-five years ago the game of racquetball was one of the fastest growing sports in the United States and was booming in Western New York. The Orchard Hills Racquetball Club had 17 courts, McKinley Racquetball Club 15 courts, Buffalo Tennis & Racquetball Center 12 courts, Waterfront Racquetball Club 10 courts, BAC Eastern Hills 10 courts, BAC Boulevard Club eight courts, Four Walls Racquetball Club eight courts, Bally Matrix 10 courts. This doesn't include 30 more courts at other facilities at that time. Today, most of these facilities are extinct or the courts have been...

Chinese Fight Growing Girth With Weight Watchers, Soyjoy Bars

“After struggling for thousands of years to feed its population, China, with the world’s fastest growing major economy, faces the opposite problem: overeating. Losing extra weight and a “desire for a more healthy lifestyle” are also attracting customers for Zhongti Beili Health Club Co. Ltd., the joint venture between Bally and Beijing-based China Sports Industry Group Co., said deputy general manager Derek Xue in a telephone interview from Beijing. The company plans to double its chain of gyms to 28 by year-end, he said. China has about 3,000 health clubs, with about 3 million active members, estimates Marco Treggiari, managing director of the Chinese unit for Gambettola, Italy-based Technogym SpA. The equipment maker supplies about 400 gyms and 210 five-star hotels, and its sales will grow as much as 30 percent this year to $18 million, he said. Corporate clients are becoming an important source of that growth. Midland, Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co. has equipped a 2,600 square-meter sports facility in its Shanghai headquarters with the latest Technogym treadmills and step and weight machines, said Fiona Bao, medical director for North Asia Pacific at Dow.”

Trainer Pumps Up Business

“Athletic Performance, which started as an athletic training business in David Standifer's garage nine years ago, has continued to grow, most recently opening in a 4,000-square-foot location in Fresno. The new location celebrated its grand opening this month and is more than twice the size of the previous Fresno location, said co-owner Standifer...

Health Tip: Benefitting From Cross-Training Exercises

“A well-designed cross-training program includes a variety of alternating exercises that stress different methods of workout and affect different parts of the body. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers this list of cross-training benefits:

It's a total body workout that strengthens a variety of areas and muscles.
It prevents boredom, which could otherwise derail your exercise regimen.
It helps prepare the muscles for new forms of exercise.
It reduces the risk of an overuse injury stemming from repetitive movements of the same muscles.
In the event of an injury, you may not have to stop exercising. Instead, you can try other exercises that won't aggravate your injury.”

Bannatyne Members Keep it Up for Soccer Aid

“Bannatyne's Health Club members across the UK took part in a range of Soccer Aid inspired fundraising activities over the weekend (22-23 May), to raise money for UNICEF's crucial work helping children around the world. Bannatyne's organised the fundraising activities at its 60 UK health clubs to support UNICEF's Soccer Aid fundraising initiative 'Keep it up for Soccer Aid'...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sport & Health Opening New Health Clubs In Area

“McLean-based Sport & Health on June 1 will open a sprawling new flagship health club in Loudoun County's Brambleton Town Square, one of busiest, wealthiest and fastest-growing communities in the country. The 38,000-square-foot mega-club took 2 1/2 years and cost $10 million to build and outfit. It's the latest addition to the 25-unit group, which ranks among the biggest health clubs in the Washington region with 120,000 members. ‘It's the fastest-growing county in the country, with one of the highest median incomes, and we aren't represented in that market,’ said Sport & Health chief executive Jonathan Adler. ‘The amount of housing being built in that area is unbelievable. We are right in a hot spot in growth in Loudoun County.’ Adler said Sport & Health will open a club in Gainesville in September, with plans to...

K Street Files: Soda Makers, Gyms Ramp Up Against Tax Idea

“A new revenue study by an obscure local think tank is causing a stir among K Street heavyweights. To shore up a budget shortfall for the Washington, D.C., government, the anti-poverty Fair Budget Coalition recently proposed taxing a slew of local services and products, including pet groomers, sugary drinks, health clubs and yoga studios. Although the proposal is still in the planning stages, the American Beverage Association isn’t taking the threat lightly. A fitness industry trade association is also preparing to thwart a similar tax proposal on the sector’s membership fees, if local lawmakers formally take up the think tank’s suggestions. The Boston-based International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association says it’s working with D.C. Council members and local gym Results to monitor tax issues. ‘We’re trying to get a handle on what’s required here,’ IHRSA lobbyist Amy Bantham said. ‘We’ve fought this in other states, and once we’ve got our facts checked, t’s crossed and i’s dotted, then we’ll look at the necessity for an advocacy campaign.’”

A Growing Number Of Baby Boomers See Sports As A Way To Feel Young Again

“‘Boomers have always appreciated being physically fit, and they're not about to let go of that active lifestyle,' says Kara Thompson, spokeswoman for the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association (IHRSA). `They want to stay healthy. They exercise because it makes them feel better.' Jim Loretta, 63, had always run to keep in shape. It was a form of exercise he could do around his Kendall neighborhood or on a hotel-gym treadmill when he traveled for his firm, Loretta Marketing Group. Then, about 20 years ago, he got to talking to two marathoners. ‘It sounded like something I wanted to do,' he says. When he finished his first half-marathon in November 1992, his wife asked, ‘Have you had enough?' He was just getting started. By January 1994, he had run four marathons at progressively faster clips. To train, he was running 40 to 60 miles a week. Bitten by the competitive bug, he moved on to triathlons-- swimming-cycling-running competitions -- and then to the Ironman, a grueling endurance event that combines a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run. While Loretta's training regimen is uncommon, his commitment to fitness is not. His generation, he says, ‘wants to keep in shape. They know exercise is good for them.' Industry surveys...

Yoga Helps Fatigue, Sleep In Cancer Survivors

“Cancer survivors might want to try yoga to sleep better and have more energy, according to a new study that will be presented at a meeting in early June. ‘Physicians and oncologists are often uncomfortable advising patients who want to use therapies that are complementary to standard cancer therapy,’ Dr. Douglas Blayney, president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, said in an interview. ‘Here we have a studied intervention, one that has been subjected to clinical trials and, lo and behold, it seems to be beneficial,’ added Blayney, who was not involved in the new research. For the study, researchers randomly assigned more than 400 cancer survivors to one of two groups. Most had been treated with chemotherapy for breast cancer. One group did gentle Hatha yoga and restorative yoga -- including special...

