Fitness: Did you hear?…

Fitness personality John Basedow missing in Thailand, Stott Pilates to pack special DVDs in Kellogg's boxes in Canada, Nordic walking picks up steam, Club growth slows in 2004, and exposed bras banned in a club? and much more...
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For the week of Jan. 4-10

>> John Basedow, fitness celebrity and TV personality, has been missing in Phuket, Thailand, since Dec. 26 when a tsunami devastated the area. Best know for his fitness video commercials, Basedow has been a part of the fitness community and has appeared in many health and fitness magazines and TV programs. An avid body surfer and volleyball player, Basedow routinely traveled to Phuket for vacation during the winter holidays. Since the tsunami, his whereabouts have been unknown, and he has not contacted friends, family or business associates via telephone or e-mail. Phone calls to the Patong Beach Hotel, where he was staying have not led to any additional information, and local hospital records have not reported him as a patient. The U.S. State Department and the Royal Thai Government Foreign Ministry have been contacted but have not been able to provide any additional information on Basedow's whereabouts. In addition to his fitness video series, Basedow has also been featured in health and fitness-related periodicals including Exercise for Men, Men's Exercise, Natural Muscle Magazine, MuscleZine, New Living and LI Voices.

>> Stott Pilates is teaming up Kellogg's in Canada to bring a three special 30-minute instructional DVDs to consumers. The DVDs are going to be packed free inside specially marked boxes of Kellogg's Special K cereals in Canada in January. Each DVD features Stott Co-Founder and Pilates instructor Moira Stott Merrithew. The three are called: Toned Abs and Endurance, Core Strength and Flexibility, and High Performance Pilates. SNEWS® View: Another super consumer-oriented promotion that should have cereal boxes jumping off the shelves.

>> The Nordic walking train in the United States is picking up steam. Pole company Leki has hired a sport scientist with background in exercise design and coaching to work with them to hone the company's instruction and work with retailers and others interested in the exercise trend (See our story in the 2004 GearTrends summer fitness magazine for more. If you missed that issue, go to www. Geartrends.com and click on magazines for a free download.) Gene Elizabeth Verel will be working closely with Leki to fine-tune its instructional programs and focus on body mechanics and certification issues. In other Nordic walking news, yet another association has been founded in Germany called the Nordic Walking Union (NWU). Founding members include instructors as well as those involved with sports marketing, retail, and travel and tourism.

>> Want a legitimate website for reference on weight-loss? The Food and Drug Administration may be one place to turn. The FDA has launched a site devoted to straight consumer information and links to how to add exercise to a daily routine. www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/obesity.html

>> The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) is expanding its education division and has hired Patricia Ryan as vice president of education. In her new position, Ryan will help develop education for publications, books, computer-based training and conference programs, as well as conduct market research surveys. Formerly vice president of the IDEA Health & Fitness Association, Ryan has over 20 years of fitness experience, a master's degree in instructional technology, and is an author and conference presenter.

>> The U.S. Census Bureau's Monthly Retail Trade Survey reported sales in sporting goods stores of $2.13 billion for Ocotober 2004, the most recent reporting month, up 9.3 percent from the $1.95 billion in October 2003. The increase follows a 9 percent increase in September. Year-to-date sales through October were $22.72 billion, up 8 percent from the first 10 months of 2003. Sporting goods store sales for all of 2003 were $26.82 billion, a 1.5 percent decline versus 2002.

>> With more than 700,000 Google searches for the word "diet" in early January, the "Got Milk? Great American Weight Loss Challenge" may be on to something. The challenge is a 12-week program that gives people free expertise to lose weight in a healthful way and, so far, more than 8,700 people have signed up for it. The program was developed by Pam Peeke, author of the "Fight Fat After Forty" and the upcoming "Body for Life for Women." The plan invites Americans to lose weight in a healthy way by following a reduced-calorie diet, increasing exercise and drinking 24 ounces of milk every 24 hours. Anyone can register for the free challenge at www.2424milk.com and group participation is encouraged and rewarded. One lucky group will win a $10,000 cash prize for its successful completion of the 12-week program.

