1. How did you get your start in the fitness industry?
I started in the fitness industry in college as a way to earn extra money. A little club for women only opened across the street from my house, and I needed money during summer break. I applied for a position as a personal trainer and the owner told me I had to teach aerobics. I said that I did not know how and she offered to mentor me. I only learned three formats, which included step aerobics, hi low impact aerobics, and strength classes. I have been hooked ever since then!

2. Worst / most embarrassing moment?
My most embarrassing moment was when I was auditioning to become a Reebok Master Trainer. One of the criteria was for me to speak publicly on any subject with which I felt comfortable. I chose my subject, I thought I would be great at this and it would allow me to show off little bit. I thought that I could speak publicly and found out very quickly that I needed to practice... a lot. I froze in front of all of my peers and all of the Reebok master trainers that I respected so much. This experience taught me a very valuable lesson. When I engage in public speaking, I have to practice, practice, and practice… If I do not actually verbalize what I am going to say, the words come out wrong or not at all.

3. Best moment / epiphany?
I would not say that the above moment mentioned was my best moment, but it was an epiphany. I learned how much preparation is needed for any presentation that I want to deliver successfully. I was lucky enough to join the Reebok team and learn from the best trainers and fitness presenters in the world including Petra Kolber, Lisa Wheeler, Robert Sherman, and Lawrence Biscontini.

4. Future goals or plans?
I'm back in school getting another degree. My first one was music performance and the second is fitness related. I hope to continue what I'm doing now, which includes teaching classes and lecturing at fitness conferences. Honestly, I don't have any idea what the future holds, but I never turn down opportunities or challenges - bring it on.

5. Best tip for others wishing to make their living in the fitness industry.
For those wishing to make a career in the fitness industry, my number one recommendation is to never stop learning. There are always inexpensive opportunities to learn something new about techniques or new formats or improving teaching skills. I rarely pass up those moments. Part of the learning process also includes receiving feedback from members, students, other instructors and managers. Some of the feedback is hard to swallow even when it is constructive since we all have egos. However, feedback (whether good or bad) comes from someone's perspective, which is an indication of how that person feels. We can always learn something even if it's only how to deal with the feedback itself. I look forward to seeing you at a MANIA® in 2015!

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS, is a phenomenon that impacts exercisers around the globe. Soreness is extremely common, so it’s a given that there are a lot of misconceptions regarding DOMS. Although there are many aspects of DOMS that are unclear, there is a lot that we do know and much of the information discussed in facilities or in forums is incorrect. I have outlined some of the common questions received about DOMS along with the answers to each question.

Why do I get DOMS?
Delayed onset muscle soreness generally occurs, and is typically experienced one to three days after exercise. Its cause is due to micro-tears in the muscle during the eccentric (muscle lengthening) contraction. Isometric “motion” (force without movement) causes less soreness, and concentric motion (muscle shortening) causes the least amount of micro-trauma to the muscle fibers and subsequently causes little to no soreness. You may ask why? Groups of motor units work together to contract one muscle. During an eccentric contraction, fewer motor units are used. In turn, the force applied is dispersed over a smaller area of the muscle than in a concentric contraction.

Isn’t soreness caused from lactic acid build-up? That’s what everyone keeps telling me.
No. Lactic acid is produced in the muscles during strenuous exercise but is not to blame for muscle soreness despite popular belief. When muscle fibers require an amount of oxygen that is not available in the blood cells, an anaerobic process begins, which produces lactic acid. Yes, lactic acid contributes to the burning sensation you may feel while exercising, but it is out of your system within an hour.

Should I not workout while I’m sore?
If your chest is so sore that every inhalation causes pain, I would not exercise the chest muscles that day. This would also apply to any muscle. However, you do want to move as much as possible to prevent additional muscle stiffness. Active rest days can consist of anything from simple stretching or foam rolling to playing tennis or swimming.

Can I stretch before and after my workout to prevent DOMS?
No. Stretching has very little to do with preventing injury or muscle soreness. Yes, dynamic stretching pre-workout and static stretching post-workout may have other benefits but preventing DOMS is not one of them.

Should I be sore after every workout?
No. Generally speaking, soreness indicates a workout that was difficult but not necessarily a workout that was the most beneficial. You do not need to be sore in order to see progress. As you continue to work through a program, you will experience less soreness although it may never disappear completely.

About the Author: Alex Cartmill is a personal trainer at Oregon State University's primary recreation center and founder of The Fitness Handbook. He devotes his time to helping others achieve their fitness goals by educating himself and his clients. He has worked with clients of all ages and physical abilities with great success. His philosophy revolves around creating healthy habits in and out of the gym that will last a lifetime. Alex desires to bring together the fitness community to change lives and improve humanity as a whole.

About this time every year, I’m asked to look into my non-existent crystal ball and come up with predictions for the upcoming New Year. To-date, my track record is decent…so here goes! The 2015 Magnificent Seven:


For the past several years, Fitness Business Council Survey stats show that more clubs are “going a la carte” with membership offers in an attempt to respond to the competition and reduce buyer resistance. Three years ago, less than 20% of facilities unbundled but current data indicates the number has grown to 35%. Look for that number to approach 40% in 2015. STUDIOS/NICHE CLUBS ABOUND
Since 2011, there’s been increasing growth in the opening of studios, niche clubs and “small” specialty operations. Generally less than 5,000 square feet in size and catering to upper-middle-income-and-above demographics, some estimates note that over 20,000 of these smaller clubs exist nationwide. Look for another 10,000 to open up in the New Year.

For a long time, we had “Group Ex” and “Personal Training.” Now we have “Group Fitness”, “Small Group Training”, “Large Group Training”, “One-on-One Training” and some other monikers popping up. Look for distinctive category names to appear sometime in 2015 to un-confuse at least some of the confusion.