'Generation XXL': Childhood Obesity Has No Easy Solution

“Blair Smith and Aynslee Kahley supplement their school workouts with hours of exercise each week at the Trainers Fitness Institute. Fifteen-year-old Blair started playing T-ball when she was 4, moved on to basketball a couple of years later and has added tennis and track to her athletic repertoire at Tattnall Square Academy. Even with all that activity, losing weight is still a primary fitness goal. ‘I’ve always wanted to be thinner, but I know I’m healthy,’ Blair said before balancing on rubber floor cushions as she lifted weights to build her core strength.She started working out earlier this month in Aynslee’s father’s north Macon gym...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

HST Will Drive Up Cost Of Fitness, Gym Owners Warn

“The HST is a ‘fat tax’ that doesn’t penalize you for eating doughnuts but does for trying to burn them off, fitness aficionados say. Gym owners and users rallied on the front lawn of Queen’s Park Wednesday to protest the blended levy which comes into force on July 1, combining the 8 per cent provincial sales tax with the 5 per cent GST and raising taxes on a host of items not currently subject to PST. The list of items that will increase in cost includes gym memberships, the Fitness Industry Council of Canada says. Junk food and value meals under $4 are exempt from the HST, however, along with newspapers, books, coffee, children's clothing and booster seats, and feminine hygiene products. Taxes on 83 per cent of products - including groceries - will not change. ‘How can the government justify making fast food more accessible and fitness less accessible?’ asked Andy Soumbos, a franchisee owner of 14 Curves clubs in Ontario. As part of the protest, a petition signed by 15,000 Ontarians was handed to Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak and PC MPP Lisa MacLeod (Nepean-Carleton)...

Sport&Health Completes $1.5M Interior Renovation of Bethesda Club

“Sport&Health Club unveiled a $1.5M renovation to its 75,000 square-foot Bethesda facility in a ceremony honoring nearly 100 members with membership spanning more than 25 years for their longevity and commitment to fitness and community. The renovation is the result of Sport&Health’s $25M in mezzanine financing secured in 2009. ‘The renovation on Sport&Health’s state-of-the-art Bethesda club is part of our commitment to providing our members with the very best in facilities, equipment and fitness programming,’ said Jonathan Adler, CEO of Sport&Health...

Phys Ed: Do Our Genes Influence Our Desire to Exercise?

“Is the urge to exercise bred in our bones? That’s the intriguing question that European researchers recently set out to examine by looking at the activity habits of 37,051 sets of twins. Twins are popular with geneticists, because they provide a neat statistical model for determining whether a behavior is influenced by genetics or exclusively by environment. In the study, scientists looked at the decision to exercise or not. They turned to survey data covering twin pairs ages 19 to 40 in Australia, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Although the researchers set a very loose standard of one hour per week of light jogging or an equivalent activity to classify someone as an ‘exerciser,’ only about 44 percent of the males and 35 percent of the females met the standard. Across the board, however, the identical-twin pairs were more likely to share an exercise pattern than the fraternal twins. Using complicated statistical formulas, the scientists concluded that differences in exercise behavior were about 60 percent attributable to genes. Learning more about the genetics of active people is important, Mr. Rankinen says, because it may allow for interventions to goose everyone else. ‘Right now, most people don’t exercise, even though we all know that, for health reasons, we should,’ Mr. Rankinen says. Maybe, through our knowledge of genetics, ‘we can find ways to help make exercise easier or more attractive for people.’ If, for instance, it turns out that some people have a genetic predisposition to develop ­especially sore muscles after running, he says, ‘maybe we could start directing those people to other kinds of exercise.’ No matter how much is learned about the genetics of activity, though, the work will never provide carte blanche for physical lassitude. No blaming your DNA if you decide to skip a workout. ‘Even at the highest percentages of likely heritability’ of exercise behavior, Mr. Rankinen says, the choice to exercise is yours.”

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Ties Historical High, April Shows Americans Sustaining Well-Being Recovery

“Please be advised that Gallup and Healthways, Inc. today released the Gallup-Healthways Monthly U.S. Well-Being Report for April 2010. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index(TM) (WBI) was a tie (63.3) for all-time overall well-being in April, revealing a continued recovery of American well-being despite continuing challenges and high unemployment. The only other time in 28 months of measurement the WBI reached 67 was in August 2009. April's score reflects improvement in well-being for more than 8 million Americans since the low (63.3) posted mid-recession in December 2008. This improvement was created through upticks in five of the six components of well-being, including record highs in the Emotional Health Index and elements of the Work Environment Index.

More Steps A Day Lead To Better Health

“Walk a little, and your body will thank you. Walk a lot, and it will really thank you. That's the message of a new study that links taking more steps in a day to a lower risk of an extremely common condition known as metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes. The research only shows a connection between more walking and better health -- it doesn't prove that simply walking more will make you healthier. Still, the findings suggest that ‘you don't have to be out there running marathons,’ said study co-author Peter T. Katzmarzyk, a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La. Instead, ‘you just have to incorporate physical activity such as walking into your lifestyle,’ he said...

Fighting U.S. Cancer: Diet, Scant Exercise Problems

“Many studies have shown that people who keep a healthy weight, exercise regularly and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables have a lower risk not only of cancer, but heart disease, diabetes and even Alzheimer's. The administration of President Barack Obama is looking at ways to help Americans eat a healthier diet and exercise more to reduce obesity. Krebs-Smith and colleagues knew Americans do not come even close to meeting those goals. They checked to see if the U.S. food supply could provide the recommended five servings a day of fresh fruit and vegetables to every American. It cannot, Krebs-Smith told reporters. ‘The fruit in the food supply is about half what it needs to be, but we have plenty of calories from fat and added sugars,’ she said. A second major factor in cancer is a lack of exercise and Dr. Rachel Ballard-Barbash found Americans come up far short there, too. When asked, anywhere between 30 percent and 40 percent of Americans estimate they get enough exercise. But a study...

Health Club Management Technology Firm Motionsoft Picked To Showcase Products and Operations At Mid-Atlantic Venture Association's (MAVA) Capital Conn

“Health club software and financial services leader Motionsoft has been recognized as a Top 40 innovative technology company by the Mid-Atlantic Venture Association (MAVA) and will present at Capital Connection '10 in Baltimore, Md, May 19-20th. Motionsoft's executive leadership will showcase the company's fitness industry leading gym management software and billing services to a high level audience of investors, advisors, consultants and entrepreneurs from the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Power of a Gentle Nudge - - Phone Calls, Even Voice Recordings, Can Get People to Go to the Gym

A study due to be published soon in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, found that two group-counseling sessions, conducted over a three-month period, produced after three months a quadrupling of exercise levels and an even greater jump at nine months, long after the intervention had ended. By contrast, the exercise level of a control group rose during the study period but at nine months had returned to near-baseline levels...

With Bid Just Shy Of $8 Million, Salt Lake Firm Positioned For Racquet Club Contract

“A Salt Lake City-based construction firm with handiwork stretching from Deer Valley to The Canyons submitted the lowest bid to redo the Racquet Club, putting itself into a position to win one of the largest contracts City Hall has ever awarded. f the City Council gives the go-ahead, work could start by midsummer. The elected officials have previously indicated they want to work to proceed, arguing that the Racquet Club no longer is an adequate facility. Under the blueprints, most of the existing Racquet Club would be razed and a new facility would be rebuilt at the site. The gymnasium would be the only...

