In the News

Wiping Away Towel Myths

As I speak with fitness industry professionals around the country, and around the world, I am frequently asked about towels that are used to sanitize fitness equipment.  Or to be more specific:

“Doesn’t a towel that gets used repeatedly to wipe away sweat become germ-laden from all that sweat?”

Actually, the opposite is true. A spray bottle and towel equipment cleaning system proves to be a very effective method for sanitizing just-used exercise equipment surfaces.  Why?  Because the towels are progressively absorbing sanitizing cleaning solution.  In other words, they are continuously refreshed with the disinfectant.  Therefore, there is a concentrated/significant amount of disinfectant that remains on the towel at all times. The reusable spray-towel, when not in use, is sanitized; it is at “work” even while the towel is “at rest.”

Another important point to consider and understand is that per use, the volume of cleaning solution that is sprayed on the surface to be cleaned, or sprayed on the towel prior to wiping the surface, is generally much greater than the volume of body fluids that are wiped up.  The ratio of the volume of disinfectant on the towel to the volume to sweat is generally in favor of the disinfectant!

Still need convincing? Then consider a little sweat science:

  • In a fitness facility setting, equipment surfaces are NEVER exposed to full sweat-laden nude body surface contact (at least now at any club I’ve ever been to).   An exerciser stands on, sits on, or lies on a machine with a relatively small portion of their total body surface area actually contacting that machine.  However, the major point that can’t be overlooked here is…it doesn’t take much contact (sweaty or not, drops or not) to spread germs or viruses.  The good news, on the other hand, is that it doesn’t take much disinfectant solution to effectively kill germs and viruses!

  • Speaking of drops, excessive sweat at any one spot on the body can turn into a “drop.”  What is the volume of a drop?  It is generally accepted that 20 drops equal 1 ml.  Interestingly, the average amount of cleaning solution dispensed with one pull of a trigger-sprayer is approximately 1 mL. The average person pulls the trigger 3 to 4 times to clean a piece of equipment. That’s the equivalent of 60 to 80 drops of sweat – a lot of sweat!

Hopefully you now see the reasons why we say a towel based cleaning system is a safe and effective way to go: 1) The cleaning solution to sweat ratio is strongly in favor of the solution, 2) the cleaning towel is truly clean and safe to reuse—a very effective method for sanitizing just-used exercise equipment surfaces, and 3) a cloth towel-based equipment cleaning system can save you a lot of money versus pre-moistened wipes and paper towel based systems…and don’t forget, you won’t be generating environment polluting paper and wipes waste, either!

GymValet Appears in Oscar Winning Film!

Plays supporting role in The Big Short.

When The Big Short won the Oscar, on Sunday night, for Best Writing Adapted Screenplay, I celebrated, too, because the GymValet can be seen attached to two Woodway Curve treadmills for almost one minute (in the 56th and 57th minutes of the movie) in the “gym scene” with Ryan Gosling talking on his phone.  Can you imagine my surprise when I saw the movie in the theater and the GymValet appeared on the “Big Screen?”  Very excited and very proud!!

GymValets Close to Home @ MIM Software

MIM Opens On-Site Fitness Center.  GymValets Will Keep Equipment Clean and Safe.

While GymValets are helping to keep fitness equipment clean and safe across the US, Canada and around the world, it’s always a treat when I get a call from a facility that’s close to home, or GymValet World Headquarters as I like to call it.  So, I was thrilled to get a call from Drew Sulzer who was putting the finishing touches on the Employee Fitness/Wellness Center at MIM Software, Inc., in Beachwood, OH,  less than 1.5 miles from “home-base,” that now makes MIM GymValet’s closest customer!  Drew has assembled a great assortment of strength and cardio equipment in a bright, “pie-shaped” area of the office complex–well done!  A Google search had led Drew to the GymValet web site, as he looked for equipment cleaning/sanitizing supplies and accessories–the most-important “finishing touches.” Wasn’t he surprised when he discovered that GymValet was right around the corner!  With MIM’s GymValet system hand delivered and installed, the Fitness Center was ready to open at Noon yesterday (Feb. 15th).  As you’ll note, MIM has decided to use paper towels instead of cloth towels.  Smart/practical decision since there are no laundry facilities on site.  GymValets positioned throughout the gym will make it more convenient and effective for MIM’s exercisers to clean the equipment, before and/or after use, by having the sanitizing solution closer to the equipment.  In addition, that makes it easier and more practical to re-use a piece of paper towel by refreshing it with sanitizing solution because the GymValets place the solution “right at hand” convenient to every piece of equipment.

Proud to share a few pictures of Drew with MIM’s great new equipment, with GymValet poised and ready to go to work!

GymValet Spreads Wings in Planet Fitness Universe

GymValet Equipment Cleaning System in place at grand opening of new Planet Fitness in Mentor, Ohio.

While GymValets are helping to keep exercise equipment clean and safe in fitness facilities across the US, Canada and around the world, it is always fun to actually see GymValets in action at local gyms.  This week I had the opportunity to visit the newest Planet Fitness in the Greater Cleveland area, during their grand opening ceremonies.  Planet Fitness was buzzing with both  local “luminaries” and, most importantly, hundreds of new members  who were generating a lot of human energy pumping-out their cardio and strength workouts.  And there, at the ready, strategically placed all over the gym floor were over 100 GymValets–placing the sanitizing spray bottles and wiping towels conveniently right at hand, within arm’s reach or a step or two, to every piece of equipment!  With vigorous exercise comes “vigorous” sweat and a lot of body contact with machine surfaces!  I was very impressed to see how naturally and easily the members wiped off and sanitized their just-used equipment, making it clean and safe for use by the next exerciser.  A beautiful marriage of the convenient access, to equipment cleaning supplies, the GymValet holder provides, and pride and respect Planet Fitness members have for their fellow members and their beautiful club.

