• Blog: Election-Themed Events Could Really Be the Ticket

    by Mary Helen Sprecher October 2012

    Since I've already heard the "Monster Mash" and "Thriller" about a hundred times, it must mean it's almost Halloween. And that means the fitness tie-ins and promotions are in full swing. You can get chased around by zombies in an obstacle race, play tennis in a costume or participate in my favorite event of the moment, based on the title alone: Zombie Zumba. Plus, I'm sure, a whole lot more.

  • American Health Clubs Contemplate a Move Toward European-Style Design

    by Andrew Cohen October 2012

    There are all sorts of exercisers, all sorts of health clubs and all sorts of countries. So forgive the many generalizations that follow.

  • Outdoor Gyms Catching On in U.S. Parks

    by Emily Attwood October 2012

    Adult playgrounds have been popular in areas of Asia and Europe for some time, but these outdoor attractions have been slow to catch on in the United States. The Trust for Public Land brought its first Fitness Zone®, a collection of outdoor strength, cardio and balance equipment, to Los Angeles five years ago, and many California communities have also embraced the trend.

  • Rob & Barry: We Couldn't Care More About Our Members

    by Rob Bishop & Barry Klein September 2012

    Imagine that you've just tested your pool water and found it to be - the actual numbers are irrelevant to the story - just fine. A member approaches you 10 minutes later, still in her bathing suit, dripping water on your shoes, and says, "The pH in the pool is high." You say, "I just checked it and it seemed fine, but I'm happy to look into it," even though you'd rather say, "Really? You must be a human chemical testing kit, because the water is actually perfect!" At that moment, would you rather be in the fitness business, or on a beach someplace?

  • Blog: NRPA Comes Up with Another Winning Initiative

    by Mary Helen Sprecher August 2012

    Now that kids have seen plenty of Olympic athletes, and one hopes, have plenty of new role models, it's time to harness some of that energy and enthusiasm, and use it to get them to commit to physical activity.

  • Blog: Kids Triathlon Volunteers Need to Tri Harder

    by Mary Helen Sprecher August 2012

    It's not all that common for me to rant. I try not to. But I'm on a roll now.

    My niece, Charlotte, completed her first triathlon recently. She's nine. I couldn't be more proud of her. She and a group of friends from school decided to register for the local children's triathlon after a classmate's mother, an experienced triathlete, died of cancer. Her daughter, who is in Charlotte's class, had decided to do her first tri in her mom's memory. Charlotte and the other girls decided to do it, too, to support their friend. So really, I was proud even before she started.

  • Blog: Let the Whining Begin

    by Mary Helen Sprecher July 2012

    If there's one thing you can count on in an Olympic cycle, it's the grousing about what sports are included and what sports aren't. This time around, the popular complaint is the fact that baseball and softball are out, and in the 2016 Summer Games, golf and rugby will be in.

  • Military Veterans Find Success in Fitness Industry

    by Emily Attwood July 2012

    The boot camp workout trend is still going strong in the fitness industry, once again making the American Council on Exercise's list of fitness trends to watch in 2012. Also on the list is suspension training, the invention of a Navy SEAL in the '90s.

  • Blog: Five Sure-to-Stump-You Cancellation Challenges

    by Rob Bishop and Barry Klein June 2012

    Ever seen "What Would You Do?" on ABC? Using a hidden camera, they show how ordinary people respond when put on the spot in ethically challenging situations. Here's the health club version - and all the scenarios described are 100 percent real:

  • Blog: Get Yer Erse Tae Th' Haggis Hurl

    by Mary Helen Sprecher June 2012

    I don't know what it's like where you are, but here in Baltimore, warm weather brings a sudden bloom of ethnic festivals: Polish, Latino, Ukrainian, Italian, Russian, you name it. And while such festivals are a nice diversion, they generally don't represent a sports or fitness opportunity - at least not for those who come to be spectators. Last I checked, funnel cake, which seems to be required by law in order to have a festival, doesn't fall into the category of health food. And there's not much cardio involved in going from vendor to vendor to do souvenir shopping.