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Alexandra Williams

Alexandra Williams has taught fitness for 17 years and has a master’s degree in agency counseling, with an emphasis on marriage and family. Her professional training has forced her to scrutinize her own value system, especially as she attempts to raise ethical children. The author wishes to thank Jack Raglin and Jim Gavin for their helpful insights and suggestions.

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Kazakhstan: A Rich Cultural History With Fit New Ideas

August 16, 2010

A landlocked Central Asian country, Kazakhstan is bordered by five countries, including Russia and China. The ninth-largest nation in the world, which makes it the size of Western Europe, Kazakhstan is nevertheless largely a land of mystery to many people. Independent from the former Soviet Union since 1991, Kazakhstan has two languages, Russian and Kazakh. But the language of fitness is also well established!

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Your Feet, Your Shoes, Your Choices

August 16, 2010

How often has a client or student approached you and asked, “What type of shoe would be best for this workout?” At the university where I teach, I am asked this question every quarter by several hundred students, all of whom have different needs, different feet and different histories.

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Equipment, education and enthusiasm elevate German fitness.

April 21, 2010

Germans seem to embrace equipment wholeheartedly. According to Drums Alive® founder Carrie Ekins, MA, of Kutzenhausen, the most popular classes in Germany use training equipment. “Typical equipment that has been on the market for years is still the most popular. This includes Redondo® balls (small 22-centimeter inflatable balls), large stability balls, tubes, bands, dumbbells and barbells.

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Hybrid Fitness Professionals–The Best of All Worlds?

March 16, 2010

Back in the late 1970s and early 1980s, if you were in the fitness industry you were probably an aerobics instructor, and you likely taught some kind of high-impact classes. Sure, there were a few personal trainers working with bodybuilders, but for the most part the industry was defined by dance exercise.

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Shaking Things Up in South Africa

February 16, 2010

With a population of over 49 million people, who speak 11 official languages, South Africa is a country booming with growth and activity, especially as its weather and natural attributes contribute to a favorable outdoor culture. South Africans are excited and proud to be hosting the World Cup for football (soccer) this year, and can even be described as fanatical about rugby.

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Revving Things Up in Russia

October 15, 2009

When people think of Russia, some picture the frozen steppes of Siberia, while others see the onion domes of Red Square. But what about this country’s long tradition of placing a high value on sport and physical fitness? That aspect of Russian culture is just as ingrained.

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The Wellness Culture: Self-Responsibility at Last

October 12, 2009

“We need to invest in prevention and wellness programs to help Americans live longer and healthier lives.” These words, spoken by President Obama in a town hall speech in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on June 11 of this year (White House Press Office 2009), hit a chord with fitness professionals, who probably nodded their heads in agreement. The statement is obvious, yet carrying it out can prove elusive. “That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do my entire career,” you may be thinking.

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Green Up Your Fitness

July 7, 2009

Fitness professionals are already leaders in promoting health for the body and mind. Now, with the increased worldwide emphasis on sustainability and “green” practices, it is time for us to show our leadership skills in promoting practices that increase the health of our environment. The two causes are not unrelated, for just as a healthy mind is linked to a healthy body, so the health of the world is inextricably linked to each of us.

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Japan Is Jumping

April 29, 2009

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.

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China’s Community Approach to Fitness

March 4, 2009

China is enthusiastically embracing the past and the future in its approach to fitness. “There are many ancient exercises with over a thousand years of history, such as tai chi, qigong, martial arts and so on,” states Kenny Wong, president of the Asian Academy for Sports and Fitness Professionals. He describes a modern “community” approach…

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Personal Trainer Certification

February 1, 2009

There is much talk about certification, accreditation and licensure in the fitness industry today. Whatever might be said about this trio of topics, a couple of points can be underscored: they inspire passionate discussion among industry leaders and other professionals alike; and the terms themselves and their word cousins can be very confusing. So confusing,…

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Exploring Egypt

December 17, 2008

As investment in corporate real estate and construction climbs in Egypt in 2009, so will the number of on-site gyms and spas, according to Tamer Farag of Cairo, chief executive officer of Global Sports Co., including Gold’s Gym in Zayed City. “We believe that we are seeing the official start of a boom in health…

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The New View

June 30, 2008

About 30 years ago, the first wave of
group fitness instructors (known then as aerobics teachers) got their start in
an industry yet to be defined. Many of those people are still teaching and
training, yet as the industry grows and changes, continuing to shape itself,
the need for a steady influx of teachers is evident. Since the world of fitness
is radically differ…

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Be a Standout Employee

June 1, 2008

Maybe it’s the coffee bar employee who always has a smile and knows your favorite drink. Maybe it’s the hotel clerk who follows through to ensure you have all the amenities you need. Or perhaps it’s one of your co-workers who seems to consistently anticipate the needs of managers and clients. Excellent service is easy to notice, yet is it easy to provide?

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Be a Standout Employee

May 29, 2008

Maybe it’s the coffee bar employee who
always has a smile and knows your favorite drink. Maybe it’s the hotel clerk
who follows through to ensure you have all the amenities you need. Or perhaps
it’s one of your co-workers who seems to consistently anticipate the needs of
managers and clients. Excellent service is easy to notice, yet is it easy to
provide?

p…

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Corporate Wellness—Programming for Profit

April 30, 2008

There doesn’t seem to be much dispute
about healthcare costs being a burden on employers and employees. Chronic
disease alone costs the United States more than $1 trillion annually. The U.S.
spends an additional $277 billion per year just to treat seven of the most
common diseases (cancer, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease,
pulmonary conditions and menta…

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Culture, Community and Commitment

June 30, 2007

Many people might say that group fitness became part of our culture back in the early 1970s, when Judi Sheppard Missett introduced Jazzercise® and Jacki Sorensen launched Aerobic Dancing. Others might argue that our awareness of group “aerobics” began when Jamie Lee Curtis showed her Perfect body in the 1985 movie. And there is no denying the impact Richa…

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Diary of an IDEA Convention Attendee

March 31, 2007

This year IDEA is thrilled to be celebrating its silver anniversary—its 25th year in existence. As part of the gala 25th celebration, the annual IDEA World Fitness Convention has many special surprises in store! Attendance at the event has grown from the original 600 to over 5,000, making it the world’s largest educational convention for health and fitnes…

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The Fitness Facility of the Future

March 31, 2007

But now erase all that you know from your mind about how your club looks and what it offers. Replace the blank space that’s left with your new vision; that of the facility of the future. How far into the future you go depends on you and your imagination. Now that you’ve started to create, what is the physical structure of this new place? How does it feel when you enter? What s…

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