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Archive for April 2012

Creative Ideas That Inspire

Weight Training With Yoga Principles is offered by the Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Skaneateles, New York. This “personal training experience” combines the benefits of yoga and weight training, according to IDEA member Maggie Thomson, who is the health and wellness coordinator. Thomson says the class combines yoga concepts such as guided imagery, breathing, concentration and awareness with strength training equipment and free weights to create “structurally sound posture.”

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The “Secret Shopper” Advantage

As a fitness entrepreneur, you work hard to provide your customers with great workout experiences. But do your staff members effectively deliver on your goals? Or is there a gap between your expectations and the service your clients receive?

To find out, you might want to arrange a “secret shopping” evaluation of your fitness business. Discover the pros and cons of secretly shopping your company by hiring a professional evaluator—or by doing it yourself. It’s a unique way to determine what your customers really think.

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The Corporate Connection

client: QuinStar Technology Inc.
personal trainer: Connie Morrill
location: Torrance, California

Crossing into corporate. Prior to transitioning into a fitness career in 1983, personal trainer Connie Morrill spent 20 years as a professional dancer. In 2004 she made another career shift. “I had a client who owned a business, and she asked if I would work with her employees,” recalls Morrill. “I taught them how to develop their own workout programs, and I touched a bit on eating and how to make time to take care of themselves.”

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Clients Too Flexible? Risks & Solutions

If a client is hypermobile, it means he or she has a greater-than-normal range of joint movement, thought to be due to lax connective tissues. While flexibility is usually deemed a positive physical attribute enjoyed by a lucky few, many Pilates instructors don’t realize that hypermobility is more common than one might think and can be a root cause of chronic pain and postural issues.

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Social Media: Dos & Dont’s

While social media can be a great tool for promoting your company and building an enthusiastic client base, it’s important to have a strategy that gets results—and to avoid creating a social media mire. These simple dos and don’ts will point you in the right direction.

The DOs

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Clients Not Sticking With the Program? Here’s Help!

Tough clients. Every fitness professional has them. You know, the ones who make you think, “What is wrong with you? Why can’t you follow simple instructions or do what’s good for you?” Don’t take it personally. When prescribed life-saving medications for cancer, heart disease and diabetes, patients take them a shockingly low 55% of the time, according to a World Health Organization estimate. If almost half of people can’t spare 10 seconds to pop a pill, how can we expect them to exercise and to eat a healthy diet?

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Tai Chi Provides Mental and Emotional Benefits

Much research supports the physical benefits of practicing tai chi, particularly to improve balance among older adults. Tai chi may also enhance mental and emotional well-being for a variety of people from young to elderly, as noted by a recent literature review.

Investigators from Shenzhen Polytechnic in Shenzhen, China, and the University of Houston conducted a systematic review of tai chi studies to evaluate the reported psychological benefits associated with practicing tai chi and to assess the existing state of research.

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Burn and Learn Walking Food Tours

Have you ever considered taking your clients on a healthy walking food tour in your city? You could accomplish a number of objectives if you were organized enough:

Aside from the obvious profit center, you could turn your tour into an educational opportunity about area businesses and their healthy offerings, as well as a relaxed opportunity to talk about eating healthfully while dining out. As a bonus, you and your clients would burn calories walking between restaurants and share fun, social bonding time outside the gym.

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Chefs Move to Schools

The School Nutrition Association (SNA) and the Chefs Move to Schools program—part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative—recently partnered to support SNA member schools’ efforts to promote healthy school environments.

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Fitness DVD Sales on the Rise

According to recent data from IBISWorld, a market research reports and analysis company, now is a good time to be in the fitness DVD business. If the company’s estimations are correct, it may be time to add DVD production to your to-do list. Here are some highlights from the report: The fitness DVD production industry is expected to grow 9.8% in the next 5 years. Fitness DVD production revenue is estimated to have climbed at an 11.2% annualized pace in the 5 years leading up to 2012, including a 12.6% jump in 2012 to $264.5 million.

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More Doctors Recommending Exercise

Good news from the medical community! According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more U.S. doctors are encouraging adults to be physically active. The report, which is published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), determined that the percentage of adults whose physician or attending health professional encouraged them to exercise increased from 22.6% in 2000 to 32.4% in 2010.

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Church-Held Weight Loss Programs Successful for African American Women

When you’re developing weight loss programs for niche populations, it may be important to understand the role that environment plays in successful outcomes.

One example comes from the Journal of Black Psychology (2012; 38 [1], 81–103). The study’s primary goal was to determine compliance among 55 overweight or obese African American women entering obesity treatment. For 13 weeks, 36 of the women were involved in a program held in churches; the other 19 attended a program in a university setting. Each woman was weighed and completed a physical fitness test.

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Exercise = Happiness

When you’re developing weight loss programs for niche populations, it may be important to understand the role that environment plays in successful outcomes. One example comes from the Journal of Black Psychology (2012; 38 [1], 81–103). The study’s primary goal was to determine compliance among 55 overweight or obese African American women entering obesity treatment. For 13 weeks, 36 of the women were involved in a program held in churches; the other 19 attended a program in a university setting.

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Biomechanics of Running Research Review

Have you ever wondered whether a certain foot strike is associated with greater injury potential? Or whether foot structure helps some people run faster? This roundup of recent running research may answer those questions.

The first—a retrospective study, published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e3182465115)—examined injury rates among 52 collegiate middle- and long-distance runners.

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Postworkout Massage Reduces Inflammation

Many people enjoy getting massages for relaxation and tension relief. Now, scientists suggest that massage may also reduce postexercise inflammation and improve recovery.

A report published in Science Translational Medicine (2012; 4 [119], 119ra13) focused on what happens to the muscle at a physiological level when massage is applied after intense exercise. The test subjects, 11 young males, underwent resting muscle biopsies of the right and left vastus lateralis before the intervention.

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Swimming Associated With Lower Blood Pressure in Older Adults

Want to help your pre- or borderline hypertensive clients improve their health? Tell them to take a swim. Regular swimming is a popular form of exercise for people seeking low-impact options. Researchers now suggest that it may also help reduce blood pressure and improve vascular function among older adults. In a study published in The American Journal of Cardiology (doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.11.029), 43 adults with prehypertension or stage 1 hypertension who were not using medication were separated into a swim group and a gentle relaxation exercise group for 12 weeks.

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Go Screen-Free!

Turn off the tube and enjoy some quality time with your children during Screen-Free Week (April 30–May 6), an annual event in which families, schools and communities leave all screens dark. Reports suggest that preschoolers spend an average of 32 hours a week in front of the television or a computer screen, and older children spend even more time there. Excessive screen time can lead to poor school performance, childhood obesity, attention problems and reduced creative play.

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Ask the RD

Answer: Red wine has enjoyed a solid reputation for being heart healthy because it is a rich source of resveratrol, a phytochemical with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. But in early January an investigation of the work of researcher Dipak K. Das, PhD, ScD, MD, revealed more than 100 counts of falsification and fabrication of data, thus casting doubt on all of his reservatrol research. Das is not the only global researcher investigating resveratrol. Still, the effects of resveratrol are controversial.

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