>> If you're a yoga practitioner, or want to be, mark Jan. 29 on your calendar as the Yoga Alliance partners with studios and schools across the country to offer free yoga workshops. From New York to California and Minnesota to Mississippi, Yoga Day USA will give people still waiting to try yoga the opportunity to sample a class and provide "regulars" an opportunity to try something new. Event locations are listed at www.yogadayusa.org. In addition to Yoga Alliance, Yoga Day USA is being sponsored by Yoga Journal, LA Yoga Magazine and Yoga International, Wellworks Business Systems and the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

>> Gaiam is introducing Gaiam Eastern Practices, a new category in mind-body fitness programs that includes programs in Qigong, an ancient martial art, Tai Chi and Budokon, a blended program of yoga, martial arts and meditation. "We have had such great success with our yoga and Pilates programs, and we knew it was time to take the next step," said Lynn Powers, president of Gaiam. "The martial arts-based programs that are the Gaiam Eastern Practices seem like the next challenge for people who want to be healthy in body, mind and spirit. There's an energetic component to these programs that people are seeking now." To develop the Gaiam Eastern Practice programs, Gaiam sought out the top experts in each field to develop beginning DVDs. For more information, visit www.gaiam.com.

>> Garmin International unveiled the Forerunner 301 at the 2005 International Consumer Electronics Show and walked away with the 2005 Innovations Showcase Design & Engineering Award in the personal electronics category. The Forerunner 301 picks up where the Forerunner 201 left off, adding a digitally coded heart-rate monitor and several other features to create an integrated personal training system that provides the user with speed, distance, pace and heart-rate data during a particular workout. It also includes the all-new Garmin Training Center, a PC-based software application for enhanced planning and performance analysis. Garmin said the Forerunner 301 is the first fitness device to optimize cross training by providing personal customization that allows the user to create advanced workouts and segment data for deeper analysis of multiple sports like running, cycling, kayaking and cross-country skiing.

>> Growth in the club arena has slowed: American Business Information reported that between July 1, 2004, and Jan. 1, 2005, the total number of health clubs listed in the Yellow Pages increased by 3 percent from 26,046 to 26,830. In the first half of 2004, the U.S. club count rose by 10.8 percent from 23,497 to 26,046. For the entire 2004 year, the U.S. club count grew by 14 percent from 23,497 to 26,830.

>> In response to the devastation left by the recent tsunami, Stephen Roma, CEO of WOW! Work Out World, has pledged to match contributions of all employees, vendors and friends of WOW! to the American Red Cross International Response Fund. Roma said in a letter to staff, "We will donate a minimum of $1,000 and up to $5,000. We will match every dollar donated by a WOW! employee, WOW! Vendor or WOW! Friend ... we will match it up to an additional $4,000 donation. Please help. Whatever you can afford to give will be so very much appreciated by these crisis-ridden families. Every dollar counts. One dollar at time."

>> In the "you have to be kidding me" category we have this news from Cortez, near Durango, Colo. It appears that the Cortez Recreation Center has tentatively barred exposed sports bras and is now requiring all men to wear shirts because several regular gym-goers complained to the center's staff and the aquatics supervisor during the holidays. They said women should cover their sports bras at a family recreation center where children are welcome -- tight Lycra pants that offer up free anatomy lessons to the kiddies apparently are OK in Cortez. There was also a man who said that allowing women to wear sports bras while discouraging males from going topless was discrimination -- perfect retort. If you're so worried about discrimination, dude, slap on a sport bra and shut up. No one is stopping you. Well, maybe in Cortez… Bottom line here is there will be no more bouncing visibly while working out in Cortez, at least not above the waist. Is there going to be a bra police?

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