Few Big Raises Last Year

Pay scales for fitness professionals barely budged in 2000.

SAN DIEGO - Median hourly wages for specialty instructors, as well as median salaries for fitness program directors, remained the same in 1999 and 2000, according to IDEA's Fifth Annual Fitness Industry Compensation Survey, in which information was obtained from more than 160 U.S., Canadian and Puerto Rican fitness facilities. There were some increases, however: Personal trainers, group fitness and fitness floor staff, and personal training directors saw a small incremental rise in their median hourly wages or salaries.

The specific findings of the survey are as follows:

Fitness Program Director
Job Description: Fitness program directors hire and supervise staff, prepare budgets, manage equipment and oversee scheduling of classes, clinics and training.

Main Pay Criteria: degree/certification (66 percent), years of experience (63 percent) and years in the organization (57 percent).

Hourly Rate (2000): $15

Hourly Rate (1999): $15

Salary Pay (2000): $30,000

Salary Pay (1999): $30,000

Personal Training Director
Job Description: Personal training directors hire, supervise and schedule trainers; plan department services; and prepare budgets.

Main Pay Criteria: degree/certification (66 percent), years of experience (63 percent) and years in the organization (57 percent).

Hourly Rate (2000): $15

Hourly Rate (1999): $19

Salary Pay (2000): $25,000

Salary Pay (1999): $25,000

Personal Trainer
Job Description: Personal trainers instruct individual clients, monitor and record progress, and may enroll new clients and collect fees.

Main Pay Criteria: degree/certification (70 percent), continuing education (57 percent) and years of experience (52 percent).

Hourly Rate (2000): $23

Hourly Rate (1999): $20

Specialty Instructor
Job Description: Specialty instructors teach classes requiring specialized training, such as yoga, indoor cycling or martial arts.

Main Pay Criteria: degree/certification (55 percent), specialty area expertise (53 percent), continuing education (42 percent) and years of experience (42 percent).

Hourly Rate (2000): $20

Hourly Rate (1999): $20

Group Fitness Instructor
Job Description: Group fitness instructors teach general classes set to music.

Main Pay Criteria: degree/certification (63 percent), years of experience (54 percent) and continuing education (51 percent).

Hourly Rate (2000): $18

Hourly Rate (1999): $16

Fitness Floor Staff
Job Description: Fitness floor staff monitor equipment, supplies and people in a fitness center.

Main Pay Criteria: personality (38 percent), work availability (37 percent) and degree/certification (32 percent).

Hourly Rate (2000): $8.25

Hourly Rate (1999): $7

Salary and hourly rates aside, the IDEA survey also recorded information on the benefits and discounts that many fitness facilities offered their employees. A significant portion of qualifying fitness industry professionals were offered paid sick and vacation time, health insurance, club membership and pro shop discounts. While these discounts and benefits have been stable for the past few years, the number of fitness businesses offering them to employees has jumped from 20 to 50 percent since 1993.


Boston Sports Club Team Steps Down

Two former Health Development Corporation executives resign.

BOSTON - After Town Sports International (TSI) acquired Health Development Corporation (HDC) last July and merged the Boston-area fitness club chain with its own Boston Sports Clubs (BSC), HDC executives Paul Couturier and Phil Bonomo stayed on to ease adjustments between the two companies. Couturier (former HDC president and CEO) and Bonomo (former director of strategic marketing) created what Bob Giardina, TSI's president and COO, has called, "the smoothest transition in all of our experience." Now the two have decided to call it quits.

"We are proud of our accomplishments over the past 17 years," said Couturier. "We built a strong network of clubs that became very attractive to companies looking to gain a foothold in Boston."

Couturier plans to pursue other business opportunities while Bonomo will continue on with his own strategic marketing consulting company.


Friends of Operation Fit Kids

Rev up your engines! Operation FitKids (OFK) will get off to a racing start at its official grand opening celebration for its four new Atlanta sites on April 25. Ron Hemelgarn, Indy 500 racing team owner and member of FitKids' board of directors, will be promoting the event on the 25th (and at the Indy 500 on the 28th) with a visit from his winning Hemelgarn team driver, Buddy Lazier, and his racecar.

OFK is a nonprofit dedicated to youth health and supported by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The organization works with local high schools, youth groups and other organizations to create adolescent and youth fitness centers using recycled commercial fitness equipment.

Cardio and strength equipment donations, as well as other fitness products, are still needed for the Atlanta grand opening. If your company can help out, please contact FitKids' Executive Director DeeDee Kovacevich at (800) 825-3636, ext. 707 or e-mail deedeek@acefitness.org. All donations are tax deductible.

Operation FitKids, Athletes Against Drugs and Bally Total Fitness tag team for a stronger community. Bally Total Fitness is partnering with both Athletes Against Drugs (AAD) and OFK as a part of the club chain's "Strong Communities" campaign.

With this latest partnership, OFK and AAD are collaborating, with ample backing by Bally, to bring fitness facilities to high schools in the Chicago area. FitKids will identify the communities in need, coordinate the layout of the fitness centers, and arrange for donations and setups for fitness equipment. AAD will implement ongoing health, fitness and human performance programs, with Bally providing much of the equipment.

