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Solutions to Keep
Members Coming Back
Speci al Repor t :
Member Attrition
O 2nd Annual Augie’s Bash
O Group Cycling Principles
O Youth Weight-Loss Program Basics
Motivate Members
by Measuring
Exercise Results
Improve Service
Experience with
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Keep Customers
Happy by Raising
Cleanliness Standards
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www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 7
The ‘Issue’ is
Member Attrition
Ronale Tucker Rhodes, M.S., Editorial Director
The ‘solution’ is to get members involved,
show them results, provide great service
and keep your facility clean.
Assessing for Retention
Richard J. Bloomer, Ph.D., CSCS
Improve member exercise program
compliance by educating them and
showing them the results of their efforts.
Use Secret Shoppers to
Enhance Customer Service
Amy Scanlin, M.S.
A secret shopping company can provide
insight about your members’ experiences
and help to improve customer service.
Optimal Cleanliness =
Member Satisfaction
Guy Brown
Clean fitness centers keeps members by
raising standards and eliminating hazards
and wasteful practices.
The Basics of a Youth
Weight-Loss Program
Ryan Vogt
Offering a successful youth fitness
program takes planning, commitment, a
great staff and motivating ideas.
Group Cycling Results
Stephen A. Black, M.Ed., PT, ATC/L, NSC-CPT
Understand the principles that will help
create fun, motivating and safe group
cycling programs.
The Fitness Cure
Ronale Tucker Rhodes, M.S., Editorial Director
Fitness professionals will play a crucial
role in the second annual Bash for Augie’s
Quest, to be held in March.
February 2007
Volume 23, No. 2
8 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
10 Editor’s Note
12 Contributors
13 Letters
14 News
Industry News, Fitness Research, People
and Places, Trend Watch and more
23 Fitness Q&A
■ Is it possible to eat healthy at a fast food
■ What’s meant by the term ‘significant’
when it’s used in studies?
■ Is there a difference between refurbished
and reconditioned equipment?
24 Media
■ Workouts from Boxing’s
Greatest Champs
■ Mastering Cortisol
■Vegetarian Sports Nutrition
Plus, catalogs and charts
26 Best Ideas
■ Certified in Wellness Excellence
■ Trick or Trim
■ Successful Aging
50 Operations
Membership Attrition and
Club Profitability, Part 1
51 Independent Issues
Retention vs. Sales Costs:
A Re-Examination
52 Risk Management
When Your Insurance
Company Won’t Pay
53 Facility Maintenance
Make a Difference with the Basics
54 Instructor Training
Obesity 101: The Physiology of Fatness
55 Client Handout
Understanding Obesity Health Risks
56 Purchasing Guide
60 New Products
64 Classifieds
67 Supplier Index
68 What’s Next
69 Calendar
70 Facility Spotlight
Renovation Increases Usage
There’s more to FM than can be
found in the pages of each issue.
Visit our website to find
resources to help you succeed in
your fitness services business.
FM’S E-ZINE Read FM online
cover to cover for free. Inform
your international peers!
someone else’s issue? View this
month’s articles online.
DIRECTORY Find suppliers by
product or name in the most
searchable database in the
industry meetings, conferences
and trade shows.
E-LETTER Clubs respond and
interact about monthly
management topics. Interested?
Read the e-Letter online, or
subscribe to have it emailed
directly to you each month.
breakdown of industry data.
Download an entry form to win an
award for outstanding innovations.
Vote for the best suppliers in six
categories, as well as the best
product of the year!
more than 1,500 articles by topic.
JOB FAIR Find a job, or post a
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CLASSIFIED ADS Find items for
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ADVERTISING Find out how to
advertise in Fitness Management
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10 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
The story of Albert Argibay being kicked out of a Planet
Fitness gym, and his membership revoked, smells bad, if
you ask me. Bad on the part of Argibay, who clearly isn’t
taking any responsibility for his actions, and is, instead, plac-
ing total blame on Planet Fitness’ written poli-
cies and the actions of its manager. Bad for our
industry’s facility operators who are working
ever so hard to lower their member attrition
levels by seeking out as much advice as possi-
ble about how to keep members coming back
to their facilities. And bad for our industry’s
image, as one facility’s policies are portrayed
negatively by the media.
First of all, I don’t buy Argibay’s story of the
event that occurred. The discrepancies between
his account and Manager Carol Palazzolo’s are
too different to be believed. In case you don’t know the
specifics, here they are:
Argibay, a bodybuilder and state corrections officer, was
grunting while lifting 500-pound weights. Because grunting
is against Planet Fitness’ policy, and because he was asked
repeatedly to stop and didn’t, Argibay was asked by the man-
ager to leave the facility. Argibay states in the first article printed
about this incident (The New York Times, Nov. 18, 2006), that
his response to the request was merely, “I’m not grunting,
I’m breathing heavy,”and that the reason he was asked to leave
was because the manager didn’t like to be “challenged.”
It’s possible that that’s what happened, but in this age of
customer-service-conscious facility management, it’s not very
probable. Kudos goes to Planet Fitness for making an official
response to the Times article, which was one-sided toward
Argibay. In the statement, Planet Fitness spokesman Dave
Lakhani gives this account: “Mr. Argibay was asked to stop
his excessively loud grunting and screaming as he squatted
weight.… Mr. Argibay’s response was, ‘I’m a bodybuilder and
I’ll grunt if I want to.” When asked again to stop the loud
noise, Mr. Argibay responded, ‘You are a f****g b*tch. I’m not
going to stop.” Then, when told the authorities were going to
be called if he didn’t stop his intimidating behavior, he stated,
“My f***g boss is the captain of the police force.”
Argibay is clearly a bully, and someone who misuses his
“perceived”position of authority. I don’t believe for a minute
that most fitness facility managers would have acted too dif-
ferently in Palazzolo’s shoes.
It’s bad enough that Argibay downplayed the account of
what happened, but the Times article should have been
more impartial. The article’s author made a mockery out
of Planet Fitness’ no grunting rule by stating that Argibay
“had violated one of the club’s most sacred and strictly
enforced rules: He was grunting.” What’s wrong with facil-
ities making rules to appeal to their target market? As Planet
Fitness states, “over 80 percent of the … membership is
derived from people who are coming back to the gym for
the first time.… Planet Fitness strives to make the environ-
ment pleasant, non-threatening and supportive of those
people who often feel out of place in more aggressive work-
out facilities.” Heck, I’m a veteran of fitness facilities, and I
find grunting offensive; I can’t imagine being a newbie in a
fitness facility where members are constantly grunting.
Planet Fitness might be well-advised to be a bit more dis-
creet in dealing with members who break their policies. Its
“Lunk Alarm” (a siren with flashing blue lights and a public
scolding) goes a bit far, and I agree that it could definitely
be humiliating to some who possibly hadn’t meant to vio-
late the rules. But rules are good, especially when they sup-
port the culture the club is trying to create.
One last thing about the Times article and some others.
The fact that Maria Sharapova and Monica Seles grunt on
the tennis court has little relation to the Planet Fitness issue.
I seriously doubt that members who worked out with body-
builder legends such as Joe Gold, Arnold Schwarzenegger
and Lou Ferrigno were offended by their grunting.
The fact that “nationwide the [Planet Fitness] chain expels
roughly two members a month for various reasons, most
commonly grunting and dropping weights,” smacks of a
good retention policy, in my opinion. At least they’ve iden-
tified a method for lowering their attrition rates among the
population to whom they seek to cater. FM
Editor’s Note
As if our industry hasn’t been battling its
image issue long enough, along comes
another scandal that is completely
mischaracterized by the media.
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12 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
(951) 244-6498
(760) 439-3779
Associate Editor HEATHERPEAVEY (570) 271-9001
Contributing/Technical Editors
Production Director BONNIE MADISON
Electronic Production MARJORIESCHULTZ
Manager marj@fitnessmanagement.com
Production Assistant SCOTT PACKEL
Advertising Sales ANDEE BELL (530) 661-7585
Manager andee@fitnessmanagement.com
Account Executive APRIL DONALD(530) 666-3496
Classified Ads DONNABUTERA(469) 362-9953
P U B L I C A T I O N S I N C .
4130 Lien Road • Madison, WI 53704
(800) 722-8764 • (608) 249-0186
Group Publisher BRAD ZAUGG
Administration Director SHARON SIEWERT
& Controller
Circulation & DENISE R. THOMPSON
Database Manager
Circulation Assistants COLLEEN WENOS
Accounting Assistant GLORIAHAWKINSON
MIS Assistant SEAN RAY
Web Programmer ALEX MALYUTIN
February 2007
Volume 23, NO. 2
FITNESS MANAGEMENT (ISSN 0882-0481) is published monthly and is distributed
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PH.D., C.S.C.S.
Exercise Physiologist and
Assistant Professor,
University of Memphis, Tenn.
Assessing for Retention
“While a change in body
weight/body fat may be most
important for many people, it is
certainly not the only variable on
which members should focus.”
Fitness Expert and
Certified Instructor
Using Secret Shoppers to
Enhance Customer Service
“Smart companies hire secret
shoppers before they think there
may be a customer service issue.”
CEO, Rocky Mountain
Human Performance Center
Group Cycling Results
“To help members get results,
instructors should adhere to
some general principles of
sports conditioning.”
Fitness Director,
Tri-City Court Club
The Basics of a Youth
Weight-Loss Program
“The focus of your program should
be the benefits of proper nutrition
and exercise for life.”
Manager, International
Leisure and Hospitality
Optimal Cleanliness = Member Satisfaction
“Even in fitness facilities with a good cleaning
philosophy, some areas get overlooked.”
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 13
Industry Challenge
“I am trying to find information on corporations
that have onsite, multi-purpose wellness centers
with pools. My company is trying to determine the
value of building a lap swimming pool. [What are]
the pros and cons?”
Sheila Sharemet
Health & Wellness Supervisor
BP Wellness Center
via email
In August we asked:
How does your fitness center make sure
members are dressed appropriately?
At our college facility, we implemented the
“T-shirts with sleeves required” when we
opened. This wasn’t well received for the first
couple of months, as there had been no dress
code in the past, but we simply explained that
we were looking out for their health. By wearing
T-shirts with sleeves, it means less skin contact
with all of the upholstery, as well as less sweat
dripping onto the cardio machines. We have a
few colorful shirts in our “forgotten” drawer for
those folks who come in tank tops. When they
are done with their workout, they drop the shirt
into the towel cart where it is washed and ready
to use the next time.
Vicky Jaeger
Luther College
Decorah, Iowa
I sent in a question recently for the e-Letter
[Towels for Your Pool? October 2006]. There
was a great response, with some very creative
ideas, printed in the e-Letter. I also had sev-
eral other readers contact me directly with
more great ideas. I’d like to encourage other
club owners/managers/trainers to contact the
e-Letter each month with questions and
ideas. I think the e-Letter has become a very
unique resource for people in the industry.
Rob Bishop
Elevations Health Club
via email
The Editor replies:
We encourage all of our readers to sign up for
the e-Letter at eletter@fitnessmanagement.com.
This open forum is a great way to share ideas
and experiences that will help our industry
e-Letter Encouragement
By now everyone’s heard about Planet Fit-
ness and its disgruntled grunter, and no
doubt managers are turning their attention
to balancing on the ever-thinning line
between attracting novice exercisers and
keeping hard-core members happy. But have
we, as an industry, missed the point of this
unfortunate incident?
I had a different interpretation of the
reported events than simply one man taking
a stand for the right to grunt in public. I
saw Albert Argibay’s extreme, defensive-by-
way-of-attack reaction to Planet Fitness
Manager Carol Palazzolo’s reprimands as
having less to do with rules and more to do
with gender. Would he have gone to all that
trouble if a male manager asked him to stop
grunting? Or would he have just shrugged
and toned it down a little?
Argibay’s behavior is eerily reminiscent of
the misogynistic (and anti-semitic) tirade
unleashed by Mel Gibson when he was
arrested by a female police officer under sus-
picion of driving while intoxicated. Gibson
called the officer “sugar tits,” while Argibay
called Palazzolo a “f***ing b**ch.”
Planet Fitness hinted at its awareness of
the underlying cause of the situation when
it released an official press release explaining
its version of the events. While Planet Fitness
limited its description of Argibay’s behavior
during the event as “intimidating,” “threat-
ening” and “aggressive,” the release did use
the words “inflammatory” and “misogynis-
tic” to characterize Argibay’s behavior while
he basked in his 15 minutes of fame. One
example is this insensitive remark, attributed
to Argibay’s attorney, while a guest on the
Bob Rivers Radio Show: “They didn’t tell
him it was Free Tampon Tuesday and Curves
would not accept your membership, even
with proof of zero testosterone levels.”
I think this incident will have negative
implications for clubs struggling to get the
attention of new exercisers (unless they
successfully market themselves as the
“anti-Planet Fitness”). But even more, I
think the event characterized perfectly the
very real (albeit unspoken) gender divide
in our industry.
Thank goodness the days are over when
the majority of women on the trade show
floor were oiled-up babes wearing bikinis —
but women with power are still few and far
between in the fitness industry. Show me the
woman in a powerful, prominent position at
a large supplier. Show me the speaker at an
industry trade show who isn’t a Hall of Fame
football star. Perhaps if the industry as a
whole recognized the considerable talents of
more women, and allowed more of them to
reach positions of power, it would be easier
for managers like Palazzolo to do their jobs.
Heather Peavey
Associate Editor
Fitness Management
Is it really about grunting?
14 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
The Medical Wellness Association (MWA), Sugar
Land, Texas, announced its 2006 Distinguished
Award winners, and honored them at the
national Medical Wellness Summit and Expo in
Washington, D.C., in December. MWA chose
Dennis Colacino, Ph.D., as the recipient of its
2006 Distinguished Service Award for his more
than 40 years of outstanding leadership and
service to the corporate health and medical well-
ness industries. The American University and Dr.
Bob Karch were honored as the recipients of the
Best University Wellness and Study Program.
The Medical Fitness Association (MFA), Rich-
mond, Va., recognized the best in medical fit-
ness center management during a ceremony in
November 2006 in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Con-
vention Center, which also served as the site
of MFA’s 12th Annual Conference. The awards,
in a variety of cate-
gories, honored out-
standing facilities,
programs and pro-
fessionals for their
achievements and
contributions to the
medical wellness
Achievement Awards
were presented to
facilities that serve
as benchmarks for
the industry. The
award for a facility 50,000 square feet or larger
went to UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont,
Chapel Hill, N.C. Cumberland Medical Center Well-
ness Complexat Fairfield Glade, Crossville, Tenn.,
won for facility 20,000 to 50,000 square feet. The
Fitness Center at High Point Regional, High Point,
N.C., won for medical fitness facility of less than
20,000 square feet. And LifeStyleRx, Livermore,
Calif., won for facility in operation for less than
three years.
MFA’s Distinguished Service Awards recognize
those who have displayed significant leadership
in hospital administration and/or facility manage-
ment. Recipients were the following: Director:
Nancy Dostal-Hoyt, Mercy Medical Center, Cedar
Rapids, Iowa; and Administrator: Neil Sol, Vall-
eyCare Health System, Pleasanton, Calif. The Don
Schneider Distinguished Service Awards were
presented for exceptional, long-term volunteer
service to MFA and the industry. They went to
Douglas Ribley, Director of Wellness & Adminis-
trative Services for Akron General Health System,
Akron, Ohio, and William Baldwin. The Board of
Directors Award goes to an organization or indi-
vidual that has significantly advanced the med-
ical fitness industry. This year, it went to Power
Wellness Management, Arlington Heights, Ill.
And, the Program Innovation Winner went to
Meter Madness/North American Rowing Chal-
lenge by Keweenaw Memorial Rehab & Fitness
Center, Houghton, Mich.
The International Council on Active Aging
(ICAA), Vancouver, B.C., Canada, announced its
award winners in November at ICAA’s Active
Aging 2006 conference in Las Vegas. Its 2006
ICAA Industry Innovators Award winners were
chosen for their creativity and excellence of their
offerings, which promote health and quality of
life for adults ages 50 and older.
The winners were Advance to Wellness,
SecureHorizons from United HealthCare, Santa
Ana, Calif.; Wellness Program, Inverness Village
Wellness Center, Inverness Village, Tulsa, Okla.;
Project Enhance, Senior Services, Seattle, Wash.;
Get Fit on Route 66/Step Up to Better Health,
AARP, Washington, D.C.; Travel by Leisure Care
(TLC), Leisure Care, Seattle, Wash.; and Excellence
for Living/Passport to Wellness, Sunnyside, Har-
risonburg, Va. In addition, ICAA recognized the
Life FitnessCircuit Seriesage-friendlystrength line
as its 2006 Industry Equipment Innovator.
Colin Milner, ICAA founder and chief execu-
tive officer, says, speaking about the ICAA
awards, but really saying something about all
fitness industry awards, “Through their persist-
ent and committed efforts, these organizations
are supporting healthy, vibrant living at any age.
This is something we must successfully promote
if we are to meet the challenges of our aging
[and sedentary] population.” FM
Industry awards serve to honor recipients for outstanding programs, service
and more, but they also serve larger purposes: to promote the
organizations offering them, to promote the wellness/fitness industry to a
larger audience and to inspire other people to strive for their best. A few
medical/wellness associations offered their 2006 awards recently, and
honored those who help people live healthier lives.
Wellness Awards Promote Facilities and Industry
The Medical Wellness Associa-
tion chose Dennis Colacino
as the recipient of its 2006
Distinguished Service Award.
Bob Forman, Director of The Fitness Center at High Point
Regional (on the right), receives an award from an MFA
board member.
www. f i t ness management . com F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 15
Colorado Leads in
Fitness Memberships
THE INTERNATIONAL HEALTH, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA),
Boston, Mass., revealed in October that Denver and Colorado have the
highest rates of fitness center memberships among cities and states in
the U.S. These findings were part of the 2005 IHRSA/American Sports Data
Health Club Trend Report, a national survey conducted each year for the
last 19 years by American Sports Data (ASD) and sponsored by IHRSA.
The national study found that a projected 21.8 percent of Colorado
state residents (over the age of six) belong to a fitness center. Utah res-
idents follow closely with 20.8 percent and Massachusetts was next
with 20.6 percent of residents who belong. Rounding out the top five
are Arizona (20 percent) and Delaware (19 percent).
Denver ranks as the top city in the U.S. for fitness memberships,
with 25.1 percent of its residents belonging to a fitness center. Colum-
bus, Ohio, follows closely with 24.9 percent of its residents saying they
are members, and San Diego, Calif., is third, with 23 percent. Rounding
out the top five cities is Miami, Fla. (21.7 percent), and Indianapolis,
Ind. (21.2 percent). FM
People are burning nearly 1 billion
more gallons of gasoline each
year than they did in
1960 because of
weight gain. More
weight in the car
means lower
gas mileage.
-The Engineering
Economist, October-
December 2006
Sport & Health Clubs donated $100,000 in sponsorship funds to
local schools through Project Fit America.
Club Chain Donates
to Local Schools
SPORT & HEALTH CLUBS, with clubs and day spas in 24
locations in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., celebrated
its partnership with Project Fit America (PFA) in October with
kick-off activities and a ribbon-cutting ceremony officially ded-
icating new fitness programs donated to area schools. PFA is a
national nonprofit charity organized for the purpose of donat-
ing cardiovascular health and fitness programming to schools.
Eight schools were offered the turnkey program, which pro-
vides indoor and outdoor fitness equipment, teacher training
and physical education curriculum. Sport & Health donated
$100,000 in sponsorship funds. This donation will affect more
than 8,000 students and hundreds of teachers in schools based
in Northern Virginia. “It is our goal to help deliver well-designed
fitness programs to encourage physical activity among students,
teachers, parents and other community members,” says Sport
& Health’s Senior Vice President of Fitness Mitch Batkin.
As part of the sponsored program, all day training sessions
were held at each school with a PFAPE Instructor. Teachers were
taught safety and procedure, as well as how to incorporate the
PFAindoor and outdoor equipment with related games and chal-
lenges into their daily school activities. The program designed
by PFA addresses the deficient areas where children fail fitness
tests, and provides a boost to the minutes per week kids are
active. “Physical education and fitness-related activities con-
tinue to be cut and/or poorly funded at a time when childhood
obesity and related illnesses are at epidemic levels,” says PFA’s
Executive Director Stacey Cook. “Our children’s health is too
important to sit idly by, which is why we applaud Sport & Health
for taking this leadership role to bring programming to the
D.C. metropolitan area.” FM
16 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
Activity Pyramid
Created for Kids
LESS TV/COMPUTER TIME, and more play time
is the message in MyActivity Pyramid, a guide
to physical activity for children ages six to 11,
developed by University of Missouri-Columbia
Extension health educators. “We really want
kids to be active up to several hours a day,”
says Steve Ball, assistant professor of exercise
physiology and a state fitness specialist. “Reg-
ular physical activity is important to overall
health, and school-aged children need at least
60 minutes every day.”
With a design similar to the U.S. Depart-
ment of Agriculture’s MyPyramid food guide,
MyActivity Pyramid features cartoon-like draw-
ings and multiple activity levels. The pyramid
shows children what kind of activity they need
and how much.
Everyday activities — where children should
accumulate most of their physical activity time
— are at the bottom of the pyramid. These activ-
ities can include playing four square at recess,
shooting hoops or riding a bike after school.
The next level describes more vigorous activ-
ities, which children need at least three to five
times a week. These activities include sports,
running, rollerblading and playground games.
Flexibility and strength activities fill the third
level of MyActivity Pyramid. Two to three times
a week, children should be involved in activities
that promote muscle fitness and flexibility, such
as stretching, push-ups, martial arts or yoga.
The very top of MyActivity Pyramid represents
inactive time. Watching TV or playing video and
computer games should be limited to two hours
or less each day.
MyActivity Pyramid has an accompanying
activity log to help children chart their own activ-
ity on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. FM
Intense Workouts
Better for Kids
Weight Control
Sustained, vigorous exercise may
be more effective than lower-
intensity activity in helping chil-
dren avoid obesity and stay fit, a
new study shows.