Dr. Bruce Addresses “Budding” Entrepreneurs at Kent State University

I recently had thee opportunity to present the GymValet story to the Craig Zamary’s Speaker Series class, in the Kent State University College of Business Administration.  As a proud graduate of KSU (M.A. 1983, and Ph.D. 1987) it was my honor to pay my entrepreneurial experience forward–especially since the KSU Rec. Center is a GymValet customer.  The title of my presentation was, “My Entrepreneurial Journey.”  Speaker Series is a class offered to Entrepreneurial Studies majors so they can hear real-life entrepreneurial stories form members of the Northern Ohio business community–what could be more real life than hearing the story of a product they see and use every time thy visit the Rec. Center.  However, Speaker Series lectures are not just limited to students enrolled in the class.  Series talks are open to the entire KSU community as evidenced by the promotional screen that advertised my presentation campus wide on the day of my talk.

GymValets in Planet Fitness, Lansing, MI

Piggy-backing on winning the Tri-County Environmental leadership Award, I visited (one of) the Planet Fitness gyms in the Lansing, MI area.  Vibrant and busy gym–in the middle of the afternoon!  Check out what I consider to be one of the most thoughtfully–for the members–configured GymValet Equipment Cleaning System gyms I’ve ever seen.  Convenient and safe equipment cleaning for the members; saving $25,000 per year on disposable paper (waste) costs for the club – Win-Win!

GymValet Wins Big Award for it’s Small Environmental Impact!

I am very proud that the GymValet was recognized along with Planet Fitness Gyms, in the Greater Lansing, MI area, for a 2015 Tri-County Environmental Leadership Award.  GymValet has been credited with decreasing Planet Fitness’ carbon footprint by the elimination of “wasteful” equipment cleaning using non-recyclable paper towels and/or disposable single use wipes.  Additionally, GymValet based cleaning is also credited with saving each Planet Fitness gym over $25,000 per year in disposable paper costs.  Thanks to Fred Mussehl, Regional Manager for five (soon to be six) Planet Fitness facilities in Michigan and Ohio, for recognizing the environmental and economic benefits of the GymValet.  And, best of all, Planet Fitness members truly appreciate the convenient and effective cleaning that GymValet promotes.

That’s Fred and me at last week’s TECLA Annual Awards Luncheon.

Dr. Bruce Makes Worldwide AP Photo Newswire!

A beautiful day for running – February 2, 2015?  I thought it was, and so did a photographer for the Associated Press as he drove by me soon after I started my run.  What was an AP photographer doing driving in my quaint Shaker Heights neighborhood on a Tuesday morning?  The obvious answer is looking for “cool” snow scenes on a cold (9 degrees above zero) snowy morning.  Cool scene – Yes!  Some dude running in shorts in the cool scene – Bingo!!  When the gentleman taking pictures through a long telephoto lens identified himself as an AP photographer I thought that was pretty “cool.”  One minute of information exchange, and 24 hours later, this image appeared world-wide on a myriad of online news sites.  Right place, right time, good photographer, enjoyable run (after the photo-op)…great day.

Disgusting, Sweat-Soaked Equipment!

If equipment could talk, this piece would be screaming, “Clean Me”!

This picture shows an example of why I invented the GymValet.  As I walked in to MY health club (no names, please) last evening, I passed by a piece from the Hoist Rocket series.  There, dripping down the head pad was someones sweaty, greasy calling card.  DISGUSTING!!  So disgusting that I had to stop and take a picture of icky mess.

Shame on the person who left the machine in that condition.  However, shame, shame on on the club for not providing and easy and convenient way for “sweaty- head” to clean and sanitize the machine immediately after using it.  Believe it or not (even Mr. Ripley wouldn’t believe this one) the closest sanitizing station the piece of equipment in question is about 100 feet away!!

No comment on why MY club doesn’t have GymValets, or at least position equipment cleaning/sanitizing supplies “right at hand” for its members to use.  I will comment that it is a shame that a MAJOR club (chain) is so negligent and oblivious to the health and safety risks posed by body fluid stained/soaked equipment.  Ever hear of MRSA and Influenza?  Do you have any idea how germs and viruses are transmitted in the health and fitness club setting?  Well, the “ignition” to transmission can be as simple as a disgusting sweat-spot on a piece of equipment!

Wake up, “major” club!  Clean up your act.

“GymValet vs. Disposable Wipes”

Two-Page Article in Summer 2014 Edition of National Fitness Trade Journal

GymValet hit the “fitness news stands” this month with a 2-page article in the Summer 2014 edition of the National Fitness Trade Journal. The article, GymValet vs. Disposable Wipes,” guides fitness facility owners and managers through a comparison of the: 1) costs, 2) effectiveness and convenience, and 3) environmental impact of the two most popular methods of fitness equipment cleaning and sanitizing. Many thanks to Wally Boyko, editor and publisher of the NFTJ for giving me the opportunity to educate and enlighten fitness industry professionals on this very important topic. To check out my article, and learn more about the topic of fitness equipment cleanliness (nobody likes icky, smelly, sweaty equipment!) click on the link below and scroll forward to pages 30 & 31.

www.nationalfitnesstradejournal.com/nftj-summer-2014

My Concesutive Day Running Streak Reaches 36 Years!

36 Years; 13,149; Double “Chai.”  See Why the “Numerology of the Day” Makes Today’s Anniversary Run so Special!

May 15, 2014: Running streak day number 13,149 is in the books. Thirty six years–today! For me, today’s run took on very special meaning–due to the “numerology” of the day. In Hebrew and Judaism, the word “Chai,” meaning “Life,” is associated with the number 18, as the numeric value of the letters that make up the word Chai, “Het” (8) and “Yud” (10) in the Hebrew alphabet add up to 18. Check out how Chai/Life, and the number 18, runs throughout my anniversary numbers:

36 Years = Double Chai

13,149 Consecutive Days: 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 9 = 18

36 Years: 3 X 6 = 18

36 Years = 1878 weeks

36 Years = 18,934,560 minutes

My streak started in 1978: The number 18 serves as the bookends of the year.

