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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.

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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!

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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.

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Billy Blanks Leads Tae Bo at IHRSA 2015

Tae Bo lesson From the Master

At the 2015 IHRSA Show my GymValet booth was only 10 feet away from a Group Ex demo. area.  Therefore, I was lucky enough to both be on duty and watch Billy Blanks, Mr. Tae Bo, in action.  Billy hit the fitness industry with a significant “upper cut” in 1998 with the release of his first Tae Bo workout video–remember when Tae Bo was all the rage–with those knock-out infomercials?  Today, 17 years later, Billy hasn’t lost a step and can really draw a crowd–and for good reason!  His Tae Bo workouts are easy to follow–albeit very “invigorating” to do, his cueing is good, and he’s there to teach, not to get his own workout!  His “on-stage” personality is electric!  Couldn’t resist getting some video of Billy leading the way.  I loved when he got I the face of the participants and challenged them to move bigger and better!  That’s great teahing.  Enjoy the video and, if you are so moved, step back from your computer and bust a few moves with Billy!!  Extra bonus…I had the chance to chat with Billy after the workout and get a picture.  Fun to rub shoulders with “fitness industry history!”

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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.

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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.

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“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

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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!”

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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?

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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.

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