Already Bally has donated more than $12 million worth of reconditioned fitness equipment to inner-city schools, youth-at-risk programs, police athletic leagues, and other community service organizations. Besides the supplies, Bally has contributed training for the equipment use.

Many others in the fitness industry have contributed to Operation FitKids' cause. The most recent good Samaritans include American Council on Exercise; The Step Company; Sporting Goods Manufacturers of America; Stamford Athletic Club and AgeFit in Stamford, Conn.; Power Systems; Rally Sports-Boulder, Colo.; Frog's Club One (San Diego); Nautilus; and Hriczko Trucking.

For more information on Operation FitKids, visit its Web site at www.operationfitkids.org.


The Spectrum Chain Looms Large in 2001

A new executive team heads the chain's aggressive national campaign.

PLANO, Texas - Five new senior officers are heading up Spectrum Clubs Inc.'s national expansion plans. In addition to the officers, Spectrum announced the openings of both a National Support Center in Dallas and an additional Regional Support Center in Southern California to further these goals.

The National Support Center opened late last year in Plano, Texas, with the following five key executive appointments: CFO Larry Page, a former CFO, executive vice president and treasurer for CEC Entertainment; Vice President of Marketing Annie Bendalin, who had a successful history in high-visibility consumer media marketing; Corporate Controller Tana Toulmin, formerly the director of financial reporting for Metromedia Restaurant Group in Dallas; Vice President of Finance Steve Kauzlaric, who recently served as the vice president of finance at the Dallas-based VertPort Inc.; and Purchasing Director Garry Cullinane, who most recently was the purchasing and facilities manager for United Advertising in Dallas.

"In record time, we have assembled an outstanding senior leadership team to drive our expansion in the fitness industry," said Spectrum CEO Bob Steele. "We have also launched two major projects - the $5 million expansion of our Spectrum Club South Bay in California and the new Spectrum Rogers Ranch in San Antonio, Texas."

In addition to the new appointments for the National Center, Spectrum's Regional Support Center in El Segundo, Calif., has also named new key personnel. These appointments include: Michael Yeater, director of operations; Joseph Cooney, director of member services; Mark Borden, director of sales; Teri Forsythe, director of human resources; Toni Brown, group exercise director; Stacy Shimabukuro, fitness director; Jennifer Santana, food and beverage director; and Chase Messer, regional controller. This additional support center will lead the California division of Spectrum Clubs.


HEALTH NEWS

Sixty percent of adult-onset diabetes cases are preventable, according to a recently released Finnish study. The study's researchers tracked 500 Finns for a two- to six-year time period, and found that a combination of exercise and a low-fat, high-fiber diet significantly reduces the risk of this disease, as well as decreases blood pressure and fat levels in the blood.

It might seem like a tall tale, but two recent and separate studies indicate that people who are overweight and also of above-average height suffer greater health risks.

In the former study, body mass as well as height in men were significant contributors to risk of cataracts. According to researchers at Harvard University, men with a BMI over 27.7 and who were over six feet tall, or who had the greatest waist-to-hip ratio, had a 23 to 31 percent higher risk of developing the eye condition.

While a link between obesity and cataracts has been proved - obesity increases the risk of gout and generalized inflammation in the eye area, both of which raise the risk of cataracts - the link between height and cataracts is still under study.

In the second study, published in a recent issue of Diabetes Care, children over the age of 3 who were taller and heavier than their peers were twice as likely to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Of these children, the tallest ones were the most likely to develop the disease, compared to youngsters of medium height.

Scientists argue that during a growth period, a child's body manufactures more insulin. As the demand for insulin increases, the body cells that produce the hormone become stressed and may fail to manufacture the needed amount, causing diabetes to develop.

While neither children nor adults can control their height, they can control their diet and activity level. This is where you can help your clients maintain healthy lives.


ODD NEWS

King Momo, the opulently obese patron of Rio de Janeiro's carnivals, has been put on a diet. Due to protests from health officials over the recent early deaths of two former King Momos, the city is turning toward healthier, fat-free, King Momo festivities. While candidates for the hefty position still have a minimum weigh-in of 240 pounds, their festival feast has been trimmed down from an all-you-can-eat pasta extravaganza to salads and diet soda. In February, the winner of the King Momo title will be handed the keys to the city from the mayor, a prelude to Rio de Janeiro's five days of wild pre-Lenten parties and night-time parades.

Meanwhile, while Momo is slimming down, the Scots have appointed a Fat Tsar for their own country. After a three-year study of Scotland's health problems, the position was created to wean the country's population of their fattening diets.

What's this? No more haggis and trifle?

According to the Scottish Health Surveys, the country takes first prize over the rest of the world for number of heart attacks and angina cases. The survey team reported that the diet of the poverty-stricken (fat-soaked, deep-fried and no veggies) has caused a life-expectancy gap of nine years between the lower and the higher classes.

Scotland's Health Minister will appoint the Fat Tsar, who is expected to lead a national health action campaign and tighten the country's collective kilt.

