New "Fitness! Right! Now!" plan will promote fitness to public

A new program in partnership with the non-profit American Council on Exercise will strive to become the link to the public that could encourage and inspire people to not only find out about fitness but to also get started.
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A new program in partnership with the non-profit American Council on Exercise will strive to become the link to the public that could encourage and inspire people to not only find out about fitness but to also get started.

Fitness! Right! Now!, launched last week, is a program dreamed up earlier this year by Craig Lerner, now its president, who is also the founder of a sports marketing group. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) is the presenting sponsor and partner in the program, which is also now looking for other sponsors.

"The goal is to go past the status quo and those companies that just say, 'Go do something,'" Lerner told SNEWS®. "We want to touch the public."

Organizers call the program a "multi-dimensional fitness initiative" and plan for it to include a tour of malls across the country, holding weekend festivals that allow attendees to try things and get one-on-one time with ACE-certified professionals. The mall tour will begin in early spring 2005, but promotions, advertising and a web presence should help kick it off as early as January 2005.

The mall tour should "allow the public to interact with fitness professionals," Lerner said. "The public is getting a lot of misinformation. The need for professional fitness consultations exists."

Mall stops will involve area trainers and instructors and are planned to offer all kinds of hands-on experiences and the chance for the public to ask questions. Each stop will be for about four days, with eight to 10 planned for the first year. The tours should include "national fitness celebrities" who are authentic (not just TV personalities) and still have some name value, Lerner said. They will also include "local legends," or people from the area who are known in some way as fitness enthusiasts, such as TV anchors or newspaper columnists.

The second level of the program will include open houses at clubs in about 12 to 15 markets. They will be similar to the mall stops, but not as large, and will be open to the public.

"I still want people to walk into these clubs and go one-on-one with someone for a half-hour," he said.

The name is intended to include all those exclamation marks, Lerner said, so it doesn't just mean doing fitness or doing fitness now or doing fitness right, but all of the above.

There are other pieces down the road, which organizers see as long term, not a here-today-gone-tomorrow entity. That's why Lerner said it was started as a separate company and not just as a program operated by his sports marketing group or ACE.

"Nobody's putting a dent in inactivity," said ACE Executive Director Ken Germano. "Obesity is really about inactivity and creating a link with the public with accredited professionals. There is so much nonsense in the industry right now.

"Nothing that we start at this level is going to be one year and it goes away. It'll have lots of tentacles and roots," Germano promised, looking five and 10 years down the road. "That's what it'll take to make a difference."

The program is seeking other marketing partners and sponsors. For more information, contact Lerner at craig@fitnessrightnow.org or 1-800-365-4332. Or contact ACE at 1-800-825-3636.

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