For the study, which was pub-
lished in the August 2006 issue
of the American Journal of Clini-
cal Nutrition, researchers looked
at 780, nine- and 10-year-olds,
measuring their activity levels
over four consecutive days. The
children who engaged in vigor-
ous physical activity for more
than 40 minutes daily had less
body fat than those who were
this active for just 10 to 18 min-
utes a day. There was no associ-
ation between the total amount
of a child’s daily physical activ-
ity and his or her levels of body
fat, but children who were active
for a longer amount of time each
day did have greater cardiovas-
cular fitness. “Our … results sug-
gest that vigorous-intensity
physical activity may have a
greater impact in preventing obe-
sity in children than lower phys-
ical activity intensity levels,”
researchers say. FM
www. f i t ness management . com F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 17
IHRSA Offers Asia
Pacific Market Report
The International Health,
Racquet & Sportsclub Asso-
ciation (IHRSA), Boston,
Mass., together with Deloitte
& Touche GmbH, compiled
an overview of the Asia
Pacific health club market in
a first-of-its-kind publication:
The IHRSA Asia Pacific
Market Report: The size and
scope of the health club
industry. The report was
released at the fifth annual
IHRSA Asia Pacific Forum in
Beijing, which took place in
Key findings in the report
include the leaders in market
size in millions (USD), with
Japan first at US $3,556, fol-
lowed by Korea (US$990) and
Australia (US $907). New
1/2 island
to be the No. 1 new year’s resolution for fran-
announced the formation of the CURVES FRAN-
organization created by — and for — its fran-
chisees. Curves claims to welcome the CFA with
open arms as a new way to facilitate communi-
cation. “We are looking forward to a continuing
dialogue with its executive board on ways to
build our brand and our network,” says Mike
Raymond, president of Curves International Inc.
The CFA’s early emphasis will focus on the more
than 9,000 Curves fitness centers in North Amer-
ica, but its ultimate goal is to meet the needs of
all 10,000 franchisees globally. The CFA held its
first annual meeting in October in Las Vegas,
Nev., to coincide with Curves’ annual convention.
followed suit with the NATIONAL FRANCHISE COUN-
CIL (NFC), formed together with the GOLD’S GYM
member board of directors, with three representa-
tives from the GGFA and three from GGI, that will
function asa forum to resolve issuesamong Gold’s
Gym franchisees, such as the format of Gold’s
Gym’snational vendorprogram and the Gold’sGym
national Ad committee. “[The NFC] helps make a
Gold’s Gym an attractive franchise investment,”
saysAndrew Selden of Briggs and Morgan in Min-
neapolis, Minn., GGFA’s franchise attorney.
Franchises have reason for being concerned.
Many, like FIT ZONE FOR WOMEN in Kalamazoo,
Mich., have been forced to make unpopular
changesthanksto feeling a financial pinch. FitZone
for Women increased its franchise fees 28 percent
in January, from $19,500 to $25,000. “Certain
expenses— from utilitiesto office suppliesto legal
and accounting fees — keep costing more,” says
Rick Romeo, director of franchising, in an email.
“This makes it harder for us to stay ahead of the
game in terms of service and support.”
This new focus doesn’t seem to be a deterrent
to new franchises, though, which are still popping
up with interesting approaches to success. KIDOKI-
NETICS, Weston, Fla., ishoping itsall-around sports
fitnessapproach to kids’ fitnesswill be cute enough
to attractfranchisees— and keep them smiling. FM
Trend Watch: Keeping
Franchisees Happy
1/2 island
(Continued on page 18)
2005 2004 2006
18 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
Zealand leads membership penetration rates,
with 10 percent of the population, followed by
Australia (9 percent) and Singapore (7.1 percent).
The report examines the size and scope of the
Asia Pacific club industry, and contains country-spe-
cificindustryinformation, including the number offit-
nesscenters, number of membersand leading club
companies for 11 countries (Australia, China, India,
Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Sin-
gapore, Taiwan and Thailand). For more information,
go to www.ihrsastore.com, or call 617 951-0055. FM
Club Changes With the Times
East Shore Athletic Club, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.,
started out as a one-building racquetball
center in 1983. Since then, the club has
changed a lot, according to Director of Mar-
keting and Community Relations Maggie
O’Rourke. The racquetball courts were
removed at one point, but, says O’Rourke,
“We are now in the process of returning the
racquetball courts, along with a complete
exterior renovation, to return the history of the
first location.”
Also, the facility has expanded to four loca-
tions in Mt. Pleasant, with plans for six to eight
more facilities in the future. In addition, “We
have adapted our business plan to fit more
with our members who are on-the-move, and
started a ‘sister’ brand of East Shore Athletic
Club called ES24, which stands for East Shore
24 hours. These facilities are smaller, but are
open 24 hours a day,” O’Rourke says. “East
Shore Athletic Club is continuously updating,
and we want to continue to meet our members’
needs,” she says. FM
Small Classes Offer
Personal Attention
It’s not unusual to find crowds of people
jammed into one group fitness class at many
fitness centers. With so many people in one
class, it’s nearly impossible for one instructor to
make sure each person is performing every
exercise correctly, or if they should even be
doing the exercises to begin with.
At Absolute Fitnessin Boynton Beach, Fla., they
believe the only way to ensure a safe, effective
classisto set a maximum limit of four participants
in each class they offer, which includes Pilates,
yoga, strength classes, golf conditioning classes
and small group personal training. Class partici-
pants pay $25 per class, and their classes are
scheduled at a time that is convenient for them.
“Participants pay more for the classes offered
at Absolute Fitness, but the personal attention
they receive is priceless,” says Rob Jewett of
Absolute Fitness. Instead of having a routine
already in place for the class, Absolute Fitness
instructors design the class according to the
participants’ fitness levels. They then design a
safe, appropriate workout that progressively
gets harder as the participants improve their fit-
ness levels, Jewett explains. FM
Fitness Center Raises
Money for SPCA
Julie Luther’s PurEnergy Fitness Center, Greens-
boro, N.C., held its First Annual Spinning
Marathon and Pet Adoption Fair in October,
sponsored by PurEnergy and the Yankee Doodle
The anti-cancer effects of exercise
are due to increases in a protein
that blocks cell growth and induces
cell death. Among subjects who
were physically active, an increase
in this protein was associated with
a 48-percent reduction in colon
cancer deaths.
-Gut, May 2006
YogaFit Now
Offers ACE CECs
YOGAFIT TRAINING SYSTEMS Worldwide, Torrance, Calif., will now offer contin-
uing education credits for yoga instructors through the American Council on Exer-
cise (ACE), San Diego, Calif. Beth Shaw, president and founder of YogaFit, and
ACE entered into a partnership to enhance fitness professionals’ educational oppor-
tunities and provide new ways to augment credentials, according to Shaw. This
is the first time that ACE has entered into an alliance with a yoga organization.
As part of the partnership, ACE professionals receive a 20-percent discount on
the YogaFit Level 1 teacher training program. ACE professionals also receive a 15-
percent discount on select YogaFit apparel and merchandise. YogaFit profession-
als receive 20 percent off select ACE course materials.
Each of YogaFit’s more than 50,000 instructors worldwide are now encouraged
to sit for either the ACE Group Fitness Instructor or ACE Personal Trainer examina-
tion, in addition to their YogaFit instructor training. SaysShaw, “This effort will greatly
enhance the exercise science backgrounds of our members, and bring the prac-
tice of yoga to all populations in a safe and user-friendly fitness format.” FM
East Shore Athletic Club has come a long way since it
opened in 1983.
Absolute Fitness offers small group classes in order to
provide personalized attention.
www. f i t ness management . com F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 19
1/3 vertical
Pet Lodge. Twenty cyclists were spon-
sored in a two-hour group cycling class
to raise money for the Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)
of the Triad. The event also included a
free “Ask the Dog Trainer” booth, a
microchip clinic, Borders Books, and
SPCA dogs and cats. Sponsors held a
raffle for five personal training sessions
with Julie Luther, or one week boarding
at Yankee Doodle Pet Lodge. The event
raised more than $1,400 to benefit
SPCA, a non-profit animal welfare group
that rescues dogs and cats and provides
low-cost spay/neuter services. FM
Trend Watch: Aquatics Log On
WHO SAYS ELECTRONICS and water don’t
mix? Aquatics professionals now have a host
of electronic options to help them do every-
thing from getting a new job to earning certi-
fications and attending conference seminars
— all through the Internet.
FITNESSJOBS.COM, Phoenix, Ariz., forged an
TION, Nokomis, Fla., to create a branded
career site specifically for the aquatics indus-
aims to help management recruit quality per-
sonnel and offer job seekers a free service to
find part- and full-time employment. Appli-
cants can browse and search job postings free
of charge. Employers must register and pay to
post ads, search resumés or create job alerts.
Aquatics professionals can further their
education online, too, thanks to the NATIONAL
orado Springs, Colo., which launched its
eProAcademy Online Training Center at
WWW.EPROACADEMY.ORG in January. Students
can achieve a Certified Pool-Spa Operator cer-
tification using a blended format program that
uses narration, video, quizzes and other inter-
active learning tools. This new format may
even be a better option for aquatics students.
“Compelling scien-
tific evidence shows
that blended learn-
ing is more effective
than either in-class
or online training
only,” says Alex
Antoniou, director of
educational pro-
grams at NSPF.
“Having a portion of
the training online
also makes the
course more conven-
ient and economical
for students and
employers.” NSPF
will launch a total of 16 online eProAcademy
classes between Oct., 1, 2006, and March 31,
2007, including compliance courses such as
occupational safety, employment law, health-
care, environmental and hazardous waste
management, and DOT training for drivers of
hazmat shipments.
The Internet has also opened up a host of
ways for aquatic professionals to save money.
As reported in the December issue of Fitness
Management (p.16), the WORLD AQUATIC
HEALTH CONFERENCE posted its 2006 seminars
on the web at WWW.EPROACADEMY.ORG. For
$95, people can watch three of the 35 semi-
nar choices. With no restrictions as to how
many viewers can watch an Internet-broad-
casted seminar at a time, this option opens
up a whole new way for facilities to educate
their aquatics staff — at a fraction of the cost
of sending them to the actual conference. FM
PurEnergy Fitness Center held its First Annual Spinning
Marathon to raise money for the Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals.
(Continued on page 22)
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Call Today 1.800.428.5306
Children and
adolescents who
are overweight are
more likely than
their normal-weight
peers to suffer bone
fractures and have
joint and muscle
-Pediatrics, June 2006
20 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
Gold’s Gym International, Dallas,
Texas, announced the resignation
of GENE LAMOTT as chief executive
officer. The company’s board of
directors appointed DAVID SCHN-
ABEL to serve as its new CEO. …
JIM EVANS was named vice presi-
dent/general manager of 7 Flags
Fitness and Racquet Club in Clive,
program director for the Keiser
College eCampus, was recognized
as Instructor of Distinction by
Keiser College, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
TCA HOLDINGS INC., Chicago, Ill.,
renamed a networkof itsChicago-
area facilities to MIDTOWN ATHLETIC
CLUBS. It will spend as much as
$30 million to expand the facili-
ties and install cafés in each. …
Lexington, Ken., the largest Gold’s
Gym franchisee in the world, hired
ANTHONY MUNOZ, a former Cincin-
nati Bengals’ football player and
Hall of Fame inductee, as its
Gold’s Gym spokesperson in the
Dayton, Cincinnati and northern
Kentucky markets. … MOUNTAIN-
Ariz., opened its sixth club in Ari-
zona and announced its next
three locations: southeast Gilbert,
northwest Peoria and the City of
Maricopa. Plans for growth
include five more facilities in the
Phoenix Metro area, and at least
six clubs in Colorado within the
next 24 months. … YMCA OF THE
TREASURE COAST, Stuart, Fla., held
its Senior Health Fair in January.
The event included guest speak-
ers, community resource informa-
tion booths and medical
EXERCISE (ACE), San Diego,
Calif., named LEN KRAVITZ,
associate professor of exercise
at the University of New Mexico
and advisory board member for
Life Fitness, Schiller Park, Ill.,
Fitness Educator of the Year. …
ACE board member WOJTEK
CHODZKO-ZAJKO was selected to
the President’s Council on
Physical Fitness and Sports Sci-
ence Board. … THE INTERNA-
AGING, Vancouver, B.C., Canada,
presented the 2006 Industry
Equipment Innovator award to
Life Fitness, Schiller Park, Ill.,
for its Circuit Series. The award
spotlights North America’s
most inventive new fitness
equipment for active older
People and Places
1/2 horizontal
www. f i t ness management . com F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 21
1/2 horizontal
Ga., appointed Sean Jamesto business
development manager, Europe. He will
join the Wokingham, U.K.-based oper-
ation, which suppliesCheckFree’sclub
management and billing software and
servicesto the European market. Other
CheckFree newsfrom acrossthe pond:
Its web-based management software
was chosen to support a large govern-
ment fitness and leisure facility based
in Belgium. The site isa 1,000-member
complex for staff that is managed by
Bladerunner, a provider of club man-
agement services to the corporate,
public sector and hospitality markets.
… HEALTH FITNESS CORP., Minneapolis,
Minn., formed a new executive struc-
ture to include an office of the chair-
man. The new executive management
team iscomposed of MarkW. Sheffert,
chairman of the board; JerryNoyce, vice
chairman; and Gregg O. Lehman, pres-
identand CEO. Additionally, Tim Peters,
manager of health management for
Health Fitness Corp.’s Eastman Chem-
ical Companyaccount, wasnamed one
of the Top 40 Professionals under 40
by the Tri-Cities Business Journal. …
SCIFIT, Tulsa, Okla., formed Scifit UK,
headquartered in Kingsclere, England.
This new division helps strengthen its
long-term goal of European expansion.
Scifit UK manages warehouses in the
United Kingdom and Germany. Ken
Pearson was named European devel-
opment director for the U.K. and Euro-
pean offices. … Research by the
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton
School of Business Administration,
determined that GLOBALFIT, Philadel-
phia, Pa., is one of the fastest growing
privately held companies in the
Philadelphia region for the fourth con-
secutive year. Additionally, David
Giampaolo succeeded GlobalFit
Founder John Cassady as the com-
pany’s chairman of the board. …
City, Calif., is now the official fitness
consultant for University of Southern
California Recreational Sports, Los
Angeles, Calif. … WATER TECH, East
Brunswick, N.J., employeesparticipated
in the American Cancer Society’s Daf-
fodil Relay for Life 2006 event, which
raised more than $90,000.
Taraflex Sports Flooring by Gerflor,
Atlanta, Ga., re-launched its website
new interactive optionsand animation.
Visitors can design their own basket-
ball or volleyball court online, as well
as sign up and take the AIA Learning
Course titled “The Fundamentals of
Sports Flooring.” Architects can down-
load technical information, including
specifications for all Taraflex products.
… Vitabot, location, announced a new
set of features on its website at
Vitabot released its new Goal Tracking
system. PT Link, a communication
system for clients and trainers, is
scheduled for release thismonth. Also
scheduled for launch in early 2007 is
Mealcasting, which allowshealth clubs
to maintain contact with potential
members and corporate clients.
MOTIONSOFT INC.’s health and fit-
ness division, KI Software, Silver
Spring, Md., acquired COMPUTER
OUTFITTERS, Tucson, Ariz. KI Soft-
ware assumed support and develop-
ment responsibilities for all
Computer Outfitters’ customers. …
Sanford, N.C., acquired ACU-TROL
INC., Auburn, Calif.
Power Systems is located in
Knoxville, Tenn. Its location was
incorrect on p. 15 of the Novem-
ber issue.
22 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
Personal Trainer
Web Directory Created
Personal Trainer Listing Service, Bethel, Conn.,
created a “Yellow Pages” for personal train-
ers at www.personaltrainer.cc. The site was
created so that fitness centers, clients, uni-
versities and others seeking qualified personal
trainers can have a single location to search,
locate, compare and contact personal trainers.
Dan Gaita, president of Personal Trainer List-
ing Service, says that the site allows trainers
to update their information and upload their
photo, and provides a one- to five-star trainer
rating system based on the trainers’ combined
certifications, education and experience.
People seeking trainers can locate, compare
and contact trainers directly. FM
Send Us Your News!
If you have news about your
fitness center, we want to publish
it! This includes facility updates,
renovations and new builds;
anniversaries; events; donations;
new programs or offerings;
community outreach programs;
and much more. Send your news,
with photos (if available), to
and see your name in print! FM
Exercise Important for Those with Diabetes
AMONG THE MANY health benefits of exercise that researchers have found in recent years, two new
studies deal with exercise and diabetes. The first study found that exercise can help people with large
waistlines reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the first place. The second study found
that obese diabetics can benefit from low-intensity, low-impact exercises such as tai chi, stretching
and calisthenics.
In the first study, which was published recently in Diabetic Medicine, researchers found that people
with large waistlines who exercise were less likely to suffer from type 2 diabetes than their less-
active counterparts. Researchers studied 1,812 normal and overweight people and found that physi-
cally inactive people with large waistlines had a 5.5 times greater risk of suffering from diabetes than
active people with small waists. Say researchers, “People who were obese were more likely to be diag-
nosed with glucose intolerance and type 2 diabetes; but, if they were physically active, their risk was
significantly lower.”
In the second study (Diabetes Care, September 2006), researchers found that older obese type
2 diabetics can benefit from low-intensity, low-impact tai chi exercises, regular stretching and cal-
isthenics. In the study, 38 men and women with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to tai chi
exercises, or seated calisthenics and stretching. The participants, who were about 65 years old, par-
ticipated in 55-minute exercise sessions twice a week for 16 weeks. At the end of the study period,
participants in both exercise groups experienced improvements in their balance and walking speed.
Say researchers, “We need to further investigate an optimal modality of exercise(s) and dose for
older, obese and long-term sedentary adults with type 2 diabetes, so that they are able to … enjoy
and adhere to an exercise program in order to retard the decline in physical function associated
with diabetes.” FM
Weight Tied to
Mental Function
tend to score more poorly on tests
of memory, attention and learning
ability than their thinner peers do,
researchers have found. The find-
ings, they say, suggest that a heav-
ier weight in middle age may mean
a higher riskof dementia later in life.
Reporting in the Oct. 10, 2006,
issue of Neurology, the researchers
speculate that higher ratesof cardio-
vascular disease or diabetes might help explain the link. But it’s also possible that substances pro-
duced by fat cells, such as the hormone leptin, have direct effects on the brain.
The study included 2,223 healthy adults who were between the ages of 32 and 62 in 1996. At
that time, they took standard cognitive tests, assessing abilities like memory, attention and speed
of learning. Five years later, they took the tests again.
In general, the researchers found, people with a high body mass index (BMI) had lower test scores
than those with a lower BMI. They also tended to show greater cognitive decline between the two
test periods. Factors such as age, education and general health did not seem to explain the link.
According to researchers, the tests used in the study were sensitive enough to detect “small
variations” in cognition, and the weight-related differences seen among these healthy middle-aged
adults would probably not be obvious in daily life. But, over time, the researcher explained, there
could be more apparent effects on the rate of mental decline.
It’s possible, say the researchers, that excess fat cells have some direct effect on brain func-
tion. For example, some studies suggest that the “hunger” hormone leptin, which is produced by
fat cells, plays a role in learning and memory.
Although study participants were in generally good health, disorders like elevated blood pres-
sure and diabetes could act as a bridge between high BMI and poorer cognitive function. Thick-
ening and hardening of the blood vessels supplying the brain can contribute to dementia. Similarly,
diabetes may harm cognition by either leading to artery disease or because of the effects of the
hormone insulin on brain cells. FM
Adults who carry most of
their excess weight around
the middle may be at
particular risk of high blood
pressure. In a 10-year
study, researchers found
that those whose waistlines
expanded over the years
showed a similar increase
in blood pressure.
-American Journal of
Hypertension, August 2006
www. f i t ness management . com F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 23
Fitness Q&A
In 2003, consumers spent nearly
$121 billion in fast food restau-
rants. It has been said that each
day, one out of every four people
in the U.S. eats fast food.
Although eating “on the road” is
usually quick and convenient, the
food tends to be high in calories,
fat and sodium. Nevertheless,
there are healthy tactics that can
be employed when eating on the
road. Here are a few suggestions:
Drink responsibly. Two beverages
to avoid are milkshakes and sodas.
Besides being high in sodium, milk-
shakes are high in calories and fat;
most sodas are high in sugar, which
has virtually no nutritional value.
Excellent choices for a beverage are
low-fat milk, juice and water.
Get substitutes. Just because a
meal comes with a soda doesn’t
mean consumers can’t ask for low-
fat milk; just because a meal comes
with French fries
doesn’t mean
they can’t ask for
a baked potato
(plain, of course).
Control por-
tions. Tell clients
to order the
smallest burger,
not the largest
one (and get it
without cheese).
They should get
the smallest
order of fries, not
the largest one. In
short, it isn’t wise
to supersize.
Become knowl-
edgeable. A food at one restaurant
can differ dramatically from the
same food at another. For example,
researchers looked at 36 chicken
sandwiches from 16 fast food
chains. They found that a chicken
sandwich at one fast food restaurant
had 360 calories, and a chicken
sandwich at another fast food
restaurant had 950 calories.
Is it possible to eat healthy at a fast food restaurant?
What’s meant by the term “significant”
when it’s used in studies?
In discussing research studies, a term that appears frequently is “signifi-
cant” (or a derivative of the term, such as “significantly”). In normal dia-
logue, “significant” means “important”; in statistical dialogue, “significant”
means “probably true.” The term “significant” is used to describe the
amount of change, as well as the difference between two or more groups.
When the amount of change is said to be “significant,” it means that it’s
“probably true” that the amount of change was the result of the treatments
rather than pure chance. When the difference between two or more groups
is said to be “significant,” it means it’s “probably true” that the difference
was the result of the treatments rather than pure chance.
Consider, for example, a study in which subjects are randomly assigned
to two different groups: One group receives Treatment A and the other
group receives Treatment B. Both Treatment A and Treatment B could pro-
duce a “significant” increase in some variable — such as muscular size or
strength — without there being a “significant” difference between the
two treatments. So the group that did Treatment A might experience a
greater amount of change than the group that did Treatment B, but the dif-
ference might not be large enough to conclude that Treatment A is supe-
rior to Treatment B. Rather, the difference may be due to “pure chance.”
Is there a difference between
refurbished and reconditioned
Many individuals elect to purchase fitness equipment that’s used rather
than new. While this can allow a fitness center to acquire name-brand
equipment without incurring significant costs, it’s important to be aware
of the terminology that’s often employed.
The terms “refurbished” and “reconditioned” both refer to used
equipment, but they have different meanings. In general, equipment
that is refurbished means that it’s repainted, repaired and rebuilt;
equipment that’s reconditioned means that it’s only repaired as
needed. (Some vendors use the term “remanufactured.”) Different ven-
dors may have different definitions of those terms, so it’s a good idea
to determine exactly what they do to the equipment so you’re not
surprised at the time of delivery. As an added measure, you can
request photographs of the equipment. Finally, it’s important to ask
about warranties and to check references.
Matt Brzycki is coordinator of recreational fitness and wellness programs at Prince-
ton University, Princeton, N.J. He has more than 22 years of experience at the col-
legiate level and has authored, co-authored or edited 14 books.