City Council flips, Approves Gym

“The City Council on Tuesday reversed course on a proposed 24 Hour Fitness on Empire Avenue, voting 3 to 2 to allow the club after operators revised the project. In approving the Super Sport club, the council voted against Crown Realty & Development Corp./Burbank Mall & Associates, which argued that the 24 Hour Fitness would exacerbate traffic congestion during peak commute times and that the project failed to meet parking requirements. Councilman Jess Talamantes contended that the building, which sat vacant...

Exercise Breaks 'Could Tackle Obesity'

“Employees could keep off the weight by taking 'exercise breaks' during the day, it has been suggested. Recent research published in the British Journal of Spots Medicine has revealed that sitting down all day can increase the risk of various health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes and weight gain are all possible issues for people with stationary lifestyles. The study also revealed that going to the gym will have minimal effect on the weight gain of workers who are sitting still at a desk all day. Tam Fry...

Biotonix Announces First Quarter 2010 Results and Review of Activities

“Biotonix (2010) (‘Biotonix’), a leader in postural health and fitness, today announced the financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2010, and a review of its activities. ‘We are gearing up for the launch of GolfPrint(TM), Biotonix's new postural assessment solution intended to enhance golfers' performance, and have teamed up with Daniel Langevin, CPGA, head coach of AGP (Association des golfeurs professionnels du Quebec) sport-etudes program, University of Montreal's Carabins-Golf and Golf Performance Academy, to help us further develop the product and implement strategies for business development...

Love For Fitness Franchise More Than Skin Deep

“People love Anytime Fitness so much they tattoo its logo onto their skins. ‘Commitment to the brand is unparalleled,’ boasts Chuck Runyon, CEO and co-founder of the fast-growing health club franchiser in Hastings, Minn. Three tattoo artists worked the company's September annual franchisee meeting in Braselton, Ga., inking one enthusiastic attendee after the next. ‘It was nonstop,’ Runyon said "We could have kept on going all night, but we had to stop.’ So far, nearly 300 employees, franchise owners and even some customers are permanently emblazoned with the chain's corporate logo, a squiggly, purple, stick figure they call Running Man...

Study Correlates Wealth And Weight In Canadian Men

“In Canada, in stark contrast with the rest of the world, wealthy men increase their likelihood of being overweight with every extra dollar they make. The new study was led by Nathalie Dumas, a graduate student at the University of Montreal Department of Sociology, and presented at the annual conference of the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS). ‘Women aren't spared by this correlation, but results are ambiguous,’ says Dumas. ‘However, women from rich households are less likely to be obese than women of middle or lower...

Gender And Genes Impact On Fat Storage - Belly Or Hip

The age-old question of why men store fat in their bellies and women store it in their hips may have finally been answered: Genetically speaking, the fat tissue is almost completely different...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heart Group Backs Video Games In Obesity Campaign

“Nintendo is partnering with the American Heart Association to promote its popular Wii gaming console. The unlikely partnership Monday comes amid growing concern about obesity among kids who spend much of their time with television and video games. But the AHA says it is giving the Wii its iconic heart branding because it will encourage sedentary Americans to take the first step toward fitness. The Wii comes with a controller that encourages people to physically move as they play. AHA President Clyde Yancy says ‘We can keep beating the drum on traditional exercise and make small changes to the obesity epidemic, or we can try something that is really provocative and new.’ Nintendo Co. is donating $1.5 million to the AHA as part of the partnership.”

CYBEX Launches Second Annual 'Pink Ribbon Run' Supporting Breast Cancer Research

“Cybex International, Inc., a leading manufacturer of premium exercise equipment, announced today its 2nd Annual Pink Ribbon Run, a national program benefitting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) through which CYBEX donates $0.10 for each mile logged on its custom-made pink treadmills during Breast Cancer Awareness Month -- October, 2010. The distinctive pink treadmills, manufactured in Medway, MA, will be sold to health clubs...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ohio Senate Lifts Exercise Rule From Obesity Bill

“At the urging of school groups, the Ohio Senate has removed a provision from a childhood obesity bill that would require students to get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day while in school. Groups representing teachers and school boards told a Senae committee last week that it would be impossible to implement the measure without money to pay for it. Most schools will see state funding cuts or freezes next year. ‘We can't solve every social problem at the school door,’ said Darold Johnson of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. ‘We need to do what we do well, and that's educate.’ Jeff McCuen, treasurer of Worthington City Schools near Columbus, said the 30-minute exercise requirement would cost the district $4 million and take time away from core classes. Other provisions in the bill would increase nutrition standards for a la carte food and beverages served in schools and require students to get body-mass-index screenings. State Sen. Kevin Coughlin, a Republican from Cuyahoga Falls, agreed to take the exercise requirement out of his bill and instead allow districts to obtain a waiver. But he added that society rightfully asks a lot of public schools. ‘While I share the view that parents have responsibilities on all these things, I can also have the view that our schools should be doing the right stuff while our students are in there nine months a year, seven hours a day,’ he said.”

Kicking From the Hip [video]

A growing number of older Americans are exploring martial arts such as tae kwon do and judo as a way to stay physically and mentally fit. With its kicks, punches and take downs, they are finding the sport brings a number of health benefits as well as increased confidence and respect...

The Road Map To Solving Childhood Obesity

“White House domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes says first lady Michelle Obama is speaking quite literally when she says the goal of her Let’s Move campaign is ‘solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.’ ‘That is literally achievable,’ Barnes said in an interview for the new POLITICO video series, ‘The Politics of America’s Youth.’ ‘In the 1970s, about 5 percent of the nation’s child and adolescent population was considered obese. Now, that’s shot up to 20 percent...

Combating Childhood Obesity May Start In The Womb

“Children whose mothers developed diabetes while pregnant are at increased risk of being overweight by age 11, a new study shows. The study also found that children born to obese mothers are more likely to have a weight problem than children born to lean mothers. ‘The best advice is to get lean and fit before you get pregnant,’ Dr. Lois Jovanovic of the Sansum Diabetes Research Institute in Santa Barbara, California, who was not involved in the study, told Reuters Health...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Town Sports International(R) Chooses Trusonic(R) for Music and Messaging for Health Club Locations

“Fluid Music Canada's Trusonic, Inc. (TSX: FMN), a leading provider of Internet-delivered music and messaging services for businesses, today announced that Town Sports International Holdings, Inc. ("TSI"), a leading owner and operator of health clubs in the North East and mid-Atlantic United States, will deploy Trusonic's music and messaging solution to all their 150+ locations. In addition to customizing a unique music experience for TSI's members, Trusonic's leading-edge Internet-connected media player will also enable TSI to receive daily updates to audit their music and messaging across each of their locations through an easy-to-use web interface. ‘Trusonic continues to adapt well to the music programming needs of more complex environments such as health clubs,’ said Lorne Abony, Chief Executive Officer of Fluid Music Canada. ‘We look forward to supporting TSI's continued success.’”

