Fitness: Did you hear?...

SGMA's Fitness Fly-In set for Sept. 20-21, Iron Grip takes Nova 7 "best supplier" award, Nautilus announces promo deal with 24 Hour Fitness on first commercial TreadClimbers, ASD finds health club memberships in 2004 grow to 41.3 million, Discovery Health Challenge participants lose 395,000 pounds, and much more...
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For the week of March 15-21

>> Another quick reminder to save the dates of Sept. 20-21 and start looking at booking your flights and hotel to Washington, D.C. The first SGMA Fly-In for Fitness is intended to gather fitness industry leaders in a setting and with an agenda focused on fitness and not other periphery interests. (See latest SNEWS® story, Feb. 16, 2005, "SGMA fitness advocacy event in D.C. postponed") According to D.C. lingo, a "fly-in" is an event in which leaders come together to meet with their elected officials to protect their business and influence legislative impact on other individual companies. The SGMA says all fitness industry manufacturers, retailers, distributors, marketing people and others are strongly encouraged to attend to speak up to the government about what the industry can do for the fitness crisis. The two-day forum will have educational panels and discussions as well as send everybody out to lobby on the issues. Cost: $175 for SGMA members, non-members $225. www.sgma.com/flyin. SNEWS® View: SNEWS will be there. Will you?

>> Iron Grip has won Fitness Management Nova 7 "People's Choice" Best Supplier Award for 2005, in the Free Weights and Specialized Equipment category. The recipient of the Best Supplier award is selected by industry professionals across the country. "Receiving this award is especially significant in that we were selected by health and fitness professionals, among which were many club owners that have worked with us over the years," said Vice President of Sales Donna McCallum.

>> Nautilus, which formally rolled out its commercial TreadClimber product at the IHRSA show, has announced it will exclusively launch the product commercially at 24 Hour Fitness clubs nationally. In a cross-promotional deal, 24 Hour will have the first 500 to 600 units by July. That is the entire product run so no others will be available to other clubs until mid-summer, the company said. In addition, Nautilus has offered the chain marketing and promotion on Nautilus' TV spots for the TreadClimber, effectively telling customers to go to 24 Hour Fitness to see the product and to use it. "This is one of the most significant innovations in the history of the fitness industry, and we're delighted to launch this product to help attract more people to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle," Mark Mastrov, chairman and CEO of 24-Hour Fitness, said in a Nautilus statement. "Further, this is the first time in my memory that a fitness manufacturer has stepped up to provide us with marketing that supports our current members and drives new members to our facilities." Nautilus CEO Gregg Hammann said the company's goal is to build partnerships that grow the overall fitness category.

>> At IHRSA's 24thAnnual International Convention & Trade Show, the group presented its Dale S. Dibble Distinguished Service Award to East Bank Club, a fitness, sports and dining facility based in Chicago for the last 23 years. The award, presented March 18, is awarded based on superior member service, efficient operations and reinvestment in the business.

>> Cybex International, Inc. (AMEX: CYB), a leading exercise equipment manufacturer, recently entered into an exclusive agreement with Charlotte, NC-based SoloThree to develop and deliver internal and external movement-based education and market-specific programming models. The SoloThree company was begun by Scott Sechrest, fitness marketing veteran, and Paul Juris, kinesiologist. It has been selected to run the PGA/Kinematics Lab at The PGA of America's flagship site in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and plans to open additional strategic satellite locations. SoloThree will also act as a distributor of Cybex products to PGA-designated facilities.

>> American Sports Data preliminary data has found that in 2004, U.S. health club membership grew 4.82 percent, from 39.4 million to 41.3 million.

>> What better way to reach couch potatoes than through the television? Well, maybe none if the results from a recent TV challenge are any proof. The Discovery Health National Body Challenge, the second-annual nationwide fitness and weight-loss initiative, concluded March 12, and showed that participants across the country cumulatively lost more than 395,000 pounds of excess weight, according to the Discovery Channel. That is more than double the amount of weight dropped last year.

>> The New Leaf Health & Fitness unit of Angeion Corp. announced it has signed an agreement to supply metabolic measurement technology and products to Equinox Fitness Clubs. The 10-minute exercise assessment is performed on any cardio equipment in the club such as a treadmill, bike, or elliptical machine and the results help attain the person’s metabolic rate and caloric expenditure.

>> Cateye’s Jim Stone told SNEWS® that the company recently placed 36 of its Gamebike Pro units in the Cheboygan, Mich., school district.