24 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
A premise of Mastering Cortisol is
that weight gain is partially due to
hormonal imbalances. Author Mari-
lyn Glenville makes a solid case for
the relationship between cortisol and
excess body fat. While this book is
aimed at women, there is enough
strategy to cross the gender line for
universal practicality. This book
covers the various sub-topics with
enough depth, yet is a
little more aimed at
the consumer than the
fitness professional.
According to the
author, the body stores
fat primarily on the
waist because of
repeated bouts of the
stress syndrome finally
taking their toll with
elevated cortisol levels, which
Glenville terms “the devil in dis-
guise.” While stress is subjective,
she makes the case that women are
more susceptible to mental stress
than men. The section on excess fat
and its role in health problems is
good for consumers and fitness pro-
fessionals alike because its power-
ful facts and explanations are concise
and to the point. The
exercise section is good,
but not progressive from
a personal trainer’s per-
spective. This is a good
book if your clientele
consists of women 40
and older who are
struggling with weight
due to increased levels
of cortisol from stress.
Workouts from Boxing’s Greatest Champs
AUTHOR: Gary Todd
PUBLISHER: Ulysses Press, 800 377-2542, www.ulyssespress.com
Boxing has gained exposure from cable television, yet you never really get a peek at what the ath-
letes do to prepare for their big fight. In Workouts from Boxing’s Great-
est Champs, Gary Todd assembled knowledge and workouts from
top-notch boxers into a format that is entertaining, informative and will
have you yelling at Rocky to give you one more.
If your facility has a boxing program, this is a must-read for training
routines and regimens that can really add some sizzle to boxing work-
outs. From Norton to Ali to Bramble and everyone in between, you
will know what they ate, when they ate it, when they slept, how far
they ran, how many days a weekthey trained and even what they liked
to watch on television. Even if you aren’t a boxer, you will be fascinated
by the answers each fighter gives to Todd. The style of the bookmakes
you feel like you are in a boxing gym, and has that feel of hours of
working on being tough. Todd has a section on such topics as road
work, gym work, the heavy bag, and other training methods to moti-
vate and direct. The book is as good for motivation as the techniques and tips.
If you have a boxing program at your facility, this is a solid, entertaining book
with tested training ideas.
SPORTSMITH (800 713-2880, www.sportsmith.net), Tulsa, Okla., pub-
lished its 156-page Fitness Parts and Products Superstore catalog, fea-
turing a large selection of parts, and strength and personal training
products with express, same-day shipping.
PREPAK PRODUCTS INC. (800 544-7257, www.prepakproducts.com),
Oceanside, Calif., released its catalog of professional rehab and fitness
products. Featured brands include Web-Slide exercise rail systems, Exer-
Band tubes and accessories, and a Home Ranger shoulder pulley.
SPRI PRODUCTS INC. (800 222-7774, www.spriproducts.com), Libertyville,
Ill., issued a catalog of professional fitness products, such as aquatics,
balance, stability, sport conditioning and more.
OPTP (800 367-7393, www.optp.com), Minneapolis, Minn., released the
Stretch Station, a 5-by-3-foot wall chart that graphically demonstrates
100 flexibility exercises.
Neil Wolkodoff, Ph.D., is the developer of Physical Golf and Zonal Training Technologies, based at the Greenwood
Athletic Club in Englewood, Colo. He has served as an editor for ACE and ACSM, and is the author of four books.
Mastering Cortisol
AUTHOR: Marilyn Glenville
PUBLISHER: Ulysses Press, 800 377-2542, www.ulyssespress.com
Vegetarian Sports Nutrition is
thoughtful and entertaining, yet, more
importantly, makes a case for vege-
tarian options as fuel for sports per-
formance. From the start, this book
is about a vegetarian approach to
achieve both health and sports
performance advantage. Larson-
Meyer points out that serious ath-
letes can get enough calories from
a vegetarian diet if they choose
carbohydrates and fats wisely. The
author challenges the idea that
you can’t build muscle without
meat. Evidence from the author
asserts that the right blend of pro-
teins and amino acids will fuel the
build. The section on using vege-
tarian nutrition to break free from
supplements is thought-provoking,
along with a section on the miner-
als likely to be at low levels in vege-
tarian athletes, including zinc, iodine
and copper. If you work with vegetar-
ian athletes, this is packed with
useful information.
Vegetarian Sports Nutrition
AUTHOR: D. Enette Larson-Meyer
PUBLISHER: Human Kinetics, 800 747-4457, www.humankinetics.com
I have money,
I am loyal, and
I bring my friends.
If you are ready
to earn my business,
contact the
International Council
on Active Aging.
26 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t ness management . com
Best Ideas
Long hours of studying often mean less
time for physical activity. And, while
most colleges do have some physical
activity requirement, it’s not enough to
keep those pounds from creeping on.
Louann Davies, a wellness instructor
and assistant at the Rochester Institute
of Technology’s new fitness center, rec-
ognized this, and decided to do some-
thing about it by creating the Certificate
of Excellence in Fitness & Wellness.
Sponsored by the Center for Intercolle-
giate Athletics & Recreation, students are
encouraged to apply for the certificate
program online, which is free. By partic-
ipating, students are assigned a personal
wellness coach to work with them
throughout the year, are given recogni-
tion in the center and on campus, are
provided a one-year complimentary
alumni membership to all of the insti-
tute’s facilities and a one-year pass to the
men’s hockey games (RIT is Division I in
men’s hockey), and are invited as guests
at the end-of-the-year luncheon where
they are given a certificate, as well as
other gifts. Students participating in the
program are required to complete double
the graduation requirement for physical
activity (four classes
vs. two), maintain
normal progress
toward graduation,
stay in good aca-
standing, maintain
their one-on-one
meetings with the
wellness coach, and participate in com-
munity service and/or attend wellness-
related seminars.
This year, the Center for Intercolle-
giate Athletics & Recreation has 22 stu-
dents enrolled. While that’s a small
number compared to the 15,000-plus
students on campus, Davies believes
the program has served as a role model
for other students. “We are saying that
we will provide the resources and the
manpower … if you [students] will make
a commitment to being active and
making fitness an important part of
your life,” says Davies. FM
Is the Freshman 15 — the amount of weight students can expect to gain
in their first year of college — a myth? It might be, but the truth is that
more than half of college students do gain weight during their first year.
www. f i t ness management . com F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 27
TION of active adults
ages 55 and older grow-
ing faster than ever in
the U.S., so too is the
number of injuries
requiring physical ther-
apy. The problem is
that, once patients are
released from physical
therapy, where do they
go? The Tennis and Fit-
ness Center, which
caters to this popula-
tion, knows this prob-
lem all too well. That is
why the staff developed
Successful Aging, a pro-
gram that smooths the
transition from physical
therapy to fitness.
“When physical therapy is over,
the patient is given instructions as to
what exercises he or she can do,”
says Cathy Presutti, tennis and fit-
ness consultant manager. But what
they really need is a program and
additional guidance. “We have a sep-
arate corner just for Successful Aging,
with a NuStep, bands and pulleys,”
Presutti says. “We work closely with
physical therapists in creating an
exercise program suited to the mem-
bers’ individual needs.”
Members who enroll in
the program are eligible
for a discount on mem-
bership and receive
three half-hour per-
sonal training sessions.
Aphysical therapist and
personal trainer review
those members’
progress every two
months, or on an as-
needed basis.
While the program
has only been in exis-
tence since August
2006, as of this writing,
it has brought in 30
new members. And,
present members are
also taking advantage of
some of the new equipment. Other
facilities could benefit by designing
similar programs for this population.
“The Successful Aging program is
something that can be used … by
anyone,” says Presutti. FM
IT’S HARD TO resist Halloween
candy. There’s always an abundance
of it, and it’s seemingly everywhere.
So, to encourage members to exer-
cise and steer clear of Halloween
treats this past year, Megan Williams
and Stacey Hubbard from the Sallie
Mae Metroplex Fitness Center at the
National Institute for Fitness and
Sport developed Trick or Trim.
The seven-day incentive program,
which ran from October 23 through
31, provided participants with daily
workouts corresponding to candy
calories. Each day, participants
would fictitiously trick or teat to a
different house and, at each house,
they would receive pretend candy
and a corresponding workout to use
up those calories. After each com-
pleted workout, participants com-
pleted a drawing slip to enter to win
a prize at the end of the program.
“The program came about as a way
to educate our corporate fitness site
members of exactly how sneaking
your children’s candy or eating
candy leftovers add up,” says
Williams, fitness center
manager. “It was a fun,
creative way to get them
motivated to exercise,
and provide them with
new workouts to
decrease boredom.”
Forty-nine members
participated in the pro-
gram, expending
approximately 1,561
calories per person.
Prizes included a one-
year subscription to a
health-related magazine
of their choice, an
Adidas gym bag and two
Indiana Repertory The-
atre tickets. “Our mem-
bers absolutely loved
the incentive,” says
Williams. “It increased
our membership, as
well as monthly visits.
I’m seeing new faces on a regular
basis completing the Trick or Trim
workouts even though the incentive
is over. Best of all, members
informed me that they completely
steered clear of Halloween candy this
year once they learned how long you
have to exercise to burn it off!” FM
The Tennis and Fitness Center’s Successful Aging program creates programs
specifically for older adults who have been released from physical therapy.
The Trick or Trim inventive program
helped members steer clear of Halloween
candy and expend more calories at the
same time.
To be featured in
our monthly Best
Ideas column:
WRI TE A SHORT description
of a program you’ve imple-
mented in your facility during
the past year. Include infor-
mation about how the pro-
gram came about, how it is
operated, and how it has
benefitted your facility and
your members.
If we choose your facility to
be featured in the column, we’ll
notify you. You must be avail-
able for a phone interview, and
you’ll be requested to provide
photographs of your facility.
Send your best ideas
via email to Editorial
Director Ronale Rhodes at
Or for more information,
call 951 244-6498.
28 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 29
ATTRITION IS THE No. 1 talked-about business
topic in the fitness industry. The old adage that
says it costs more to acquire a new member
than to retain an existing one is a key concern
among fitness facility operators. Unfortunately,
while this appears to be a main focus of con-
cern, Ray O’Connor, owner of Wisconsin Ath-
letic Clubs, states that, “More people have joined
and quit clubs today than are members today.”
With less than 14 percent of the population cur-
rently fitness facility members, you have to
wonder how many of that other 86 percent has
“been there, done that.” And, if they have, is it
even possible to get them to come back?
While attrition is certainly a part of doing
business, it can be reduced. “There are always
going to be cancellations,” says Doug Ribley,
director of administrative and wellness services
at Akron General Health & Wellness Center,
Akron, Ohio. “People’s lives change. It is a part
of our business, part of what happens.” In fact,
the majority of those who quit fitness facilities
do so because of relocation, financial hardship
or illness. What we must identify is why indi-
viduals drop their memberships due to dissat-
isfaction, and then create ways to reduce the
likelihood of that continuing to happen.
Retention requires a program
At the Club Industry trade show and confer-
ence held in Chicago in October 2006, Bob
Esquerre, owner of Esquerre Fitness Group,
Weston, Fla., in his seminar “Member Retention:
17 Steps to Success and Profitability,”asked atten-
dees how many of them had a retention program
in place at their facility. Out of all the attendees,
only three raised their hands. Since the seminars
on retention at the major industry shows tend
to be the most well-attended, it’s clearly not a
question of whether attrition is important but,
rather, confusion about what to do about it.
Esquerre believes that, for fitness centers to
be successful, they must be able to change and
adapt. They must have a retention program in
place, which includes the following:
• implementing a new member “meet and
greet” program
• establishing an interactive/pro-active fitness
floor management process
• creating a synergy between personal train-
ing and group exercise programming
• developing a comprehensive staffing plan
• positioning personal training to support
member retention
• developing monthly special events to
expose members to programming options
• developing a selective staff recruitment program
• executing trainer performance expectation
agreements and contracts
• developing a program design and training
progression process
• identifying and correcting your trainers’
skillset weaknesses
• increasing personal training sales at the
membership point-of-sale
• enhancing staff professionalism and train-
ing competencies
While many facilities’ retention programs will
differ, depending on the market, these steps are
arguably a good beginning. Many incorporate
getting members involved in your facility. And,
industry experts seem to agree that building
member-to-member and member-to-staff con-
nections is what will develop the emotional
bond to the facility. As O’Connor explains,
“People quit clubs; they don’t quit relationships.”
Give and show members results
Equally important to relationship building is
showing members that the product — their
membership investment — is working for them.
But before you can show them it’s working, you
have to educate them about what results they
should actually look for. In most cases, members
look only at weight loss as a measure of suc-
cess. Richard Bloomer, in his article, Assessing for
Retention (p.30), states that “While a change in
body weight/body fat may be most important
for many people, it is certainly not the only vari-
able on which members should focus.”Bloomer
outlines nine other measurement variables that
trainers should educate members about. This
way, he explains, “members have several oppor-
tunities for success.”And fitness program success
equals retention.
Ensure service strategies are working
Retention, according to Ribley, is a fitness
facility staff’s job. And, you accomplish that job
by offering a service to members that is great
enough to keep them coming back and staying
healthy. Yet, while most fitness professionals
would claim that their members receive superior
service, most members of fitness facilities don’t
see it that way. If you want to know how good
your facility’s customer service is, you can follow
suit with many other operators by hiring secret
shoppers. Amy Scanlin explains in her article,
Use Secret Shoppers to Enhance Customer Ser-
vice (p.32), that secret shopper companies will
evaluate your business in any way you ask them,
and on a schedule that you decide. What you
find out may surprise you, but the end result can
only help you to provide superior service, which
can lower your attrition rate.
Establish a “clean” philosophy
Part of providing superior service includes
maintaining a clean facility. In Guy Brown’s arti-
cle, Optimal Cleanliness = Member Satisfaction
(p.34), he quotes Mary Schrad, franchise support
manager for Contours Express, as saying, “If one
was to poll its members, gym cleanliness would
rank in the top three concerns.”Keeping the facil-
ity clean shows members that you care about their
experience and their health. If you think your
cleaning program is up to par, compare it to the
systems other facilities have in place. You may be
overlooking some areas that need attention.
Solutions to the attrition issue
Retention equals money. And, to make
money, says Esquerre, fitness centers, and the
industry as a whole, need to evaluate them-
selves and make change. “The fitness industry
needs self-evaluation,” he explains. “It is not the
strongest of the species who survive, but those
who change.” While not quite a direct quote
from Darwin, the parallel to the fitness indus-
try is certainly well-made.
If you don’t have a retention program in
place, now is the time. Look past the facility
itself, and figure out how you’re going to get
members involved. O’Connor explains how he
did this at his fitness centers during the rac-
quetball boon: “What we learned when it was
just racquetball was that they were just courts,
and if [we] didn’t figure out a way to get them
[members] to play, [we] didn’t get paid. So we
created leagues, which created relationships.”
Once you get members involved, make sure
that you treat them well and that they’re seeing
results. Establish a process that shows members
on a periodic basis what they’re gaining from
continuing to be a member at your facility. Ribley
states that, with every 1 percent improvement in
retention, there is a 5 to 15 percent improvement
in pre-tax profit. Your facility’s success depends
on finding solutions to the attrition issue. FM
30 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
EACH NEW YEAR, thousands of individuals begin a
fitness program as part of their “resolution.” Unfor-
tunately, the majority of these individuals fail to con-
tinue with their program beyond the initial six to
eight weeks. This may be due to lack of success in
achieving their goals, which can be associated with
not having measurable variables to assess actual
progress. Most individuals focus exclusively on body
weight/body fat as their indicators of success. Yet,
while some members, indeed, experience a rapid and
significant decrease in these variables, which can improve training inter-
est and motivation, others do not. And these individuals are often frus-
trated by their lack of progress and give up.
While a change in body weight/body fat may be most important
for many people, it is certainly not the only variable on which mem-
bers should focus. Trainers should educate members about other
important health and performance variables that can serve as indi-
cators of program success, and should be included as part of an
ongoing assessment plan. These assessments should be performed
on an individual basis, depending on member needs and desire for
Member retention often depends on member success in achiev-
ing their fitness goals. Having more than one measurable goal
increases the chance of overall success and compliance with any given
fitness program. Following are other ways that fitness and health
can be measured to show clients and members that their programs
are working.
Cardiovascular markers
Lowering resting heart rate and blood pressure, as well as the heart
rate and blood pressure in response to submaximal exercise, are favor-
able adaptations to regular exercise training. However, many members
and trainers put little emphasis on these variables. Consider measuring
a true resting heart rate and blood pressure (preferably with the member
in a seated position and rested for five to 10 minutes). In addition, meas-
ure members’ heart rate and blood pressure at different submaximal
workloads during exercise. Lastly, measure their one-minute recovery
heart rate following a standard exercise challenge. A lower resting and
exercise heart rate and blood pressure, and more rapid heart rate recov-
ery following exercise, generally suggest an improvement in cardiovas-
cular health.
Blood markers of health
Blood markers include fasting cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose.
For diabetic members, testing should include hemoglobin A1C (glyco-
sylated Hb). It is well known that regular exercise can favorably alter
these important biomarkers. In addition, regular exercise can help to
prevent the oxidation (damage) of cholesterol and glucose, which com-
monly leads to promotion of atherosclerosis (arterial plaque formation).
Members can be referred to their physicians or local clinical labs to con-
duct these routine tests. Upon completion of testing, they can bring test
results to the fitness center for inclusion in their records. A certified
and qualified trainer should know how to interpret these labs, as famil-
iarity with this information is a requirement for all reputable certifying
organizations. An alternative would be to use one of the automated
chemistry analyzers (e.g., Cholestek), which can be purchased relatively
inexpensively, with testing conducted by a trained staff member (only
a finger prick of blood is needed for full testing capabilities). These
parameters provide important data related to overall health, and can
be easily included as a component of the assessment plan.
Sport-specific skills
Sport-specific skills may include a wide variety of activities, such as
shooting baskets, rope skipping, rock climbing, kickboxing, running,
swimming, etc. Having an athletic-skill-related goal rather than simply
focusing on “getting fit” or “losing weight” certainly makes regular exer-
cise more enjoyable and rewarding for both members and trainers. It
also allows members to develop a sense of mastery, which may be
equally as rewarding as developing an aesthetically pleasing physique.
Balance and coordination
Balance and coordination are routinely overlooked when develop-
ing a fitness program, yet both are of vital importance. They may assist
Are your members’ fitness programs working? You
can increase individuals’ program compliance by
giving them more to measure than their weight.
And, if they are successful in their results, you’ll most
likely be successful in retaining them as members.
By Richard J. Bloomer, Ph.D., CSCS
Assessing for
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 31
in the improvement of many sport-specific skills and activities of daily
living. Consider such tools as exercise balls, balance beams, wobble
boards and step boxes, while having members perform both bilateral
and unilateral exercises, using both upper- and lower-body movements
(with eyes open and eyes closed). Consider timing members in an
attempt to measure their ability to perform these tasks. Also consider
having them perform traditional weight-training exercises while incor-
porating balance drills into the movement. Doing so can make exer-
cise more enjoyable and challenging for members. In addition, consider
using agility and speed drills, which can easily be set up in any group
exercise studio using cones, step boxes, etc. Be creative and challenge
members with these tasks.
Range of motion
Many members perform stretching exercises as a component of their
workout, but trainers should consider placing greater emphasis on this
aspect of members’ fitness plans, as almost all individuals can improve
a good deal in this regard. This may be accomplished by getting mem-
bers involved in a class targeted at improving flexibility (e.g., yoga,
Pilates), or simply designing a detailed stretching program to perform
at the conclusion of their workouts. Set measurable goals for range of
motion, as would be done for other variables. Range of motion in all
major joints can be measured by a qualified fitness instructor with the
aid of a goniometer.
Aerobic power and endurance
Maximal oxygen uptake (VO
max) is the best measure of aerobic
power. Ideally, direct measurements of oxygen uptake are obtained
during a maximal graded exercise test; however, you may also use
submaximal tests to estimate members’ VO
max. This can be done
using a variety of laboratory and “field” tests. Two of the easiest tests
to administer are the Rockport 1-mile walk test and the 1.5-mile run
test. Various equations for estimated VO
max can be found online
for these tests, or you can simply record both the time taken to com-
plete the tests and members’ heart rate at the conclusion of the test.
These numbers can be compared upon serial assessment in order to
determine overall improvement. This is an excellent way to estimate
aerobic capacity in situations where direct measurement of expired
gases is not feasible.
Muscular strength, endurance and power
Try the following assessments to determine members’ fitness levels
in these areas. Strength: Choose a variety of exercises and assess mem-
bers’ one-repetition maximum. Endurance: Choose any exercise and
have members perform as many repetitions as possible until they reach
a point of momentary muscular failure. Make certain they use proper
form, including a slow and controlled tempo (e.g., two seconds up,
two seconds down). Power: Have members perform a standing verti-
cal jump test and measure the height of their jump. Alternatively, or in
addition to the jump test, have members perform a sprint test on an
appropriate surface. Calculate their muscular power using this equation:
Power = (Force x Distance)/Time
Body Weight (force) = 60 kg
Distance running = 100 meters
Time = 15 seconds
Power = (60 kg x 100 meters)/20 seconds = 400 kg-m/sec
Improved mood
Several pencil and paper tests of psychological state and overall mood
can be used to determine the effect of members’ exercise programs on
their overall mood (e.g., profile of mood states or POMS). These tests
are easy to administer and provide information unrelated to physical
attributes gained from the exercise program. For many members,
improvement in overall mood is as important as or more important
than any other variable. Although these types of assessments are rou-
tinely offered in exercise-related research studies, they are rarely con-
sidered in fitness settings. Adopt such assessments with members who
you believe would benefit from these measures.
Exercise compliance
Once a member commits to a certain training schedule (or dietary
intake), measure compliance. This may include a simplistic assessment
Continued on page 38
32 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
WHAT IS THE one thing that sets your facility apart
from its competitors? The most frequent answer to
this question is customer service/attention to the
member. But, how do you know your members and
potential members are actually receiving the service
you intend to give them? The Mystery Shopping
Providers Association (MSPA), Dallas, Texas, states that one unhappy cus-
tomer will tell 10 others about their experience, and that person will tell
another 10. With that knowledge, can you afford not to know what your
customers’ experiences are like? Just like other retail and service indus-
tries, fitness centers are turning to secret shoppers and professional sur-
veyors to get a clearer picture of what their members truly experience.
“Businesses send us out to see what their customer’s experience is
like, and they can then change things about their business based on
what we find out,” says Larissa Gillotti of Shoppers Critique Interna-
tional, Longwood, Fla. Secret shopper companies will evaluate your busi-
ness in any way you ask them to, including in-person or phone visits;
evaluating the ease of use and correctness of website information; web-
based customer satisfaction surveys, where secret shoppers visit a web-
site to rate your service on a particular day; and Interactive Voice
Response surveys (IVR).
