Promoting your gym

The gym business hasn’t changed dramatically over the past 20 years, though we’ve certainly seen an evolution. Gyms are better at catering to different groups of potential customers, as many have added classes that appeal to women and men, and mixed things up with yoga, pilates and other options. Nutrition is also an area that gets more attention in gyms as well.

It’s on the marketing side where we’re seeing some big changes and opportunities for gym owners that are in tune with social media and see the potential to create a real online community. Facebook and Twitter should be a part of every gym owner’s strategy to market the gym. With these tools, your best and loyal customers can become evangelists for your gym, and then you can push out cool photos, workout ideas, class schedules etc that these people can then share with their friends. You’ll reach more people and build more customer loyalty.

This works best when you couple this with traditional methods like advertising and brochures. Gym owners can use online printing to reduce their costs by printing brochures online at UPrinting or other venders on the web. You can also use modern computer programs to effectively track all your customer memberships, and you should definitely use email blasts as well.

The bottom line is that you can run and promote a gym these days that makes your operation much more efficient.

Check out the new ElliptiGO

This looks pretty cool. It’s basically the world’s first elliptical bicycle.

FiveFingers running shoes

One of the most interesting developments over recent years regarding fitness gear has to be the FiveFingers line of running shoes from the Italian company Vibram. They are basically gloves for your feet and are a part of a movement turning running dogma on its head.

Here’s a summary from Forbes:

Here’s something you need to know about: Could we be seeing the beginning of the end of the modern running shoe? A growing legion of runners and recreational joggers—I am one—backed by a rising number of physiologists, believe that running shoes do more harm than good for millions of people. With their inflexibility, cushioning, and raised heels, they almost force you to crash down on your heel and send the impact of all your weight in every step straight into your knees and hips. That’s not how our bodies were designed to work, and it does terrible harm.

These shoes are not for everyone. You really need to consult your doctor and see whether this new style of running and new gear makes sense for you.

Ab exercises won’t give you abs

Go to any gym, and you’ll see a big percentage of members at any given time tirelessly working their abs in the hopes of getting the elusive six pack. Go to any home in the U.S., and you’ll find many of them have some kind of ab machine, gadget, and/or tape that was bought with the promise of a flat stomach, wash-board abs, etc. The question is, does working your abs give you abs? In other words, does performing ab exercises burn the fat covering your abs? In a word, NO.

A recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that the effect of abdominal exercises on abdominal fat was zero. 14 men and 10 women were randomly chosen to be in one of 2 groups: control group (CG) or abdominal exercise group (AG). The AG performed exercises for 6 weeks.

In conclusion, abdominal exercise training was effective to increase abdominal strength, but was not effective to decrease various measures of abdominal fat. The information from this study can help people to understand that abdominal exercise alone is not sufficient to reduce waistline or subcutaneuos fat.

J Strength Cond Res 25(9):2559-2564,2011

A runners journal part 1

Jamey Codding is scheduled to run his first marathon in Chicago on October 9th. Jamey was a competitive runner in the past, but mainly ran 5K’s or under. He began running again after a long break and has had to educate himself on in-race hydration and nutrition. If you’re interested in running at all, and want to start off on the right foot, you’ll definitely want to read the first part of his series, Training for Marathon #1: Hydration and Nutrition.

Buying New Gym Shoes? Let Your Feet Lead the Way!

Some like them light, others like them heavy and some like them somewhere in between. No matter what you prefer, there’s a gym shoe out there just waiting for you, all you have to do is walk into the athletic store and let your feet do the rest. Just in case you’re unsure about what your feet (and your body) need to be comfortable, here’s what you should look for:

A specific shoe for a specific activity.
It’s never a good idea to purchase a pair of gym shoes that are made for walking if you’re planning to run. Walking shoes tend to be stiff, while running shoes are flexible with extra components such as cushioning to handle higher levels of impact. Running in walking shoes can lead to aching heels, shin splints, and muscle aches.

