Fitness: Did you hear?...

Red Sox's Les Otten to speak at The Super Show, FreeMotion signs Canadian partnership, Men's Journal names 100 best U.S. trainers, plus much more…
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For the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6

>> Les Otten, vice chairman and partner of the Boston Red Sox, has been added to The Super Show's International Business Intelligence Series speaking roster. On Jan. 18, Otten will cover topics ranging from the development of brand strategies to the art of risk-taking, and draw parallels between his experience as a baseball owner and key trends in the sports product world. Otten's experience also includes chairman and CEO of American Skiing Company during the 1990s, where he gained a reputation as a business innovator during the sport's boom years. In 2001, he retired from the ski industry and set his sights on the Red Sox. According to Otten, it was the ability to see assets where others saw liabilities that enabled his group to prevail and assume ownership of the ball club in February of 2002. Now that the lovable losers are world champions, where does the franchise go from here? This will be one of the many questions Otten plans to address during his presentation. The Super Show is Jan 17-19 in Orlando, Fla. To register, go to www.thesupershow.com.

>> FreeMotion Fitness has signed a partnership with National Fitness Products of Canada (NFP) to distribute its brands, including FreeMotion, Epic Strength and NordicTrack Commercial Cardio in Canada. NFP operates as a wholesaler of fitness products supplying fitness facilities in Canada. It does not operate any retail fitness stores.

>> GERMANY -- In a recent analysis of the sporting goods market in Germany, the volume of the entire market was estimated to be about Euro 7.8 billion in 2003 (USD $10.5 billion) . The report, by the news magazine title "Focus," discussed how much the trend of fashion has impacted the sporting goods segment. Nevertheless, the sporting goods market in the next year won't likely experience a lot of growth because of price pressure by discounters. Intersport carries about 23 percent of the market, while KarstadtQuelle has 12 percent and Sport 2000 has 10 percent. "Other" retailers still in total have nearly half the market at 46 percent.

>> Men's Journal in its December issue has named what its research found as "the 100 best trainers in America." Editors there told SNEWS® they sent out, via e-mail and USPS, nearly 11,000 questionnaires to certified personal trainers around the country, getting help from non-profit certification agencies, American Council on Exercise (ACE) and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) for lists. Once the responses were in, five reporters sorted the nominations and came up with a short list of candidates. Then, the magazine said, it did yet another round of reporting during which it talked to other trainers, fitness directors, physical therapists, doctors and others to pare down the list to the final 100. Top Trainers are listed in 20 metro areas (so if you're a great trainer in a small town, forget it) and named anywhere from two in an area (Detroit) to seven (Los Angeles and Miami). Not only did the list include trainers from large gyms, but independent trainers (including a couple who don't even have business names -- must be quite an honor!) For more, go to www.mensjournal.com because we can't list them all and listing only a couple just wouldn't be fair.

>> Star of the small screen, it seems: Lifespan Fitness' new Stretch Partner was scheduled to be on CNBC's show "Squawk Box" on Dec. 6, as well as on FOX news affiliates for the Metro D.C. Area on Dec. 10. SNEWS® View: Now THAT'S a pre-holiday coup!

>> In-flight workouts are taking off (OK, bad pun). Seems that just sitting and squirming or pacing the airplane aisles isn't enough exercise. Now airlines such as Song, JetBlue and the mainstreamers like United are introducing exercise programs for passengers. On some, you get handouts showing exercises, such as yoga or Pilates moves, that can be done in your seat. Or so they say. Song by Delta has introduced an exercise package you can buy (how much more will a passenger want to spend for extras?) that includes a resistance band, instructions and a rubber ball (what happens when you inflate it? Or does it then serve the purpose of an air bag in case of a crash?). Can't wait for the in-flight videos. We've seen some of these videos and have yet to see a passenger actually take part. Of course, it's not as if you could do much in that 20-inch or so seat (OK, we exaggerate) -- except maybe exchange blows with a seatmate when your yoga pretzel maneuver in 16A goes astray and the attempt at exercise becomes a version of aerobic kickboxing with 16B.

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