>> UNITED KINGDOM – A just-published intra-governmental action plan for improving health and activity levels in the United Kingdom aims to promote activity for all, in accordance with recommendations set out in a recent report by the country's Chief Medical Officer (CMO). The CMO said if levels of physical activity are to increase in England, a culture change needed to occur which would only be achieved if people understood the benefits of being active. The report, called "Choosing Activity," will introduce a strategy to promote health and encourage employers in the public, private and voluntary sectors to engage and motivate staff to become more active. The Department of Health will lead the government in the development of an obesity education campaign, which will also include the Department of Culture, Media and Sport; the Department for Education and Skills (DfES); the Department for Transport (DfT); Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; and stakeholders such as the sport and leisure industry, consumers, health professionals and the media. A public campaign to raise awareness of the health risks of obesity will be launched in March 2007. For more, go to www.dh.gov.uk.

>> A short sales run of Nautilus SelectTech dumbbells at Western regional Costco stores is now over, SNEWS® has been told by company representatives, and it won't be happening again.

>> A new study published in General Dentistry magazine reports that certain sports drinks can wear down tooth enamel over long periods of time, refuting an earlier study in 2002. While there hasn't been a lot of research on the topic, researchers at the University of Maryland Dental School found that additives and organic acids can break down calcium and erode enamel. Using extracted cavity-free teeth, they cut them into blocks and soaked them in screw-cap plastic containers of sports drinks, soda, energy drinks, iced tea and other sweetened drinks. The sports drinks used were AMP energy drink, Gatorade lemon-lime, KMX energy drink and Powerade Arctic Shatter. Researchers weighed the enamel blocks at 24- to 48-hour intervals for 14 days, measuring for weight loss. The exposure time of two weeks was comparable to about 13 years of normal beverage consumption, they said, adding that enamel dissolution was significant for AMP, Gatorade, KMX and Powerade. The results were published in the January/February issue.

>> With more than 10 percent of American children ages 2 to 5 reportedly overweight, Nike is continuing its mission of getting kids physically active by reaching out to young children with its latest NikeGO program -- NikeGO Head Start -- an initiative designed for preschool children and their families at Head Start sites throughout the country. In partnership with SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) and the National Head Start Association (NHSA), NikeGO Head Start brings a quality early childhood physical activity program to preschoolers in the Head Start community. With community receptions in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., NikeGO Head Start is piloting 80 programs in eight different cities this year, initially training 320 teachers to serve an estimated 30,000 Head Start preschoolers. "Head Start is one of this nation's most successful early childhood education programs. The goal is for NikeGO Head Start to enhance children's love for physical activity, to involve their families in leading physically active lives, and to help prevent sedentary lifestyles before they ever take hold," said Molly White, director of U.S. community affairs at Nike. Nike will issue a series of one-year grants, with specific performance requirements, totaling $2.5 million over five years. Head Start instructors will receive a "playbook" of activities that are fun, inclusive, and developmentally appropriate and aligned with Head Start Child Outcomes. From "Knees Up Mother Brown" to "Beanbag Boogie," parents and children will learn how ordinary objects like socks and scarves can be used for movement and physical activity. In addition to receiving the Playbook and SPARK training, participating Head Start sites will receive Nike donated equipment necessary to implement the program -- including parachutes, easy-to- catch balls, beanbags and balance beams. Visit www.nikego.com for additional information.

>> California Fitness, part of 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide, is partnering with actor and fitness aficionado Jackie Chan to create California Fitness Jackie Chan signature clubs -- the first of which will open in May 2005 in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Future clubs are slated for Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, and other select countries across Asia and around the world. The first 38,000-square-foot facility will offer cardio machines, resistance equipment, free weights and Jackie Chan signature group exercise classes.

>> IHRSA has named ASF International, a supplier of software and business support for health clubs, its Associate Member of the Year, presenting the award during IHRSA's 24th Annual International Convention & Trade Show in San Francisco March 16-19. IHRSA said ASF International has provided quality products and services that have helped thousands of club operators more successfully manage and grow their businesses for the last 30 years.

>> Russell Corp. has promoted Calvin Johnston to CEO of Russell Athletic from president of Jerzees Europe. He will relocate to Atlanta from Scotland and report to Jon Letzler, Russell's president and COO. Johnston had been in the athletic products business prior to joining Russell, working for Brunswick Corp.'s sports and recreational equipment lines in Europe, Rollerblade and Helene Curtis.

>> An attempt at the IHRSA show in the Nautilus booth to break world treadmill records for the 50K, 50-mile and 100K run failed after about 25 miles when runner Geoff Weber got leg cramps. Nevertheless, he completed 50 miles, and he finished the 50K run (31 miles) just 13 minutes above his own world record of 3 hours, 46 minutes, and 12 seconds. That was done aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. Weber told SNEWS® that he since he is stationed on the Navy ship, he has gotten used to very long workouts on treadmills. Despite the failed record attempt, Weber stayed cheery: "Sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug. No matter what your mind says, sometimes your body says you can't go that far or that long. It was a good warm up for next time."

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