Fitness: Did You Hear?...

Raw Power Diva accessories for woman, Nike invades adidas territory in Germany, Action for Health Kids a good cause, Free Motion starts financial services, Sears annual report out, U.S. club membership up, and more ...
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>> As a part of its accessories line now being distributed in the United States, Raw Power has introduced a "Raw Power Diva" line for women. Distributor Jhan Dolphin told SNEWS the samples he's shown to women has had them drooling -- partly because of color, but mostly because the name and logo are emblazoned across the back of the gloves. SNEWS View: Yes, the women at SNEWS would also like "Raw Power Diva" across the back of their weight gloves. We like the feeling of power and the "We are Woman" feeling. We feel powerful just THINKING about it!

>> Da (former) mayor of New York will be on the IHRSA show agenda in 2004. Former mayor of New York City and current chairman and CEO of Giuliani Partners, Rudy Giuliani, will address attendees at the 23rd Annual IHRSA International Convention & Trade Show March 22-25, 2004, in Las Vegas, Nev.

>> Nike will invade adidas territory in Germany. In the fall, Nike will move its Factory Store of discount products from Nuremberg to Herzogenaurach, the headquarters for its three-stripe competitor (and Puma even), according to reports out of Germany.

>> U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., a known fitness enthusiast and advocate of physical activity, is open for questions. In mid-April, ICAA CEO Colin Milner will meet with Carmona to discuss physical activity and the older adult. Send him suggestions for questions and he will choose five questions from those submitted and add them to the meeting's agenda, then report the Surgeon General's answers. Questions must be received by April 2. Submit your questions with the subject line "Surgeon General" by email to colinmilner@icaa.cc or fax to 604-708-4464.

>> Looking for a good fitness cause? Maybe the Action for Healthy Kids is for you. Launched in October 2002 as an outgrowth of the Healthy Schools Summit in Washington, D.C., Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) operates under the umbrella of "Healthy Schools Inc.," a non-profit organization established to further the goals of the summit. Now, states have teamed with the nationwide initiative to promote healthier schools and the chairman will be David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General. Teams have been selected in each of the 50 states and in D.C. to tailor specific solutions sensitive to the needs of their local school districts. AFHK serves as the national clearinghouse and resource center for this integrated network, working with the state teams to enact the action plans. Each AFHK state team has been asked to select one nutrition and one physical activity objective from the charter document for the Healthy Schools Summit. The team then develops an Action Plan that can be implemented at the state and district level. To learn more, visit www.actionforhealthykids.org.

>> FreeMotion Fitness, the commercial division of Icon Health & Fitness, has introduced FreeMotion Fitness Financial Services. The service customizes its financing plans to meet the needs of customers by providing fixed interest rates and down-payment options. These options allow facilities to broaden their equipment while keeping cash flow available. All financing is backed by FreeMotion Fitness' parent company, Icon. "This new venture gives us the ability to provide financial arrangements for all of our product lines to a full range of facilities, from start-up clubs to well-established, nationwide chains," said Patrick Hald, FreeMotion Fitness president and COO.

>> Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. (NYSE: BFT) has announced that Paul Toback, Stephen Swid and Martin Franklin have joined its board of directors. Toback joined Bally Total Fitness in 1997 and was named the company's president and CEO in 2002. Swid is the chairman and CEO of SCS Communications, which owns a majority interest in SESAC Inc., one of the three performing rights societies in the United States. Franklin is presently the chairman and CEO of Jarden Corp., a leading provider of niche consumer products used in the home. For details, go to www.ballyfitness.com.

>> Sears has released its annual 2002 financial report. To download the entire PDF document, go to www.corporate-ir.net/ireye/ir_site.zhtml?ticker=s&script=700.

>> Registers rang cheerily in sports stores in Germany in February, likely due to storms and snow that rolled in in late January and early February. According to monthly retail surveys by the German trade magazine Spomo, sales overall for the month were up 14.2 percent on average in the country. That compares to February 2002, when sales were down 8.9 percent. For the two months so far this year, sales showed a plus of 7.1 percent.

>> Those in search of actresses and other stars perhaps should take up yoga. Actress and long-time yoga practitioner Mariel Hemingway will deliver the closing keynote address at this summer's 2003 IDEA West Coast Yoga Conference. Inspired by her book "Finding My Balance," Hemingway's remarks will explore the practice of being present. The IDEA West Coast Yoga Conference will be held in Anaheim, Calif., July 15-16. For more information, go to www.ideafit.com.