You and the secret shopping company work together to set up param-
eters, such as what the shoppers will be looking for, how frequently your
business should be “shopped” and how you would like their findings
reported back to you. Essentially, you combine your expertise of the fit-
ness business with their expertise of determining customer satisfaction.
Brad Christian of Shop n’ Chek, Norcross, Ga., says, “there’s really a
hand-in-hand benefit” to the relationship between the secret shopper
provider and the client. “Managers and owners typically develop oper-
ations expectations that form the corporate culture.” As Christian
explains it, people gravitate toward places where they have a good expe-
rience. Conversely, the MSPA states that 69 percent of customers leave
a business due to poor service. A good experience includes being greeted
politely upon entering, noticing a clean facility, interacting with employ-
ees who are well-versed in their jobs — pretty much the very things
fitness managers work hard to improve. Businesses that people choose
not to frequent have likely not met customers’ expectations in some
way, whether it’s due to poor service or in other areas. Christian explains
that these companies don’t strive to offer negative service; they are just
falling short of meeting the expectations of management. “People tend
to be surprised by our findings,” he says. “Corporate expectations are
often higher than what is actually delivered.”
Tiffany Gleason, co-owner of Mystery Shoppers, Knoxville, Tenn.,
suggests evaluating your customer service procedures. She says the
employees may be wonderful, but if the procedures in place for the busi-
ness are not customer friendly, employees may choose not to use them.
The evaluation
Each secret shopper is provided different focus areas to evaluate, or
different shops within the shop. All of these focus areas are predeter-
mined by both the secret shopper provider and management of the
facility being evaluated. The first focus for a fitness center might be the
front desk. Shoppers will be looking for things such as the following:
• Was the customer greeted?
• If so, what type? A quick “hello,”“Welcome to ABC Fitness Center,” etc.
• Was check-in prompt, or did the shopper have to wait?
• What was the appearance of the front desk employees? Were they
dressed neatly? Did they appear to have good hygiene? Were they wear-
ing the proper uniform?
• What was the appearance of the front desk area?
• What was the overall impression of the front desk?
The second focus area might be the exercise room:
• If the mystery shopper is considering joining, was he/she given a
tour of the facility or told to walk through on their own?
• If the shopper is already a member, was the fitness staff able to
answer questions or be of assistance?
Think of each area of your fitness center — group fitness, locker
rooms, cardio/weight areas, day care — as a focus area. “Every compo-
nent or thing that is unique should have its own focus,” says Christian.
“Every opportunity is an opportunity to deliver and generate strong loy-
alty,” from your members.
Also, make sure each question for the shopper to evaluate is formu-
lated separately. If you are evaluating a person’s greeting, don’t com-
bine whether they smiled, said hello, shook your hand, all into one
evaluation question. They may do some but not others, and it will be
difficult to evaluate in those instances. Include both open and closed
questions in your survey.
The experience
The key to receiving great customer service is the feeling of being valued.
When members ask for help finding a machine for a particular workout,
what are their experiences? If it’s bad, they won’t even be able to find a staff
Working with a secret shopping company will give
you valuable insight into your members’ experiences,
and help you to improve your level of service.
By Amy Scanlin, M.S.
Service Shoppers
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 33
member on the floor to ask. If it’s average, they’ll be pointed in the general
direction of the machine. If it’s great, they’ll be walked to the machine and
be asked if they would like instructions on using it. Across the board, the
biggest issues with customer service are the levels of engagement between
employees and members — and that level of engagement as part of a cor-
porate culture is often the hardest for managers to address.
If your employees know they are being shopped, one of two things
will happen. They’ll be motivated to improve their interactions with
customers for the long run, or only for the short term. Hopefully, the
motivation takes hold and they’ll aspire to great service, whether they
think they are being watched or not. To get a true sense of what your
members’ experiences are like, it is not recommended to share with
employees any specifics of the secret shopping experience. “The whole
point in keeping it a mystery is the mystery,” says Christian.
You’ll decide, with your secret shopper, various scenarios in which to
shop. Perhaps you want the experience of a prospective member, or a cur-
rent member with a billing question. You may even want a confrontational
secret shopper to get an idea of how your employees react under stress.
You’ll also need to decide how often you’d like your business to be
shopped. Most companies hire secret shoppers to visit on a monthly basis,
others quarterly. But rarely do secret shoppers visit one time only. All
employees have bad days. And, while you don’t want their bad day to
become your customer’s, it isn’t necessarily fair to take that one snapshot
as an overview of their customer service skills. However, if you have monthly
visits with negative results, you’ve got something to take action on.
Gleason suggests tying the evaluation of your employees to some kind of
reward. Knowing that a certain number of evaluation points might win them
movie tickets, a shirt, etc., could be a great motivator for staff members.
Getting started
Smart companies hire secret shoppers before they think there may
be a customer service issue, but a fair number wait until they suspect
a problem. Whenever you contact a secret shopping company, be pre-
pared to provide as much information as possible about your business
so that the shoppers will know what they are looking for.
You may want to provide training manuals, snapshots of what uni-
forms should look like, signage that should be displayed and even train-
ing videos, if you have them. The more information for the shopper,
the better. “If [fitness facilities] can tell us what [employees] are trained
to do, we can tell if they are doing it or not,” says Christian.
You’ll also need to explain your customer base so the shopper can
better understand your environment and what your business is trying
to accomplish. A center that caters to those new to exercise will have a
different set of parameters than a center dedicated bodybuilders.
The great thing about hiring a secret shopping company is access to
a wide range of shoppers that can fit any scenario you may require.
After all, it won’t be believable to have a muscle-bound person come
in as a “new to exercise” shopper, and vice versa. Also, know that some
states require that secret shoppers be licensed.
Most fitness centers say that customer service sets them apart, but
does it really? Anyone can put fitness equipment in a building and com-
petitively price their membership rates, but the care members receive
from your employees is far more valuable than any bulletin board or
profit center. Look at your environment from their point of view, and
see if their needs are being met. FM
Mystery Shopping Providers Association. Press release: Taking the mys-
tery out of mystery shopping. www.mysteryshop.org. Jan. 1, 2004.
Amy Scanlin is a fitness expert, certified instructor and freelance writer.
She has a master’s degree in health promotion management, certifications
through ACSM, ACE and the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, and
she has facilitated health promotion programs both at home and abroad.
Get More Information Online!
If you found this article useful, you can read more about this topic on Fitness
Management’s website. Below is a list of related articles that you can find online:
1. Customer Service 101. By Amy Scanlin (October 2004). In the cate-
gory “Service Quality” from the Library of Articles link in the left menu at
www.fitnessmanagement.com, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/
2. Creating and Sustaining a Service Culture. By Stephen Tharrett and James A.
Peterson (August 2006). In the category “Service Quality” from the Library of Arti-
cles, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/information/articles/0806-feat6.html
3. Teaching Employees Customer Service. By Teri O’Brien (May 2006). In the cate-
gory “Service Quality” from the Library of Articles, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/
Customer Service Surveys
WHILE SECRET OR mystery shopping looks at the customer service
your employees provide, another type of survey gives you insight into
how your customers feel about that service, which can be an invaluable
tool. Social science research, or custom mail surveys, provide data as to
how members feel about the service they receive, and what changes they
would make if they could.
“We have over 50 questions, two sides of a piece of paper,” says Bill
Lazarus, CEO of SEER Analytics, Tampa, Fla. “You can ask more ques-
tions via the mail than you can in an e-survey because people are will-
ing to take more time.” He also says that mail surveys provide a more
accurate view of your member’s thoughts because e-survey data sets are
skewed to only those who use the Internet.
This member data can be used in a number of ways. For instance,
based on the size of your city, its demographics, your location and other
factors, how many members should you have? How far do your mem-
bers travel to visit your center? Do they pass other centers in route to
get to your facility? Would they be responsive if you opened a new center
closer to them?
Typically, response to mail surveys is about 2 to 3 percent. But,
Lazarus finds that businesses who share their findings with their cus-
tomers, and work to improve on the service they provide based on the
findings, have closer to 20 percent response. When people are vested
with you, they want you to make them happy, which will, in turn, help
your business succeed.
34 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
ALL FITNESS CENTERS are cleaned, to some
extent. But the best fitness centers make clean-
liness a top priority, and with good reason. “I
know there is a big focus on sales, personal
training and revenue-based items. But cleanli-
ness is not to be overlooked,” says Jim Cianci,
vice president, facilities management, for WOW!
Work Out World, Brick, N.J. “The cleanliness team is one of the most
important in the club. You cannot have sales if you don’t have some-
thing worthy of selling.” Frank Guengerich, executive vice president of
WTS International, Rockville, Md., says cleanliness, “speaks to mem-
bers’ expectations.” The cleanliness expectations they have at home
“translate to wherever they might shower [and] where personal hygiene
comes into play.”
What can optimum cleanliness achieve? Fitness Management and
Consulting, Flower Mound, Texas, works with a facility that has been
in business for 20 years. A competitor recently opened a fitness center
nearby, leeching members away. But they have started to come back.
“When asked why they were coming back, they said this club was much
cleaner,” says President Jim Thomas. “There are few things as impres-
sive as a clean club, no matter what the age.”
Mary Schrad, franchise support manager for Contours Express,
Nicholasville, Ky., agrees that members appreciate cleanliness. “If one
was to poll its members, gym cleanliness would rank in the top three
concerns,” she says. “Gym cleanliness establishes a philosophy of the
gym, and reflects how it feels about its members.”
The cleaning process
Even in fitness facilities with a good cleaning philosophy, some
areas get overlooked. Schrad says the transaction counter at the front
desk is one prime example. It is intensively used, so how do you
keep it clean? Besides a thorough clean twice a day, it would also be
beneficial to have a spray bottle and cloth behind the reception
counter for the reception staff to wipe the surfaces down several
times a day.
Other areas that can get overlooked include door and toilet han-
dles, stretching areas, designated floor exercise areas and closets.
There are also hard to reach spaces in between and around the
machines, and dust collecting on areas of the equipment, says
Schrad. Guengerich says the inside of lockers are often missed, and
people don’t have rigorous consistency in cleaning drains. “I don’t
think people disinfect fitness equipment to the level and degree they
should,” he says. This is the same for countertops and toilets, Guen-
gerich adds.
Cleanliness needs to be monitored to ensure standards are upheld.
“It starts with management being clear [about] what their expecta-
tions are, having a system in place, training people and following up,”
says Guengerich. “I am amazed at how often people do not have sys-
tems in place.” WTS International has a checklist and standards docu-
ment called Basics to Excellence, and fitness centers are inspected
according to those standards.
Inspection is also a key strategy at WOW! clubs. WOW! has two
people who walk the fitness center: the housekeeping manager and a
secret shopper. The chain uses a checklist of 150 items, and, once a week,
both of these people go into the fitness centers and score them. The
housekeeping manager of each club gets a bonus according to how
many points is scored per month.
Thomas also recommends incentives as part of compensation
packages. He further offers an organizational framework that can
help with cleanliness. “Some clubs we work with have divided the
club up into ‘territories,’ with different people responsible for each
territory,” he says. With the addition of management follow-up,
fitness centers can establish a robust approach to cleaning. “The
clubs that we see doing the best job do the best job of following
up,” says Thomas.
Cleaning is removing dust, spots and stains. Disinfecting involves
killing potentially harmful germs, and is essential in some areas
of the facility to provide members and staff with a hygienic and
safe environment. “I tell people, anywhere their skin can come into
contact with something, the surface needs to be disinfected,” says
In WOW! clubs, there are wipe-down stations consisting of paper
towels and disinfectant, so members can wipe down machines after they
Clean fitness centers keep members — it’s as simple as
that. Paying close attention to cleanliness can raise
standards and eliminate hazards and wasteful practices.
By Guy Brown
Optimal Cleanliness =
Member Satisfaction
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 35
have used them. For the housekeeping department, key priorities for
disinfection (besides cardio equipment) are locker rooms and showers.
Schrad says disinfection is a priority for Contours Express, too. “Any-
where people place their hands — on machines, hand weights, jump
ropes, stability balls, bikes, etc. — [is a priority],” she says. “It should be
understood that whenever there is human contact, a disinfectant should
always be applied.”
Human contact is the main culprit when it comes to elevating a
person’s risk of infection. “It is recognized that 80 percent of all infec-
tious disease is caused by contact,” Schrad says. “Human sweat is not
really a problem. It’s primarily the moisture from the sweat that causes
problems by helping germs grow. Keeping gyms clean and dry is the
No. 1 priority.”
Members can help. “Management can put responsibilities on its
members by providing clear direction as to where they should dispose
of their used towels and used water cups,” says Schrad. “The more man-
agement can communicate direction for this type of cleanliness, [the
more it] will take a load off of the maintenance staff to pick up after
Similarly, Schrad says providing a hand sanitizer on top of the weight
machines invites members to protect themselves against germs. “When
members use this, they feel better about their germ control, and it cuts
down on the maintenance cleaning schedule.”
Periodic cleaning
Some tasks do not need daily cleaning, but are still vital on a peri-
odic basis. Periodic cleaning tasks can include things such as windows
and all high cleaning. WOW! does high-level dusting at least twice per
year. “Above eye-level areas, such as duct work and lighting, often get
overlooked,” says Cianci.
Guengerich says he often meets people who have never even
heard of high cleaning. “Most of our facilities close annually for
cleaning windows inside and out. Then there are ongoing clean-
ing tasks, such as moving cardio equipment around and cleaning
under it, and cleaning the mechanics of the equipment. If you fail
to do that, static electricity can build up and damage the electri-
cal components.” He adds pest control and spraying for bugs as
another periodic requirement.
Contours Express says shampooing carpets and cleaning air ducts
and air filters are carried out twice per year. “Depending on your ceil-
ing type, if it is open, those heating and air duct passageways collect
dust,” says Schrad. Similarly, ceiling fans should be dusted so they don’t
circulate dust.
Thomas adds other periodic cleaning tasks: “With heat of the
most recent summer, many club owners were reminded of the
importance of regular checks on the air conditioner filters.” Steam
cleaning carpets, sweeping parking lots and painting walls are
other examples of periodic tasks. Further, cleaning grout in show-
ers and washing down walls can be monthly, or perhaps annual,
cleaning tasks.
When to clean
Determining the best times of day to clean needs careful attention.
Guengerich says that there are two different philosophies. One is to
never get in the way of the customer. The second is to clean in a
seamless way, cleaning around the customer as much as you can. Gen-
erally, there are three key times to clean: after the morning rush, after
the lunch rush and before the evening rush. And then a full clean in
the evening. He adds that busier facilities may want to constantly clean
around their users.
“The slower times of day and ‘off’ hours will be best for heavy clean-
ing, such as wet areas and the like,” says Thomas. “However, many of
our client clubs will want to bring attention to the fact [that] the club
is being cleaned, and have a porter on duty, in full uniform, cleaning
the club throughout the day. It creates great awareness and lets the mem-
bers see the effort being made.”
Most Contours Express clubs use a maintenance log to assign clean-
ing responsibilities; however, Schrad says cleaning is an ongoing respon-
sibility throughout the day. Vacuuming the carpet is done after the
members leave. Because most Contours location are closed from 1 to
36 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
3 p.m. for community-based marketing, she says that this is the ideal
time to complete this task. “Members appreciate seeing the obvious
cleaning completed while they are getting their workout in,” Schrad says.
“These areas would be the hand grips of each machine, bike handles,
core stability balls, jump ropes and hand weights. Especially in the
cold and flu seasons, members are consciously aware of the spread of
germs and welcome the Contours staff [making] the extra effort for
their protection.”
“One can never clean enough,” Schrad says. “It is safe to say that
key areas should be cleaned minimally one time per day. These key
areas are stretching areas, floor exercise areas, etc. Restrooms should be
cleaned twice per day and periodically checked for any emergencies.
General high traffic areas should be checked hourly.”
Eye on costs
Selecting the wrong cleaning product or application technique, and
overdosing, can damage floors, fittings and equipment. “I’ve seen wood
floors ruined, carpets ruined, equipment upholstery ruined … even
wrong lubricants on the equipment,” says Thomas.
“An over-application of chemicals of any sort increases costs,” Schrad
says. “For example, when wiping down the upholstery of machines, if
you use a product that has alcohol in it, in time, this could weaken the
material and [it can] begin to tear. The alcohol tends to dry this mate-
rial.” She also warns against using polish on the upholstery, as it can
make the surface slippery and endanger a member. Slippery floor waxes
can also increase injury risk.
Cleaning expenses can be reduced in other ways, too. WOW! has a
budget handed down by the franchise owners. Supplies are purchased
from one company, and shipped to one central place. They are disbursed
by the housekeeping manager, on the basis of orders placed by each house-
keeping supervisor once per week. Centralized control can cut down on
waste, and centralized bulk purchasing can secure cheaper prices.
Measurement, rather than “guesstimation,” can have a surprising
impact on the effectiveness of cleaning efforts, and dramatically cut
costs. Says Thomas, “Read the label. If you don’t know [how much to
use], ask. Have a system of tracking.” Thomas says some fitness centers
over-apply chemicals, needlessly increasing costs. “We had a client club
recently discover they were using three times the necessary ingredients
to wash towels. Substantial savings have been realized since changing
the method of measuring.”
However, Guengerich warns not to cut corners in trying to reduce
cleaning costs: “Cleanliness is not an area we want to be scrimping in.”
In the long run, you save time and money with thorough cleaning.
For instance, not allowing mold to build up in shower areas can avoid
the process of stripping out and replacing the tile. Look at cleaning as
preventive maintenance.
Clean design
A proportion of cleaning costs can be designed out. “Building mate-
rials should be used that show a clear expression of cleanliness, but are
low cost and easily maintained,” says Thomas. “We find the biggest mis-
take is usually made in the locker rooms.”
Cianci sits in on the design of WOW! clubs and is project manager
in building the clubs. WOW! uses rubber flooring instead of carpet, as
carpet has to be replaced every three years, gets dirty and harbors bac-
teria. “We put in materials that are what we call ‘bulletproof,’” he
explains. “This includes sheet metal on walls, which always looks clean
and can be washed off. Ceramic [tile] is used in locker room areas and
Zone Cleaning
CMS International, Helena, Mont., teaches its clients a three-step
process — called Zone Cleaning — to keep their fitness centers clean
while keeping costs down.
Step 1: Divide your facility into zones
Begin by visualizing your fitness center as if you were looking down
at it through a grid. The number of departments and staff you have will
determine the size and number of zones. Here is an example of how one
facility divided itself into cleaning zones:
Zone 1: Front desk manager (front desk, waiting and lobby area, tan-
ning room, break room)
Zone 2: Daycare manager (daycare)
Zone 3: Group fitness manager (group exercise areas, including main
group exercise room, group cycling room and swimming pool)
Zone 4: General manager/front desk manager (men’s and women’s
locker rooms)
Zone 5: Day spa manager (day spa)
Zone 6: Fitness director (main fitness area)
Zone 7: Education director (education room)
Zone 8: Janitor (maintenance rooms)
Zone 9: Administrative staff (administrative offices)
Zone 10: Group fitness manager (group fitness office)
Step 2: Assign cleaning duties
Once you’ve decided on the zones, as well as the people responsible
for overseeing them, the next step is to have the responsible parties
make a list of all cleaning duties required to keep that particular area
clean every day. Start by having each zone manager hold a meeting
with their staff. Staff members should be encouraged to contribute ideas
and suggestions toward creating the list. This will help to create team
unity and buy-in.
Step 3: Provide checklists
The final step is to create an entire list of all cleaning duties associ-
ated with that area, create checklists for the employees within each
department and assign cleaning duties to people within the zone. The
list should include the area to be cleaned, who is responsible, frequency,
space for initialing once completed and which cleaning products to use.
The general manager should walkthrough the facility every morning with
a checklist for the entire fitness center. This way, the manager can hold
the appropriate staff person accountable on a daily basis before it gets
out of hand.
38 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
of the percentage of program adherence. For example, if a member
decides that they will exercise four days per week over the course of
the next 10 weeks (40 sessions), and they actually complete 35 ses-
sions, their overall compliance would be 87.5 percent. This is an excel-
lent method to assess progress in many members who may have, in
the past, neglected their training for one reason or another.
Final thoughts
When putting together an assessment plan for members, it is impor-
tant to consider multiple variables. In this way, members have several
opportunities for success. While loss of body weight/body fat is certainly
important, and should be included as a component of the overall assess-
ment plan, many members find extreme difficulty achieving success in
these areas. If so, retention to exercise training may be poor. Inclusion
of several other health- and fitness-related endpoints may improve
member adherence and retention to training, and, hence, improve the
overall long-term benefits of regular exercise. FM
Richard Bloomer, Ph.D., is an exercise physiologist and assistant professor
within the department of health and sport science at the University of Mem-
phis, Tenn. He has offered individual exercise counseling and supervision for
many years, and holds certifications from both the American College of Sports
Medicine (HFI) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS).
[are] a 12-by-12-inch size, which means less grout to clean
and maintain,” Cianci says. Another example of cutting
down on cleaning requirements is WOW!’s shower units,
which are constructed with one piece of fiberglass, thereby
eliminating grout completely.
Schrad also offers some designed-in savings. “A good
club design will have wide open doors entering bathrooms
so people don’t have to open doors and have a chance to
spread germs,” she says. “Restrooms will have hand dryers
to take away paper towel issues that could increase paper
towel costs and maintenance. Signage of proper tampon
disposal will keep the plumber away.”
Guengerich says that some approaches to designing for
cleanliness don’t create an aesthetically appealing environ-
ment. “Design definitely affects the simplicity of cleaning a
facility,” he says. “But there is an aesthetic balance to achieve.
For instance, in a locker room, do you use carpet or not? Some say
they need to have carpet because it creates a home environment, but
carpet brings cleanliness issues, as opposed to tile, which is more
Making cleanliness a priority can help raise standards in your fit-
ness center. It can also eliminate waste. “Cleanliness, or lack of cleanli-
ness, is the No. 1 complaint we hear in health clubs,” says Thomas. “So,
we would be mindful to put it at the top of our to-do list.” FM
Guy Brown has been a manager in international leisure and hospitality for
several years in private facilities and with international hotel chains. He
also writes for international business, and travel and medical magazines.
Continued from page 31
Get More Information Online!
If you found this article useful, you can read more about this topic on Fitness
Management’s website. Below is a list of related articles that you can find online:
1. Assessments for Older Adults. By Colin Milner (September 2004). In the cat-
egory “Exercise Prescription” from the Library of Articles link in the left menu at
www.fitnessmanagement.com, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/
2. Pre-participation Health and Fitness Assessments. By Michael Nordvall,
Ed.D., and Michelle Walters-Edwards (January 2006). In the category “Exercise Pre-
scription” from the Library of Articles link, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/
3. Assessing Your Assessments. By Shana McGough (July 2006). In the
category “Exercise Prescription” from the Library of Articles link, or at
Get More Information Online!