[Thank you: http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html for help with and validation of the numbers!]

For me, today—the 36th anniversary of my running streak—is “Double Life” Day! I dedicate this special run to the most important people in my life, my family. I run for you, and with you in my heart: 1) My father Bernard B. Sherman who passed away 44 years ago. He never saw me run a step. My father would have been so proud. 2) My mother Ruth Sherman who passed away 19 years ago. She cheered me on at the finish line of many of my races—many overall victories! 3) My Sister Linda Sherman-November who passed away on January 10, 2014, after fighting a valiant 18 month battle vs. cancer. Linda fought for her “life” until the very last moment; an amazing profile in courage. 4) My wife, and the light of my life, Debra Light. For over 21 years Debra has been a proud supporter of my running and my running streak. And, today happens to be the two year anniversary of Debra’s getting blindsided (as a pedestrian in the middle of a crosswalk) by a distracted/texting driver. She survived the accident, and today she thrives (a second lease on life)!

Looking forward to many more years of good health, good running and good “Life!”

IHRSA 2014: Eye-Catching Group Exercise

See what group exercise demonstrations caught my eye–functional to quirky, and everything in-between.

As you walk the IHRSA trade show floor you can’t help being drawn towards and attracted to the myriad of group exercise demonstrations that go on/cycle throughout the trade show day.  Sometimes the attraction is auditory through the use of upbeat, pounding, toe tapping music (see Zumba), and sometimes it is “visual,” via unique movements or the use of interesting training apparatus (see Antigravity).  And, sometimes it’s both (see Piloxing)!

My video shows you a summary of MY eye (and ear) catchers.  Below, are a few comments (and a few criticisms) on some of the group ex. demos (and the associated equipment) that you’ll see:

1) Piloxing:  Gets my vote for the quirkiest group ex. at the Show!  Who envisions “flowing” between pilates, boxing and dance in the same workout?  Whoever it was, the combination is uniquely creative!!  So, is Piloxing a “trend?”  In my opinion, not yet.  The Piloxing web site does list a significant number of certified instructors, nationwide, but I’ve never see it “in action” in the club setting.  I shared my observations about the IHRSA Show with a British customer of mine, and I couldn’t help mentioning, and describing, Piloxing.  I love his truly British response to my description: “It’s like mixing Guinness and tomato soup.”  To me, Piloxing is still a spectator sport; pull up a chair, get a cold beverage, and watch the ladies pirouette and uppercut.  Good luck to Piloxing, and stay tuned…

2) Zumba: I’ve always been a fan of the energy, electricity and excitement that Zumba generates.  And, I’ve been impressed by the legions of people who pack into Zumba classes and Zumbathons and the smooth moves of Zumba instructors!  However, I’ve never been a fan of the technical deficiencies of Zumba instruction/instructors–there is a significant lack of effective movement change cues.  As you can see in the video, Zumba movements can be quite complex.  Without proper, and properly timed, cuing participants spin their wheels in neutral until they figure out the next movement sequence.   Movement/exercise time is lost, and it can get quite frustrating to always be a few “moves” behind the instructor.  Memo to Zumba instructors–you are there to teach, not perform.  Improve your cuing–both verbal and nonverbal.

3) Fluidity Fitness: I’ve been watching Michelle Austin’s Fluidity infomercials for years, and I’ve seen Fluidity’s spots on the Home Shopping Network.  Up until now, the Fluidity barre workout/apparatus has been geared toward the at-home exerciser.  It was nice to see, at the IHRSA Show, Fluidity’s entry into the commercial sector.  Their dual Fluidity-bar apparatus is very sturdy–yetmquite collapsible for easy out-of-the-way storage in multi-use group exercise rooms.  Group barre classes have become quite popular–my wife takes one every Saturday.  Welcome to “this” side of the industry, Michelle.

4) Antigravity–Suspension Fitness and Aerial Yoga:  Quite beautiful and entertaining to watch.  Looks like a Cirque du Soleil training class.  My one question regarding Antigravity training is…how and how often are the sheets cleaned?

5) Pole Dance Fitness: The woman doing the demonstration makes the activity look so easy!  I think a pole class would be great total-body training for many things!

6) Pavigym:  The Energy+ functional training station flooring was designed to maximize member touch in minimal space.  And, the flooring can go “vertical” with the interactive wall.  This product was designed with the idea of tapping into the popularity of High Intensity Inteval Training (HIIT)–the #1 fitness trend of 2014–and turning it into an organized group exercise activity.  I like the concept, but I’m wondering how many facilities will capitalize on this trend with their own homemade version of functional training station flooring with tape marks and paint (on their existing floor).   Homemade may not be as sleek, but it could be quite effective and a lot cheaper!

Please feel free to comment on my comments, and/or add your own.  And, if you were at the IHRSA Show, what caught YOUR eye?

IHRSA 2014: Eye-Catching Equipment

See the equipment and equipment trends that caught my attention, and had me scratching my head in some cases.

As I walked the trade show floor at last week’s IHRSA Show, I was not so much interested in seeing the latest and greatest in treadmills and ellipticals, etc.  Instead, I was interested in seeing the “other side” of equipment–equipment that addressed some of the newer(est) trends in the industry, such as HIIT and functional training, as well as some that had me saying…”You’ve got to be kidding.”  This video shows a variety of equipment that caught my eye enough to capture it on video.  You’ll hear some of my on-the-spot impressions/comments on the video, and below, I’ve expanded on my observations with a few more details about the products/companies that made the  equipment:

1) Escape Fitness’ (a UK based company)  80Kg (176 lbs.) TIYR: Heavy and round like a real truck tire, but (is advertised as being) cleaner than a real tire and has the addition of nylon handles for better flipping.  The outer covering probably prohibits the sledge hammer whacking exercise that many people do.  Good looking functional piece of equipment!

