>> Landice has introduced a new treadmill -- one that has a reverse mode and a remote control unit. With a list of $3,500, the treadmill -- now called informally the Rehabilitation Treadmill -- could go beyond rehab and even into the home or light commercial. Introduced at Club Industry East, Landice will also show the treadmill at the Health & Fitness Business show in Denver in August. The treadmill starts at 0.1 mph and has no program except contact heart-rate monitoring. It also has a full commercial five-year warranty.
>> Rodger Lee, acting CEO for a time at yoga specialist Hugger Mugger as well as formerly vice president of sales, has left the company (www.huggermugger.com). The Salt Lake City, Utah-based, company is turning its attention strictly to specialty retailers, as well as to studios, after dabbling for awhile in big box sales, a spokeswoman said. "Our goal is to go back and let everybody know we are the Cadillac of yoga," she said of the company that has been around for two decades.
>> Rumors were again surfacing about the financial status of The Fitness Experience last week, saying the Midwest-based specialty retailer had filed for bankruptcy. SNEWS® called CEO Doug Pearson directly on May 24 and was told the rumor is "obviously not true" and the company is sticking with the plan of action outlined in our May 14 story, "The Fitness Experience closes stores, reviews business plans." Pearson told us, "We're off to a good start this week. We're executing about 100 percent consistently with what you (reported), and that's where it's at."
>> This year is the 10th anniversary of Mad Dogg Athletics and also of the worldwide launch of the Spinning indoor cycling program. The Spinning program was first offered to the commercial market in 1994, and was at that time the first program of its kind. Of course, others have followed in its successful footsteps. Formerly in partnership with Schwinn, Mad Dogg now partners with Star Trac and uses its Johnny G Spinner indoor cycle as its official trainer. Mad Dogg and Johnny G also sell into the direct-to-consumer market as of this year. www.spinning.com
>> As the official fitness center sponsor of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, 24 Hour Fitness is working hard to help U.S. Olympic athletes achieve their gold medal dreams. Its newly launched "Commitment to Athletes" program provides a support system for athletes training for the 2004 Olympic Games, including industry-related employment opportunities with flexible schedules, National Governing Body and athlete sponsorships, and free and reduced membership rates. It's also upgrading training centers in Colorado Springs, Colo., Lake Placid, N.Y., Chula Vista, Calif., and onsite facilities for the U.S. Teams competing in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Greece, and Beijing, China, as well as the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy. The changes include structural upgrades and renovations, as well as bringing in additional workout equipment.
>> UNITED KINGDOM -- Virgin Active has taken on Panatta Sport's Kids line at its recently opened Genoa site, and plans to offer similar children's fitness facilities at its new Bologna and Rome sites, all three in Italy. The chain has equipped its children's area with Yukari Bikes and accessories, and instructors will also receive training from Panatta's technical consultants. The first training course, which will include the techniques of children's training games, will be held at the Genoa centre by Roberto Carminucci and Maria Luisa Quinci.
>> Sitting in front of a computer screen doesn't seem like the best way to get fit and lose weight, but America Online (AOL) is launching a Diet & Fitness section designed to help support AOL members' complete weight loss needs throughout the year. Responding to the growing trend in online dieting, AOL Diet & Fitness (www.aol.com) enables members to manage their diet efforts more effectively through what the company calls a "one-stop" weight loss center, with information and support needed to get fit, shed pounds and keep them off. Enhanced through content partnerships with Health magazine, Cooking Light, eDiets.com and bestselling author and AOL Weight Loss Coach Jorge Cruise, AOL will offer members a collection of nutritional and fitness resources. "The new Diet & Fitness channel is a complete experience where dieters can find the information and guidance they need, when they want it, and receive ongoing support from experts and peers alike," said Tina Sharkey, AOL's senior vice president for life management and community. Online dieting has become an increasingly popular way to lose weight, find information and recipes and get support. Last summer, the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 44 percent of Americans have gone online to find information about dieting, weight loss and fitness. Additionally, according to a 2001 study conducted by researchers at Brown University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people who enrolled in a structured online dieting program lost three times more weight in six months than those who simply searched for dieting information online. A few highlights of the AOL Diet & Fitness area include: Diets A-Z provides information on 20 weight loss programs; Diet Basics offers healthy eating 101 tips with sample menus; Weight Loss Coach Jorge Cruise offers advice, encouragement and exercise moves; Fitness & Exercise helps develop a fitness regime based on sample workout plans featuring toning and trimming exercises/animations, yoga moves, Pilates basics and more; Diet Talk where members can trade advice, tips and support; and weekly news and trends information.
>> If you're anywhere near Williamsburg, Va., on June 2-4, you might consider dropping into the first TIME/ABC News Summit on Obesity. In partnership with organizer, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, the two news groups are pulling together leaders across several sectors -- medicine and science, government, education, business, academia, media and entertainment -- to focus attention on what can be done to turn around the growing obesity epidemic. Speakers include: Andrew Weil, M.D., director, Program in Integrative Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Arizona; Ann M. Fudge, chairman and CEO, Young & Rubicam Brands; Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders; Lynn C. Swann, chairman, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas; Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona, M.D., Surgeon General, USA; and T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Children's Hospital, Boston. Topics over the two-and-a-half days include: Why We Are Fat: An Evolutionary View, How Much Exercise Do I Need, The Long-Term Implications, What Should We Eat, and The Challenge -- Reversing the Course of the Epidemic: Public Private Partnerships. More is at www.timesummit.com.
