Fitness: Did you hear?...

Savvier Inc. motion against Nautilus denied by court, Trixter scores Outside magazine cover, used sporting goods equipment popular among consumers, Horizon goes "on tour" with ispo, plus much more...
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>> A motion filed March 23 by Savvier Inc. asking the court to dismiss the trademark-infringement lawsuit brought against it by Nautilus in January was denied July 30 by the U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington, Seattle. Nautilus had alleged in the suit that the name of Savvier's direct-to-consumer product the Body Flex breathing program with the word "flex" in its name could also confuse consumers because Nautilus' Bowflex has "flex" in its name. The company had said in separate statements that anything with the word "flex" may become a lawsuit target. In its motion to dismiss, Savvier had called Nautilus' court venue in Washington improper (and has filed its own counter lawsuit May 7 in the U.S. District Court in Central California, which is still pending), and had said Nautilus failed to state a claim. It also had stated it did not own the Body Flex trademark (Impex Inc. does, and Nautilus and Impex recently settled confidentially out-of-court) and Nautilus had agreed to withdraw that claim.

>> Nustep has made a call for its annual Pinnacle awards for senior wellness programs. Applications must be in by Aug. 31. For an entry form or application, go to www.nustep.com or call 1-800-322-2209, ext. 105.

>> Trixter of X-Biking group indoor-cycling lore will likely gain a huge amount of momentum from its picture and mention in the September issue of Outside magazine. On the cover, the line says, "Hot Ride: The 80-mph Bike." Hmm, curiosity piqued? Turn to the inside and you find a colorful and clear picture of a woman pumping away on the X-Bike with the subhead "Rockin' Roller." Read on: "Mountain-bike training on a stationary bike is like prepping for a rodeo on a merry-go-round: The thrill is gone, and you're just spinning. Enter the Trixter X-Bike." The article goes on to say the bike "gives you the crank-and-coast feel of a real ride." SNEWS® View: What a score for Trixter.

>> GERMANY -- Style Fitness GmbH, distributor for the Johnson Brands (Horizon, Vision and Matrix) in Germany, is now offering a delivery service for its dealers who sell Horizon and Vision treadmills. In partnership with a delivery service provider, the treadmills can be taken directly from the distributor's warehouse to the customer's house on the date chosen by the customer. They deliver to any floor (remember, many homes in Europe are multi-level townhomes or condos with narrow staircases and no elevators), setup and install the treadmill, then take the leftover cartoon and packing materials with them (another issue in Germany because of limited garbage collection). A nationwide service, it is available six days a week in major cities and two days a week in small towns, Style Germany Managing Director Ulfert Boehme told SNEWS®. To make things even more convenient for the customer, the customer can call on the delivery day to be told the exact hour of the delivery. "This service allows our dealers to focus on sales, not logistics," Boehme said. "Our dealers are able to sell models they even do not have on display or in stock, and we are guaranteed the installation of the treadmill will be done professionally and can avoid problems with stairs." The service, the first of its kind in Germany, costs the dealer an additional Euro 49 (approximately USD $60), and the dealer can pass the cost to the customer or use it as an extra sales or customer service tool.

>> ITALY -- Technogym will plan and prepare all of the training centers and workout rooms for the Athens 2004 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Technogym will provide more than 500 machines in 11 gyms for strength and cardiovascular training. About 10,500 athletes from 202 countries will use the machines, as well the thousands of attending media. Technogym planned and prepared the training centers for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, as well.

>> To help those who want to start using a pedometer, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in its recent Fitness Matters newsletter for fitness professionals wrote a nice little story about what to look for and how to use one. It was illustrated with a large inset photo of an Accusplit Eagle pedometer, with the brand clearly visible. Then at the end of the story the magazine recommended three brands -- Kenz Lifecorder, New Lifestyles and Yamax -- but didn't even mention the Accusplit. SNEWS® View: An odd and unfortunate oversight since it was the brand in the photo and also the pedometer used by ACE researchers in a study also mentioned in the same issue. Big oops.

>> Used equipment accounts for a good portion of the sporting goods market, according to the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA). Consumers purchased $753 million in used sporting goods equipment in 2003, a slight drop over 2002 when consumers indicated they had purchased slightly more than $852 million in used sports equipment. Used equipment purchases in 2003 were more in line with purchases in 2001 and 2000, $750 million and $744 million, respectively. Used exercise equipment had purchases of almost $170 million, while the largest single category was outdoor sports at almost $395 million. In exercise equipment, more than one million pieces of equipment were purchased, excluding small hand equipment and weight sets. The study, "Purchases of Used Sports Equipment in 2003," uses the same panel as for NSGA's "Sporting Goods Market" report. The report is based on a survey of 60,000 households in which 39 products were surveyed regarding purchases during 2003. Because of the limited number of products surveyed, the total used equipment market is much larger than the $753 million reported and may easily exceed $1 billion, the NSGA estimates. For more information, go to www.nsga.org.

