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Programs & Equipment

Turning Pools Into Profits

Fitness centers invest a significant amount of their budgets in maintaining the pool, but they do not necessarily receive an adequate return on this investment. In some cases, the pool is viewed as merely a value-added amenity to reinforce a positive member experience. Other than for occasional lap swimming and water classes for older adults, most gym pools are not being used to their full potential. It’s time to focus on the profit-generating power of the pool and increase pool usage.

BOSU® Balance Trainer Rounds Out Pilates

The BOSU Balance Trainer is the perfect accessory to complement a wide range of authentic Pilates exercises. In this article, you’ll learn to incorporate the BOSU ball into traditional mat and equipment exercises. Regardless of how experienced your clients are, this workout will give you dynamic and fresh content to use with them, both in one-on-one training and in group settings.

Westin® Hotels to Lend Fitness Gear to Guests

Travelers, take note: if you forget to pack your workout clothes, Westin Hotels & Resorts have got you covered. The high-end hotel chain now offers a fitness gear lending program, according to an article published in the December 14 issue of The Wall Street Journal. Fitness-minded hotel guests may borrow New Balance–brand shoes, as well as apparel such as socks, shorts and shirts, at no cost. Apparel sizes range from small to extra large for women, medium to extra large for men. Shoes sizes are 6–101/2 for women, 81/2–13 for men.

Don’t Fear the Gear, Part 1: Signal Flow

The ways of the sound system often seem mysterious. What do all those knobs do, anyway? Why does it sound great one day and terrible the next? Most group fitness instructors are simply content to find the “on” switch. Yet we all know that an audio breakdown is frustrating (and embarrassing), not only to us, but to our participants.

TrekDesk Receives Honors

Each year, the oldest continuously published magazine in the United States, Scientific American, unveils its annual Gadget Guide. Among the less-known gadgets on the 2010 list was the TrekDesk Treadmill Desk. The TrekDesk, which can be affixed to any treadmill, is designed to help eradicate the effects of inactivity due to seated desk work. “Scientific American has been reporting on medical and technological innovations since 1845,” stated TrekDesk CEO Steve Bordley.

Realizing Tax Benefits From Pilates Equipment

Your Pilates equipment costs you money, and it also makes you money. In the midst of tax season, when you are finally ready to consider your assets, take some time to get organized. The following questions and answers relate to Pilates equipment purchased for use in a studio and are by no means comprehensive.

Exercising With Kettlebells

Have you heard about kettlebells? Fitness enthusiasts, ranging from young to not so young, nonathletes to superstars, are starting to find use for this cast-iron tool that has its roots in Russia. A kettlebell is a weight shaped like a giant cannonball with a single U-shaped handle. The kettlebell’s unique spherical shape provides the ability to work with curvilinear movements, centrifugal force and momentum.

The Ab Circle Pro®

Achieving six-pack abdominals is a goal for many exercisers. To address this desire, many companies have developed equipment to target this area. One such tool, the Ab Circle Pro, offers interested consumers another method for…

The Value of Audio

If there’s one thing that can kill a facility tour, it’s a “black hole.” You know them well: those large areas of your facility that, when unoccupied, silently suck your budget into the operating-costs abyss. Silent tennis courts, empty swimming pools and, yes, even vacant group fitness studios fall into this category. And at the center of the group fitness black hole (well, usually in a corner or a closet) is a black box: the audio system.

ROM Machine

In today’s time-strapped society, typical hourlong exercise bouts can be prohibitive to many potential exercisers. Schedule-conscious individuals interested in improving fitness levels with minimal time investment may have a solution. According to manufacturers of the ROM (range-of-motion) machine, 4 minutes is all that’s necessary to get into better shape. The 677-pound machine is equipped with an 85-pound flywheel that automatically adjusts resistance to the individual’s strength (cardiovascular and muscular) level.

Your Feet, Your Shoes, Your Choices

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.

Small Toys, Big Benefits

The verdict is still out regarding the benefits of those bulky, uni-tasking ab machines you find on some weight room floors; however, one thing is becoming clear: core-training benefits cannot be realized by training the trunk musculature in isolation. For a more balanced approach, incorporate closed-chain exercises into your classes.

The Hawaii Chair

Hula-Hoop enthusiasts take heart—it may now be possible to get
the same gyrational movements while sitting at your desk. The Hawaii Chair of infomercial fame promises users an opportunity to get fit while you work. According to the manufacturer’s website, the Hawaii Chair “combines the ancient art of the Hula of the Hawaiians with an easy-to-use, fun exercise machine.” Users’ hips gyrate as the seat rotates clockwise and counterclockwise at the desired speed.

Shake It Up With Shake Weight

A new device that has exploded onto the market is the Shake Weight™,
a 2.5-pound dumbbell-shaped apparatus that promises “strong, sexy, sculpted arms & shoulders” in just 6 minutes a day. The product was originally designed for arm-conscious women, but a male version has recently entered the market. Users grip the tool in one or two hands and then shake it vigorously back and forth with minimal—if any—changes in range of motion.

The Shake Weight website states
that strength benefits are derived from
a “new” technology dubbed “dynamic

The Pilates Chair: From Classical to Contemporary

The Pilates chair—or “wunda chair,” as Joseph Pilates called it—is a powerful piece of exercise equipment. Its small size belies its remarkable ability to build core stability, upper-body strength and lower-body power to improve performance in athletes, retrain the body after injury and increase overall physical conditioning. Although it’s been part of the Pilates system for many years, the chair is currently experiencing a new level of interest as a great tool for teaching clients either individually or in small groups.

Cybex Pink Treadmills a Success

In the January issue, it was reported that fitness equipment manufacturer CYBEX® had developed special pink treadmills to raise awareness and money for breast cancer research.
For each mile logged on the treadmills in October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month), the organization would donate money
to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The program was a
success: 250,000 miles were logged, resulting in a $50,000 donation.

Equipment Purchasing in a Shaky Economy

As signs of recovery start to show in different sectors of the American economy, fitness facility and studio owners are still taking stock. Faced with tough economic times, some owners, directors and managers are still putting off or scaling back on new equipment, leasing rather than buying, or purchasing used or remanufactured equipment

Kettlebell Comeback

Despite the kettlebell’s rich history, dating back at least to the 1700s, there are many people who have not yet heard of this tool. Only recently has the product caught the attention of mainstream fitness folks. Fitness pros and enthusiasts, both men and women, ranging from young to not so young, nonathletes to superstars, are starting to find use for the cast-iron tool that has its roots in Russia. The kettlebell may not be a new product, but creative programming using the age-old device is certainly “swinging” into action.

Equipment Safety in the Fitness Setting

Stories of failed exercise equipment leading to injury have been making headlines. Recently the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary
recall of 3 million fitness balls, for example. According to a press release, manufacturers received reports of balls bursting while in use. “Many of the injuries that occur with stability balls come from a poor-quality product [not made to handle] repetitive use in the gym,” states Abbie Appel, IDEA presenter and author, and Resist-A-Ball® master instructor.

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