Stengel Joins Ad Council's Childhood Obesity Effort

“Former Procter & Gamble Co. Chief Marketing Officer Jim Stengel has been tapped by the Ad Council to help lead the group's effort behind First Lady Michelle Obama's ‘Let's Move’ campaign against childhood obesity, leading what's becoming the biggest effort ever in the area. Mr. Stengel, who left P&G in 2008 after leading marketing efforts behind the company's biggest growth spurt ever, is working to assemble a strong cast of agency and media players in the effort, he said, including TBWA, Ogilvy & Mather, McCann-Erickson and Casanova Pendrill. They will be looking to build on the considerable work already done for the White House, including a logo, a website and public service...

Steinfeld 'Never Quits' Fighting for Fitness

“About 10,000 California students signed up to take Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's fitness challenge when the program began in 2006. Jake Steinfeld, who was appointed chairman of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, had students promise that they would be active 30 to 60 minutes every other day for a month. This year, 1,308,054 students committed to the program, and Steinfeld is working to attract more. 'The hardest part about fitness is getting started,' the Pacific Palisades resident told the Palisadian-Post last week. 'If kids get out and exercise, they're able to sit in classes better; they're less fidgety and can focus better, which means they'll do better on tests. Academics and fitness go hand in hand. Where there is increased fitness in schools...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Nautilus, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2010 Results

“Fitness company Nautilus, Inc. today announced unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2010. Continuing operations include the Company's direct and retail businesses. The Company's commercial business is reported as a discontinued operation. For the quarter ended March 31, 2010, the Company's loss from continuing operations was $2.4 million, or $0.08 per share, an improvement of 56.3% when compared to the same period in 2009. The loss from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2009 was $5.4 million, or $0.18 per share. The Company reported net sales of $45.6 million in...

Fitness Clubs File Lawsuit Over YMCA Bidding Process

A group of fitness clubs is suing Albemarle County and the City of Charlottesville, claiming the two governments unlawfully awarded over $3 million in capital funds to the Piedmont Family YMCA for construction of a new pool in McIntire Park. The Charlottesville Area Fitness Club Owners’ Association filed the lawsuit in both localities’ circuit courts Wednesday. The association, which formed specifically for this purpose, includes ACAC Fitness and Wellness Centers, Gold’s Gym and Total Performance Sports and Fitness...

Fitness First Relaunches Its Brentwood Club With GBP 120,000 Refurb

“The world's largest privately owned health club group, Fitness First is celebrating the relaunch of its Brentwood club with a GBP 120,000 refurbishment. Since the first Fitness First club opened its doors in 1993, the company has expanded to 160 UK clubs including a number of gyms in London : and 540 clubs worldwide with over 1.4 million members. The eagerly anticipated refurbishment at the club situated in The Baytree Centre, will serve as an innovative and friendly hub for those wanting...

Ultimate Sports, Inc. Announces Letter of Intent to Acquire Extreme Fitness Inc.

“Ultimate Sports, Inc. (Pink Sheets:USPS), a manufacturer and supplier to the recreational vehicle industry, today announced the company has completed a Letter of Intent to acquire exercise equipment maker, Extreme Fitness Inc. Under the terms of the acquisition, Ultimate Sports Inc. will issue 1,000,000 preferred, restricted shares of stock in exchange for 100% ownership of Extreme Fitness. The company anticipates this acquisition will close during the second quarter of this year. Upon completion, all revenues and...

Boomer Gym

“‘Traditional gyms can be intimidating,’ said Sean Milligan, one of the owners of the big and bright club in the RIOCAN Centre at Burloak Drive and the QEW. ‘We've created a place for the active adult who wants to improve their health and physical condition but are dissatisfied with their current gyms.’ That means a wide range of equipment from an Easy Line suite of equipment that is kind to older bodies, to sophisticated stretching aids, a Kinesis room, some serious weight machines, free weights and the club's piece de resistance, an underwater treadmill in which you can walk or...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Technogym Presents Green solutions at Hotel Show 2010

Technogym will showcase its new products - Green Group Cycle, Visio Web and Jog Now. The Green Group Cycle sets a new and more ambitious goal: producing green energy from clean sources. And what's cleaner than people's movements! After years of engagement in developing products and solutions for energy saving - Thanks to Technogym's latest experimental concept the energy produced on exercise bikes can now be channeled into the electric network and used to power the gym's electrical appliances...

Bribe Your Workers To Be Healthy

“Want to reward -- or bribe -- your workers for healthy lifestyle choices? Provisions in the new reform law offer aid, and even some cash, to small businesses that run wellness and prevention programs for their employees. Starting next year, the law authorizes grants totaling $200 million over five years for small companies that start wellness programs focused on efforts such as nutrition, smoking cessation, physical fitness and stress management. Companies with fewer than 100 employees qualify for the grants, which will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, but only new wellness initiatives -- those launched after March 23, 2010, the date the heath reform bill was enacted -- are eligible.

Effects Of Weight On Kids' Heart Rate Vary By Income

“Overweight children from lower- and middle-income neighborhoods may fall short of their thinner peers in one measure of cardiovascular fitness -- but the same may not be true of those from more affluent areas, a new study suggests.Researchers found that among 480 children and teenagers who underwent treadmill exercise tests, those with a high body mass index (BMI) tended to have a slower heart rate recovery after their workout -- but only if they were from lower- or middle-income...

White House Task Force Issues Report On Fighting Childhood Obesity

“In a tremendous show of administration muscle, Cabinet officials Tuesday stood shoulder to shoulder onstage with Michelle Obama to reveal results of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity: a 124-page report laying out 70 recommendations and a gentle warning that, while the federal government can't solve the obesity epidemic, it is prepared to take action where others don't. The task force, created by the...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Take a Look at Our Action Plan to Solve the Problem of Childhood Obesity

“Today, the Childhood Obesity Task Force is excited to release our action plan to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. The First Lady will be holding a press conference this morning to talk about the report, and...

Twin Cities Gym Goes High Tech To Get Kids Interested In Exercise

“Video games, television and the Internet continue to consume children's lives, contributing to a childhood obesity epidemic the United States has struggled with for decades. Some fitness centers now seek to use children's obsession with technology to get them in shape by incorporating interactive, state-of-the-art equipment in their facilities. Wayzata resident Judy Shink and her husband, Tony, have made interactive equipment part of their fitness center, Enercise Gym, which opened this...

With Long-Term Exercise, Being 80 Is Just a Number

“In 1977, Jimmy Carter was president, Close Encounters of the Third Kind was in theaters and smoking was still permitted in most public buildings. That was the year Lawrence Golding, now 81, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, started a no-frills, boot-camp-style exercise class for men, held weekdays at lunchtime in a building on campus. Some of those men, aged 30 to 51 when the class began, stuck with the program for more than 20 years. And today they're...

Big Belly Raises A Woman's Pancreatic Cancer Risk

“Where a person carries their extra weight may influence their risk of pancreatic cancer. People -- especially women -- with more fat around their waistline are at increased risk of the deadly disease, according to a study published today. The study also confirms that the risk of pancreatic cancer climbs in tandem with body mass index, or BMI, a standard measure of weight in relation to height used to gauge obesity.”