While we’ve had “captive” technologies for several years (Life Fitness, Technogym and SciFit come immediately to mind), we have yet to see “open technology” that displays exercise results across the Internet from any brand machine. This concept is being worked on, and you should look for a breakthrough near the end of 2015.

A study of Club Industry’s “Top 100” attests to the statistic that approximately 9% of U.S. clubs control more than 40% of all memberships. There’s still a lot of cash in a lot of coffers…and a lot of “snooping” going on. There will be more buying of regional multi-club operators in 2015 and membership market share by the big chains will grow to 45%.

The constant question remains “How do you monetize ‘Likes’?”, and there have been a plethora of blogs and media presentations on this topic. To date, no one has done a great job determining how you can monetize ‘Likes’. As America’s population pushes into their 50s, we’re likely to see a pulling away from Facebook and other social media sites. The trend will revert to website marketing and word-of-mouth referrals.

Since Planet Fitness introduced budget membership plans in the national marketplace more than 10 years ago (from four clubs to its current 750+ facilities) and others have attempted to clone their success, average membership prices have been dropping. Fitness Business Council Surveys indicate that average membership prices decreased by over 5% in 2014 for the seventh consecutive year. As more value-priced clubs open and more facilities unbundle to keep pace, you can count on lower membership prices again in 2015.

(Michael Scott Scudder is Founder and CEO of the Fitness Business Council, the network for independent health clubs. Michael presents business subjects at SCW MANIA®s throughout the year. He can be contacted at mss@fitnessbusinesscouncil.com or 575-613-1004.)

From high intensity training, sports conditioning and explosive power drills to the basics of seated workouts, corrective exercise and rehabilitation, BOSU® POWERSTAX™ multiplies your workout options.

ELEVATE: For Intensity or Accessibility
Elevate the BOSU® Balance Trainer (9 to 10 inches when properly inflated) to variable heights. Each BOSU® POWERSTAX™ adds an additional 4 inches, and multiple POWERSTAX™ may be nested inside each other to elevate the Balance Trainer even higher. Using this increased elevation either adds intensity or improves accessibility to perform a wide variety of exercises.

STABILIZE: A Progression for “Platform Side Up”
A progression for using the BOSU® Balance Trainer with the platform side up, combine 1 or more POWERSTAX™, limit motion and still provide challenging instability to exercises. As the number of POWERSTAX™ units increase, the level of instability decreases. Recommended for advance participants only.

LOAD: For Unpredictable, Dynamic Resistance (using Water)
Use POWERSTAX™ on its own (and give your BOSU® Balance Trainer a break). Fill it with up to 30 pounds of water, hold on tight using a variety of grip options (there are 2 sets of handles), and create unpredictable resistance challenges.

CLICK HERE to watch a preview of BOSU® POWERSTAX™ in action!
BOSU® Balance Trainer(s) sold separately.

To find a BOSU® POWERSTAX™ workshop at a MANIA® conference near you, CLICK HERE and look for “BOSU® Plyo Power” and “BOSU® Balance Basics & Beyond: Keys to Anti-Aging”.

Ever wonder what the do’s and don’ts are when it comes to ensuring that your facility’s schedule is a step above the competition? So many clubs today are bringing on the “hottest” trends simply because they are following the herd - which isn’t necessarily a bad thing! It is good to be offering the latest and greatest; however, it may not always match the needs of your clientele. Additionally, the success of a class is going to rely VERY heavily on who is teaching and listed on the schedule.

See the tips below to ensure that you have the best classes on your schedule and the best team representing them.

1) How do you evaluate the need of a class to determine whether to keep it, change it or just shut it down?
It is all about attendance. Review, review, review and then evaluate some more! Regardless of whether or not an instructor is wonderful, what matters most is the ultimate question – is the class servicing your clients? Additionally, are individuals coming to classes? Giving the instructor honest feedback and direct suggestions seem to work best. If attendance is low, tell the instructor and give him/her the opportunity to grow the class by changing:

a) The name of the class

b) The content of the class

c) The time of the class (even a 15-minute time shift may grow attendance)

If the above changes don’t help, you may want to think about changing the instructor and determining if another one increases attendance.

2) Should you base the decision strictly on attendance or are there other factors?
There may be other factors that impact the decision regarding the cancellation of a class. These factors include:

a) Is the class impacting a segment of society that is drawing visibility to your fitness center and growing attendance in other ways?

b) Is there an important Board Member or relative of the owner that you are servicing through offering a low attended class?

c) Does this class service a group of people that specifically need to be addressed such as individuals with cancer or Parkinson’s disease?

Sometimes, it is simply important to do what is right without regard to reward.

3) How accountable should you hold the instructor for the attendance of the class?
Very accountable. He/she should report low attendance. It may not be their personal fault and maybe the class was missed on the Group Ex Schedule and nobody knew about it? Maybe it’s just not the type of class that works in your facility? The instructor should care enough to share that attendance is low and request assistance to help it succeed.

4) How much marketing of the class should the instructors be required to do? Again, an instructor should care enough to improve the facility and grow the attendance in their own classes. You can always alter behavior, but it is difficult to engage attitude. An instructor with a positive attitude is worth their weight in gold.

5) If the instructor has no one show up for a class should you still pay them for the whole hour?

There are a few options:

a) Yes, because he/she showed to teach the class.

b) However, you may wish to alter pay. If a class is not taught because there are under four in attendance or if the instructor is fully informed that they will only receive half-pay for a class with low attendance, then it would be fine to pay them less because he/she was informed and agreed to the policy. Additionally, the instructor also is able to leave the class early. This type of rule should be posted clearly and shared with instructors regularly to ensure that there are no surprises or disappointments.