If you found this article useful, you can read more about this topic on Fitness
Management’s website. Below is a list of related articles that you can find online:
1. Poor Maintenance = Involuntary Manslaughter? By Doyice J. Cotten (May
2004). In the category “Maintenance” from the Library of Articles link in the left
menu at www.fitnessmanagement.com, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/
2. Keeping Your Facility Clean. By Kurt Broadhag (April 2006). In the category “Facility
Maintenance” from the Library of Articles link, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/
3. Keeping the Germs Away. By Kurt Broadhag (October 2005). In the category
“Facilities” from the Library of Articles link, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/
40 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
ING number of obese
children, this is a
market the fitness
industry should not
be missing out on.
The key is under-
standing what can
you do to get your overweight youth members
involved within your facilities. The answer is
in your programming! Fitness centers are
known for developing programs and fusing
them with other programs to meet the grow-
ing demands of their membership base. The
same concept can be used to develop your
own youth weight-loss program. First, you
must determine your need for such a program.
If your facility is family-oriented, the need is
there, and taking action is necessary. If your
facility is not youth-oriented, you may consider
expanding your services.
Seven components to consider
The need for a youth program has been
determined, so who is going to design and
deliver this new results-driven and revenue-
generating program? Do you have the appro-
priate time, space and equipment available? Do
you have the marketing dollars to drive the
program? Will your membership be support-
ive of the program? Do you have the right
people to implement it? Consider these seven
main components of creating, developing and
implementing a youth weight-loss program.
1. Education. It is essential to have the right
people in place to implement a youth program
within your facility. The staff involved must
have a desire to work with youth and be
excited about the process, as well as have a pro-
fessional approach to and execution of the new
program. It is also important to have certified
fitness professionals with a solid educational
background. “Having a passion for working
with kids is the most important aspect for the
instructor,” says
Veronica Whitish,
personal trainer at
the Tri-City Court
Club in Kennewick,
Wash. “The chal-
lenges that you face
with the program are
much easier to handle when you have a gen-
uine desire to help the youth.”
The other side of education involves the
participants’ parents. They must be held
accountable for supporting and encouraging
their children through the program. One
way to ensure this is accomplished is
through weekly parent/youth education and
exercise sessions.
2. Motivation. A program that focuses on
encouraging participants to be physically active
every day and eat a balanced diet of fruits, veg-
etables and grains (while eliminating poor
food choices) sounds great. But, this alone will
not provide youth with the motivation they
need to succeed. Get to know why the partic-
ipants are in your program; remember, their
parents want them to lose weight, but the chil-
With childhood obesity increasing, fitness centers
need to be part of the solution. Offering a success-
ful youth weight-loss program requires planning,
commitment, a great staff and motivating ideas.
By Ryan Vogt
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 41
dren may just want to have fun. The trick is
delivering fun activities that motivate. The
weight loss will follow.
3. Preparation. Homework? Yes. Ask your
students to do what it takes to be successful.
A results-oriented youth weight-loss program
requires students to complete a series of activ-
ities outside of class that keep them focused on
the true goal: life-long weight management.
Examples of homework assignments include
keeping food journals and exercise logs, goal
setting, self-esteem assignments and learning
to read nutrition labels.
4. Opportunity. A weight-loss program
should be so much more than weight loss. You
have the opportunity to be the catalyst that
allows youth to see physical movement as an
exciting experience. Provided you have the
facility to explore multiple fitness options,
include as many exercise modalities as possi-
ble (i.e., fitness stations at the park, exer-tain-
ment options, rock climbing, indoor cycling,
swimming, dodgeball and fitness obstacle
courses). Give each individual the opportunity
to explore as many modes of movement as
possible; you may just be training the next gen-
eration of fitness center members.
5. Weight management. The focus of your
program should be the benefits of proper
nutrition and exercise for life, not the typical
quick weight-loss program. Placing youth on
restrictive diets and vigorous exercise routines
will only lead them to a negative perception
of both healthy eating and exercise. Equipping
them with the appropriate education and pro-
gramming will lead to a life-long positive expe-
rience with weight management.
Evan Rippley, a participant in the youth
weight-loss program at the Tri-City Court
Club, says, “I accomplished many things as far
as weight loss, not to mention the boost in self-
esteem. When I began the program, I weighed
193 pounds … I now weigh 170 pounds. My
body fat percentage decreased by 12 percent.
All of this was accomplished with minor
adjustments to my diet and four workouts a
week for 12 weeks.”
6. Exercise. It is important to have a desig-
nated space within your facility, such as a
group exercise studio, with easy access to free
weights, Bosus, exercise balls, agility ladders
and medicine balls. Remember, however, that
you are not limited to this space alone. Does
your facility have a basketball court, rock wall,
teen fitness room or indoor cycling studio? All
of these areas are great places to implement
exercise while having fun.
7. Respect. A weight-loss program should
focus on program-
ming that makes each
individual feel good
about themselves.
Most people enjoy
competition if the
playing field is level. It
is important to be
supportive; your
youth will work hard
as long as they have
your support. “Going
to school was hard
because I felt bad
about my weight, but
now I am able to go
to school without
being embarrassed,”
says Rippley. “Now, with 23 less pounds, play-
ing sports is much easier and a lot more fun.
I loved the program, I love being 20 pounds
lighter, and I have never felt better (oh, yeah —
the girls swarm around me now).”
Marketing your program
Once your program is designed, it must be
marketed within your facility, as well as to the
community. This can be done through your in-
house newsletter, and at health fairs, hospitals
and schools. The local newspaper is another
way to market new programs within your facil-
ity. It is much easier to market your program
once you have positive results. As positive
results are established, contacting the local
media to run a story on the unique features of
your program is a great way to springboard to
the next level. Word of mouth is a great mar-
keting tool, so always be positive about changes
and/or growth within your facility.
What challenges can you expect?
Any time a new program is implemented,
obstacles will arise. Keeping people motivated
is a challenge in any fitness facility, let alone a
youth weight-loss program. There are many
groups of people to
consider with this
program, such as the
instructors, the par-
ents and the youth.
Interestingly, the
biggest challenge of
the three groups is
the parents. They are
responsible for bring-
ing youth to your
facility, as well as
making sure they
follow through outside of class. Parents are
responsible for providing healthy meals and an
environment where youth are able to be suc-
cessful (i.e., arriving to class on time).
Other challenges you will face may just come
from within your own organization. Often,
events will compete with each other. Seasonal
events and/or classes can cause difficulty in the
exclusive use of an exercise studio or gymna-
sium. The use of a free weight room or circuit
training studio may cause conflict with the gen-
eral membership. Communication is the key to
success in any environment. It is also impor-
tant to have complete support from all staff
members in your facility; a program can only
go so far unless it is fully supported. FM
Ryan Vogt has a B.S. in sports and fitness man-
agement, and is an NASM-certified personal
trainer, a freelance writer and presenter. He is
the fitness director at the Tri-City Court Club, a
private fitness center in Kennewick, Wash.
(www.tricitycourtclub.com). For more information
on Tri-City Court Club’s youth weight-loss pro-
gram, contact him at ryan@tricitycourtclub.com
or 509 783-5465.
Fitness Center’s Youth
The Tri-City Court Club, Kennewick, Wash., developed its own youth weight-
loss program titled EMPOWER.
Basics. The program is 12 weeks long, and each session has eight to 10
participants. The class is open to youth ages six through 15. Each 12-week
session generates $2,500 in revenue, and has a 60-percent profit margin.
The average weight loss per participant is 10 pounds. The most weight lost
by a participant to date is 25 pounds.
Program components. The program consistsof weeklygroup meetingsinvolv-
ing parents and youth, as well as three group workouts with a personal trainer.
Each week, the program is divided into a fitness topic and activities. Topics focus
mainlyon nutrition, but also fitness, and range from smart goal setting, to exchang-
ing food in your menu, serving sizes, nutrition labels, weight lifting, heart rate
training and more. Activities include strength training and cardio drills, fitness
activities such as indoor cycling and cardio equipment training, and sports activ-
ities such as rock climbing, racquetball, dodgeball, basketball and swimming.
Challenges. One challenge the program faces is a lack of space. For the pro-
gram to grow any further, scheduling and space availability must be considered.
Get More Information Online!
If you found this article useful, you can read more about this topic on Fitness
Management’s website. Below is a list of related articles that you can find online:
1. Preventing Obesity in Children. By Barbara A. Brehm (May 1997). In the
category “Children” from the Library of Articles link in the left menu at
www.fitnessmanagement.com, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/information/
2. Child’s Play: Fitness Programs for Children. By Debra Atkinson (May 2006).
In the category “Children” from the Library of Articles link, or at
3. After-School Fitness. By Julie Anne Eason (May 2006). In the category “Chil-
dren” from the Library of Articles link, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/
42 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
A PHYSICALLY ACTIVE lifestyle offers signif-
icant health benefits, and is now recognized
as one of the most important behaviors for
health and well-being. Regular physical activ-
ity helps individuals of all ages to build and
maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints,
control body weight, reduce fat, and develop
efficient functioning of the heart and lungs.
Physical inactivity is recognized as a critical
health issue, and is related to many prevent-
able diseases.
While these health benefits are long term,
your members want results now. Their goals
are related to weight loss, greater cardiovascu-
lar efficiency, stronger muscles and bones,
more energy and less stress. They are looking
for encouragement, direction, a varied work-
out and feedback from a knowledgeable
instructor. What better environment than
group indoor cycling to provide members with
all they want, and more?
Be mindful that it is not safe or physiolog-
ically sound to perform activities on a group
cycling bike that do not customarily take place
on a road or mountain bike. Cyclists would
not ride without a seat, use rubber bands or
dumbbells, or ride without hands. Sticking to
the basic principles of biomechanics, bike fit,
nomenclature and conditioning will allow for
a fun and safe environment, with minimal risk
of injury and attrition.
To help members get results, instructors
should adhere to some general principles of
sports conditioning to allow participants to get
the most from their activity.
The principle of individual difference
Each individual’s response to exercise will
vary. A proper program should be modified to
take individual differences into account. Gen-
erally consider these known facts:
• Fast or explosive movements require more
recovery time than slow movements.
• Fast-twitch muscle fibers recover quicker
than slow-twitch muscle fibers.
• Women generally need more recovery time
than men (due to heart size, stroke volume
and muscle size).
• Older individuals generally need more
recovery time than younger individuals.
• The greater the load/intensity, the longer
it will take muscles to recover.
A good instructor will be able to conduct a
class, maintain everyone’s attention and give
each participant the ride they came for.
Remember, it is not the instructors’ ride; they
are there to provide encouragement, entertain-
ment, instruction and fun for the participants.
Teaching off the bike is a good way to pro-
vide individual attention, and an opportunity
for the instructor to interact with each partic-
ipant in a meaningful way.
The principle of overload
The principle of overload states that a
greater than normal stress or load on the
body is required for training adaptation to
take place. The body will adapt to this stim-
ulus. Once the body has adapted, a different
stimulus is required to continue the change.
For a muscle (including the heart) to gain
strength, it must be gradually stressed by
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working against a load greater than it is
accustomed. To increase endurance, muscles
must work for a longer period of time than
they are used to.
With this in mind, instructors should select
music that reflects the type of training they
are offering. Music selection is critical to
motivate members to gain the level of per-
formance outlined in the class structure.
Instructors are encouraged to put together
their own playlists to accomplish the goals of
the ride. With the increased popularity of
MP3 players and music websites, this process
is simple and will motivate the participants
to be more engaged in the ride. Personalized
music, a heart rate monitor and knowledge
of individualize heart rate intensities will
ensure the “perfect” ride.
The principle of progression
The principle of progression implies that
there is an optimal level of overload, and an
optimal time frame for this overload to occur.
Overload should not be increased too slowly,
or improvement is unlikely. Overload that is
increased too rapidly will result in injury or
muscle damage. Exercising above the target
zone is counterproductive and can be danger-
ous. This fact alone should encourage all
instructors to familiarize themselves with the
latest technology related to physiological test-
ing and heart rate training.
One product that is interesting, engaging
and motivational and that will provide
intrigue, safety and fitness enhancement into
group cycling classes is the Suunto Team POD.
The POD allows instructors to monitor the
heart rate and physiology of up to 30 partici-
pants simultaneously. It wirelessly gathers per-
formance information from participants’ heart
rate belts and displays it in real time on a com-
puter screen.
The principle of progression also indicates
the need for proper rest and recovery. Con-
tinual stress on the body and constant over-
load will result in exhaustion and injury.
Instructors should caution class participants
against repetitive intense sessions. Providing
variety in the class schedule will keep mem-
bers motivated and injury-free.
The principle of adaptation
Adaptation is the way the body “programs”
muscles to remember particular activities,
movements or skills. By repeating a skill or
activity, the body adapts to the stress, and the
skill becomes easier to perform. Adaptation
explains why beginning cyclists are sore after
the first session, but, after a few classes, they
have accommodated to the ride and the seat
pressure. Proper bike fit and appropriate cloth-
ing will enhance enjoyment and keep partici-
pants coming back, as well.
Bike fit is a critical factor. Seat height
should allow for a 15-degree flex in the
rider’s knee when the foot is at the bottom
(dead center). A good rule of thumb is to
align the bottom of the seat with the greater
trochanter of the hip (bump at the top of
the outside of the thigh). Then have the
rider “mount up” and look for the appropri-
ate flex in the knee.
With the seat appropriately adjusted, have
the rider get on the bike, clip in (or get into
toe cages) and assume the 9 o’clock/3 o’clock
position with the feet. With the feet horizon-
tal to the floor, adjust the seat fore/aft posi-
tion so that the knee aligns just behind the
big toe of the foot at 9 o’clock.
With the rider seated in the saddle and the
hands resting on the tops of the handle bars,
adjust the handle bar fore/aft position so that
The Suunto
Team POD
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the rider’s back is flat, the elbows are flexed
about 15 degrees and the neck is in a neu-
tral position.
The handle bar and seat height are usually
the same to start off, but seasoned riders will
lower the handle bars, and those with
neck/back issues will raise the handle bars, as
a general observation. Also, these basic adjust-
ments are subject to
revision based on
individual anatomy,
prior injury or per-
sonal preference. An
appropriate “bike fit”
should be performed
for each individual
rider to ensure their
enjoyment, optimal
performance and
Clothing is equally
important. Cycling
shorts make the ride
more comfortable,
protect the anatomy,
prevent chaffing and
provide safety (loose
clothing will get
caught in the pedals,
cranks, seat and
handle bars, resulting
in serious injury).
Cycling shorts with
synthetic or real
chamois is a “best
fit.” A cycling jersey
or snug fitting top
with “wicking” mate-
rial will add addi-
tional comfort to the
ride. Cycling shoes
with clips give optimal performance. If sneak-
ers are worn, they should have a stiff side wall
to minimize “toe squeeze” when secured in the
toe baskets with toe straps. Be sure all laces
are tucked in to avoid getting caught in the
crank or pedal.
Don’t forget the water bottle and towel.
Encourage class participants to drink early and
often for optimal hydration, which will allow
maintenance of the desired heart rate, mini-
mize cardiac drift, decrease dehydration and
enhance enjoyment.
These recommendations are open to inter-
pretation, but safety, comfort and performance
are the desired outcome.
The principle of use/disuse
The principle of use/disuse implies “use it
or lose it.” Simply stated, muscles hypertro-
phy (grow) with use, and atrophy (shrink)
with disuse. It is important to find a balance
between stress and rest. There must be peri-
ods of low intensity between periods of high
intensity to allow for recovery. The periods
of lower-intensity riding, or the rest phase,
are a prime time for education, concentra-
tion on pedal cadence/contact and pearls of
instructor wisdom. A good instructor will set
up an annual plan of periodization for class
Some additional tools will enhance the
delivery of the workout, and give the instruc-
tor additional information about each rider.
A heart rate monitor is basic, essential gear
for group cycling. If participants know their
heart rate levels, this will allow for optimal per-
formance, efficiency, safety and enjoyment.
Knowing anaerobic threshold (AT) will allow
the rider the appropriate numbers to achieve
success in a safe environment. There is no need
to go to the max or theorize what max is. AT
is the magic number, and class structure can
follow this scale:
AT–20 = Warm-up and recovery
AT–10 = Optimal “fat” use and fitness
AT= Optimal in overall aerobic (cardiovas-
cular) improvement
AT+10 = Anaerobic endurance
AT+15 to 20 = High-intensity intervals used
to improve anaerobic metabolism and sprint
performance, and raise VO2max
This is a simplified chart. For more detail
and explanation, see Figure 1 (Heart Rate
Rationale Chart).
There are several commercially available
devices to monitor heart rate and cadence.
Polar offers several monitors for heart rate
and other variables. Caloric expenditure is
the hot item these days, and everyone is on
the march to accurately calculate caloric
expenditure. Other options include the Star
Figure 1. Polar’s Heart Rate Chart provides
guidelines for different age groups.
CycleOps offers an indoor cycle that has position
variability and ability to measure power and heart rate.
Polar offers several
monitors for heart rate
and other variables.
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Trac Spinning computer, which provides
cadence, heart rate and elapsed time, and the
LeMond Rev Master cycling computer,
among others.
The principle of specificity
The specificity principle simply states that
training must go from highly general to
highly specific. The principle of specificity
also implies that, to become better at a par-
ticular exercise or skill, that exercise or skill
must be performed. To be a good cyclist, a
person must cycle. Therefore, just because
instructors are good at instructing yoga,
dance or strength training doesn’t mean they
can teach group cycling. There are many
valid and credible cycling certifications avail-
able, but there are also a lot of poor/anec-
dotal offerings in the industry. Some credible
programs include Mad Dogg Athletics,
Schwinn, Rev Master and Body Cycle, to
name a few. Programs based in the science
of cycling and sound physiology will be cred-
ible and worth study.
Specificity of training in cycling should
incorporate the principle of power. As cyclists
become more efficient and look to improve
their performance, measuring power is imper-
ative. Power is the measure of force produced
over time, and is expressed in watts. Power
tells riders how they are responding to a given
load (intensity). By measuring both power
and heart rate, the individual and the instruc-
tor have a clear picture of intensity vs.
response. Measuring these variables provides
a solid foundation for cycling performance
and enjoyment.
Indoor cycles that measure power are lim-
ited in the fitness market. CycleOps offers an
indoor cycle that has position variability and
ability to measure power and heart rate.
Variety is contagious
Providing variety in the cycling studio will
cultivate participation, from beginners to pro-
ficient cyclists. A varied offering of program-
ming will keep participants engaged and
motivated, and allow for progression as they
advance in fitness level and proficiency. Once
put together, the most logical cycling program
involves a periodized approach that varies the
intensity and training objectives. The pro-
gram must be specific not only to cycling, but
to each individual’s abilities (tolerance to
training stress, recoverability, outside influ-
ences, etc.). The training load must increase
over time (allowing some workouts to be less
intense than others), and members must cycle
often enough to keep a detraining effect from
happening and to force a positive training
Group cycling is contagious! With the
right environment, instructor and equip-
ment, the program will grow in members,
popularity and profitability. If you are con-
sidering starting a group cycling program,
talk to manufacturers and attend trade
shows where there are a variety of group
cycle vendors and instructional programs.
Try the bikes, talk to the professionals, make
your selection, get certified, practice and
launch the program.
Cycling is a fun, low-impact, easy-to-do
activity that can be done at any level. Chil-
dren can ride, as well. The Jr. Cycle by Millen-
nium Fitness is designed for youth cyclists.
Don’t wait! Initiate or enhance your cycling
offerings today. FM
Stephen A. Black, M.Ed, PT, ATC/L, NSCA-CPT,
has taught group cycling, and has conducted
cycling clinics and workshops for more than 10
years. He has honed his skills since his first
triathlon in 1985. He resides in Boulder, Colo.,
where he runs a human performance facility
providing testing, exercise prescription and
research in the fitness/performance industries.
He can be reached at www.clubcoach.net.
Group Cycling Stands the Test of Time
By John Baudhuin
Despite the growing number of group exercise programs, group cycling is still among the most
popular. This is no surprise to Master Spinning Instructor Sherri Crilly of Elements Health Club
and Wellness Center in Toms River, N.J. Crilly, who has taught Spinning since 1999, believes the
program has longevity and is not just another trend because, among its benefits, it offers a
mind/body connection. In fact, she credits the mental component of this particular group exercise
for changing her life.
One of the advantages of group cycling is that beginners and pros can be in the same class
and not even know it. This creates a comfortable environment for students because they never
feel embarrassed, since they go at their own pace. “It’s not about pedaling as fast as you can, it’s
about going at your own pace and creating a workout that’s ideal for you,” says Crilly.
As many fitness instructors know, keeping students motivated is one of their biggest challenges.
When students don’t feel inspired, they fail to meet their goals and ultimately drop out of exer-
cise classes. Crilly says she feels it’s important for herself and each of her five Spinning instruc-
tors to keep up with their continuing education classes. “Maintaining credentials keeps instructors
on top of new trends,” she says, “and also gives them the coaching skills that helps them make
that connection with their students.”
John Baudhuin is president and CEO of Mad Dogg Athletics, an international fitness education
and equipment company based in Venice, Calif.
Get More Information Online!
If you found this article useful, you can read more about this topic on Fitness Management’s website. Below
is a list of related articles that you can find online:
1. Launching an Indoor Cycling Program. By Tatiana Kolovou (May 2000). In the category “Group Exercise”
from the Library of Articles link in the left menu at www.fitnessmanagement.com, or at
2. A Safety Checklist for Group Cycling Classes. By Richard P. Borkowski (February 2005). In the category
“Group Exercise” from the Library of Articles link, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/information/
3. Group Cycling: Unique, Powerful and Profitable. By Steven Renata (December 2005). In the category
“Group Exercise” from the Library of Articles link, or at www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/information/articles/
The Star Trac Spinning
computer provides
cadence, heart rate and
elapsed time.
46 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
This March, the second annual
Bash for Augie’s Quest will be
held to raise funds for research
to find a cure for ALS. The role that
the fitness industry plays is crucial for
many reasons. Here’s how you can help.
By Ronale Tucker Rhodes, M.S., Editorial Director
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 47
IT’S IMPORTANT THAT fitness professionals
understand the role they play in society. While
the perception by many may be that the indus-
try strives to make people beautiful, the truth
is that the main goal is to make people healthy.
Fitness is merely one small piece of the health-
care puzzle, but, according to research during
the past decade and more, it is a crucial piece
of that puzzle.