2) Startrac’s Box Master: Can’t beat boxing moves for a great upper body workout.  Add some “float like a butterflies” and “Ali shuffles,” and you have a great lower body workout, too.  Add roller skates, and you earn Dr. Bruce’s “you’ve got to be kidding” award.

3) Hoist’s Movement Cage: I think my commentary on the video is self explanatory.  This is a good looking, multi-functional piece of equipment!  For many facilities the question of to buy or not to buy will probably come down to space.  Functional training cages take up a lot of space.

4) Speaking of taking up space…Movestrong’s cage is huge.  Multi-functional, but very large.  Is it worth it (to a club) to devote so much space to one piece of equipment–realizing that “one piece” may represent/offer 10+ exercises?

5) Escape Fitness’ Octagon: Taking advantage of the cage craze and the MMA/boxing trend, this piece offers several exercises/movements that are somewhat different that those that can be performed on/in the Hoist and Movestrong cages.

6) Stairmaster’s Treadclimber:  I know this is almost a treadmill, and almost a stair climber, but that’s the curiosity.  That’s a pretty bold claim that they have on the back of the Treadclimber.  Anybody…direct me to the objective science/research that backs up their claims!!

7) Saving the most curious head-scratcher for last…Vacu Activ’s Roll Shaper:  Reshape your body with the no frills (futuristic looking) basic model–it just rolls you into a more contoured and shapely physique, or get the souped-up mode that offers infrared heating and chromotherapy (colored light) therapy to make the rolling therapy more effective.  Once again…an open-ended offer to show me the objective science research.

I hope you enjoy this look at the IHRSA Show.  Remember, this is what caught my eye and elicited the opinions that you hear on the video, and read in my writings above.  If you were at the show, I’d love to hear your observations and opinions on your eye catchers.

GymValet in the News(paper)!

Let’s play the GymValet version of “Where’s Waldo!

Recently, my good friend, Dr. Franklin Marcus, sent me a clipping from the Health section of the December 11th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Dr. Marcus wanted me to read an excerpt from a medical news brief.  I couldn’t help but notice on the same page was a fitness related article with a color  picture of two people walking on treadmills.  I immediately noticed that all of the treadmills were Woodways, and there, proudly attached to the Woodway Curves on the left side of the picture were two GymValets (Photo by: LM Otero/Associated Press)!  Check it out!!

I have to admit whenever I see articles about fitness centers and/or equipment I look at the pictures for GymValets.  It’s my personal/professional equivalent of trying to spot Waldo in Martin Hanford’s drawings (Where’s Waldo?).  It always brings a smile to my face when I “spot” GymValets.  Sometimes I expect to find them–I directly sold the GymValets to the facility being highlighted.   Other times I’m pleasantly surprised–the GymValets may have been purchased from, or supplied by, one of my distribution or OEM partners (such as Woodway treadmills).

The bottom line is, GymValets = Clean and Safe Equipment; it’s great to see them out there.  And, selfishly, it’s still thrilling to see something that was just an “idea” of mine, less than 10 years ago, changing and improving the way exercisers clean and sanitize exercise equipment all over the world!

2013 Flu Epidemic: Are Health Clubs Responding??

“Flu reaches epidemic level in U.S., says CDC”

Just a quick post of  concern regarding the epidemic levels of seasonal flu that are being reported on and through most every news outlet every day.  Seasonal flu outbreaks are quite normal this time of year–affecting many people in almost every state in the US–but the reports state that the number of reported cases is significantly up this year.  The good news is that we are supposed to be about half-way through the flu season; the bad news is that we still have about half of the season (another six weeks or so) to go.

No need to speculate on the cause.  Flu happens!  But, from my viewpoint I just wanted to reinforce the need for fitness facilities–across the US–to make every effort to protect the health and safety of their most precious and valuable commodity–their members!!

From a professional and personal level, I can’t stress enough the need for health and fitness facilities to present to their members the cleanest and safest workout environments possible.  Regular and thorough cleaning and sanitizing of body contact surfaces  is vital: Exercisers do not go to the gym to get sick; they go to get healthy.  But, if cardio. and strength machines, mats, group exercise bikes, etc. are not thoroughly and regularly sanitized–during this most “fragile” and potentially deadly (no need to quote the number of people who die from the flu each year) time period–the potential to pick up an unwanted virus/illness at the gym is significantly increased. (more…)

GymValet Reappears on The Bigget Loser!

On the Woodway Curve In Dolvett’s Dungeon!

Once again, there I was on my couch, doing my professional “homework” watching the new season of  The Biggest Loser, and there it was–GymValet!!  This time it was on a Woodway Curve treadmill in Dolvett’s Dungeon; some dungeon–blue skies and a beautiful view of Southern California greenery.  Do you see it in the image to the left?  It’s right below the tire on the right frame-rail of the Curve.

OK, so it doesn’t have a sanitizing spray bottle in it, or a towel hanging off the hook for that matter.  But, seeing a GymValet on a smash-hit reality show series makes me very proud and happy.  The good news was that I had recorded the show on our DVR, so, once I summoned my wife to join me in the den, we were able to watch the GymValet’s appearance over and over.  That made me happy!!

What didn’t make me happy was the fact that the GymValet wasn’t loaded with the sanitizing accoutrements!!  Over the course of the first two episodes of The Biggest Loser we have watched almost every contestant sweat, barf and hang/drape over virtually every piece of equipment that they touch.  That’s a lot of body and body fluid contact/spillage in a “community” use gym.  Never do the viewers see any evidence of cleaning/sanitizing supplies being available in The Biggest Loser Gym–let alone being used.  That’s both disgusting and dangerous!!  How much illness is spread among the contestants by using shared, unclean equipment.  We’re never told, so we’ll never know.