>> U.S. health club membership between Jan. 1, 2002, and Jan. 1, 2003, rose 7.5 percent from 33.8 million to 36.3 million, according to data from the American Sports Data reported by IHRSA. As of Jan. 1, 13.9 percent of the U.S. population (6 years of age and older) are members of a health club.

>> According to a recent survey of executives by the Net Future Institute, 63 percent say that their organizations are "extremely" customer-driven, with 32 percent saying they are "somewhat" customer-driven. That's up from two years ago when only 48 percent of organizations were "extremely" customer-driven and 37 percent were "somewhat" customer-driven. Interesting to note is that a whopping 81 percent say they will be "extremely" customer-driven in another two years, while only 17 percent say they will be "somewhat" customer-driven. SNEWS View: How does your organization fit into those results?

>> Star Trac has partnered with the International Council on Aging on its first educational event in May in Maryland. As a part of the "Momentum" series of ICAA, this one-day fitness education forum will focus on older adult wellness. Speakers include James McPartland, president, Star Trac Fitness; Ben Hurley, Ph.D., department of kinesiology, University of Maryland; Jessie Jones, Ph.D., division of kinesiology and health promotion, California State University Fullerton; and Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging. For more, go to www.icaa.cc.

>> In news out of The Super Show last week, management has reported that some major exhibitors have already re-upped for the 2004 show in Orlando Jan. 12-14. They include York Barbell, Gamma Sports, Body Glove, Spenco, Fitness Quest and Everlast Worldwide. In addition, the show reported that its so-called "Great Commemorative Pin Drop" assembled 814 different sports pins, which breaks the Guinness record set a year ago in Dubai. The collection will be auctioned off on eBay, with proceeds benefiting PE4Life.

>> Hmm, now why didn't we think of this? (just kidding) iWellness, out of Bellevue, Wash., has launched a line of weighted athletic shoes called "MetaTreks ... Why Weight" (sic). MetaTreks are "the latest innovation in fitness gear for people who are crunched for time or money but still want to keep fitness in their lives." MetaTreks are three to four times heavier than ordinary sneakers because of weights in the shoe. The company (www.iWellness.us) says the shoes are designed to increase your metabolic rate and even prevent athletic injuries. SNEWS View: Yikes, weights in shoes (bad news for joints) and claims that can't be proved or are preposterous. Double yikes. But we guess since the company patented the design (U.S. Patent No. 6,397,498), it just must be good, huh? Oh yeah.

>> Got an innovative product? Are you a new company? DuPont and ispo are looking for entrepreneurial start-up companies for the summer ispo DuPont BrandNew Awards. The competition is designed for new companies in sports (including outdoor), sporting goods and fashion. At the winter 2003 ispo show, 40 finalists were given free exhibit space to the international audience. "We kicked more business opportunity than we could handle in those four days. We were rocking and talking business non-stop," said Richard Myerscough, president of U.S.-based Ocean Rodeo, which won the DuPont Safety Award. To qualify for entry into the BrandNew Awards, the brand or company must be less than 4 years old; the product, brand or sport must be "new and innovative;" and the brand or company must not have previously exhibited at ispo. The registration deadline is April 4. Call +49 89 944 196-0, email info@ispo-brandnew.com, or go to www.ispo-brandnew.com for information and forms.

>> Deirdre Kleske has joined the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as program director for Operation Fit Kids (OFK), ACE's youth outreach program. Kleske is responsible for directing and implementing ACE's goal to improve the health and fitness of America's young people by providing information about safe and effective physical activity to youth, their parents, educators and fitness professionals. Since its inception in 1991, OFK has provided more than $6 million in fitness equipment to schools and youth facilities. Prior to joining ACE, Kleske worked as executive director and in public relations for the Child Abuse Prevention Foundation, a San Diego non-profit.

>> In a new report, MK Electric (a maker of light dimmer switches in the United Kingdom) reports that two-thirds of Brits have difficult falling asleep at night. Funny thing, that the press release quotes a consumer psychologist (that's what they call her) saying that dimmed light is "reassuring" for people and therefore can induce sleep. The information goes on to say that -- gasp -- only 14 percent of Brits actually have a dimmer switch in the bedroom, "which may account for the 30 million or so who have trouble sleeping." Oh, bloody horror! No wonder we can't sleep at night. No dimmer!

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