Fitness is part of a healthy lifestyle that acts
as preventive medicine. But, sometimes pre-
ventive measures can take a different form —
different than what we’re normally used to pre-
scribing. Our facilities and staff can provide
some of the best products, programs and pre-
scriptions available to help people become and
stay healthy. But those things don’t help when
it comes to some forms of disease, such as ALS
(better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). Yet, just
because we can’t help with such a disease with
our ‘standard’ methods doesn’t mean that we
can’t help at all. We can, and we should.
The Henry Ford of the exercise industry
Perhaps the main reason we should help is
for Augie Nieto — a pioneer of our industry
who, two years ago, was diagnosed with ALS.
Whereas men like Norm Cates and John
McCarthy pioneered the industry by building
fitness facilities and setting standards, Nieto
pioneered what would be the staple of those
facilities: equipment. That’s why Cates, a
founder of IHRSA and publisher of Club
Insider News, has dubbed Nieto the “Henry
Ford of the exercise industry.” In an article
published in the Orange County Register (Oct.
28, 2005), Cates is quoted as saying, “Titan is
a good word. Legend is a good word. And
friend to the industry are the best words. With-
out Augie Nieto’s work on [the] Lifecycle, 25,
30 years ago, the health club industry clearly
wouldn’t be what it’s like today.”
Nieto began his career in the fitness indus-
try while he was in college, where he did a class
project on starting a strength-training gym,
which he opened. He then sold his gym to pur-
chase the marketing rights to Family Fitness
Centers founder Ray Wilson’s Lifecycle, and
after a lot of hard work, determination and a
strong belief in the product, he eventually suc-
ceeded in making the Lifecycle a staple in fit-
ness centers across the U.S. Adding other pieces
of equipment to his company’s line, Life Fit-
ness became one of the world’s largest fitness
equipment makers. In 1997, he sold Life Fit-
ness for $310 million. Nieto is now the chair-
man of Octane Fitness, based in Minnesota,
which designs and distributes elliptical trainers.
But his life as an active leader in the fitness
industry is perilously coming to a close. There
is no known cure for ALS, and most individ-
uals diagnosed with the disease die within
three to five years. According to the ALS Asso-
ciation’s website, ALS “is a progressive neu-
rodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells
in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neu-
rons reach from the brain to the spinal cord
and from the spinal cord to the muscles
throughout the body. … When the motor
neurons die, the ability of the brain to initi-
ate and control muscle movement is lost. With
voluntary muscle action progressively affected,
patients in the later stages of the disease may
become totally paralyzed. Yet, through it all,
for the vast majority of people, their minds
remain unaffected.”
As of this printing, Nieto is losing muscle
control, and his speech is slurred. "The irony
of it all is that I’ve spent my whole life trying
to preach the benefits of fitness,” says Nieto.
But, now, while the disease is taking all of those
benefits away, it has also given him a whole
new strength and determination.
The Lou Gehrig of the 21st century
At 48 years old, Nieto is battling ALS on all
fronts. He and his wife, Lynne, teamed up with
the Muscular Dystrophy Association, which
provides research, medical services and edu-
cation for more than 40 neuromuscular dis-
eases, including ALS. They formed “Augie’s
Quest,” an ALS foundation to raise research
funds for the disease, and they currently serve
as co-chairs of the Muscular Dystrophy Asso-
ciation’s ALS Division.
He then looked to Translation Genomics
Research Institute (TGen), a nonprofit group
in Phoenix, Ariz., that uses gene screening to
seek targets for various diseases. In March 2006,
his ALS foundation partnered with TGen, each
offering matching funds of $650,000 for
research to find ALS-related genes. Their hope
is that, if they can find the genes that cause
the disease, maybe they can find a cure. By late
September 2006, the team had identified 50
genes with some association to ALS, and they
narrowed that down to about 25 that appear
to play a bigger role in the disease.
Today, Nieto has made the search for an
ALS cure his job. “Because there are very few
people who actually understand the disease,
Lou Gehrig’s disease is sort of forgotten,” says
Ron Hamelgarn, Nieto’s long-time friend and
owner of 21st Century Super Fitness in Toledo,
Ohio. “When Augie got sick, [he] wanted to
make a difference. To me, he has become the
Lou Gehrig of the 21st Century.”
Nieto compares his vision for the fitness
industry with his work today for ALS research.
Augie Nieto, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s dis-
ease two years ago, and his wife, Lynne, have made it
their quest to raise funds for research to find a cure for
ALS. The first annual Bash for Augie’s Quest, held in
March 2006 at the IHRSA Convention and Trade Show,
Las Vegas, Nev., raised $2.8 million for ALS research.
How to Attend the Bash
Individuals can attend the Bash for Augie’s Quest on Friday, March 30, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.,
by purchasing sponsorships and/or tickets. Tickets are $300 each. Sponsorships include Ambas-
sador for $3,000, Bronze for $10,000, Silver for $20,000, Gold for $30,000 and Platinum $50,000.
All sponsorships include reserved tables for 10 people in assigned seating sections.
To purchase sponsorships and/or tickets for the Bash for Augie’s Quest, contact the MDAOrange
County office at 714 550-0161 or visit www.augiesquest.com.
48 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
His determination to spread the word of what
the Lifecycle could do for the industry “was
truly a passion of spreading the word and
leveraging technology that was available to
allow people to exercise, where in the past, they
couldn’t,” he explains. “The tools for genomics
and stem cells that weren’t available two years
ago are available today.”And, any research find-
ings related to ALS “will have implications for
a lot of neuromuscular diseases.”
Your role in Augie’s Bash
In March 2006, the first annual Bash for
Augie’s Quest was held at the IHRSA Con-
vention and Trade Show in Las Vegas. The
Bash raised $2.8 million dollars, all of which
went to research a cure for ALS. But most
people could never fathom the cost of con-
ducting that research. Every minute of ALS
research costs $65. Translated: A full day (24
hours) of research for ALS costs $31,200. The
money raised at the first Bash may seem like
a lot, but it only resulted in 90 days of research.
Much more needs to be done.
Next month, the second annual Bash for
Augie’s Quest will be held at the IHRSA Con-
vention and Trade Show on March 30 in San
Francisco. Attendees can participate by pur-
chasing sponsorships and/or tickets. Sponsor-
ships range from $3,000 to $50,000, and ticket
prices are $300 each. During the event, there
will also be silent and live auctions, as well as
a research-minute auction. The event will sell
out at 1,500 guests.
All fitness professionals, attendees at the
convention or not, are urged to attend the
Bash to help raise funds for ALS research. It’s
a good cause, but it’s also a good party. The
event will be emceed by Olympic Gold
Medalist Summer Sanders, and there will be
some outstanding auction items, which, as
of this printing, cannot yet be released. How-
ever, the caliber of auction items is said to
be equal to last year’s, or better. For those who
didn’t attend last year, the biggest sellers were
a one-on-one basketball game with Magic
Johnson, and a signed Lance Armstrong bike.
There will also be comedic performances
(one of whom is rumored to be Robin
Williams), but names are not confirmed at
this point due to filming schedules. And, to
round out the evening, one of Nieto’s favorite
bands is scheduled to play.
Our industry can make a difference
Whether it’s through a program of fitness
or of rallying our colleagues and members to
get behind a cause to help people become and
stay healthy, our industry can make a differ-
ence. We should get involved for Augie Nieto,
as well as for all of the other people affected
by ALS, many of whom, no doubt, have come
through our fitness facilities’ doors. ALS is not
picky. As Nieto says of his own diagnosis, “It
can happen to anybody at any time.”
The early returns on the Bash, according to
Nieto, are unbelievable. “The people who gave
$15,000 [last year,] are giving $50,000,” he says.
“It’s almost like we proved to the industry
[last] March that we could all come together.”
And, that’s what our industry is doing. As
Lance Armstrong said, “I think it says a lot
about Augie — the fact that everybody came
together regardless of whether they are from
competing gyms or competing companies that
make equipment. They all say, ‘This is one of
our own. This is a guy who has committed
his life to our industry, and who has been dealt
a serious blow. We’re going to be there for him.
We’re part of the ‘Quest.’” FM
Augie’s Quest Can Be Every Club’s Quest
Every fitness facility can make a difference for a cause. In this case, one facility owner is showing
others how grassroots fundraising has helped to raise funds for Augie’s Quest, while at the same
time garnering respect and awe from its members. Ron Hamelgarn, a long-time friend of Augie
Nieto’s, had ties to the Muscular Dystrophy Association prior to Nieto being diagnosed with ALS
(Lou Gehrig’s disease). As owner of 21st Century Super Fitness, Toledo, Ohio, Hamelgarn knows
his facility and its members can make a difference.
The Club Quest
The club’s first fundraiser was simple, yet
effective. “We had these round mobiles with
Augie’s picture on one side, and, on the other
side, [there were] pictures of others with
ALS,” Hamelgarn says. The mobiles were
sold to members for any amount of money.
“The trainers [who train on Life Fitness equip-
ment] would explain to the members about
Augie’s Quest and how Augie was behind the
Life Fitness Products,” says Hamelgarn. It was
up to the members what to donate. “We had
some people give $1, some gave $10, some gave $100,” says Hamelgarn. “We actually covered
our walls with these circles, so, when you first walked into the fitness center, all the walls were
covered with these Augie’s Quest circles with the people’s names who donated on them.” The
result was $3,600 for ALS research.
With such a success, Hamelgarn knew they could do more. Last November, he decided on a
football fundraiser. “In November each year, when the University of Michigan and Ohio State play
each other, it’s almost like a Super Bowl,” says Hamelgarn. So, they put the club’s trainers in
their favorite colors — red for Ohio and blue for Michigan — as a promotion to sell the shirts to
raise funds. Members bought their favorite color shirt for a total of $1,100 raised for ALS research.
Giving back to society
Hamelgarn’s commitment to help Augie’s Quest is about friendship, but it’s also about soci-
ety. “His [Nieto’s] quest to bring this to the forefront has become a quest of mine … because
we’ve been friends for 25 years,” says Hamelgarn. “If I can help in any way, if I can come up with
ideas, I’ll do that, because I think he would do the same for me if the tables were turned.”
But, as Hamelgarn explains, “There’s a personal commitment, but there’s also a commitment
to our members to give back to society and show our community involvement.” Diseases such as
ALS touch many people. “It’s quite amazing to me how many people come up to me and say ‘I
have a sister-in-law [or other relative/friend] who has this disease,’” says Hamelgarn. “What we
have found is that members love to be charitable. Members have a very positive opinion of you
if you’re giving back to society and if your company is giving back to the community.”
Hamelgarn’s examples of grassroots fundraising can be done at any fitness facility. All you
have to do, explains Hamelgarn, is have a theme and something to rally around. Augie’s Quest is
definitely something to rally around. “I wonder, if every health club in the country [did this], how
much that would bring in,” asks Hamelgarn. “If you figure 29,000 health clubs could do some-
thing like that, we’re taking major [money].” Indeed. If you multiply $4,700 by 29,000 clubs, that’s
$136,300,000. Now, that could fund some ALS research!
Ron Hamelgarn, owner of 21st Century Super Fitness,
also owns his own racing team, Hamelgarn Racing.
Hamelgarn’s quest is to help raise funds for Augie’s
Quest — complete with a slogan printed on his race car.
50 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
THE 1998 publication Why People
Quit, published by the Interna-
tional Health, Racquet and
Sportsclub Association (IHRSA),
Boston, Mass., highlighted the fit-
ness industry’s understanding of
why people quit their member-
ships, and the steps facilities need
to take to reduce this exodus. Two
years later, IHRSA released a
second publication, Why People
Stay: Health Club Member Reten-
tion Research and Best Practices.
This resource provided further
evidence about the variables influ-
encing an individual’s desire to
remain a member of a fitness
center, and shared some strategies
used by several of the top club
operators to enhance retention.
In 2001, just one year later, the
Fitness Industry Association in the
United Kingdom released Winning
the Retention Battle, a six-part
report on the forces driving attri-
tion and retention in the U.K. fit-
ness industry. It not only identified
the reasons why people maintain
and/or drop their membership,
but it also identified strategies that
facility operators could execute to
help win the retention battle.
These publications represent
the tip of the iceberg when it
comes to articles, presentations
and reports written and espoused
by industry experts that address
the topic of membership attrition
and retention. As a result of these
publications, and the continued
dissemination of information on
the topics, retention has become
one of the hottest areas of con-
cern in our industry. For exam-
ple, just last year, IHRSA adopted
Face to Face, a program devel-
oped by Paul Brown of Australia,
as its official member retention
program. In a similar vein,
Duncan Green, CEO of Momen-
tum Business Devel-
opment in the U.K.,
introduced a
dynamic member-
ship retention pro-
gram for the U.K.
market. Collectively,
these efforts (written
and programmatic)
offer a meaningful
signal that the fitness
industry needs to
address and solve the
attrition puzzle.
Why attrition is so
An old saying states, “a penny
saved is a penny earned.” By the
same token, for the fitness indus-
try, “a member saved is a member
sold.” Such a point is particularly
relevant because common
wisdom states that the cost to save
a membership is far less expensive
than the cost to sell one. Doing
whatever you can to retain mem-
bers can be a more profitable
strategy than selling more mem-
berships if you want to experience
continuous business growth.
The value of this strategy is illus-
trated in statistics contained in
IHRSA’s 2005 Profiles of Success,
which show that the average
IHRSA club of 60,000 square feet
or greater has the following profile:
• Average memberships: 4,670
• Average membership fees at
joining: $249
• Average annual dues: $882
• Average non-dues revenue: $545
• Average length of membership:
3.2 years (based on retention level)
• Average number of members
who drop their membership each
year: 1,225
Based on this data, a typical
facility member is worth approx-
imately $5,364 to the facility, an
amount that does not include the
value of their referrals. As such,
the average 60,000-plus square-
foot IHRSA facility has approxi-
mately $7,713,202 worth of
members who quit each year. In
other words, facilities have to sell
an incredible number of new
memberships to turn the faucet
off, let alone let the sink fill up.
As this example indicates, the fit-
ness industry has become all too
adept at throwing money away —
an attribute that reinforces why
membership retention is so
important. Obviously, facilities
that are able to win the “retention
battle” are in a better position to
generate long-term revenue and
sustain profit growth. FM
Editor’s Note: For a different per-
spective on this issue, read the Inde-
pendent Issues column on page 51.
Retention plays
a significant role
in your fitness
center’s operations.
Membership Attrition and Club Profitability, Part 1
ident of Club Industry Con-
sulting, a fitness and sports
industry consulting com-
pany. He has spent almost
three decades in various
roles in the industry, ranging from serving
as a director of athletics to being a senior
vice president with ClubCorp, Dallas, Texas.
He is a past president of IHRSA and co-
editor of the second and third editions of
the ACSM Health/Fitness Facility Stan-
dards and Guidelines. Recently, he wrote
and produced a comprehensive textbook
and DVD series for the industry, both enti-
tled Fitness Management, both of which
can be purchased from Healthy Learning
online at www.healthylearning.com or by
calling 888 229-5745.
FACSM, is a sports medicine
consultant, fellow of the
American College of Sports
Medicine, a former faculty
member at the United
States Military Academy and a former direc-
tor of sports medicine for StairMaster
Sports/Medical Products Inc.
Facilities that are able
to win the ‘retention
battle’ are in a better
position to generate
long-term revenue.
Management Matters
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 51
EVERY YEAR, as facility owners do
all over the world, my business
partner and I craft a marketing
and advertising budget. We then
refine our spending throughout
the year and, before you know it,
it’s time to start all over again. Each
time we go through this exercise, I
hear these often-said words in my
head: “Selling a new membership
is more expensive than keeping an
existing one.” Sometimes, I hear
the actual number in my head: Is
it five times more expensive? Ten
times? I’m never quite sure, but
that message keeps popping up,
like an annoying tune you just
heard on the radio. And, this little
fact is just as annoying.
I understand the spirit of the
message. It is, after all, quite
expensive to run advertisements,
receive visits by prospects, assign
them to sales people, provide an
orientation, follow up, etc. Sales,
marketing and advertising can be
a huge percentage of a fitness
center’s expenses. Keeping cus-
tomers, on the other hand, has an
immediate payoff. Every member
provides monthly dues, and can
also provide health bar and pro
shop sales, personal training and
tanning revenue, referrals of other
members, etc. But when messages
like this are repeated often
enough, they tend to be taken as
unquestioned truths. And several
aspects of this message bother me.
Which is more worthy?
One thing that bothers me
about this statement is the impli-
cation that retention efforts are
somehow more worthy than sales
efforts. Now, if you’ve read this far
(and thank you for that!), I’d like
you to guess — is my small club
a sales- or retention-focused oper-
ation? You may be surprised to
learn that we are retention- and
service-focused. We don’t even
have sales people. Our trainers
and front desk people do our sales
and, I must admit, I typically hate
walking into a sales-based fitness
center. The rows of cubicles with
sales people seem more appropri-
ate for a car dealer than a fitness
facility. However, if such sales-
focused facilities weren’t success-
ful financially, they wouldn’t
continue to exist and thrive. Many
of these fitness centers are some
of the most widely known and
respected businesses in our indus-
try. I certainly believe that if there
were a less expensive way for them
to be as successful as they are,
they’d take it.
Which is less expensive?
Which brings me to the second
thing that bothers me about this
message: I don’t believe it. I may
not like the particular business
model of a sales-driven facility, and
their clubs might not be for me,
but I certainly respect them. And,
sometimes I envy them. That’s
because retaining members is hard
work and it’s expensive — more
expensive than most people realize.
Almost every dollar we spend on
our business goes to customer
service and keeping our members
as satisfied as possible in order to
keep their business for another day.
If our daycare gets too crowded,
we bring in the emergency babysit-
ter. If we fill up our group cycling
classes, we add more. If we can
make a case for new equipment
that will be popular with members,
we buy it. If we have valuable staff
members, we reward them. If a
member hasn’t been to the facility
for a few weeks, we contact them.
And yes, we have member appre-
ciation events, seminars, newslet-
ters and many other things that fall
under the formal banner of “reten-
tion.”But, it’s the daily operation of
our business that is our single
biggest retention effort.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s all
worth it. Our experience, which is
consistent with industry data, is
that approximately 30 percent of
members quit each year due to
factors beyond the our control —
relocation, changes in work sched-
ules, family crises and other life
factors. So, while we are tracking
every member’s attendance, con-
tacting them when they are not
showing up, and helping them to
stay motivated and successful,
we’re going to lose a whole bunch
of them anyway.
I know that our efforts to serve
and retain members are, in fact,
worth it for us, and our business
model has proven successful over
the years. We have proactively
chosen not to pursue aggressive
sales techniques because (among
other reasons) we want the right
kind of members who will, hope-
fully, respond to and appreciate
the services we provide. We have
found that when we “talked”
people into a membership, and
they really weren’t ready to join,
they didn’t stick with it.
So, our model is right for us.
But, all of those costs make me
wonder just who is doing the
math that says finding a new cus-
tomer is more expensive than
keeping an existing one. FM
Independent Issues
Everybody says keeping
members is less expensive
than finding new ones.
But, is it really?
Retention vs. Sales Costs: A Re-Examination
Rob Bishop is the owner
of Elevations Health Club, Scotrun, Pa.
(www.elevationshealthclub.com). He can be
reached at rob@elevationshealthclub.com
or at 570 620-1990.
When messages are
repeated often
enough, they tend
to be taken as
unquestioned truths.
52 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
IT’S SCARY, but true. Some liabil-
ity insurance available for health
and fitness facilities will not pro-
vide either a defense or indemni-
fication from certain bodily injury
lawsuits against those facilities.
In one case [York Insurance
Company v. Houston Wellness
Center Inc. (2003) 261 Ga.App.
854], a lawsuit was filed by a fit-
ness center member (Vandalinda)
against the defendant facility. Van-
dalinda alleged that she was given
instructions by one of Houston’s
employees on the use of various
exercise machines. At the time of
her injury, Vandalinda was using
an exercise machine that develops
the triceps. Vandalinda tried to
release the machine using her
arms, as she had been instructed
to do by Houston’s employee.
However, the complaint alleged
that the machine “improperly
released from Vandalinda’s control
‘due to improper instructions’
given by the employee and, as a
result, Vandalinda experienced
pain in her left arm, for which
surgery was later required.”
A language barrier
Houston Wellness Center appar-
ently turned the matter over to its
insurance carrier to defend the suit.
But York Insurance Company, a
commercial general liability insurer,
sought a court ruling that it had no
duty to defend the facility, based on
the explicit language of the insur-
ance policy it issued. The policy con-
tained the following exclusion from
coverage: “This insurance does not
apply to ‘bodily injury,’ ‘property
damage’ or ‘personal and advertising
injury’ arising out of the rendering
of or failure to render any service,
treatment, advice or instruction
relating to physical fitness, includ-
ing services or advice in connection
with diet, cardiovascu-
lar fitness, body build-
ing or physical training
Though the trial
court ruled in favor
of the facility, the
insurance company
appealed — and
won. The case file by
the member against
the facility was deter-
mined not to be
within the coverage
of its liability insur-
ance policy with the
insurer. The facility
was not provided with an insur-
ance-paid defense or payment of
any judgment that could be ren-
dered in the case.
Review policies now
In support of this ruling, the
appellate court noted that “an
insurance policy is governed by
the ordinary rules of contract con-
struction. The hallmark of con-
struct construction is to ascertain
the intention of the parties
(OCGA §3-2-3). However, when
the terms of a written contract are
clear and unambiguous, the court
is to look to the contract alone to
find the parties’ intent. Under
Georgia law, an insurance com-
pany is free to fix the terms of its
policies as it sees fit, so long as such
terms are not contrary to law, and
it is equally free to insure against
certain risks while excluding others.
An insurers’ duty to defend is
determined by comparing the alle-
gations of the complaint with the
provisions of the policy.”
Exclusions from insurance cov-
erage similar to those identified in
the Georgia case may sometimes
be contained within many
health/fitness facility liability
insurance policies. While it may
come as a surprise to some that
certain services normally carried
out in such facilities may not be
covered, once such gaps in cover-
age are identified, steps can then
be taken to correct the deficiency.
These steps might include secur-
ing additional and different insur-
ance coverage, limiting service,
employing alternative outside
service providers that have the
applicable insurance coverage, and
usage of a waiver and/or express
assumption of risk documents or
other similar risk-management
strategies. In any case, facilities
need to review their insurance
policy coverage terms before
claims ever arise. FM
Herbert, D.L. Picking the right lia-
bility insurance. Fitness Man-
agement 12(9):48, 1996.
Risk Management
When a member sued one
Georgia fitness facility, an
appeals court determined
its insurance company
didn’t have to pay.
When Your Insurance Company Won’t Pay
Facilities need to review
their insurance policy
coverage terms before
claims ever arise.
senior partner at Herbert & Benson, Attorneys
at Law, Canton, Ohio.