>> In other summit news, The New Balance Foundation has become a sponsor of the first Summit on Obesity. "The New Balance Foundation has identified obesity, particularly childhood obesity, as one of our main areas of focus for the foreseeable future," said Anne Davis, executive vice president of New Balance and a founding trustee of the New Balance Foundation. "Of the 60 million Americans who are obese, almost one-sixth -- nine million -- are our children. We are committed to participating in the fight against obesity and to affecting permanent societal change in the regions in which we have our facilities."
>> GERMANY -- Take note late-planners: Air France is a new partner for the upcoming summer ispo show in Munich, Germany. Air France offices and call centers will offer discounted rates for world-wide flights to ispo visitors and ispo exhibitors -- 45 percent off on regular economy class rates for departures from France and further discounts for other international flights. Rates are available July 2-8 for roundtrip flights. Call +33 (0)820 820 820 or visit the nearest Air France office. Refer to ispo code AXZE ISPO when making your flight reservation and identify yourself as an ispo trade visitor or exhibitor when checking in for your flight by showing an exhibitor ticket, a trade visitor ticket, guest ticket or your ispocard.
>> Sharpen your pencils -- it's time to write an essay to win yourself a franchise. Yup, you didn't read that wrong. Lighten Up!, a 17-year-old weight management program, is giving away 100 Lighten Up! franchises -- a $15,000 value each. The folks at Lighten Up! said in a statement that the franchise isn't a diet but a system that helps people change their eating habits, teaching new habits to lose weight and keep it off. "I am extending this offer not only to help more people lose weight, but also to offer empowering employment opportunities. Obesity and unemployment are such critical issues in America today," said Katie Evans, founder of Lighten Up!. Winning a franchise includes materials to get it started, on-going management advice, and cooperative marketing/advertising support. To enter the contest, write a 500-word essay on "How I Will Make My Lighten Up! Franchise Successful." For contest rules and to submit your essay, visit www.lighten-up.com or call 1-888-311-1998. SNEWS® View: Right. It's a system and Evans is really being just altruistic to "empower" people.
>> Iron Grip Barbell Company, maker of free weight equipment, is licensing weight plates to Body-Solid, Inc. The training equipment maker will sell certain weight plates with four handgrips under U.S. Patent 5,137,502.
>> The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson are launching a new program to support good health and physical activity for the 6 million children with disabilities. The new "I Can Do It, You Can Do It" initiative will be launched at a celebration at HHS headquarters on May 26, led by the Surgeon General and featuring people with disabilities who have successfully put physical activity into their lives. Including more than 50 participating national organizations, the initiative is being led by HHS' Office on Disability in collaboration with the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). Under the initiative, the partner organizations will help bring together physically fit mentors with young people with disabilities to help increase physical activity and good nutritional habits. Mentors will include young adults and adults, both with and without disabilities. "The positive aspects of physical activity are important for people of all ages, from all walks of life," said W. Larry Kenney, a Ph.D. and president of ACSM. "Young people with disabilities can and should be active, and this initiative models the important health and well-being advantages of exercise and activity." The May 26 event will feature special activity exhibits, including a climbing wall, obstacle course, table tennis, golf and bowling, staffed by volunteers, including climbers Tom Whittaker, creator of the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Program at Idaho State University and first disabled person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, and Mark Wellman, former member of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team, who also completed a 13-day ascent of Half Dome in Yosemite, as well as U.S. Army Capt. David Rozelle, recently featured in USA TODAY for his plans to resume active duty following a land mine explosion that took his right foot in Iraq last year. Participants in the program will be eligible to earn awards sponsored by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award and the Presidential Champions Award. The event will take place in the Great Hall of the Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C.
>> Athletic specialty retailer The Finish Line is offering military personnel and their immediate families a 10-percent discount on purchases made at all Finish Line store locations across America. "With nearly 550 store locations in 46 states, we have Finish Line stores near many military bases," said Kevin Flynn, senior vice president of marketing for Finish Line, in a statement. "Finish Line offers the best selection of performance footwear, particularly in the running category, and we want those serving our country to benefit from our great selection."
>> Boxer Roy Jones Jr. is giving the term "super model" a whole new meaning. The Heavyweight Champion of the World "struck a pose" for Equinox Fitness Club's 2004 ad campaign. Jones joined other athletes -- University of Colorado Wide-Receiver Jeremy Bloom and Volleyball Superstar Gabrielle Reece (a sexier piece than Jones, we would think) -- for the "It's Not Fitness, It's Life" campaign for the 21-location club. "We are excited that Roy is participating in our ad campaign," said Equinox CEO Harvey Spevak. "The combination of his physical performance, determination and spirit is true to the essence of Equinox." In addition to modeling and boxing, Jones is also a commentator for HBO Sports. Equinox's ad campaign launches this summer and will run through the fall in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.