>> GERMANY -- Another post-ispo trade show event that ran through early summer that will likely continue. Called "ispo on tour," the show grouped together a few sporting goods and fitness suppliers and "toured" them to a handful of retailers around the country to conduct educational workshops for sales staff. Horizon Fitness was the only equipment manufacturer involved. The group also included Reebok, Lycra, Sigma Sport (electronics and heart rate monitors), plus a European company called Anita. From May through June, the tour, called "Let's talk about fitness or the best ways to advise your customers about fitness," stopped in several large cities and gave seminars for which sales personnel could register and attend at no cost. SNEWS® was told about 20 sales personnel from various stores attended in each of the cities visited. During the session, Horizon said the company had one hour to explain the benefits and use for each piece of equipment, as well as to discuss various counterpoints and sales tools. ispo on tour visited Innsbruck, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Cologne, Dortmund, Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig. The training was led by Roman Reichenbach (sport scientist) and Alan Wardle (triathlete). Ulfert Boehme, Horizon's managing director in Germany, said, "All in all, the tour was a success. Sales staff learned more about products of leading sporting goods brands of different categories, all in one day. When it comes to fitness equipment, some were able to intensify their knowledge, while some were introduced to the category so they might be able to work into that department in their stores."

>> Linda Evans Fitness Centers of San Ramon is closing the doors of some its locations. 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. has acquired six Linda Evans Gyms, one each in Alamo, San Jose, Cupertino, Los Gatos, Huntington Beach and Tustin, so far, according to an article in the East Bay Business Times on July 30. No announcements were made about the financial details of the ownership transfers. There are five remaining Linda Evans Gyms in Northern California and, according to CEO Mark Golob, there are no plans to close those locations. The shutdown of the centers in Orange County has caused an uproar with some former members who say that they were given little or no notice of the closures and their requests for refunds of advanced payments were refused. According to published reports, an Orange County District Attorney has launched an investigation. The gym closures come just months after the company's founder teamed up with 24 Hour Fitness CEO Mark Mastrov in opening a women's fitness center business called Butterfly Life. Butterfly Life is a women-focused fitness center that targets women who have not exercised. In a statement, Golob said that the two gyms are based on completely different concepts and that the decision to close the Linda Evans centers has nothing to do with Butterfly Life.

>> The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has announced that Fabio Comana has been appointed to manager of certification and exam development. Comana will oversee enhancement, administration and maintenance of all ACE certification programs. In addition, he will manage ACE's National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accreditation and work with subject matter experts and exam committees to develop and administer ACE programs.

>> Everlast Worldwide (Nasdaq: EVST) will be the exclusive provider of boxing equipment, active wear and athletic shoes for the upcoming NBC reality series "The Contender." Everlast, a manufacturer, marketer and licensor of sporting goods and apparel, partnered with Contender Partners LLC, made up of entertainment companies Mark Burnett Productions (producer of "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," among others) and DreamWorks LLC (launched by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen), for the agreement. Everlast will also introduce a "Contender" branding campaign with merchandise like shoes, T-shirts and sporting equipment available in October at Foot Locker stores (NYSE: FL). "The Contender," an unscripted program that follows the lives of 16 boxers who will compete for a million dollar prize, begins in November.

>> Golfing creates wistful yearning for many … the smell of freshly manicured lawns, the fresh air of an early morning, the casual meandering with buddies, and that %?*)$#@!&*!@ pond glinting in the distance. But then there's the debate: Is it really exercise? Is it really a sport? Or perhaps just a game that is an excuse to have a few drinks and get away from the office? According to the August issue of Harvard's Men's Health Watch newsletter, it turns out the activity CAN be a sport if you don't get too relaxed about the endeavor: Health benefits don't come from swinging your club, however (or from jawing with the buddies), but rather from walking. Walking an average course for a round of golf can be as much as four miles. If you walk 18 holes three to five times a week, you’ll get an optimal amount of endurance exercise for your heart. Well, howdy do de. Now you can say you're going for a walk, despite Mark Twain's claim that golfing is a good walk ruined. And dump the motorized cart. If you pull your clubs or carry them, you'll burn more calories per round, and benefit even more. Heck, Barry Bonds never gets to use a dirt bike when he’s making the base rounds. And what does that activity mean? A chance for injury too! Since a golf swing involves the whole body, the Health Watch newsletter says, any part of the body can be hurt while playing. Carpal tunnel syndrome, "trigger finger," elbow inflammation and shoulder problems like rotator cuff tendinitis were listed as common injuries. Back muscle strains or sprains and tendinitis of the knees, ankles and feet were also reported injuries. (Ouch!) Hey, at least you can hop in your golf cart and head back to the clubhouse for an Arnold Palmer, right?

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