So, I’ll keep watching–the show in general, and for GymValet sightings.  Maybe one day we’ll see a GymValet put to it’s intended use–for the health and safety benefit of the contestants.  Be sure, if that happens, you’ll see that image posted on DrBruceSays.com, probably along with an image of me smiling from ear to ear!!

Good Greens Bars Revisited – Remarkable!!

New Pumpkin Spice Bar Added to Stellar Line-Up.

Last year at about this time I introduced you to a new line of nutrition bars–Good Greens Bars.  With another year under their belt, Good Greens continues to amaze and impress with their delicious, high-quality and VERY reasonably priced bar-line.

When was the last time you consumed a bar and were sad and reluctant to take that last bite–because that bite represented the end of a delicious taste bud stimulating nutrition break. Call me a bar-geek, but that’s what I feel every time I come to the end of a Good Greens bar.  New on the market from Good Greens is the Pumpkin Spice bar. WOW!! It’s delicious!!! A burst of pumpkin-spice flavor with the added bonus of a soy Greek yogurt coating makes the bar taste somewhat akin to  “pumpkin cheesecake.”

Not a pumpkin fan…I’m sure there are a few of you out there.  Never fear, Good Greens bars cover the gamut of the flavor spectrum.  Let me give a shout out to another new flavor: Blueberry Bliss – with heavy emphasis on the “bliss.”  Enough said!! (more…)

My Day With President Barack Obama – January 4, 2012

Well worth the wait (and wait, and wait)…as captured by Dr. Bruce

Good Greens Bars: Dr. Bruce Tested & Approved!

Tasty, nutritious, and reasonably-priced nutrition bars hit the market!

Shout out to anyone and everyone who is looking for a good tasting, highly nutritious, and reasonable priced nutrition bar!  I found it.  Good Greens bars! If you are tired of insufferable medicine tasting, Sahara Desert dry and/or raw cookie dough consistency bars—go Good Greens.

Good Greens bars are chock full of every important nutrient known to man, and check in at about 195 Calories per bar.  To be a little more specific, each bar contains thoughtful amounts of antioxidants, probiotics, vitamins, trace minerals, phytochemicals, Omega 3’s, dietary fiber, green tea and acai berry extracts, and much more.  They also have a very interesting proportional (percentage) balance of carbohydrate, fat and protein:  40%-36%-24%.  This energy “footprint” obviously contributes to the bars’ low glycemic index—eat a bar and feel full, and fully satisfied!  And, have I mentioned that they taste really good—you can really taste the berries in the Wildberry bar–and are very reasonably priced.

Why am I so interested in nutrition bars?  As a 50-something year old endurance athlete—currently logging 60+ weekly running miles on the road, 2-3 miles in the water, and another hour or so of assorted cross training—I am always on the look out for new post-exercise “recovery” foods, as well as healthy, and tasty, grab-and-go energy boosters.  As I’m writing, I just had a bar about 20 minutes ago.  I’m full, I’m satisfied, and I’m confident that I’ve consumed a VERY nutritious bar—a great way to replenish/refresh myself after just finishing 10 (running) miles about 30 minutes ago.

Good Greens bars have caught my attention, my taste buds, and my professional “seal of approval”—Dr. Bruce endorsed and recommended!  Bon appétit.

One Third of a Century–The Streak Runs On!

My consecutive day running streak passed one third of a century on Thursday, September 14, 2011.  That’s 33 years, 122 days.

Something about that “number” has been quite intriguing to me.  One third of a century sounds powerful and long.  One third of a century is more digestible than 12,175 days, or 1,051,920,000 seconds; although passing the one billion second mark, last year, was a “cool” landmark for me–celebrated in an earlier post.

So, to honor the  “1/3” day, I decided to capture a few video moments–on the run–when the run was official.  I also decided to capture the moment when my GPS registered 3.33 miles!  Then, I couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic by evoking memories of my 40+ years of running.  You’ll also notice that I had a little brain cramp when I was documenting the big moment.  My bad!

Check out my video documentation of the big run.  As you’ll see in parts of the video, it’s the words and thoughts that have the most meaning; the hand-held videography has a lot to be desired.

Here’s to hoping that there are many more milestone runs in my future!  See you on the roads.

In Memory: Kurt Frankel, Ph.D.

What started over 18 years ago as a coach-athlete relationship, and over the past 15 years blossomed in to a friendship, “fanship,” and mutual admiration society ended tragically last Saturday morning (July 2, 2011) on a highway in Florida. Dr. Kurt Frankel, age 33, passed away as the result of a bicycle accident. Anyone who ever had the chance to meet Kurt was better for it. This is a heartbreaking loss, especially for his wife Stephanie, and his family.

A short while ago as I was looking through the GymValet website, I noticed that Kurt was in four pictures that are on the site. The images were taken at a photo shoot in late-December, 2005. Kurt was a strapping, healthy young man; a perfect model.

Those pictures now have an all new meaning for me. They will forever be a living memorial to my
friend Kurt. The two images at the top of this post are obvious—that’s Kurt pumping iron. The other two images, at the bottom of the post are a bit more subtle, but definitely Kurt.

Rest in peace!

Picture #1: That’s Kurt on the far right.
Picture #2: That’s Kurt with his right hand on his hip.
The Biggest Loser’s Patrick House & Marci Crozier | IHRSA 2011

Dr. Bruce never passes up a chance to meet and chat with Biggest Loser contestants. 

 

GymValet on The Biggest Loser…Again & Again!

GymValet watch:  Multiple sightings on recent episodes!