Monday, May 10, 2010

Virgin Active Sees Rise in Revenues

“Health club operator Virgin Active has said it recorded annual earnings of more than £100 million for the first time in its 10-year history. The group, which has 71 clubs in the UK and 187 sites in total, saw a 15% rise in revenues to £391 million after lifting membership by 4% to 919,000. Virgin Active chief executive Matthew Bucknall said: ‘The trend that we have seen throughout the recession confirms our opinion that health and fitness has become a core aspect to people's lives.’ The company, which is majority owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, said its UK business ‘demonstrated its resilience’ during 2009.”

Riviera Fitness Center Joins Forces with Four Alabama Mayors to Combat Childhood Obesity

Last week, City of Center Point Mayor Tom Henderson joined forces with Riviera Fitness Center to support its exciting new initiative called "Let's Move" aimed at fighting childhood obesity. Mayor Henderson signed an official proclamation declaring April 26-30 to be the official fitness week of Center Point and April 26th as ‘Riviera Fitness Center Day.’ Mayor Henderson is a retired physical education teacher and knows the importance of exercise, ‘Childhood obesity is a big problem in America and we should do what we can to help fight it.’ Scott McBrayer, mayor of Homewood agreed. He also signed an official proclamation and declared April 19-23 to be the official fitness week of Homewood and April 19th as ‘Riviera Fitness Center Day.’ Midfield Mayor Gary Richardson and Birmingham Mayor William Bell are also onboard and plan to issue their proclamations in the coming weeks. Tracy Childress, City Manager of Riviera Fitness Centers of Birmingham applauds the...

Talwalkars Shares Make Robust Debut

“Talwalkars Better Value Fitness Ltd. Monday made a strong stock-exchange debut, with its shares closing 27% higher than their issue price on the first day of trading, aided by a positive market sentiment and prospects of the health-club operator posting robust earnings. Shares of the company--which raised 774.4 million rupees ($17 million) by selling shares at 128 rupees each--opened at 138 rupees on the Bombay Stock Exchange and traded between 132 rupees and 167.70 rupees. They closed at 162.60 rupees, with more than 18.48 million shares changing hands, compared with the benchmark Sensitive Index's 3.4% rise.”

Doctors Refer Patients To Gym In PREP Program

“About a year and a half ago, Kay Lacy's doctor gave her a different kind of prescription. It was a referral to the gym. Today, she's 40 pounds lighter, her blood pressure has dropped back into the normal range without medication, and she's training to walk a 5K. She's a local success story for an ACAC Fitness & Wellness program that has gained national attention as an alternative to the treat-it-with-medicine approach to health issues. Lacy went to the ACAC on Robious Road in Chesterfield County per her doctor's prescription. There, a nurse and a team of exercise physiologists oversaw her 60-day introduction to better health. After she fulfilled the two-month obligation, she joined the gym. Then she really started to have some fun. ‘The coup de grce was that after I finished all that training, on the weight machines and doing water aerobics, I found out they offered ballroom dancing,’ Lacy said. She loves the ballroom dancing classes and...

Owners of Bellingham Tennis Club and Fairhaven Fitness Celebrate 10 Years

This May, the Bellingham Tennis Club is celebrating 10 years of ownership by Doug and Robin “Robertson. The club first opened in 1973 and had several owners before the Robertson's purchased it in May 2000. When the Robertson's first took on the club, Robin Robertson said the facility needed a lot of care and the membership was very low. ‘It took about four years for tennis to stabilize so that we knew we were going to make it,’ she said. ‘Doug kept his day job - as a lawyer - to make sure we could pay the bills.’ Under its new ownership, the club has had many changes. They expanded the tennis facility to include a fifth indoor court in 2001. The management offices were moved to the lobby area ‘so members can always talk to us,’ Robin Robertson said...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Proposal To Tax More D.C. Services Meets With Protests

“Health club members and Yoga lovers flooded D.C. Council members with e-mails Thursday after word spread that the council might consider a new tax on health club memberships to help fill a $550 million budget gap. The Washington Post reported last week that several council members were putting everything on the table, from pet grooming to club memberships. This year, the D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute, a local think tank, is listing services that have never been taxed to tap for revenue. The idea is that consumption has shifted from goods to services, and the city's tax code is behind the times. Other jurisdictions across the country that felt the brunt of the recession before the District have come up with similar taxes. Also pushing the idea is the Fair Budget Coalition, which is made up of three dozen nonprofit and advocacy organizations and is circulating a proposal to extend the sales tax to the services in question. While council members Michael A. Brown (D-At Large) and Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) are trying to convince their colleagues to join them in raising taxes on the city's wealthier households, the taxes on services haven't gained traction. That didn't stop local yoga outfits and gyms from contacting council members. ‘Things have gotten a little uncorked here,’ Graham said. ‘I've received 2,869 e-mails since 8:35 a.m.’ Doug Jefferies, owner of the Results Gym chain, and David von Storch, owner of the Vida Fitness chain, are also mobilizing in opposition to a tax on gym memberships or classes. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2), chairman of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, said he wants his colleagues to hold the line on all taxes. Increasing them, he said, ‘is a real mistake.’ Here's a list of services currently not taxed that the institute would like the council to consider […].’

Running Company Has New Owners

“Fargo-based Dick Beardsley Running Company has been sold to a partnership that includes Mark Knutson, executive director of the Fargo Marathon. The specialty running store at 1801 45th St. S. opened three years ago and was sold May 1. Knutson said he and his partners plan to change the name of the store to Go Far Sports sometime this summer and plan to expand it by about 1,200 square feet. Knutson’s partners in the venture are Dan and Teri Fremling and Sue Carlson, Knutson’s girlfriend. Knutson also owns women’s health club Go Far Woman, formerly Lady Wellness, 1525 32nd Ave. S., Fargo, and Go Far Events, an event management company. ‘They are partnering up on the health club and the store with me,’ Knutson said. ‘We are kind of merging all of the efforts together here...

Downward-Facing Dog’s Life

“When the world of the business traveler turns upside down — whether because of a missed connecting flight, lost luggage or an uncooperative volcano — Steve Boerema knows just what to do. He finds a convenient corner in the airport and stands on his head. Mr. Boerema, who is 45 and lives in St. Augustine Beach, Fla., travels an average of 150 days a year, most of them overseas, as a consultant to the yachting industry. He has also been practicing yoga daily for four years. That practice has now become as essential a part of his business travel as his frequent-flier mileage. Several million Americans practice yoga at least once a week, according to surveys by the sporting goods industry. Many are college-educated professionals in their 30s and 40s, demographics that match those of business travelers, so it is logical that they would adapt their practice to their life in transit. “Research has shown that those who practice yoga and Pilates have improved sleep...