Can't chew gum and walk at the same time? Apparently, news sources claim you shouldn't run or cycle and chew at the same time as well. According to a Men's Fitness article, an ingredient in sugarless gum can cause diarrhea in cyclists and runners.


CLUB WATCH

- The New York Health & Racquet Club recently hosted a swing class that allowed members to work with cast members from "Swing!," a Broadway show.

- Quivira Sportsclubs has reportedly opened the first EPOCH Centers in Kansas City at its locations in Lenexa, Shawnee and DeSoto. Another location is to be added at Quivira Sportsclub of Blue Valley at a later date. New manager Carolyn Marney, most recently of the St. Joseph Fitness Center in Kansas City, will be conducting the exercise fitness and training in the new centers.

Offering scientific and medically supported exercise testing and training, EPOCH Centers, owned by the Exernet Corp. (www.exernet.com), offer an educational approach to exercise for its clients. Clients take classes for one semester, with a follow-up test to measure their individual fitness improvements.

- Web-wandering fingers no longer have to work up a sweat trying to find women's workout wear. Lucy.com, an online and catalog retailer, and Crunch have teamed up to open a lucy.com retail store at a Crunch NYC location. This will be the third retail distribution channel for lucy.com since the company first launched a Web site in November 1999. The new retail center, aptly named lucy@crunch, will be situated on the first floor of the Crunch gym at 1109 Second St. in midtown Manhattan. The store will be open to both members of the public and the club.


PEOPLE WATCH

- New hires abound at LifeCenter plus, a health club located in Hudson, Ohio. Catina Stecz has been appointed new fitness director. Laura Beal fills a new position as assistant fitness director. Dan Chain now heads up all front-desk operations. Katie Callison has joined to work in the aquatics department. And Tricia Downey has been added to the club's sales team.

- Annbeth Eschbach has left her position as WellBridge's vice president of marketing and spa development to start a new spa development venture, backed by McCown DeLeeuw & Co., the private equity group behind the 24 Hour Fitness chain.

- Susan DuBois is the new assistant manager of the Hilton Anaheim Sports and Fitness Center in California. DuBois began her career at Hilton in 1989 as a receptionist and aerobics instructor. Since then she has developed and taught various group exercise programs at the Center, as well as trained individual club members. In addition, DuBois teaches physical education courses at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

- Adam Handelsman is stepping down from his position as PR director for Netpulse Media Networks to pursue his own media relations firm - Handelsman & Associates Public Relations. His new company will continue to represent Netpulse, among other clients.


THUMBS UP TO...

- Jill Bauman, Pam Kock and Ladonice Song, for being named the top athletic directors at Club Corp. Bauman is the general manager of the Athletic and Swim Club in Equitable Center (New York City), Koch is the athletic director of Milwaukee's LeClub, and Song is the athletic director of the Capital Club in San Jose, Calif.

- Dr. Jack Barnathan, for receiving the gold medal of the International Federation of Bodybuilders. Dr. Barnathan heads up N.Y. Strength Performance Consulting Group and Centers for Strength and Performance.

- Derek Markey, RDV Sportsplex Tennis Center manager, for winning the 2000 United States Tennis Association (USTA) Florida Section Junior Coach of the Year Award. He was also selected to serve on the Junior Competitive Council.

- Fabiano Designs International for receiving an award from the Themed Entertain-ment Association (THEA) for its design of Gold's Gym in Madison, Wis. Of the 15 nominees worldwide, Fabiano was honored with the most prestigious award.

- Dave Gates, a consultant to Sidney/Shelby Co. YMCA, and Carmen Richards, a consultant to the Lamsan Health Club at Andrews University, for winning the Life Fitness "Ultimate Performer" contest. Gates' YMCA received a new Life Fitness CT 9500HR total body rear drive cross-trainer, and Richards got a TR 9500HR treadmill.

- Bel Air Athletic Club (BAAC), winner of the annual Harford Award for Service. Club founders Roger and Elaine Ralph accepted the award, which was presented by the Harford County chamber of commerce, Harford county government and Harford Community College.

- East Bank Club, for celebrating its big 20. The fitness, sports and dining center is located in Chicago's River North area.

- Nirvana Athletic & Fitness Center, for celebrating its 15th anniversary. Nirvana has four locations in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area with more than 5,100 members.

- Corporate Fitness Works Inc. (CFW) of Montgomery Village, Md., for being honored at a Redskins home game. The company - which designs and manages customized fitness centers and wellness programs for corporations, government agencies, hotels and retirement communities - received the "Small Business Champions" award from Bank of America for its business achievements in the greater Washington, D.C. area.

- Fitness Holdings Worldwide, which was named by FORBES magazine as one of the "500 top private companies." Fitness Holdings is best known for its 24 Hour Fitness chain.

- Vista del Monte Fitness and Aquatic Center (a senior living community in Santa Barbara, Calif.) and East Jefferson General Hospital Wellness Center (located in Metairie, La.). Both were recently honored by the second annual Pinnacle Awards sponsored by NuStep Inc. NuStep saluted the two organizations for their innovative senior wellness programs.