Management Matters
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 53
yourself! These are terms we often
hear in reference to promotions,
advertisements and program-
ming. When it comes to the four
walls of your facility, your mem-
bers and guests can also experi-
ence the “wow” factor (like
well-kept mahogany and marble),
or experience nothing (as in clean,
uncluttered space, which is a good
thing). You may not have the
budget to get the “wow” of
mahogany and marble, but you
can certainly strive for “nothing.”
I’m talking about focusing on
simple things that may make a big
difference to your members and
All too often your member
feedback box is full of complaints.
About one out of every 10 com-
ments is positive. Wouldn’t it be
great to cut that ratio down by
getting less negative feedback and
maybe an extra compliment or
two? Here are some tips on some
little things that can go a long way
toward member satisfaction.
Shower curtains
This is an easy one that is often
overlooked: Look at the inside of
your shower curtains. If they’re
torn or scummy, toss them. That’s
one of the last things your mem-
bers will see before they leave your
facility. Have them leave with the
right impression. One thing you
can do to increase the longevity of
shower curtains and cut down on
buildup is to draw them closed
during your regular
checklist walk-
throughs and at the
end of the day.
Move cardio
equipment around
Members tend to
use the treadmill,
cycle or elliptical
trainer that is
directly in front of a
television. Most
cardio pieces come
equipped to keep
track of usage
(miles, hours, etc.).
Check your usage
trackers and you’ll
find a trend. Move
your equipment
around to even out
the usage and mini-
mize the potential
for breakdowns.
Use your facility
The far left bench press at a fit-
ness center I frequent is the per-
fect example of employees not
taking in their facility from a
member’s perspective. When I lay
down on that bench and look at
the underside of the bar rack, I see
a big wad of gum stuck there. Not
exactly the “wow” moment you
want members to have. Facility
members may not report all that
is wrong with your facility or the
equipment. If you and your staff
are using your facility and taking
it in from a different point of view,
you can correct an issue before it
becomes one. By the way, I haven’t
put a complaint in the feedback
box yet about the gum. I’m going
to wait until they pry that prehis-
toric wad off of the bench and
then write a kind thank you note
for taking care of it.
Make a great last impression
When members and guests
enter your facility (depending on
front desk layout and design), they
should be greeted by a well-kept,
neat, uncluttered front desk. And
what about when they leave? They
may be approaching the front
desk from the back. Does it look
as good leaving as it does enter-
ing? The front desk is your gate-
way in and out. Send the same
message both ways.
Clean your equipment (go by
the manufacturers’ guidelines —
often soapy water is recom-
mended and disinfectant cleansers
are noted to be harmful). Every-
one loves clean, shiny equipment.
This is just a short list of some
simple things that you can do that
can really make an impact by
going unnoticed. The operational
“wow” factor is like camouflage
— if members don’t see it, you’re
doing a good job. FM
Facility Maintenance
Here are some quick tips on
how to increase the “wow”
factor in your facility.
Make A Difference With the Basics
BRIAN SAMUEL is a director of operations
with L&T Health and Fitness, a company
focused on fitness facility management,
health promotion services, wellness program
design and delivery, and facility design and
consulting services to organizations around
the country. He can be reached at 703 204-
1355, ext. 26, or b.samuel@ltwell.com.
Facility users may not
report all that is wrong
with your facility or
the equipment.
54 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
“THE OTHER day my exercise stu-
dents were asking about the health
risks of obesity, and how it con-
tributes to heart disease and other
health problems. I have always
heard that excess body fat ‘strains
the heart,’ but I realized that I don’t
really know what that means. I
needed to learn more about why
obesity causes health problems so
I could discuss this topic more
knowledgeably with my clients.”
Everyone knows by now that
most countries are experiencing dra-
matic increases in obesity rates
among adults and children. In the
United States, the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga.,
states that approximately 30 percent
of adults are obese, as measured by
body mass index. Another one-third
of the adult population is over-
weight, but not yet obese, and about
16 percent of kids ages six to 19 are
overweight or obese.
Most people also know that
public health officials have expressed
alarm concerning the predicted rise
in obesity-associated health prob-
lems that may develop over the next
decade. What are these health prob-
lems, and how does obesity con-
tribute to their development?
The physiology of fatness
Body fat is a good thing, in mod-
eration. Fat cushions and protects
the organs. Fat under the skin helps
keep us warm, and storage fat helps
us through future food shortages.
Our ability to make and store fat
could have contributed to the sur-
vival of our species, as people who
were adept at storing fat survived
lean times and maintained their fer-
tility enough to populate the planet.
When you consume more calo-
ries than you expend, a majority of
these excess calories are converted
to triglyceride molecules, the body’s
primary form of fat storage. Fat
cells, or adipocytes, dedicate a great
part of their volume to triglyceride
storage. Adipose tissue is comprised
of many adipocytes, along with
other structural elements such as
blood vessels and connective tissue.
Scientists used to regard adipose
tissues as fairly inert storage depots
that took in or released triglyceride
depending on energy balance in the
body. Excess calorie consumption
was thought to lead to increased fat
storage, while a calorie deficit would
signal the adipocytes to release
triglyceride for the body to use as
fuel. Fat cells still do these things, but
scientists are beginning to unravel
some of the cellular biochemistry
involved in fat storage and metabo-
lism, and some of the physiological
processes that occur when triglyc-
eride supply overwhelms the body’s
immediate storage capacities.
Adipose tissue joins the
endocrine and immune systems
Researchers have identified a
number of chemical messengers
that allow adipose tissue to help
regulate fat storage, and allow it
to communicate with other organs
and systems in the body. Some of
these messengers act as hormones,
sending signals to other parts of
the body. Leptin, for example, is a
messenger produced by adipose
tissue. Leptin concentration in the
blood is thought to inform the
brain about triglyceride storage
levels. Researchers have hypothe-
sized that when the brain finds out
that storage levels are getting low
(lower leptin levels), the brain
turns on the hunger signal that
tells you to go look for some food.
Tissues that produce hormones
qualify for inclusion in the body’s
endocrine system, a collection of
hormone-producing organs that
help to regulate body functions.
Adipose tissue appears to be the
site of a great deal of immune
system activity, as well. Large num-
bers of a type of white blood cell
known as macrophages have been
observed in adipose tissue, especially
in the fat of people who are obese.
Macrophages engulf foreign
invaders such as bacteria and viruses,
and the body’s own dead cells.
The macrophages found in adi-
pose tissue appear to be responding
to damaged adipocytes. Adipocytes
can grow larger, as more fat is
stored, but they cannot expand
indefinitely. It is possible that, with
obesity, adipocytes cannot keep up
with the body’s demand to store
triglyceride. Cells may leak or
become damaged, signaling
macrophages to move in to clean
up the mess. Macrophages, in turn,
release chemical messengers called
cytokines, such as interleukins, that
summon more white blood cells
and lead to more inflammation.
Some of these cytokines appear to
interfere with normal blood sugar
regulation and to contribute to the
development of type 2 diabetes.
Scientists still have a great deal
to learn about the biochemistry of
obesity, and how obesity con-
tributes to many health problems.
The more they learn, the more evi-
dence we have about the benefits
of a healthful lifestyle, as regular
physical activity and good eating
habits help to reverse the negative
health effects of obesity. FM
Bliss, R.M. Inflammatory news about fat
cells: Molecules that sequester dying
fat cells also spread inflammation.
Agricultural Research 54 (3): 4-7,
March 2006.
Centers for Disease Control. Overweight
and obesity. www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/
dnpa/obesity/.Accessed December 2006.
Tilg, H., and H.R. Moschen. Adipocy-
tokines: Mediators linking adipose
tissue, inflammation and immu-
nity. Nature Reviews Immunology 6:
772-783, October 2006.
Instructor Training
New research is
unraveling the science
behind the health risks
associated with obesity.
Obesity 101: The Physiology of Fatness
Barbara A. Brehm, Ed.D., is
professor of exercise and
sport studies at Smith Col-
lege, Northampton, Mass.
Member Handout: You may make photocopies
for free distribution to your members.
(Customize by placing your company logo in the lower right corner.)
Management Matters
BODY FAT is a good thing, in moderation.
But too much body fat interferes with good
health in a number of ways. Understand-
ing the effect of obesity on your health
helps you understand why it’s important
to develop a healthful lifestyle: good eating
habits and plenty of physical activity. Here
are some of the ways obesity interferes with
maintaining good health.
Metabolic interference
Obesity results when people eat more
calories than they use. When you eat extra
calories, your body wants to store the extra
calories for a rainy day, just in case starva-
tion conditions arise. What is the body’s
favorite way to store extra calories? Fat, of
course. It converts extra calories into mol-
ecules called triglycerides, and packs the
triglyceride into fat cells. Fat cells can grow
larger as more fat is stored, but they cannot
expand indefinitely. Weight gain and too
much body fat interfere with normal meta-
bolic processes in many ways that con-
tribute to the chronic health problems likely
to arise with obesity.
Researchers believe that when people are
gaining weight and their bodies are making
extra triglycerides, expanding fat cells may
become damaged, or simply reach the end
of their life expectancies when they get too
full of fat. When this happens, immune cells
called macrophages come in to help dispose
of damaged and dead fat cells. The job of
macrophages is to disarm potential attackers,
like bacteria and viruses, by engulfing and
digesting them. They try to attack triglyc-
erides and dead fat cells in this manner, but
are often overwhelmed by the challenge.
They call in more immune cells to help. As
more immune cells congregate to deal with
the damage, inflammation is the result.
While inflammation is helpful for heal-
ing a wound, chronic inflammation can
interfere with a number of important bio-
chemical processes. Several of obesity’s neg-
ative health effects are thought to be the
result of inflammation in the fat tissue.
Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Dia-
betes may result when some of the chemicals
produced by the macrophages interfere with
blood sugar regulation. These chemical mes-
sengers prevent the body’s cells from
responding appropriately to the hormone
insulin, which signals cells to take up sugar
(glucose) from the blood. High blood sugar
levels, in turn, cause more damage, includ-
ing accelerated aging of the arteries, thus con-
tributing to artery disease, the leading cause
of heart disease. High blood sugar also causes
damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves.
High blood pressure. High insulin levels
create a stress response in the body, acti-
vating the fight or flight response. This can
contribute to high blood pressure.
Risky blood lipid levels and heart dis-
ease. Excess triglyceride production (from
excess calories) raises levels of blood fats,
including blood triglycerides and low-den-
sity lipoprotein cholesterol levels. These lipids
contribute to the formation of arterial plaque
and more inflammation, as macrophages
attempt to deal with damaged arteries.
Other inflammatory disorders. The
inflammation caused by obesity may con-
tribute to other disorders associated with
inflammation, such as liver disease, pancre-
atitis, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Obesity increases risk for Alzheimer’s dis-
ease, perhaps through accelerated aging of
the arteries.
Body fat packed around the internal
organs (visceral fat) appears to be most
damaging to health. Researchers also believe
that inflammation results not only from
having a lot of fat, but from getting fatter.
Inflammation is more likely to occur when
you are in energy storage mode, and your
body is dealing with caloric overload.
Cancer promotion
Obesity is associated with increased risk
of many types of cancers. Researchers have
suggested that fat tissue may secrete chem-
icals that make people more susceptible to
cancer. Health professionals emphasize,
however, that this research is preliminary,
and advise that cancer patients not lose
weight, as extra weight can be protective
once cancer has already developed.
Physical strain
The physical strain of excess weight can
overload weight-bearing joints such as the
hips, knees and feet, and accelerate devel-
opment of the joint degeneration and pain
associated with osteoarthritis.
Lifestyle solutions
Switching your body from energy stor-
age mode to energy usage mode produces
many health benefits. As fat cells stop grow-
ing, inflammatory processes slow. A rela-
tively small weight loss (5 to 10 percent of
body weight) has enormous health benefits,
as fat tissue’s secretion of disruptive chem-
icals declines. Consume a heart-healthy diet
with plenty of fish, fruits and vegetables,
and increase energy output with regular
physical activity. FM
Obesity can lead to serious
health problems.
Obesity is associated
with increased risk of
many types of cancers.
Understanding Obesity Health Risks BY BARBARA A. BREHM, ED.D.
Compliments of:
56 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
Scott Logan, director of marketing at SportsArt
Fitness, Woodinville, Wash., says that the tread-
mill’s popularity is no mystery: “Walking is the
most natural of cardio movements and requires
no learning curve.”
Yesterday, today and tomorrow
Manufacturers aren’t taking lightly their
position as an industry leader. They’ve
improved and adapted their product to meet
consumers’ ever-changing needs. “The quality
and technology [of treadmills] are light years
ahead of where they were even 10 years ago,”
says Logan. “Significant improvements include
enhanced durability, speed response (consis-
tency of power delivery), user interface and
feedback, and heart rate [monitoring].”
And, there is something out there for every
fitness center’s needs. “Most treadmills from
leading manufacturers offer good durability
and performance, and can be had in choices
of simple displays, [or with] eye-catching dot
matrix/LED combinations with integrated
screens and entertainment-ready,” Logan says.
“When you consider all of this, you can see that
the bar is already set very high.”
Fitness facilities looking to serve older or
obese members, or to create a more environ-
ment-friendly facility, will soon find more
treadmills to meet their needs, as well.
Machines with very low start speeds, ergonomic
designs and more cushioning are hitting the
market for older and obese exercisers. Tread-
mills that use less electricity are also available
for facilities that aim to “go green.”
Worth the investment
A treadmill is a big-ticket item in any fitness
center, and it’s in your best interest to make it
worth the investment. There are at
least two variables that help to
determine how long your new
treadmill will last: amount of use
and maintenance. “Preventive
maintenance is really the magic
bullet, since a clean and well-serv-
iced treadmill can last two to three
times longer (or more) than a
non-serviced unit,” says Logan.
“The drive system on a well-serv-
iced machine can last for 10 years,
even in a high-use setting. But take
away the regular service and that
can easily drop to three years. …
The other big wear items, bed and
belt, also have variable life spans
that depend on maintenance and
other factors, such as [if] the deck
[is] reversible. That said, even a
well-maintained bed and belt
system may need to be replaced
every three to four years in a mid-
to high-use setting.”
When purchasing treadmills for
your fitness facility, consider the
cost of operation, as well as poten-
tial service issues inherent with the
machine’s design and drive system. “Beyond
that, club owners should consider the aesthet-
ics of the treadmills — will it be inviting to
members — as well as the interface — will it
be easy for members to use while also offering
compelling visual feedback,” Logan says.
Innovation is the lifeblood of our industry,
but, so far, it seems likely treadmills will remain
the beeping, whirring heart of most fitness
floors. Treadmills don’t seem in danger of
losing their spot at the top of the cardio heap
any time soon, and manufacturers’ focus on
improving their product is good news for fit-
ness facilities. FM
Treadmills Lead the Cardio Pack
Treadmills are as popular as ever. They take up the most cardio space on
the fitness floor, have time limits, sign-up sheets and waiting lines, and
were even featured as the lone prop in a music video (check it out at
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 57
Cybex International
774 324-8000; www.cybexintl.com
Cybex’ CX445T has the same compact footprint,
streamlined user oper-
ation and design of the
Cybex LCX 425T tread-
mill, but built to the
commercial level. It
features heart rate
monitoring and a
safety lanyard, with
speeds from 0.5 to 11
mph. The CX 445T
maximizes the useable running area, but with a
small footprint.
FreeMotion Fitness
877 363-8449;
The FreeMotion Incline Trainer is like two
machines in one, with speeds from 0 to 12 mph,
and incline from –3 to
30 percent. The
machine can accom-
modate marathoners,
someone out for a
stroll or a member
looking for a hike. It is
powered by the DRVS
Direct Rear Velocity
System, a rear-drive
motor system that, combined with urethane deck
isolators, provides additional cushioning to create
a softer running surface to reduce impact on joints.
The Trainer features the optional Workout TV con-
sole: a flat-panel LCD screen integrated into the
console to offer a bright, clear picture at a com-
fortable viewing angle.
Life Fitness
800 634-8637; www.lifefitness.com
Life Fitness offers seven models to choose from
and a wide range of user features, including the
DX3 belt and deck
system, heart rate
monitoring, Zone
Training for workout
variety and an intu-
itive console. The
Activity Zone on the
Ergo bar makes it
easy for users to get
started, and adjust speed and incline settings. Auto
Alert diagnostics inform you of service needs and
permanently record and date-stamp maintenance
performed. The FlexDeckShockAbsorption System
reduces knee and joint stress by up to 30 percent
more than non-cushioned surfaces, and eight Life-
spring shock absorbers, guaranteed for life never
to wear out or lose absorption capability, deliver
smooth cushioning throughout the deck, regard-
less of user weight or running stride.
Motus USA
866 668-8766; www.motususa.com
Motus USAdeveloped a line of commercial tread-
mills that feature com-
ponents from leading
manufacturers, such
as Samsung TV Enter-
tainment, Hyundai
Electronics and Mit-
subishi Motors. Tread-
mills include Motus’
patented triple-shock absorption system; anti-
microbial handlebars; fully integrated LCDTVenter-
tainment with up to 125 channels; Polar heart rate
monitors; smooth and quiet running with minimal
vibration; and large, touch-sensitive keys for easy
877 657-7762; www.nautilus.com
The TreadClimber TC916s provides the cardio
and calorie-expending benefits of running, but
at a walking pace,
and minimizes the
stress and impact on
the user’s ankles,
knees and hips.
Studies have shown
that walking at 3
miles per hour on the
TreadClimber uses the same number of calories
as running at 6 mph on a treadmill. Its dual-
motion design combines low-impact walking with
gradual hill climbing, and the TreadClimber fea-
tures eight programs and a user capacity of 400
Noramco Fitness
800 827-2017; www.noramcofitness.com
All models of Noramco Fitness treadmills fea-
ture a 600-pound user capacity, all-steel frame,
patented flywheel
system for smooth-
ness and motor life,
deck and belt
system, and flip-up
grips for runners and
power walkers. Its treadmills run on 110-volt
power. Programmable models have up to 11 pro-
files, including three user-customizable and two
heart-rate-controlled programs.
800 786-8404; www.precor.com
Precor’s C966i low-impact treadmill features a
“wrap around" console with an easy-to-use dis-
play, “cantilevered”
handrails and an
optional Cardio The-
ater screen. Tap Con-
trol buttons confirm
commands with a
sensory “click.” The
new IFT Drive delivers
speed changes and
cuts power consumption. Ground Effects and Inte-
grated Footplant decrease impact and deliver a
responsive feel at speeds of 0.5 to 15 mph, at a
–3 to +15 degree incline. The 21 courses avail-
able include pace, personal profile and segment
time. Precor treadmills have an efficient
roller/drive and a self-lubricated bed/belt.
Promaxima Strength and Conditioning
800 231-6652; www.promaximamfg.com
Promaxima Strength and Conditioning distrib-
utes Stex treadmills featuring a 5.5 Hyundai AC
motor, Mitsubishi/
Toshiba Drive
Inverter and more
than 30 different
programs. It also
offers an automatic
drive belt tension
system and optional
17-inch LCD flat
screen Samsung TV. The speed ranges from 0.5
to 15.5 mph, and 0 to 20 percent elevation with
a 500-pound user weight.
SportsArt Fitness
800 709-1400; www.sportsartfitness.com
The SportsArt Fitness 680 Xtreme treadmill
features the new ECO-Powr (Extreme Conversation
and Output) System,
and a maintenance-
free, self-regulating,
brushless drive
system that uses up
to 32 percent less
electricity than stan-
dard DC-powered
units. The My-Flex cushioning system automati-
Cybex CX 445T
FreeMotion Incline Trainer
Life Fitness 97Te
Motus M990TL
Nautilus TreadClimber TC916
NF 4600
Precor C966i
Stex 8025TL
SportsArt Fitness 680 Xtreme
cally adjusts the firmness of the treadmill deck
based on the user’s weight, while the command
center features the proprietary CardioAdvisor
heart rate training system and an entertainment-
ready, 10.2-inch LCD screen capable of display-
ing full-screen workout data, full-screen video or
a split-screen combo.
Star Trac
800 228-6635; www.startrac.com
Star Trac offers the Elite, Pro and Pro S tread-
mills. Each treadmill is based on the same look
and feel, and incorpo-
rates an intuitive dis-
play, 1/4-mile track
and SoftTrac deck
system. Star Trac
treadmills are built on
aluminum frames
designed to maximize
running area while minimizing product footprint.
The Elite and Pro models also feature built-in per-
sonal cooling fans and 5 hp motors.
Technogym USA
800 804-0952; www.technogymusa.com
The Run Excite treadmill combines Technogym’s
design with durabilityand energysavings. Run Excite
offers an integrated and ergonomically positioned
15-inch touch screen
TV, Breezer fan and
FastTrackcontrols. The
display visually tracks
progress based on
QuickStart or one of
six program options.
an extra-wide console,
flat motor cover, rear roller protection and emergency
stop functions. The treadmill microprocessor system
monitors the user’s speed and weight to determine
necessary amperage draw, resulting in an average
consumption of 30 percent less energy.
True Fitness
800 426-6570; www.truefitness.com
True Fitness offers treadmills designed for
vertical markets, as well as traditional fitness
facilities. True engineers manufacture the Per-
formance Series
treadmill by starting
with a commercial-
grade frame and
building their way
up, adding a stylized
pedestal, powerful
motor, rugged tread
belt and advanced
computer console
calibrated to help maximize users’ workouts.
Vision Fitness
800 335-4348; www.visionfitness.com
Vision Fitness’ T9700 and T9800 Series
treadmills provide users with 16 different work-
out programs, including four heart rate pro-
grams, five user
programs, six preset
programs (including
its Sprint 8 work-
out), and a manual
option. Contact heart
rate bars and con-
stant feedback dis-
plays let users see
their progress. The
T9700 Series tread-
mills offer a 60-by-20-inch running surface,
while the T9800 Series treadmills offer an
even larger 63-by-22-inch running surface,
plus a 3.0 hp AC drive system with matching
motor and controller.
800 woodway; www.woodway.com
Woodway treadmills feature an internation-
ally-patented design — the running surface is
a relatively stationary
hard-wood deck over
which the belt trav-
els. Design specifica-
tions for the
Widepath treadmill
include a patented
slat-belt transporta-
tion system, 110-volt
power supply (dedi-
cated circuit and NEMA 5-20R outlet receptacle
required) and unitized steel frame with inte-
grated black powder-coated side handrails. The
Widepath has a contact heart rate handlebar,
0.1 mph resolution, 0 to 11 mph speed and 0
to 15 percent elevation.