Groups Vie for $15 Billion In Prevention Money

“Some groups want the bulk of the money earmarked for programs to target specific diseases or problems that affect millions of Americans, such as obesity, diabetes or smoking. But public health officials say the majority of funds should not go solely into fighting specific diseases but be used to bolster agencies whose work targets a broad range of the causes of death and disability. Others advocate using the fund to transform communities to make it easier to exercise and buy fresh produce. Now it is up to the Department of Health and Human Services to decide how to divide up the fund, created by the new health care overhaul law. One thing prevention advocates agree on: they’re disappointed that the fund, which will disburse money over 10 years, isn’t bigger. Even so, they say it’s a big boost for their efforts -- the largest increase in federal prevention dollars since 9/11, says Richard Hamburg, deputy director of the Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit advocacy group promoting disease prevention. Smoking and obesity programs were the main focus of more...$15-Billion-in-Prevention-Money.aspx

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Nautilus, Inc. to Announce First Quarter 2010 Results on Wednesday, May 12th

“Nautilus, Inc. today announced that the Company will host a conference call to discuss results for its first quarter on Wednesday, May 12, 2010. The Company will issue an earnings release prior to the call. The conference call is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. PDT), May 12, 2010. It will be broadcast live over the Internet hosted at and will be archived online within one hour after completion of the call. In addition, listeners may call (800) 763-5545 in North America, and international listeners may call (212) 231-2934...

Town Sports International Commits to a Sustainable Future

“This industry- leading program will bring innovative processes, practices and solutions to TSI's entire club network. ‘A healthy planet means healthy living for all of us, which is why we've made a company-wide commitment to lessening TSI's impact on the environment,’ said COO Martin Annese. ‘EcoSteps is a natural extension of our company's mission to improve health and fitness. More efficient, more environmentally sustainable clubs will give our members better opportunities to work toward both a healthier body and planet.’ TSI is committing to ambitious goals with its EcoSteps initiative. The company aims to reduce energy usage by 20 %, water usage by 5% and recyclable waste by 75% over the next 3 years. This long-term program, which TSI will be working...

Surgery "Should Be Last Resort For Obese Children"

“In a review of studies on the obesity epidemic, scientists from Britain and the United States said lifestyle changes such as better diet and more exercise should always be the first option, and treatment with drugs should be used rarely. Bariatric surgery, or weight-loss surgery, such as operations to apply gastric bands to limit the stomach size of severely overweight people, should be a last resort, they said. ‘The risks of bariatric surgery are substantial, and long-term safety and effectiveness in children remain largely unknown,’ Sue Kimm of the University of New Mexico, Debbie Lawlor of Britain's Bristol University and Joan Han of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, wrote in The Lancet journal. They said surgery should be reserved for only the most severely obese children -- those with a body mass index (BMI) over 50, or those with a BMI over 40 and other major health risk factors -- and "even then considered with extreme caution". The Lancet review highlighted data up to 2006 showing that prevalence of childhood obesity either doubled or trebled between the early 1970s and late 1990s in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Japan, Britain and the United States. The rise is attributed mainly to children having a more sedentary lifestyle and eating more calorific foods. The experts said prevention, especially in young children, is by far the best approach to the rising global obesity levels. Policies encouraging parents to give their children healthy food, boost physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviour should be introduced in households, schools and communities, they said.”

Build Muscle Power and Electric Power at NY Gyms

which are capable of lighting up the health club. Later this month you will be able to shrink your waistline and your carbon footprint all at the same time,’ a motivational poster says at New York Sports Club, urging clients to use ‘pedaling power to help create a healthier planet.’ Some 20 clients pedaled furiously under the poster on stationary bicycles turning sweat equity into sweat electricity. ‘It's a great idea, really fun. It...

Mid-Cape Club Acquires Lady Of America Members

“The Mid-Cape Racquet & Health Club has acquired the membership of the former Lady America health Club, the Cape Coral club announced today. Lady of America, located at 1751 NE Pine Island Road, closed on April 30. The partnership was created to ensure former members had another club. Mid-Cape Racquet & Health Club officials said they will hire additional fitness professionals, schedule additional exercise classes and expanding club hours to accommodate the extra members. The Mid-Cape clubs is located at 1300 Ceitus Terrace. Former Lady of America members should note that this legal acquisition is exclusive to Mid-Cape Racquet & Health Club and no other facilities are authorized to accept membership transfers.”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Independent Tests Prove Life Fitness Top Equipment Manufacturer in Energy Efficiency

“Testing conducted by Intertek, the world's largest independent testing, inspection and certification firm, shows Life Fitness as the most energy-efficient fitness manufacturer compared to leading competitors. Test results confirmed that it costs a facility an average of 44 percent less to power Life Fitness Treadmills over those of leading competitors' machines. For the typical fitness facility this could mean that powering 20 Life Fitness treadmills over four years could add up to $12,000 in savings compared, to powering top competitors' treadmills. Intertek conducted an analysis of Life Fitness Treadmills against Technogym, Star Trac and Precor treadmills. The test concluded that Life Fitness treadmills cost a facility on average 52 percent less to power than Technogym; 40 percent less than Precor; and 37 percent less than Star Trac treadmills. ‘Sometimes being green is more about using efficient products than it is about sending energy back into the utility grid,’ said Bob Quast, vice president of brand management for Life Fitness. ‘Each of our products undergoes extensive testing in our reliability and quality labs so that our customers can be confident that their equipment is effective and efficient.’ The Intertek test was based on energy consumption of a treadmill running at 3.5, 5.0, 7.0, and 9.0 mph by a 220-pound user.”

'Laughter Yoga' Tries To Tap A Natural Resource For Healing [picture slideshow]

“Catastrophic oil spill. Times Square bomber. D.C. murder sprees. Teetering global economies. Even a recall of your kid's medicine. You need a laugh. Don't see anything funny? Fake it -- you'll feel better anyway. Some researchers believe the body can't tell the difference between self-triggered laughter and real laughter so either is restorative physically and psychologically. Nira Berry became a believer eight years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. "When I was going though treatment, I noticed that I just felt better after having a good laugh," she says. It was life changing. She got certified in ‘laughter yoga’ and now pays it forward. She teaches Washington cancer patients and others how to tap into that natural -- or unnatural -- resource.”

Fitness Funhouse: Enercise Kids’ Gym Opening Saturday

“Call it a 21st century fitness funhouse. When Enercise opens its doors Saturday in Minnetonka, owners Judi and Tony Shink will be debuting what may be the metro area’s first gymnasium designed exclusively for kids. The 1,900-square-foot fitness facility is targeted at kids ages 6 to 14, equipped with exercise stations that combine elements of the old-fashioned school gym with video gaming and computer technology that are designed to give kids a total body workout. Enercise, whose name is derived by combining the words energy and exercise, was born of the Shinks’ desire to start a business in what they believe is an underserved niche: kid exercise. While there are numerous alternatives for adults and families, few are geared exclusively for kids, the couple said. ‘There is not a lot of competition for the kids in the middle or tweeners,’ Judi said. She and Tony said Enercise is meant to get all kids physically active, particularly those who like games or sports but aren’t on teams or don’t excel in athletics. A representative of the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) said there are very few kid-only athletic or fitness clubs in the country. One of them is the Neighborhood, a 35,000-square-foot facility run by the Rochester Athletic Club in Rochester, Minn., said IHRSA spokeswoman Kara Thompson Shemin. That facility includes child-sized fitness equipment, soccer fields, basketball courts, an artificial-ice hockey rink, a miniature golf course, and interactive fitness equipment. A growing number of health and fitness clubs are integrating some type of children’s activities into their overall programming, with more than 3,000 fitness clubs across the U.S. offering kids-only sections, Thompson Shemin said.”