Shoes that fit your foot type and no one else’s.
Some us have flat feet, others have narrow feet, and some of us have wide feet. Never try to stuff your wide feet into a narrow pair of gym shoes because they look good. You’ll end up with more than just aching heels at the end of the day. A good shoe store will have all the equipment it needs to measure your foot precisely, and match you with the perfect shoe. Listen to the salesperson’s suggestions and you won’t be sorry later. Here’s another tip, foot size continues to change as we age, so have your feet measured twice a year.

Wiggle room.
Ok, so of course you need extra room for socks, but you’ll need even more room to wiggle your toes. Yes, gym shoes should not be snug at the front, but your heel shouldn’t slip out of the shoes either. Leave at least 3/8-1/2 inch between the front of your big toe and the inside of the front of the shoe for a comfortable fit. You shouldn’t feel any tightness anywhere. If you do, keep trying until you don’t!

Cutting-edge components for whatever ails you.
Having trouble getting shoes to fit no matter what you do? Try a pair that allows you to pump up the tongue for a customized fit. Got heel pain? Try a pair of gym shoes that come with clear inserts or shoes that are filled with gel, air, or Freon. These components add extra shock absorption, so you’re feet are less likely to hurt after a vigorous workout.

Yes, shoes rack up the miles, just like a car. And, like a car, they can break down when they’ve racked up too many. Ask the salesperson how many miles your shoes will last. The figure should be somewhere between 350 and 400 miles. Once your gym shoes hit the mark, it’s time to trade them in for a new pair. If you just don’t have time to calculate miles, it’s ok. You can go by how your shoes look and feel. If the shoes no longer offer support, they’re uncomfortable, or the back heel is worn out, it’s time to throw those puppies out and buy a new pair.

For more information about choosing the best gym shoes for your feet, visit

How to Buy Running Shoes for Flat Feet

Buying running shoes can be a frustrating experience if you have flat feet.
If you’re not too sure if you have flat feet, you can tell by looking at the insides of the feet. A person with flat feet has flattened arches in the insides of the feet. When a person with flat feet stands up, the entire foot touches the floor. A normal foot has an arch on the inside, so this part of the foot never touches the ground. The arch provides natural shock absorption. Without it, extra stress is placed on other parts of the body such as the hips, ankles, and knees. To reduce the impact on other parts of the body, including the other parts of the feet, running shoes that provide either extra cushion, support, motion control, and stability are essential.

Although flat feet is a common condition, people with flat feet still have to search for special shoes that reduce the impact on other parts of the body, in order to prevent injury. Individuals with flat feet, especially those that play sports or exercise regularly, have a higher risk of medical and lateral midfoot injures such as metatarsal (the long bones in the forefoot) stress fractures. Metatarsal injuries are common in ballet dancers, gymnasts, and runners.

There are several manufacturers that you probably have never even heard of that make the best shoes for flat feet. These include Brooks and Mizuno. Popular makers of running shoes for flat feet include New Balance, Nike, Saucony, Asics, and Reebok.

No matter which brand you choose, you will still have to test them to make sure they are right for you. One of the best indicators of compatibility is how your ankles, feet, hips, and knees feel when you run or jog in them. Most large athletic stores will have a running track or enough space for you to jog around to see just how well the shoes work for you. Spend as much time as need to test cushion, support, motion control, and stability, with stability being top priority.

Expect to pay the same price for specialty running shoes as you would for a high quality pair of non-specialty running shoes. In-store prices typically start at around $120. You can shop online where “Internet only” specials are plentiful, but purchasing specialty shoes without trying them out first is not recommended.

In addition to wearing special running shoes, people with flat feet may perform foot exercises (using ping pong balls) to prevent injury and they may also use insoles for flat feet in other types of footwear. New Balance, ProKinetics, and Dr. Scholl’s sell a variety of insoles for flat feet.