I am glad to see that a Woodway Curve treadmill is now a workout option in the gym on The Biggest Loser campus.  I am thrilled, with a few reservations, that a GymValet is prominently affixed to the Curve.  Can you imagine what it feels like for me to be sitting in my den watching a Biggest Loser episode, and there on the screen over and over is something I invented–the GymValet.   And, to top it off, one of the contestants using the treadmill is none other than Olympic Greco Roman Wrestling Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner (image above).  WOW!!  Take it from me, it’s AWESOME…with a bit of disappointment.

What is my disappointment?   While the GymValet is prominently displayed, it is not being used.  No water bottle inside, no spray bottle inside, no towel hanging on the side!  The GymValet is being treated as a non-functional treadmill ornament.  Memo to Bob, Jillian, Brett and Cara…get your trainee’s water bottles off the floor and put them in the GymValet, at least while they’re using the Curve.  And, if you really care (this applies to anyone associated with the show), put a disinfectant spray bottle in the GymValet and hang a towel from the hook–and use it to wipe down the treadmill, or any nearby piece of equipment, after use! 

I know dripping sweat sells, and draws ratings, but dripping sweat also stinks and can be the source of germ and virus transmission.  It wouldn’t be cool to have a Biggest Loser contestant come down with a Staph. infection or a seasonal flu!  Frankly speaking, as much as this season’s contestants are boxing, wrestling and crawling, they are bound to pick up skin nicks, scrapes and scratches–all prime sites for infection-invasion.  A little reactive equipment sanitizing would go a long way to making the Biggest Loser gym a safer place (and less smelly) to work out.  

Keep watching The Biggest Loser, and know that every time a Woodway Curve and the attached GymValet come into view, there is a very proud inventor smiling in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

GymValet on “The Biggest Loser”

Just add the bottle…

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser (TBL).  I have gone on the record several times stating that The Biggest Loser should be required watching for ALL health/fitness/wellness industry professional.  Millions of overweight/obese and out of shape Americans watch the show every week–desirous of shaping-up and slimming-down.  It is up to industry professionals to put TBL message–long-lasting life-change through proper exercise, proper nutrition, and behavior modification–for the millions of TBL wanna-be’s who don’t/can’t make it on to the show!!

The real purpose of this post, however, is to brag a bit!  If you didn’t catch it, my product the GymValet–bottle and towel holder that attaches to virtually all exercise equipment– made its Biggest Loser, and national TV, debut on the January 25th episode.  It happened during a segment that showed the “Unknown” contestants working out at the off-campus site with the “unknown” trainers.  If you saw (trainer) Brett “inspiring”  Jen (AKA kicking her butt) on the Woodway Curve treadmill you saw the GymValet.  Over the past year Woodway Treadmills have attached a GymValet to every Curve that leaves the (Woodway) factory.  As a bit of background, the Curve is a simple (simply effective) non-motorized treadmill that moves only under the exerciser’s power.  In its design simplicity, the curve’s original design did not include a built-in water/disinfectant spray bottle holder.  The quick thinking minds at Woodway saw no reason to re-engineer the Curve, just attach a GymValet.  Problem solved!!! (more…)

Bill Rancic’s “Smokin'” Good Keynote at Club Industry-Chicago 2010

 Life and business before, during and after The Apprentice.

Once again, I send kudos to the decision makers at Club Industry who decided to select Bill Rancic as a keynote speaker at this year’s Club Industry Show, in Chicago.  And, if you were able to take in BOTH keynote speakers (Richard Simmons was the other one…enough said), you saw the BEST duo of keynote speakers I’ve seen at a fitness industry trade show in several years! 

(Photo credit: billrancic.com)

Bill Rancic, the first winner of Donald Trump’s The Apprentice reality-show, gave a very interesting talk on the business of entrepreneurialism and the entrepreneurial spirit.  He was very concise and forthright in sharing the life and business lessons he has learned along the way to becoming a very successful entrepreneur and highly respected “public” figure.

By the way, if you ever wondered what Bill’s first big entrepreneurial breakthrough was… It was a “1-800” based business he called, “Cigars Around the World.”—basically, a cigar of the month club.  He did all this before computers and the internet became our way of life, communication, and commerce.   As he talked about this very successful venture, one question kept popping into my mind…keep reading to the end of this post and you’ll find out what the question was.

(more…)

Richard Simmons “Rocks” Club Industry-Chicago 2010

Kudos to the master-minds at Club Industry for inviting Richard Simmons to be a Keynote speaker at the 2010 Club Industry-Chicago Show!  In case you missed it, check out the video-montage I put together—filmed from my seat in the third row.

Richard did not disappoint!  Once Pam Kufahl was finally able to get him on stage, Richard was unstoppable—literally.  He selectively invited three groups of “new” friends to join him up on stage to shake their collective booties.  Once the music started, Richard took the participants and the audience on magical ride back into the Aerobics Dance history; I haven’t seen some of those moves for over 20 years!  But, who cares…he’s timeless and tremendous.  Simply Fun!

These were Richard’s music selections for the various groups:

Under 30’s:  Dancing in the Streets, by Martha and the Vandellas

Those who lost weight:  Bad Romance, by Lady Gaga

Macho men:  I’m Too Sexy, by Said Right Fred

Before I go on…let me say a thing or two about the group of weight losers:

1)      Congratulations on your weight loss

2)      FYI, the average weight loss for the 29 individuals who volunteered their results was 46.4 pounds—1345 pounds lost!  The median weight loss was 40 pounds.

3)      I would like to hear a few comments on WHY health and fitness professionals let themselves get to that state of overweight.  We, as industry professionals, have to be role models for those who look up to us and depend on us.  Eat healthy, work out regularly, and control the weight.  As I always say, we teach it and preach it, so we must live it and breathe it!

I welcome your comments on this issue.