Slimming Down Employees to Cut Costs

"UMass Memorial, one of the largest employers in Worcester, Mass., is trying to contain employee medical costs. State and federal health-care reforms require employers to cover a greater share of their staff, which means companies are on the hook for higher payments to insurers. U.S. health-care costs are rising rapidly, fueled by greater spending on prescription drugs, the increasing prevalence of chronic illness, and an aging population. Obesity alone costs U.S. companies as much as $45 billion annually, according to a 2008 report by the Conference Board, a nonprofit research group. In response, companies such as Intel (INTC), Papa John's International (PZZA), Timberland (TBL), Scotts Miracle-Gro (SMG), and International Paper (IP) are signing employees up for memberships on Web sites that provide information about nutrition and fitness. They're conducting health screenings and tracking staffers' workouts. Some companies are even giving workers pedometers to track how many steps they take. The goals are the same: to make employees fitter and reduce health-care expenses. Some companies have fitness in their DNA. Google (GOOG) offers workers fitness classes, including yoga, tai chi, and dance. There are employee fitness groups—even one for barefoot runners—and sports leagues for everything from volleyball to ultimate Frisbee. Google's campus in Mountain View, Calif., features on-site chiropractic and physical therapists, wellness coaching programs, and meditation centers. Its 16 caf├Ęs label foods by health value: green for healthy, yellow for be careful about portion sizes, and red for not-so-healthy."

Volkswagen and Audi Strike Fleet Deal With Fitness First

“The UK’s largest privately owned health club group, Fitness First, has signed a deal with Volkswagen and Audi to supply company cars to its staff over the next four years...

Tennessee Tight End Turned Starting Quarterback Wins Hammer Strength Football Player of the Year

“As captain of his football and soccer teams, John David Bruce, a senior from Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga, Tenn., truly leads by example. Dedicated to his community, academics and the playing field, Bruce excels in all aspects of his life. Recognized as the 2009 Hammer Strength Football Player of the Year, Bruce played football and soccer all four years of his high school career, put in extra volunteer hours in his community in his free time, all the while maintaining a 3.98 grade point average. ‘This award recognizes those student-athletes who stand out both on and off the field. It demonstrates what the Hammer Strength brand is recognized for, dedication, passion and determination,’ said Mark McCleary, vice president of global marketing for Life Fitness. ‘John David is devoted to his team, community and academic performance and he is the type of athlete that deserves an award like Hammer Strength Football Player of the Year.’”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Obesity a Bigger Threat to Kids in Southern States

“A new study finds that nearly half of kids nationwide are now overweight (32 percent) or obese (16 percent), with rates of childhood obesity much higher in Southern states than in other regions. Mississippi had the highest rate of childhood obesity at nearly 22 percent of kids surveyed, while Oregon had the lowest at 9.6 percent. The most children in the "overweight" (but not obese) category were also in Mississippi, at 44.5 percent, while Utah with about 23 percent had the fewest overweight children. But the findings also offer a glimmer of hope that the epidemic of childhood obesity can be curbed. Singh noted that if strategies to reduce obesity used in states such as Oregon and Utah were applied to states such as Mississippi, ‘there is a strong potential for obesity reduction.’ Exercise, or lack thereof, seems to be a prime culprit. Children in the South tend to have ‘more sedentary behaviors, such as TV watching,’ Singh said. ‘The tend to also score lower on having access to places for physical activity,’ he said.”

Kroell With the Punches

“The Austrian-born designer Devi Kroell, whose line of handbags made from exotic skins (python, ostrich, alligator) debuted to much acclaim in 2004, is driven when it comes to the company that bears her name (and now includes ready-to-wear, shoes, and stores in New York and Las Vegas) but admits to being a tad lackadaisical when it comes to exercise. ‘I always need to be working on multiple projects at once because I get bored easily,’ Kroell says. ‘However, when it comes to fitness, I’m a naturally lazy person. But exercising is a necessity and I like to push myself with tough activities.’ Two and a half years ago, her personal trainer switched her routine from basic weight-lifting exercises to kickboxing, which she now swears by. ‘It’s about energy release and it feels good to kick and punch.’”

O2 Fitness Donates Lockers To Local Community

O2 Fitness, North Carolina’s premiere fitness provider and largest independent, privately owned health club chain, has donated lockers to both the Fuquay-Varina High School athletics program and Habitat for Humanity of Wake County. The lockers were a donation from the O2 Fitness, Fuquay-Crossing health club, located in Fuquay-Varina. ‘As a part of the growing community, O2 Fitness takes advantage of every opportunity to give back,’ said founder and CEO, Michael Olander Jr. ‘In addition to other recent community involvement, the equipment donation to Habitat for Humanity of Wake County and the Fuquay-Varina High School athletics program is giving O2 Fitness another chance to contribute to the health and wellness of others, which is part of our mission as an organization.’”|Sports|Lifestyles/story/51137/O__FITNESS_DONATES_LOCKERS_TO_LOCAL_COMMUNITY

Exercise on a Flying Trapeze

The first time Lori Rhodes saw Cirque du Soleil, 15 years ago, she was mesmerized by the performers on the trapeze and ropes. 'I remember thinking to myself, 'Wow, wouldn't that be amazing to do?' I was the adult fantasizing about running off to join the circus,' says the 44-year-old senior vice president of Lividini Weisenfeld Partners, a marketing communications firm whose clients include Liz Claiborne, Lord & Taylor and Josie Natori. Ms. Rhodes now lives out those dreams three days a week as part of her workout regimen. She takes aerial-conditioning classes, where she climbs 17-foot ropes and hangs upside down by her toes from the trapeze, among other exercises. Ms. Rhodes lives and works in New York City. Ms. Rhodes tries to exercise...

Obese Kids More Apt To Be Bullied, Study Confirms

“Obese children in grades 3 through 6 are more apt to be bullied by their classmates than children who are trim, regardless of their gender, race, social skills, or academic achievement, a study published today in Pediatrics shows. This finding is ‘so disturbing to me,’ Dr. Julie C. Lumeng from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who led the study, told Reuters Health. She also admitted being a bit surprised. ‘Unlike in the 1980s,’ she explained, ‘so many kids are obese now. In some schools, half the class may be I really thought that maybe being obese really doesn't result in being bullied as much anymore. I was wrong.’ The study involved 821 US boys and girls 8 to 11 years old. In third grade, 17 percent of the children were obese and 15 percent were overweight.

