Fitness: Did You Hear?...

Kids workout in Nautilus Group warehouse, ACE Fit Pros of the year, SportsArt America starts company wellness incentive program, Christine Madigan joins New Balance, Town Sports International gritting out its financials, Nike shoes get tossed overboard in storm, U.S. sporting goods exports decline, Life Fitness honors top international distributors, adidas-Salomon AG de-listed from Paris' Premier Marche
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>> The industry (and the country as a whole) recognizes that kids aren't as fit and aren't as active as they once were or need to be. So when the 13-year-old son of Nautilus Group President Kevin Lamar (and his friends) wanted to start working out, Lamar discovered some frustrations first-hand. He said he went to a half-dozen area health clubs and found none would let the kids join independently, nor did any offer special supervised workout programs for young teens. Not every parent has the answer that Lamar has -- set up a workout area for them in a corner of the warehouse at the Louisville, Colo.-based, company. Guess he just happened to have a few pieces of spare equipment laying around for them.

>> Announced at the IHRSA show in San Francisco were the American Council on Exercise's 2003 Fitness Professionals of the Year Awards. Top honors were awarded to Stephen Holt, personal trainer of the year; Norma Shechtman, M.Ed., M.A., group fitness instructor of the year; and Kari Anderson, fitness director of the year. Each winner receives a $2,500 scholarship toward continuing education in the fitness industry.

>> You have to give a fitness manufacturer credit when its management practices what it preaches (and sells). Take SportsArt America, which is beginning a 16-week company wellness program for its 22 employees. Everyone who accomplishes everything from a few minutes or more on company fitness center machines to quitting smoking or other healthy lifestyle changes or activity earns points, which can be redeemed for everything from gas grills to golf clubs. That's only the beginning. A second 16-week part is pending that will take employees a step farther in exercise challenges, perhaps with VO2 tests and the like. This is not the first company to have done companywide health promotions, certainly. Star Trac, for example, has also offered wellness and exercise incentives and even trained together for local community runs. We applaud companies that take the fitness message to heart.

>> Never thought we'd hear KISS, Lynyrd Skynrd and Scorpions all mentioned in one breath with a workout video. But will wonders never cease. David Dearth, who self-proclaimed himself as "one of the nation's top fitness trainers" in a press release, has a strength-training video called "Let's Get Ready to R.O.C.K.," which frankly is a name that seems to be a rip-off of the 9/11 hero's last words on the plane.

>> Christine Madigan has joined the marketing department at New Balance. In the newly created role of corporate marketing services manager, Madigan will manage consumer advertising, website development, graphic design, company collateral, the Olympics program, event management and athlete contracts. She comes from Polaroid Corp. where she spent almost two years as director of global brand management.

>> Town Sports International showed revenues for the quarter ended Dec. 31 of $81.5 million, an increase of $9.1 million, or 12.6 percent, over the same quarter of 2001. During the quarter, TSI's mature clubs (those in operation for 24 months or longer) experienced revenue growth of 0.9 percent over the prior year's quarter. The gains are attributable to increased dues. The 26 clubs opened or acquired within the last 24 months contributed to $7.7 million of the increase in revenue in the quarter over the prior year. The company's adjusted EBITDA increased by 17.5 percent to $17.9 million in the quarter compared to $15.2 million in last year's quarter. TSI operates 129 health clubs in major cities from Washington, D.C., north through New England.

>> The power of the national weekly news magazine Sunday supplement, Parade: Ken Germano, executive director of the American Council on Exercise (ACE), tells us that a couple of weeks ago when ACE was cited extensively in a story, hits on the acefitness.org website that day went up some 200 percent.

>> The Nautilus Group has increased the number on its board of directors from seven to eight with the election of Robert S. Falcone, increasing the number of independent members from six to seven. Falcone is the former senior vice president and chief financial officer of 800.com, considered an early pioneer in e-tailing known for its award-winning customer service and vendor relationships. Prior to 800.com, Falcone also served as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Nike Inc.

>> Nike shoes ahoy! That's the call you may hear from the West Coast. Seems a container ship tossed a load of 45,756 shoes during a storm off the Pacific Coast in December while on its way from Long Beach, Calif., to Tacoma, Wash. The company even has an oceanographer and "flotsam buff" cataloging the Nike beachings. (Boy, now that's a job for you.) He says the shoes could continue to "swoosh" ashore (oh, that's really bad) all along the West Coast and up to the Aleutian Islands in Alaska since they are traveling at about 14.3 to 18.3 nautical miles per day. The shoes will be wearable, once dried and de-salted, but pairs weren't tied together so good luck in finding a matching pair! The first ones found in Washington were different sizes, both lefts. But maybe with those on you'll walk in circles long enough to find the rights.

>> The dollar value growth rate of U.S. exports of sporting goods declined in 2002 by 7.1 percent, reversing a recent period of growth, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association. In 2002, the value was placed at $1.82 billion. The last negative year was 1999, with a nearly comparable decline of 7.9 percent, which came after a devastating 1998 that showed a decline over the previous year of 17 percent. The last time exports topped $2 billion was in 1998, with $2.35 billion. "The decrease in the value of U.S. exports for 2002 reflects the generally soft worldwide economy dampening the demand for sports-related products," said Sebastian DiCasoli, SGMA's director of market intelligence. "This occurred despite a decline in the value of the U.S. dollar of about 11 percent in 2002 vs. 2001 according to the Federal Reserve Bank."

>> Just in time for its international trade show last week, IHRSA launched a new website. Same address, www.ihrsa.org, but a new look that the group says is easier to navigate and with a better search engine so users can find what they want more quickly. Events such as trade shows are on the home page, and a link to an industry calendar is up top.

>> Life Fitness has honored its top international distributors. They include top honors to LF Australia, Ilion/Russia, and Sport Fitness/Mexico. The company also gave its "Everest Award" to its top subsidiary, this year, Life Fitness Benelux, for its sales, profits and margins.

>> adidas-Salomon AG has announced its shares will be de-listed from the Premier Marché of Euronext Paris SA, due to low trading volume. Trading of the stock on the Premier Marché will end March 19. adidas-Salomon shares will then be listed solely on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

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