2009 Top 25 Fitness Gift Guide

Are you looking for some exciting, useful gifts for this Christmas Season? Well, look no further than’s Holiday Fitness Gift Guide.

Obsession Fitness has whittled their list down to the top 25 exercise programs, equipment, and accessories. For your convenience they’ve categorized these gifts into four price ranges; gifts under $50.00, gifts under $100.00, gifts under $500.00, and gifts over $500.00.

Here’s a few samples:
Under $50.00
The SurfShelf ? Treadmill Laptop Holder and Shelf

Under $100.00
Joist Mount Chin Up Bar

Adjustable dumbbells, are they worth it?

Those in a time crunch or fortunate enough to have a home gym might want to check out a set of adjustable dumbbells.

I purchased a set a few months ago and after giving them a complete test run, I fully endorse them. I won’t even say the name I purchased to show I’m not trying to pimp a certain brand. Besides being a bit pricy (mine were about $250.00), there are several benefits to having a set:

1) Work out in the comforts of your own home.
Let’s face it, many of us are busy and sometimes running to the gym for an hour or two isn’t an option. Even on the busiest of days, anyone should be able to hammer out a couple sets using these dumbbells without waiting for certain weight to become available.

2) No waiting.
To expand a bit on benefit #1, there’s no waiting for weight to become available. How many times have you either gone up to an uncomfortable weight or stayed at a weight that wasn’t challenging enough because you had to wait for dumbbells to become available?

3) Space.
Not all of us have the space to set up a full dumbbell rack. A set of adjustable dumbbells can fit neatly under a bed or in a closet.

4) Complete your home gym.
In order to get a more complete workout, one needs to mix dumbbell exercises with barbell movements. Those who already have a weight bench, pull-up bar, dip machine, treadmill?and/or a full cable set, could easily complete their home gym with a?pair of adjustable DBs.

Like I said, they’re expensive and the more weight you want, the more you’ll pay so don’t have sticker shock if you look into a set. However, they’ve done wonders for me, especially considering I don’t have the space or time to get full workouts in as much as I would like. So check a set out, there are plenty of sites that give reviews of adjustable dumbbells on the net. ????

Want Lance Armstrong’s endurance? Just sleep in a bubble…

A correspondent from Men’s Journal recently experimented with a high-altitude simulator to gage its effectiveness. For those unaware, a high-altitude simulator is a tent that engulfs your bed to help increase red blood cell production while you sleep. Why the hell would you want to do that? Well, red blood cells fuel endurance for when we run, swim, bike or do any other fast-paced exercise. Athletes like cyclist Lance Armstrong use it while training for a race because it helps simulate the altitude at which your red blood cells need to increase. Coupled with regular training, it’s like gaining all the benefits from weekly cardio…but while you sleep.

The product is intriguing, because according to the Men’s Journal correspondent, the tent works:

After three weeks, I felt as if I had a third lung. I blazed through a three-mile time trial 5 percent faster than I ever had, and I finished top-15 in my category in a hill climb. During the race I quickly caught my breath on the flat spots, then felt ready to pound away again. The tent worked — but I still had to train hard.

Two questions:

1) Is it worth $1,000-plus and sleeping in a bubble nightly to improve endurance?

For millionaire athletes, a thousand dollars for one of these puppies seems like a bargain, but what about for the common triathlon athlete or endurance enthusiast? Before dismissing the theory, how much do you spend yearly on food, supplements and training equipment to enhance your physique?

2) Are athletes like Armstrong cheating?

We as a society hate the fact that Barry Bonds could break a home run record he unfairly achieved, but are we being hypocritical? If these tents do work, did Armstrong have an unfair advantage? Steroids help testosterone growth, which therefore aids strength and muscle development through exercise. These tents are designed to increase red blood cell production, which therefore aids in endurance through exercise. The connection between these simulators and steroids might be on a different level, but it does raise an interesting debate.

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