• Blog: Specialty Stores Have to Think Outside the Big Box

    by Mary Helen Sprecher January 2012

    I have a lot of respect for small specialty sports stores. Whether they're selling bicycles, skis, running shoes, tennis racquets or something else, they have a tough row to hoe. They have small staffs and tight budgets. They can't buy in the quantities necessary to compete with the really low prices on the Internet, and they often aren't able to offer the selection of colors and sizes found there either. Worse, they usually share their town with at least one sporting goods chain store or a big-box department store.

  • Blog: It's Past Time to Get PHIT

    by Mary Helen Sprecher December 2011

    Recently, I spent some time at the Technical Meeting of the American Sports Builders Association. It's the annual convention for those who design, build and supply materials for sports and fitness facilities. Of course, one of the points we kept returning to was this: How do we move the needle? How do we stimulate the fitness industry's economy so that Americans increase their pursuit of healthy activities and keep up the demand for good facilities?

  • Blog: Bridal Boot Camps Should Spur a Fitness Honeymoon

    by Mary Helen Sprecher November 2011

    Boot camp programs need no introduction. They're one of the most popular fitness regimens out there. And as a result, there are a lot of variations that are marketed to specific populations - college students, people trying to get a jump on the New Year - you name it.

  • Blog: Active Alternatives to Thanksgiving Day Gluttony

    by Mary Helen Sprecher November 2011

    My health club just put up its annual sign reminding patrons of shortened hours on Thanksgiving Day. I asked an employee one year if anyone actually works out on Thanksgiving. She laughed.

  • Blog: A Calf Injury Points to New Exercise Possibilities

    by Mary Helen Sprecher October 2011

    When I felt something snap deep inside my calf during a squash game, I had no way of knowing it was my invitation to a whole new way of working out.

  • ACE Reinvents Personal Training Using Behavioral Science

    by Michael Popke — AB Managing Editor August 2011

    The American Council on Exercise recently introduced the ACE Integrated Fitness Training™ Model (ACE IFT™), the first comprehensive personal training program designed by a national organization customized to suit the fitness goals, communication style, behavioral tendencies and personality of each client. It incorporates behavioral sciences by integrating psychological and emotional concepts - thereby potentially changing the future of personal training, according to ACE officials. "We recognize that many personal trainers have been using popular yet outdated training models to develop programs for clients," says Cedric X. Bryant, ACE's chief science officer. "To keep ACE-certified personal trainers on the forefront of fitness and ensure clients reach their fitness, health and performance goals, we have turned not only to exercise science, but also behavioral science - something that has never been done before in our industry. By considering the physiological, psychological and emotional needs of clients, we can truly create personalized programs that yield real and lasting results. In addition, our platform is the first to veer from relying on target heart rates and the first to target individuals' metabolic targets, which ultimately equates to better results for weight loss and weight management." The ACE IFT Model represents the key component of ACE's larger "Personal Training. Reinvented." initiative, aimed at raising awareness of the most effective, research-proven ways to train clients. To educate fitness professionals on this new approach, ACE has developed science-based curriculum, expert blogs, textbooks, online courses (including a free introductory webinar) and live workshops. The organization also is tapping into its network of 50,000 certified fitness professionals to help educate consumers about the benefits of this model. For more information, click here.

  • Blog: More Young Triathletes Going the Distance

    by Mary Helen Sprecher August 2011

    As much as I love sports, and as much as I am a booster of youth sports, I'm against parents who push kids so hard to excel that they miss out on the typical experiences of growing up. We all know the horror stories surrounding parents who are convinced their kid is the next Hope Solo or Michael Phelps.

  • Blog: Reigniting the Passions of the Ex-Athlete

    by Mary Helen Sprecher July 2011

    A friend of mine runs a gymnastics program, and is counting the days until next summer. She knows the second that the Summer Olympic Games torch is lit in London, her phone is going to start ringing. And hers won't be the only phone, either - all over the nation, kids will be discovering new heroes and wanting to emulate them.

  • Health Club Owners New Believers in Prepackaged Group Fitness Programs

    by Rob Bishop July 2011

    Group fitness is vital to our business. We know that members who take classes come in more often, keep their memberships longer and bring us more referrals than those who don't.

  • Blog: Core Runners Exercise Their Motivational Muscle

    by Mary Helen Sprecher June 2011

    I'm a geek for trends and statistics, and I'm an even bigger geek when it comes to the health and fitness industry. So the announcement about the forthcoming release of Running USA's 2011 National Runner Survey really made me happy.