After the fun and games, Richard took a few minutes to tell us the heart-felt story of Richard Simmons.  Richard’s long struggle with his weight is well-chronicled all over the internet.  But, out of his mouth—delivered with amazing passionate and emotion—the story really comes alive.  We felt his pain, sorrow, and, most importantly, joy—the joy of helping others LIVE the life he knows they can live!

Those are just a few of my thoughts—from the third row.  Enjoy my video.  Check out the picture of my GymValet booth colleague, Jennifer Schupak, and me with Richard.  And, once again, thanks Club Industry for letting the court jester (as he calls himself) of fitness entertain, inspire, and motivate us!

F.I.T. in Cleanliness!

 Oops!  You Forgot Something.

I was pleased to receive my September issue of Club Business International (C.B.I.) the other day, along with IHRSA’s 2011 F.I.T. Fitness Equipment Buyer’s Guide.

As I looked through the Guide I sensed a curious disconnect…while there was no shortage of sections for fitness EQUIPMENT, there was no section dedicated to fitness EQUIPMENT CLEANING and sanitizing products.  Today, exercisers demand clean, so I expected to see at least a small section in the fitness industry’s most important and comprehensive buyer’s guide that highlighted the wide variety of equipment sanitizing products that are out there. 

After all, in 2008 we received IHRSA’s Guide to Health Club Cleanliness.  And, we still find reference to the statistic citing 60% of people who quit health clubs do it due to lack of club-cleanliness from IHRSA’s 1998 study, Why People Quit, in club management literature today.

OK, get ready for my sarcastic and biting comment and overused cliché…If the industry’s leading buyer’s guide, which is published in association with one of the industry’s most important magazines (C.B.I.), can’t devote a small section to equipment cleaning/sanitizing products, then stop writing so many articles and papers on the topic of germs in gyms!!  If you want to talk the talk, you must walk the walk.    

Of course I have a vested interest in fitness equipment cleanliness, I’m the Founder and President of GymValet,  but so do a lot of other companies.  Memo to F.I.T.: Give equipment cleaning and sanitizing products a section.  Even if some of the companies don’t want to pay for an ad—to get a promotional picture and blurb in the section—at least list the associated companies in a dedicated section and live up to the publication’s name…Buyer’s Guide.

MRSA, Again! Clean Up Your Act, and Your Equipment, Too.

MRSA: Pretty Colors; Pretty Deadly!

If it’s fall, it must be MRSA season!  The topic of germ and infection transmission related to athletics, athletics training facilities and fitness centers has been popping-up at this time for years for several years, and this year is no exception.  Click on the following link to read the latest “entry” into the Germs In Gyms body of work—this time from Jane E. Brody at the New York Times: 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/health/03brod.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general.

Good personal hygiene and regular sanitizing of “body-contacted” hard surfaces have been cited over and over, year after year, as the best first-lines of defense against contracting and/or spreading of potentially deadly germs and viruses.  Be assured, the germs in gyms issue is NOT a seasonal issue—it is a year-round issue/concern/problem.  Germ and virus transmission can happen in the “community” gym/training setting 24/7, 365!!

Ms. Brody’s article, the latest story to “creep to the top of the (New York Times’) most popular articles list,” is based on a position statement, “National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Skin Diseases,” released in June by the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (N.A.T.A.).

My simple bottom-line comment on this issue is this:  The data, information, and recommendations are out there; it is incumbent on coaches, strength and conditioning coaches, athletic trainers, and fitness facility owners and managers to implement the appropriate “systems” to protect the safety their athletes and fitness participants.  No excuses!  And, it is incumbent on the athletes and fitness participants to utilize & execute the “systems” to the letter of the recommendations.  No excuses! 

Play hard, play clean & play safe!!

Ali Vincent on “The Old Ali” | Club Industry East 2010

Part 2: Ali Talks Candidly About Life Before The Biggest Loser.

There she was, Ali Vincent, The Biggest Loser’s (TBL) season five (Spring 2008) winner.  This time she wasn’t on the flat screen, but live and in person just a few feet in front of me as a keynote speaker at the 2010 Club Industry East Show—I was dead-center in the front row!  And, as an added bonus, Ali’s TBL teammate and mother, Bette-Sue, was also in the front row a just few seats down.

As an Exercise Physiologist it was interesting to have the chance to look at and listen to a person, first hand, that did a total physical and emotional transformation in front of our eyes—she went from 234 pounds down to 122 pounds for the win!  From a body composition standpoint she passed the test; still looking fit and firm—two years later.  Now it was time to hear her message.

In this post, I thought I’d report and comment on the “Old Ali.”—through her words, and my impressions of those words.  Who was Ali Vincent before TBL?  As you read through this post, think to yourself: “Does this sound familiar?”  For fitness professionals, Ali’s stories may be your clients’ stories.  For non-professionals this may be your story, or the story of someone you know.  I welcome your feedback…

(more…)

The Biggest Loser’s First Female Winner: Ali Vincent | Club Industry 2010

Part 1: The Biggest Loser is a must-watch!

I have been on the record for several years with my opinion that The Biggest Loser (TBL) should be a “must watch” for all health and fitness industry professionals.  To me, TBL represents the good, the bad and the ugly of all that goes on in health related industries.  I place so much importance on professional viewership because on a weekly basis MILLIONS of overweight/obese and out of shape individuals watch the show with the starry-eyed hope(s) of…“That could be me if only I could get on the show,” or “I could be successful too if I had Bob or Jillian as my personal trainer.”

The sad reality is that of the 250,000 people who apply for the show each season, only about 22 get chosen to go to The Biggest Loser Ranch and participate.  Do the math, that’s less than one out of every 11,000 applicants hit The Biggest Loser lottery!

(more…)

iCkiness in iLand

Did you catch the New York Daily Times’ news release article last week about icky Apple iPads? http://www.maclife.com/article/news/ewwwww_are_apple_store_ipads_covered_icky_germs#comment

Who would have thought that a simple touch screen in an Apple store could host ickiness of that degree?  Never underestimate the “power” of the fingertip!!

