Fitness: Did you hear?...

Nautilus vs Icon battle continues, families make a difference in kids' obesity, Life Fitness honors top international dealers, fitness industry paranoia, rumor-busting: Precor did not buy Hoist, Horizon hits trendy look at show, Jacuzzi sales hot, and more...
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>> In the ongoing legal battle between Icon and Nautilus over the Bowflex – a battle that has landed in the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals -- no ruling has been issued as of Aug. 19. Nautilus filed a response with the court on Aug. 11 after the federal court two weeks earlier had placed a stay on the preliminary injunction Nautilus won that would have prevented Icon from selling or marketing its Crossbow in any way until a verdict came from the district court trial, now scheduled for December. Both parties and the court told SNEWS that no hearing has been scheduled, and no decision made yet, but that the federal judge is expected to rule late this week, perhaps without a formal hearing.

>> On the children's obesity beat, take note of this new study last week: Parents and family, it seems, have a huge influence on whether kids lose weight, eat right and exercise. When parents change the family's lifestyle and eating and workout habits, the child will get healthier too, according to research that includes input from Leonard Epstein, a pediatrics professor at State University of New York at Buffalo. The more hours of television a child watches, the more likely he or she is to be obese, the study reported. Parents must "buy-in," said another researcher, to truly shift the family, its habits and values. Epstein spoke on a panel at the American Psychological Association in Toronto last week on the topic.

>> In the month following the unveiling of its interactive website on July 18, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports reports that nearly 100,000 people had visited the site (www.presidentschallenge.org). Registered users had logged about 40,000 activities in that time, with the most popular being (take note here) walking, running, bicycling, swimming and weight-training. Users by the way can log their activities and earn points toward awards, much like the old president's program did in the '60s and early '70s, but the website allows easier access.

>> The Wacoal Sports Science Corp., makers of new CW-X Performance Conditioning Wear, has appointed Oleg Shikverg, 32, western sales director. Shikverg will expand CW-X's distribution, consumer brand awareness, and overall business in the western part of the United States. Shikverg joins WSSC from adidas-Salomon in Portland, Ore., where he was most recently adidas apparel sales rep for metropolitan New York. Prior to that, he held sales and marketing positions at Spyder Skiwear, Morrow Snowboards and Dean Bicycles.

>>Equinox Fitness Clubs announced the appointment of a new CFO, Scott Rosen. Formerly as CFO of J.Crew, the casual clothing and mail order retailer, 45-year-old Rosen was responsible for the financial function of the $750 million brand encompassing retail, catalog and Internet company. Equinox currently has 16 locations in the New York metro area, three in Chicago and two in Los Angeles. Equinox has said it plans to open six to eight new locations each year.

>>Back on the fashion beat from the Health & Fitness Business Expo: SNEWS, known fashion mavens (sic), found the ocean blue bowling shirts worn (untucked) by Horizon Fitness to be a refreshing breeze in a hall still mostly filled with Dockers and golf shirts. Oh yawn. (We do however have to acknowledge Harbinger for once again breaking the boring mold with its Hawaiian shirts. You go!) SNEWS View: We've said it once, and we'll say it again: If fitness is supposed to be fun, why do we all have to be so boring in our garb? What's with the sea of beige or navy blue out there? Khakis and polo shirts? Perhaps we need to sponsor a fun little competition to kick up the ante a bit and promote fun styling on the floor.

>> Life Fitness has announced its international retail dealer award winners at the International Retail Dealer Conference. The 2002-2003 international retail dealer award winners are: Marketer of the Year, Ilion (Russia); Asia Pacific Export Distributor of the Year, Life Fitness Australia; Atlantic Export Distributor of the Year, Delta Trade (United Arab Emirates); Latin America Distributor of the Year, Health & Fitness World Ltd. (Chile); Benelux Retailer of the Year, Jupiter NV (Belgium); German Retailer of the Year, World of Wellness; UK Retailer of the Year, Fitness Network.

>> OK, so we think that maybe fitness manufacturers are a bit too paranoid about showing their product, but consider this late bit o' news: We heard that a product developer from another company jumped the walls of the Hoist booth after-hours at the IHRSA show in March to get a peek at the new kid's fitness line. Seems he was caught by security, which is why the word got out. Give us a break. The industry is better than that. Also heard was news about a couple of companies from the Health & Fitness Business show that had new product under wraps in their booths the day before, only to arrive on the first day and find it torn open. Why bother? What difference does a few hours make? Did I say yet that we are better than this?

>> True is taking an educational step with all its treadmills. Soon, the company will offer a free DVD to all who purchase one of its treads that has information about how to use the machine, what the console does and -- here's the good part -- education about the in's and out's of workouts and even some workouts. A great step to keeping consumers on the fitness bandwagon. In other True/DVD news, the company will send approximately 10,000 DVDs to customers who have other equipment with information about the new home stretch unit and the importance of stretching, with some discount available if the consumer decides to buy one. "It's trying to bring the product to life," said Todd Nickodym, marketing director.

>> Angel and Willy Banos, the owners of Gold's Gyms in Hollywood, North Hollywood, Los Angeles and Thousand Oaks, Calif., took four awards by Gold's Gym International at the company's most recent convention at The Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. The brothers won the Gym of the Year Award, as well as Best Media Coverage, Best Group Exercise and Best Pre-Opening Sales awards.

>> If you can't sell your gear on the show floor, how about in the hotel Jacuzzi? SNEWS bumped into the Treadmill Buddy owner in a hotel elevator swaddled in bathing suit and towel raving about the deal he may have sealed while soaking in the hot tub. "You can't sell at the show, but in the hot tub," he told us. "Go figure."

>> In response to a recent media inquiry, the NSGA Research Department dug into its statsto find out exactly what activities middle-aged men are doing. We found 14 activities with at least 3 million male participants age 45-64 in 2002, and the top two activities were fitness related. Top dog was exercise walking (10.3 million), followed by exercising with equipment (6.1 million). Overall, exercise walking ranked No. 1 with 82.2 million participants, while exercising with equipment ranked No. 4 with 50.2 million participants. Other fitness-related sports and activities popular with middle-aged men include swimming (4.3 million), hiking (3.7 million), bicycling and motor boating (3.6 million each), and working out at a club (3.2 million). For more on NSGA's sports participation data, contact the research department at 847-296-6742 or e-mail info@nsga.org.

>> Rumor-busting, it's our job: We picked up an alleged "hot" rumor on the show floor on Saturday, Aug. 9, that Precor had just closed a deal the night before to buy Hoist. Hmm, we thought, there are things that don't jibe. First of all, Precor wasn't there (they all left by Friday afternoon). Second of all, Precor wouldn't do the buying, but rather its parent Amer Group. Thirdly, we just didn't think that Hoist was ready to sell. So SNEWS marched over and got it straight from the powers-that-be. "We heard that this morning too," we were told. Long story short, no truth in that one. Sorry. In fact, it seems every show somebody has "just bought" Hoist. We think that's just because it seems to be ripe for picking, but the Hoist folks tell us that's just not on the horizon.

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