Monday, May 3, 2010

National Physical Activity Plan Will Try to Get People Moving

“One day, most kids may jump on their bikes and ride to school. While they're there, they'll be playing active games in high-caliber physical education classes and doing lots of fun recreational activities before and after school. Adults should be able to walk, bike or jog to work, the grocery store or a local park or community recreation center, where they will be able play golf or tennis or take exercise classes. And doctors may talk to their patients about an important new ‘vital sign’ — their physical activity level. These are among the goals that could be achieved with comprehensive, wide-ranging strategies outlined in the new U.S. National Physical Activity Plan, which is being released today by an expert panel representing influential health organizations. Among groups involved are the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American College of Sports Medicine, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. The purpose: to create an environment in which Americans can be physically active where they live, work and play, says Russell Pate, an exercise researcher at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina-Columbia. He chaired the panel. Experts have been encouraging people to be physically active for years because it lowers the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and a long list of other health problems. To get the health benefits of exercise, adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity activity a week, such as brisk walking, or 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity, such as jogging or swimming laps, or a combination, federal guidelines say. But right now, only 31% of Americans do enough regular leisure-time physical activity; about 40% do no regular leisure-time physical activity, government statistics show. Exercise tough to fit in The national physical activity guidelines have not been sufficient to get people moving, Pate says. ‘Educating, cajoling and finger-wagging are not enough.’ It's difficult to work physical activity into daily life, partly because of sprawling communities and long commutes, and many people don't have safe and attractive places to walk, he says. Colleen Doyle, nutrition and physical activity director for the American Cancer Society and a member of the panel that created the plan, says, ‘We are at a crisis with our health in large part because we eat too much and we're not active enough.’”

Kings Of Fitness In Asia: Two California Natives Take World Gym to Number One in Taiwan

Full text available upon request:

Taipei 101, the world’s tallest building, will soon have one of America’s largest and oldest fitness brand names as a tenant – World Gym. With 15 locations in Taiwan, World Gym is the largest fitness chain in the country, and World Gym Taiwan is, in turn, the largest franchisee in the World Gym system, both domestic and international. The two people who accomplished this feat, Michael Sanciprian, CEO, and John Caraccio, President, are both California natives who went to Asia seeking the American Dream in the international fitness market and have achieved it. ‘We started with one location in one city and worked our way from there,’ says Caraccio who founded the company in 2004 and has expanded into 5 cities with annual revenues of over US$42 million. Sanciprian says, ‘The key ingredient to success in the international markets is to remember what works in the US market and to stick with it, despite all the cultural and demographic differences that bombard you when you get off the plane.’ During the toughest economical time over the past 2 years World Gym Taiwan has doubled the company size and tripled it revenue. When asked how did they accomplished that Sanciprian says, ” We had two choices, one, sit on the side line and wait it out or, two, be aggressive and take advantage of all the great realestate plays and that is what we did”. Caraccio added, “We were able to get rents 70 percent off from what they were 2 years ago and that was key” The World Gym Taiwan formula has been to make the clubs exciting, full of color and lots of energy. Sanciprian says, ‘when you walk into one of our clubs it feels like you are in Las Vegas or at a rock concert. We are very disciplined in the size of our locations and we focus on low rents. Caraccio says, ‘Every year we are able to learn new ways to operate cheaper and more efficiently in order to increase the profitability of each club. It was also part of my strategic growth formula when I brought on my CEO and Partner Michael Sanciprian 3 years ago. His 20 years of experience and his passion for this business is second to none and that was what I was looking for to lead my company to the next level.’...

Green Gyms: Healthier Grist For Recycled Treadmills

“National fitness chains and boutique clubs alike are retro-fitting old centers and building greener new ones. ‘Health clubs worldwide are continuing to adopt greener practices,’ said Kara Shemin, of the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), the industry's not-for-profit trade association. Despite the weak economy and rising unemployment, the health club industry is in good shape. An IHRSA survey found that total industry revenues rose two percent in 2009, to $19.5 billion. And experts think health club attendees, who increased to an all-time high average of 102 days last year, will opt to put their money where the ecological grass is greener. ‘As people progressively become more aware of their carbon footprint, and integrate ways to reduce it daily, they will have an expectation that other places they frequent, like their health clubs, will do the same,’ Shemin said.”

Advance Notice

Death rates from heart disease in the United States have fallen 66 percent over the last 60 years — a remarkable drop that happened so gradually, many of us aren’t even aware. But not everyone has benefited equally. White men saw a 65 percent drop since 1950; African-American men, just 50 percent. For black men in Mississippi, there have been no improvements at all in the last 30 years. Several studies, including a long-term project in Mississippi called the Jackson Heart Study, are trying to understand why blacks lag behind, said Dr. Herman A. Taylor Jr., who is leading the Jackson study. Researchers do have a good idea of what keeps hearts strong, no matter the ethnicity. ‘The best way to treat this disease is to never get it,’ said Dr. Clyde W. Yancy, president of the American Heart Association. The vast majority of people can avoid heart disease by taking good care of themselves — by controlling their weight and blood pressure, exercising regularly, not smoking, and eating a healthy diet, he said. As Patricia Benson [a surgical technician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital ] knows, though, that can be harder than it seems. mBenson, who is African-American, had a heart attack scare at 55, just a few months after being diagnosed with diabetes. She wishes she made more of an effort to exercise, for instance, though she is on her feet all day at work in the operating room. Taylor said he thinks that exercise, diet, and obesity are key contributors to heart disease among Jackson’s African-American population. Only 20 percent of the participants in his study get to the gym regularly, and 30 percent say they never work up a sweat in a typical week...

D.C. Council Launching Campaign Against Childhood Obesity

“The D.C. Council plans to give final approval Tuesday to school nutrition and physical education standards that would be among the strictest in the country, mandating that low-calorie and low-fat meals be served to about 71,000 students and eventually tripling the time they are required to spend exercising. The measure was inspired by first lady Michelle Obama's efforts to have children eat healthier foods and exercise more, and it would move breakfast from the cafeteria to the classroom in many D.C. schools to improve participation. Officials said the program, estimated to cost as much as $23 million over four years, could be paid for through a citywide soda tax. Council member Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), who sponsored the legislation, said she will propose a penny-per-ounce tax on soda, an idea that appears to have broad council support. ‘When this legislation takes effect in Washington, D.C., it will signal best practices to all of us and pave the way for our nation to follow,’ said Waters, owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant and Cafe in Berkeley, Calif. Cheh's bill also would put much greater emphasis on physical education in city schools. Elementary students, for instance, receive an average of 45 minutes of physical education a week. The bill would increase the requirement to 150 minutes starting in 2014. In middle school, where students now have physical education for one trimester, they would attend gym class throughout the school year for at least 225 minutes a week. ‘We need to pass this 'cause our kids are getting fatter and fatter,’ council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) said at a council meeting...