58 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
Purchasing Guide
1/3 square
True PS700
Vision Fitness T9700 Series
Woodway Widepath
Star Trac Pro
Run Excite 900
Fitness Assessment
is our life
• Fitness & Wellness
Assessment Software
• Computer Controlled
Assessment Equipment
• Portable Assessment
• Excellent Support and
Health & Fitness Systems
For a free trial CD call:
November 29-December 1
Orange County Convention Center
5 Orlando 5
Athletic Business
Conference & Expo
(Including Fitness Management
magazine seminar track).
The sports, fitness and
recreation industry’s finest
seminars and workshops,
networking events
and a trade show packed
with the latest products
and services.
Active Aging 2007
Be inspired by an irresistible
mix of seminars, unique venues
for networking and some of the
finest presenters in the
field of active aging.
Setting the Pace for Success:
Medical Fitness Strategies
Exciting seminars for the
growing hospital wellness
and fitness center industry,
roundtables, special events
and face-to-face meetings
with professionals in
your region.
Come to Orlando for the best deal in conferences around. Register for either
the Athletic Business (ABC), International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) or
Medical Fitness Association (MFA) Conference and you’ll be able to attend
seminars from all three conferences – at no extra charge. No matter what
segment of the industry you serve, there are more than 150 educational
sessions to choose from -- the widest selection in the industry today.
60 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
New Products
Product of the Month
Bootcamp program
Power Systems’ Sports Performance Boot Camp is a program kit for fit-
ness centers and group instructors that helps to create a fun, dynamic
and intense circuit workout. The workout incorporates aspects of sports
performance such as strength, agility, plyometrics and core condition-
ing. The class combines bootcamp training with sports performance for
a workout that can be tailored to any setting, including group fitness
circuit training. The Sports Performance Boot Camp DVD and manual
offer a step-by-step plan to organize, set up and conduct a bootcamp
class. Numerous athletic drills are demonstrated using the equipment
that comes in the kit, including agility ladders, Power Med Balls, Step
Hurdles, Resist-A-Balls, Reflex Balls and more. The Sport Performance
Boot Camp program is available in two kits. The Group Kit is designed
for personal trainers or small group classes of up to 20, and the Class
Kit can accommodate up to 36 participants. Both kits come with train-
ing equipment, a training DVD and a manual.
Power Systems: 800 321-6975; www.power-systems.com
SportsArt Fitness’ new commercial grade Xtreme
Cardio Series includes the 500 Series upright
and recumbent cycles. The cycles come with two
screen options: a dot matrix and LED, or an
entertainment-ready 10.2-inch Liquid Crystal Dis-
play (LCD) screen capable of displaying full-
screen workout data, full-screen video or a
split-screen combo. Machines also have contact
heart rate points and are HR telemetry compat-
ible. Upright cycles offer a large seat with a one-
touch adjustment system and oversized pedals.
Recumbent cycles feature a step-through
design, an adjustable Comfort-Dri seatback,
oversized pedals and a one-touch adjustment
SportsArt Fitness: 800 709-1400;
Exercise bar
Body Bar Systems’ Body Bar Flex Power offers
double the resistance of the original. A 4-pound
weighted version offers further training options
for athletes and extremely fit individuals. The
Body Bar Flex Power is a flexible fiberglass com-
posite rod with easy-grip rubber casing and end
caps. Weighing approximately 2 pounds, the
4-foot Body Bar Flex Power can be used for bal-
ance and stretching when straight, but offers
resistance ranging from 0 to 40 pounds when
bent into an arc. It has ergonomically tailored
flexibility to allow full joint range of motion and
works the entire body in simple or compound
movements to develop strength, flexibility, coor-
dination and balance.
Body Bar Systems: 800 500-2030;
FreeMotion’s Cardio Line now includes recum-
bent and upright cycles. The bikes feature a
QuickTouch function to change resistance and
choose programs, water bottle and accessory
holder, a wider pedal platform, and a drive
system that uses a self-tensioning Flexonic belt
designed to provide fluid motion and require less
maintenance. A low profile, step-through design
allows for easy entry/exit of the machine, Quick-
Lift seats rise with the lift of a lever, and molded
arm restswith dual pulse gripsare offered. Cycles
can come with the optional Workout TV console,
which includes a 12.1-inch flat panel LCD screen
that offers users their own entertainment options
(with coaxial cable). Integrated directly into the
console, the screen is positioned to offer a bright
picture and comfortable viewing angle.
FreeMotion Fitness: 877 363-8449;
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 61
Yoga mats
Wai Lana Yoga now offers its EnviroMat yoga
mat, which is 100-percent biodegradable; recy-
clable; free from toxins, allergens, synthetic
materials and chemical dyes; and PVC- and
Latex-free. Its closed-cell design offers traction
and resists water and sweat. Mats are available
in 24 by 68 inches, and either 3 millimeters or
5 millimeters thick. Colors include iris, lilac, deep
ocean and summer sky.
Wai Lana Yoga: 800 624-9163;
Coordination trainer
OPTP’s Quick Hands BOLA Trainer consists of
two balls on an elastic cord. It is designed to
improve neurological function, including reac-
tion time, quickness and coordination. It is also
designed for athletes and others to help
improve sports skills such as hand/eye coordi-
nation, spatial awareness and balance. It comes
with a DVD that features dozens of demonstra-
tions at various skill levels.
OPTP: 800 367-7393; www.optp.com
Steam room pump
The Nano Steam Room Aroma Pump bySpa Part-
ners is an automatic steam room pump. Aromas
will last for up to three months. It installs in about
45 minutes, and features adjustable aroma
levels. Aromas include eucalyptus, mentholyp-
tus, menthol, mint, alpine, cherry, citrus, laven-
der, Caribbean breeze and tropical coconut. Two
versions are available: 110 volt and 230 volt.
Spa Partners: 800 243-6772;
62 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
New Products
Strength machines
Body-Solid’s new commercial line includes the modular Pro-Dual line
designed to accommodate commercial facilities with limited workout
space. The line includes 10 function-specific dual machines that can stand
alone or be combined with a three-stack or four-stack weight tower to
build a single multi-function gym. This allows facilities to create a cus-
tomized series of workout stations. Machines feature continuous welded,
factory assembled connections; impact resistant, fiberglass-reinforced
nylon pulleys; electrostatically applied metallic powdercoat finish with
clear coat; DuraFirm upholstery with 2-inch-high density foam that is
double stitched; high-density rubber foam grips and handles; and weight
shrouds and covers.
Body-Solid: 800 833-1227; www.bodysolid.com
Resistance machine
Hoggan’s new Sprint Trainer is an ADA-compliant resistance training
machine, suited for use in active aging centers and in physical therapy
applications. Designed for use by people of all abilities, the Sprint Trainer
uses an adjustable exercise position system that allows the user to per-
form countless exercises on the same machine, while situated in a wheel-
chair, standing or seated. By using Hoggan’s wireless therapy cord
system, the Trainer provides feedback to the user, such as force and
total repetitions, and the ability to set force thresholds. Exercises include
those for the core, upper body and lower body.
Hoggan Health Industries Inc.: 800 678-7888; www.hogganhealth.com
A proud member of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education.
BS Program in Wellness and Fitness –100%Online
- Transfer credits accepted
- 2-Year completion program if you have an
Associate’s Degree
- NASM Certifications in CPT & PES
MS Program in Exercise Science & Health Promotion
• Four degree tracks:
- Performance Enhancement & Injury Prevention
- Rehabilitation Science
- Wellness & Fitness
- Sport Psychology
• NASM certifications in PES, CES, and/or CPT
• Network with health & fitness professionals worldwide
Phone: 1-866-595-6348 or visit: www.cup.edu/go
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 63
Pool photometer
The Pooltest 25 Professional from Palintest is a pool
photometer that can store up to 500 test resultsand
can be integrated with a PC via its USB port. It also
floatsand isfullywaterproof. It offersa range of swim-
ming pool water tests, including more specialized
testssuch asphosphate and sulfate. Itschemical test-
ing useslight to measure color changesin water sam-
ples treated with a reagent. The sample is placed in
the cell holder and a button ispressed to get results.
A backlit LCD screen allows access to programmed
tests. The standard kit comesin a portable case with
test tubes and a starter supply of reagents. The Pro-
fessional Minilab kit contains a TDS sensor, a range
of test reagents and a bench-top tray.
Palintest USA: 800 835 9629;
Facility cleaner
Athletix Odor Neutralizer Spray from Contec is for
cleaning equipment, showers, restrooms, lockers
and more. The spraydoesnot maskone odor with
another, but usesa nanopolymer technologyto lay
down a microscopicallythin protective barrier. This
surface barrier preventsthe odor-causing elements
from clinging to the surface, multiplying and even-
tuallycausing smellymildew. The spraypenetrates
small nooks and crannies to help prevent odor
from developing, and preventsodor from develop-
ing on mats, floors, shower and restroom surfaces,
and lockers. It is safe for use on tile and grout.
Comesin a 5-liter container that includesa sprayer.
Contec Inc.: 800 289-5762;
Gym tote
The Fitness Caddy is
like a small gym bag
that holds bottles (up
to 1.5 liters), and
includes a water
bottle cooler sleeve. A
deep pleated front
pocket with a flapped
Velcro closure holds
money, driver’s
license, membership
card, etc. An addi-
tional hideaway inte-
rior pocket is also included, plus a metal clip to
hold keys and a metal ring to hold a towel. The
pleated pouch in back is roomy enough to hold
both a cell phone and glasses. The Fitness
Caddy body is made from microfiber with PVC
backing, and the pouch is 420 denier nylon. It
measures 4 inches in diameter and 10 inches
tall, with a 54-inch adjustable strap.
BVT Products: 727 834-8944;
RELAX! You have the safety and power of BTC-50 in every towelette.
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• Ease of use.
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Benches • Hand Grips • Displays • Pads
64 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
MMC® is looking for Independent Contractors to
run protected territories throughout the US, Canada,
Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.
MMC® specializes in raising immediate CASH
and MONTHLY RECEIVABLES for health clubs.
We have a proven success track record for more
than fifteen (15) years. Our programs are no risk
to the health club owners because they completely
pay for themselves. If you love Sales and Marketing,
want to be your own boss, work from
your home office and have the
potential to earn more than $100,000.00
per year then you want to contact us at
1-877-620-8135 or visit our website
at www.healthclubconsultant.com
Send resume to resume@ggtko.com
or fax to 859-977-3091
Visit our website, www.ggtko.com
Call 1-866-GO-GGTKO
Global Fitness Holdings
the largest and fastest growing
fitness company in
has immediate openings for
We currently have 8 clubs that
will open within the next 7 months.
Would you like to be part of that growth?
We offer salary, commission & bonus.
Medical, dental, life & retirement.
This opportunity is only for the committed,
hard-working fitness professional.
ñnd out at w|re|essm|crophones.com|F|TNE88
Successful co-ed gym for sale
in upscale area w/room for
expansion, includes all equipment.
Qualified buyers only.
Call Kim 973-769-7845
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Call (469) 362-9953 or email
A fantastic opportunity to work in a corporate
environment in the San Francisco Bay area.
Fitness W.e.s.t. Sports Club is seeking an enthusiastic
and motivated General Manager to work at it newest
corporate facility, Club Genentech in South San Francisco.
The facility is 25,000 sq ft with a corporate full court
basketball gym. The club has been open for 3 months.
The club is very active and sports a wonderful positive
atmosphere. A Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science
or a related field with a minimum of 5 years experience.
All applicants must have 2 years of corporate
experience or equivalency. Current CPR and First Aid
certifications plus one or more from the following
organizations are required, ACSM, ACE or NSCA. A
thorough knowledge of exercise principles, exercise
evaluation and fitness programming is important.
Please contact Bob McLennan at Bobbynitro@aol.com
or fax your resume to 650-994-1125.
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 65
2XL Corp. 62 (888) 977-3726 www.gymwipes.com
Affiliated Acceptance Corp. 20 (800) 233-8483 www.affiliated.org
ASF International 4-5 (800) 227-3859 www.asfinternational.com
Balanced Body Inc. 71 (800) 745-2837 www.pilates.com
BSDI 17 (888) 273-4348 www.bsdiweb.com
California University of PA 62 (866) 595-6348 www.cup.edu/go
Creative Fitness Marketing 21 (800) 383-4427 www.creativefitness.net
Dri-Dek 61 (800) 847-9341 www.dri-dek.com
Electronic Billing and Collecting Services 61 (800) 766-1918 www.achbilling.com
Exerflex 19 (800) 428-5306 www.exerflex.com
Fitness Management Magazine 66 (800) 722-8764 www.fitnessmanagement.com
FiTour 16 (281) 494-0380 www.fitour.com
Hoist Fitness Systems 39 (800) 548-5438 www.hoistfitness.com
International Council on Active Aging 25 (866) 335-9777 www.icaa.cc
Iron Grip Barbell Co. 9 (800) 664-4766 www.irongrip.com
Keiser Corp. 37 (800) 888-7009 www.keiser.com
Kleen-Machine 63 (888) 449-9147 www.kleen-machine.com
MicroFit Inc. 58 (800) 822-0405 www.microfit.com
Motus USA 49 (866) 668-8766 www.motususa.com
Power Plate 6 (877) 87-PLATE www.powerplate.com
Spermies 63 (800) 578-1470 www.spermies.net
SportsArt Fitness 11 (800) 709-1400 www.sportsartfitness.com
Star Trac 72 (800) 228-6635 www.startrac.com
True Fitness Technology 2 (800) 426-6570 www.truefitness.com
Vitabot 3 (301) 864-3886 www.vitabot.com
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 67
Supplier Index
Company Page Phone Website
68 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
What’s Next
• The Role of Certification in Staffing
Certifications are important for the health and
fitness industry for a variety of reasons: They set
industry standards, regulate professional growth,
curb liability and ensure staff competency. When
hiring, you need to ensure that your staff mem-
bers have appropriate entry-level and advanced
skills, depending on the jobs they will perform. This
list of qualifications, from competent to expert, as
well as an explanation of the types of certifications,
will help your facility staff for success.
• Retaining Staff for Member Retention
Paying attention to retaining great staff will have
a commensurate effect on retaining members. Find
out what some fitnessfacilityoperators are doing to
keep their best people — from recruitment, to remu-
neration and benefits, to inspirational management
— aswell ashow theyidentifywhen employeesare
flight risks and how they win them back.
• Educating Staff About Insurance
and Risk Management
What do your staff members need to know
about insurance and risk management to help
them keep your facility out of trouble? Never
assume that staff members understand the role
they must play when it comes to issues of liabil-
ity. Educate them about what insurance covers
and how it applies to various situations, as well
as proper risk-management procedures.
• Core Training for
Athletic Performance
Industry experts share how fitness profession-
als can turn conceptual knowledge about core
training into practical exercise programs that
result in performance enhancement for members.
The five key types of core movement will be
described, including examples of exercises for
each category.
• The Reality of Vibration Technology
In the past few years, a number of vibration
technology products have been introduced. But,
what exactly is vibration technology and what
are its applications? Fitness professionals have
tested various brands and will share how they
apply to specific populations (rehabilitation, gen-
eral fitness and sports performance), what their
contraindications are and how some facilities have
used this technology.
• Locker Rooms: Fabulous
Upgrades and Renovations
Fitness centers offer tips on what worked for
them (and what didn’t) when they renovated their
locker rooms. Find out how to deal with locker
room closures and how to keep your members up-
to-date during the renovation process.
www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 69
New Orleans, LA
C.O.R.E. Instructor – Level I
800 321-6975
La Quinta, CA
Fitness Industry Supplier’s
Association N.A.
4th Annual Fitness
Supplier Invitational
858 509-0034
Washington, DC
Aquatic Therapy
& Rehab Institute
Specialty Institute
866 462-2874
Atlanta, GA
Body Training Systems
Business of BTS
800 729-7837, ext. 2943
College Park, MD
University of Maryland
13th Annual Southeast
Collegiate Fitness Expo
301 226-4418
Dallas, TX
Reformer Foundations II
877 716-4879
Las Vegas, NV
Day Spa Association
2nd Annual Day Spa
Expo & Business Forum
800 859-9247
Mar 2-4
Columbus, OH
Arnold Classic
614 431-3600
Mar 3
Morgantown, WV
Aquatic Therapy
& Rehab Institute
Professional Development Day
866 462-2874
Mar 13-17
Baltimore, MD
American Alliance for
Health, Physical Education,
Recreation & Dance
National Convention & Exposition
800 213-7193
Mar 21-24
Dallas, TX
American College
of Sports Medicine
11th Annual Health and
Fitness Summit & Exposition
317 637-9200, ext. 138
Mar 28-31
San Francisco, CA
International Health, Racquet
& Sportsclub Association
26th Annual Convention
& Trade Show
800 228-4772
Mar 28-31
San Francisco, CA
American Journal of Health
17th Annual Art and Science of
Health Promotion Conference
248 682-0707
Apr 12-15
Tempe, AZ
Waterworks On Wheels Inc.
480 461-3888
Apr 19-22
Chicago, IL
IDEA Health &
Fitness Association
Fitness Fusion
800 999-4332, ext. 7
Apr 23-29
Medical Fitness Association
Medical Fitness Week
804 327-0330
May 14-16
San Diego, CA
Fitness Industry Supplier’s
Association N.A.
Program Director Forum
858 509-0034
May 16-17
Washington, DC
International Health, Racquet
& Sportsclub Association
5th Annual Legislative Summit
800 228-4772
May 17-19
Hartford, CT
Body Training Systems
Business of BTS
& Hartford Summit
800 729-7837, ext. 294
May 30-Jun 2
New Orleans, LA
American College of
Sports Medicine
54th Annual Meeting
317 637-9200, ext. 138
Jun 6-9
Orlando, FL
Club Industry
800 927-5007
Jun 11-13
Las Vegas, NV
Sporting Goods
Manufacturers Association
Spring Market
781 535-5117
Jul 5-9
San Diego, CA
IDEA Health &
Fitness Association
World Fitness Convention
800 999-4332, ext. 7
Aug 6-10
Wellesley, MA
International Health, Racquet
& Sportsclub Association
19th Annual Institute for
Professional Club Management
800 228-4772
Events listed on this page are national annual meetings and major
monthly industry events. For a complete listing of year-round and recur-
ring events, refer to our online calendar on the FitnessManagement.com
website (www.fitnessmanagement.com/FM/information/calendar/).
• To be listed on this page and in the online events calendar, send the
name, date and city of the event, and contact name, telephone, email and
web address to: Fitness Management Events Calendar, P.O. Box 409,
Danville, PA 17821; edit@fitnessmanagement.com; or to 570 271-1201.
• For additional information: edit@fitnessmanagement.com;
570 271-9001.
70 F I T N E S S M A N A G E M E N T • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 0 7 www. f i t n e s s ma na ge me n t . c o m
Facility Spotlight
MOST FITNESS centers will never
face the type of challenge that
Tiger Recreation – Fitness &
Sports (TigeRec) did several years
back. Students at the 230-year-old
college wanted a change: They
wanted an updated fitness facility.
Says Director of Tiger Recreation
Steven W. Harrell, “The fitness
center was a project that began in
2002 when graduating students
said that having a
true fitness facility
would have made
their college experi-
ence more fulfilling.”
TigeRec is located
at one of the two
remaining all-male
liberal arts colleges in
the U.S., Hampden-
Sydney College,
which is one hour
southwest of Rich-
mond, Va. The col-
lege does not offer a curriculum in
health, fitness, wellness or sports,
so TigeRec provides just that, says
Harrell. The renovation project
was pushed through, and the new
center was placed in the old Kirby
Fieldhouse. Says Harrell, “The $3
million, 10,000-square-foot reno-
vation paved the way to a high-
tech and modern facility that is
nestled in a 230-year-old campus,
and it still maintains the history of
the college.”
Where there once was a locker
room, storage, squash/racquetball
courts, a few athletic offices and
an athletic training room now
stands a facility that has seen
more than 100,000 visitors since
March 2004. The three remaining
racquetball courts received maple
flooring and Plexi-Glass walls.
Two locker rooms received a com-
plete overhaul. An old racquetball
court is now a multi-use and
strength area. Above
that a floor was cre-
ated to include a
group exercise room
with wood flooring,
wireless microphone
and audio technol-
ogy, and a storage
room. The renova-
tion was such as suc-
cess that the
equipment supplier
now uses TigeRec as
a showcase, “even
after so much use,”
Harrell says.
The existing 25-
meter pool with six lanes and
diving board remained untouched
except for interior wall painting.
However, with the fitness center’s
renovation, the pool has seen “a
definitive increase in usage,” says
Harrell. It is used so extensively,
hours of operation had to be
increased. The college’s swimming
club has grown to more than 60
members since 2004.
Technology in the fitness center
also reflects the times. The campus
computing center and TigeRec
worked together to develop two
interactive programs. First, an
interactive access point tracks par-
ticipation, attendance, locker
rentals, membership access and
message boards. The second pro-
gram allows participants to track
workouts, sign up for events,
receive emails on workout
progress, print out specific or
generic workouts, request an
appointment with a fitness special-
ist, view workout progress, and
tally results on incentive programs
like cardio challenges and races.
To keep things running
smoothly at TigeRec, one full-time
director and 50 students are
employed. However, since there
are no sports or fitness classes in
the curriculum at Hampden-
Sydney College, TigeRec has had
to search for a new way to gain
personal trainers and employees.
One way is its Student Employee
Contract: If students want to
become certified in personal train-
ing, TigeRec will pay for a percent-
age of the costs in exchange for
one year of employment.
Students at Hampden-Sydney
College finally have a central loca-
tion for fitness, aquatics, intramu-
rals and informal recreation. The
community also uses the fitness
center, and TigeRec boasts a 90-
percent retention rate with its
community memberships, accord-
ing to Harrell. Other good news:
The HR department of the college
reports that insurance premiums
have declined since TigeRec Fit-
ness Center opened. And, the
dining hall recently adjusted its
menu to offer more healthy cui-
sine. What’s the biggest benefit of
the new fitness center? Says Har-
rell, “More students, faculty, staff
and their families are finding time
to devote to themselves, and are
now more in tune with healthy
lifestyle habits.” FM
The renovated fitness
center at an all-male
college increased usage
and improved the health
of the students and
Renovation Increases Usage
Hampden-Sydney College
Hampden-Sydney, Va.
Date fitnessfacilityopened: March 2004
Fitness facilitysize: 10,217 square feet
(first floor and group exercise room);
8,250-square-foot aquatics area
Number of members: 1,100 stu-
dents, 500 faculty/staff, 1,000-
plus spouse/dependents, 125
community memberships
Unique features/offerings: Body Tone
and yoga group classes, seven 32-
inch televisionswith BroadcastVision
To have your fitness center featured,
send an email describing your facility
to anne@fitnessmanagement.com
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