Now, imagine what could reside on the surface of gym equipment after repeated use by sweaty exercisers?  Oops, no need to imagine…I have previously posted on my blog a video of a Primetime expose´ on germs in gyms that raised many eyebrows a few years ago.

Once again, and I can’t state this enough, we do not go to the gym to get sick.  Sadly, that’s true of the Apple store as well. The bottom line: A little preventive and reactive hygienic care when we are out in public places touching “communal” surfaces is your best first line of defense against picking up germs, bacteria, and viruses. In other words, keep sanitizing gel handy, use it, and wash your hands frequently.

In the gym—the venue that I am best equipped to discuss—wash your hands after you use the bathroom, and clean and sanitize every surface you touch on the exercise equipment you use (including mats and balls), preferably before and after use. Also, during your workout, keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth—sometimes easier said than done when hard-earned sweat is dripping down your face and body.

Who would have thought, that the old saying, “An Apple a day…” may not keep the doctor away after all?

“Icky” and “Sicky”

I have previously written that club cleanliness is a powerful member attraction, retention, and customer satisfaction tool.  Need further proof…I refer you the “IHRSA’s Guide to Health Club Cleanliness” (2009) to read more on the topic.  

But now, let’s get visual.  If you think that the “issue” of club cleanliness is something new, guess again.  I refer you to the following expose´ that aired on ABC TV’s “Primetime” in January, 2005.  This powerful piece speaks for itself; it speaks the truth—even in 2010. 

The bottom line is that “icky” and potentially “sicky” doesn’t sell.  I don’t go to the gym to get sick, do you?

Let’s all band together behind my mantra, “Spread Fitness, Not Germs!”  See you at the “health” club.

Wiping Away Towel Myths

As I speak with fitness industry professionals around the country, and around the world, I am frequently asked about towels that are used to sanitize fitness equipment.  Or to be more specific: Doesn’t a towel that gets used repeatedly to wipe away sweat become germ-laden from all that sweat?

Actually, the opposite is true.  A spray bottle and towel equipment cleaning system proves to be a very effective method for sanitizing just-used exercise equipment surfaces.  Why?  Because the towels are progressively absorbing sanitizing cleaning solution.  In other words, they are continuously refreshed with the disinfectant.  Therefore, there is a concentrated/significant amount of disinfectant that remains on the towel at all times.  The reusable spray-towel, when not in use, is sanitized; it is at “work” even while the towel is “at rest.”

(more…)

From Clean to Green: How Cleanliness Can Boost Your Membership Strategy

 

As health and fitness clubs continue to face economic challenges in 2010, keeping current members, and attracting new members, becomes more important than ever. So ask yourself: What drives your club’s current membership strategy? Are you the biggest club in town? The newest? Do you have the latest and greatest machines? Do you emphasize programming? Price? Convenience? Are you known as the club with the friendliest or most expertly trained staff?

So many points to consider. And then there’s cleanliness.

Yes, cleanliness. It’s something that more and more people expect from the clubs they join. Yet too many club owners and managers overlook cleanliness as a membership recruitment and retention strategy.

The good news: Their oversight offers big opportunities to clubs that adopt cleanliness as a key part of their membership strategy. In fact, I believe that clubs should use cleanliness as a primary strategy to create and maintain a good reputation. Why? Four reasons:

  1. It’s different. In today’s hugely competitive fitness industry, most clubs are likely to offer top-notch equipment, amenities and programming. Those that don’t will suffer. Certainly, you need to promote the things that make your club special. But while other clubs use similar features and benefits to define who they are, take ownership of cleanliness – it will set you apart.
  2. It’s appealing. People spend time in clubs to get healthier and stronger, not to contract germs, airborne illnesses and viruses that can live and breed on dirty equipment. A facility that promotes clean practices – and uses the right kinds of products to make it easy for members to clean equipment – is an appealing place to be; a place where members want to work out.
  3. It’s “Green”…but better. Sustainability is no longer just a movement. Today, it’s expected that businesses – health and fitness clubs included – embrace Green practices to some degree. Yet Green claims abound in the fitness industry, so raising your hand and saying “Me, too!” won’t make you different.  You have to prove it!
  4. A very effective Green strategy is to deploy environmentally and economically sound cleaning and sanitizing products throughout your facility – from bottle/towel holders that attach to strength training and cardiovascular equipment, to Green-friendly sanitizing solution, reusable and durable spray bottles/trigger sprayers and towels, and hand sanitizer. You’ll save money, your members will enjoy a healthier environment, and you’ll have a genuine, defendable Green strategy to promote to current and prospective members.

  5. It will be really important in the years to come. The recent H1N1 pandemic demonstrates that viral transmissions are serious issues that affect people around the world, and around the corner. Staph. infections also are a developing problem for fitness facilities everywhere.

As recent cases of both H1N1 and Staph. captured media coverage, people have become more aware of transmission risks, and they’ve grown very concerned. At clubs around the country, though, machines still are streaked with sweat after each use because disinfectants, cleaning towels and other cleaning supplies often are inconveniently located far from the equipment itself. That’s not good business in general. And if it leads to locker room chatter about dirty equipment, then you’re in real trouble. Moreover, clubs that use disposable paper towels and pre-moistened wipes incur hefty replenishment costs over time, while the products themselves end up in landfills and are not biodegradable – hardly an ideal Green practice.

Industries change over time, and the fitness industry is no exception. People will always choose clubs based on many factors. But experts agree that cleanliness has quickly risen to the top of the list. Clubs that continue to ignore cleanliness will put their members at increased risk for illness – and leave their own reputations vulnerable. Either way, it’s not worth it – especially when an easy, inexpensive and Green solution is a simple phone call or mouse click away.

Leave a Comment