Even though 2009 has been a tough year economically, Canadians are still willing to invest in fitness, as these days it is viewed more and more as a necessity, not a luxury. So says Peter Twist, MSc, president and chief executive officer of Twist Sport Conditioning, based in North Vancouver. Even the government is involved, setting a goal of increasing the physical activity level of Canadians 10% by next year and giving tax credits to parents who invest in their children’s physical activities and sports.
The St. Paul Jewish Community Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, offers its members B.L.A.S.T. (body locomotion and strength training). According to the online schedule, the intermediate-to-advanced workout is a combination of low-impact cardio and strength training. The facility challenges its members and guests to “have fun exploring some nontraditional exercises that challenge your strength, balance and dexterity.” The St. Paul JCC also offers Logrolling throughout the year.
The most popular fitness classes in Israel are body conditioning, core training, stability ball, yoga, step and dance-based formats, notes Yoav Avidar, international fitness presenter from Tel Aviv, Israel, who has been working in the fitness industry for 12 years. “In general, and especially during these days of economic hardship, popular equipment-based classes are ones that use the equipment the club has!” he says. “Clubs and studios are very hesitant to buy new equipment, especially if it’s relatively expensive.
Even in these tough economic times there is still a lot of optimism and opportunity in the Japanese fitness industry. “2009 is very tough financially for commercial fitness facilities, but I think that people will become even more conscious of their health, especially the benefits of exercise as they relate to stress management,” says Sachiko Tsurumi, president of Japan Fitness Association in Tokyo.
In response to tough economic times, more yoga studios are offering “yoga by donation” classes to help new or ongoing students who are
financially challenged. One New England studio offers 100% of its
schedule on a pay-as-you-can basis. Bob Vaccaro of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, launched Yoga by Donation on January 1, 2009, “to provide quality yoga classes in an exceptional setting to people of all levels of
physical and financial abilities. . . . We have no set or even suggested fees;
all donations can be anonymous, and all are appreciated.”
Chalene Johnson attributes her success in part to her mother. It’s not just the nurturing hand of love that gave Johnson, chief executive officer (CEO) of Powder Blue Productions and creator of Turbo Kick® and PiYo™, a head start in the world of fitness. Johnson’s mother, Marge Melvin, was one of the first Jazzercise® instructors in the state of Michigan.
The French often participate in sports and other nontraditional “fitness” activities without joining a health club, notes Fred Hoffman, MEd, 2007 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, director of International Services for the Club & Spa Synergy Group and fitness consultant for women’s marketing at Reebok France. “Hiking, walking and Nordic walking are popular, and many people ride bicycles,” he says. “Boxing, judo, karate and other martial arts are extremely popular for children, teenagers and young adults.
IDEA member Marc Lebert of Mississauga, Ontario, is looking to inspire others to get shipshape. Lebert will board the Carnival Cruise ship Destiny in early April to teach classes
as fitness-oriented participants cruise to Cozumel, Mexico.
As part of Femme FITall, “a travel group offering people
affordable opportunities to get together, get away and get
this month on www.ideafit.comTimes are tough. Or are they? For fitness professionals, the answer is mixed. Caution is the prevailing theme as instructors, trainers and business owners focus on cutting costs and adding value for clients. But many fitness pros are also notably optimistic, viewing economic
uncertainty as a catalyst for creativity, innovation and positive change.