Thursday, September 27, 2012

Health and Fitness Clubs on the High Rise

Health and Fitness Clubs Surprise Rise?
It came as no surprise to me. The report from pronounced that memberships to health and fitness clubs were actually on the rise, even in spite of current economic conditions. The biggest growth is coming from elder 'Boomers', age 55 and up.
Um... that would be me!
So why the surprise? The fact that my age demographic is leading the way in the current membership explosion shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. It was the Boomers who started the whole craze.
I can't say I'm big on joining a fitness center as I prefer doing my own thing. Here in my high rise condo, I have access to an indoor pool and a very well-equipped gym.
I rarely use it. But whenever I walk by, the majority of people who do use it are... you guessed it - minimum 45+. One of the regulars is 78 years old!
For myself, I spend a good amount of time in the stairs, currently running 5 cycles up and down 22 floors, three times a week. It takes just over 30 minutes. As well, Maggie and I do a fair bit of walking after dinner and on weekends. Add a few stretches coupled with some occasional resistance training as recommended by most professional trainers and I'm good. In fact, I'm pretty darned proud of my 55+ year old bod!:)
The Lure of Health and Fitness Clubs
It's hard to resist those health and fitness club flyers, isn't it? Boomers especially cling to the vision of maintaining a youthful, vigorous appearance. We're getting more 'quantity' of life, with age expectancy rising all the time. What Boomers demand now however is 'quality'. They want to squeeze as much enjoyment out of their ever lengthening years.
Of course, you could always take the Rodney Dangerfield approach to looking your best, "If you want to look thinner, hang around more fat people."
Personally, I believe you actually become who you hang out with. My job teaching young children for the past 37 years has certainly had a better effect than any gym. Plus the fact that Maggie is 12 years younger keeps me energized as well!
Choosing a Health and Fitness Club
Whether or not you join a health and fitness club is a matter of choice. Some people need the extra push and accountability that a personal trainer or other club members will give. Organized gyms also can provide a social outlet which is most important in this day and age of increasing isolation and cocooning.
Of course, due diligence is required before signing on the dotted line at any fitness center. While the initial offer to get you in the door may be quite enticing, you have to be extremely aware of the inevitable upsell to an annual or 'family' package deal.
The main question is, will you actually stick to the program? Most clubs are banking that you won't! They know most people are very weak when it comes to keeping commitments, especially the pain-for-gain kind. They also know these same people are even weaker when it comes to asking for a refund. They would rather simply slink away rather than be held accountable.
The fact is, most health and fitness clubs are very strict with their refund policies. This brings a whole new meaning to the term, "Use it (your membership) or lose it (hundreds of dollars of your hard-earned cash!)".
Warning: Health and Fitness Club Fraud
It's not bad enough that you have to be aware of 'upsell-hell' when you shop around for a training center. It's extremely rare NOT to be confronted with an upsell opportunity, so expect it. (Do you want fries with that?)
Maggie actually had such an experience with a spa, very similar to the gym bait and switch routine. She purchased a basic package, only to be told the next week that the package was 'discontinued'. She would have to upgrade.
The following week, she was pitched to add a massage. The week after that, she was followed by a rep with a clipboard, showing her all the benefits she would gain if she upgraded to the next better deal. Maggie didn't return again after the 5th week. She just cut her loss. Obviously, this spa mistook her for an ATM machine.
Occasionally though, you'll come across outright frauds. The news from my old home town of Nashua, N.H. recently reported that the president of a new, unregistered health and fitness club was found guilty of illegally using $14,000 in pre-paid memberships to carpet his facility. Apparently, this person was a firm believer in exercise as law officials concluded that he planned to take the money and run!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Heath and Fitness For Everyone

If there is one concern that all of us have it is directly focused toward our well beings. For being well is the only way to live, both physically and mentally speaking. Specifically, it is our health and fitness levels that are, whether we truly choose to accept it or not, all too important factors in our lives. They keep us going. Keep us living. And having poor health will not allow us to fully live and enjoy what life has to offer. And being out of shape is nothing to be satisfied with as it proves to make us incapable of doing many activities we would otherwise love to do.
So, hopefully with all this said, it would make individuals like yourself say to themselves "Well, am I I, fit?" Or, "Am I happily living?" And they're questions that should be inwardly asked and answered accordingly. If you're not healthy or physically fit you need to ask yourself why. Usually, lack of a healthy life is not simply put upon individuals. Instead, it's gained from something that's done, or, more likely, from something that isn't done.
Ask Yourself If You Live A Healthy Lifestyle
You need to ask yourself if the way in which you live is in line with being - and, more importantly, striving to be - healthy. Do you eat well on a regular basis or do you eat poorly day in and day out? Or is there a bit of a combination, of monitored and carefree eating? Do you exercise to keep yourself in decent shape or do you prefer vegetating, inadvertently keeping yourself unfit? Or again, do you exercise intermittently and still partake in being a vegetable too?
After asking yourself the above questions give yourself some answers. If you do eat without care daily, do sit around and opt out of exercising then it's likely you're a bit unhealthy. Yet, this unhealthiness can easily be addressed and fixed.
Changing The Way You Live - Becoming and Being Healthy
All that needs to be done is a little reorganization of what you typically do day to day, both concerning eating and exercising habits. As far as eating goes, it's a matter of eating healthfully. This means that you eat wholesome foods, in fair amounts, around 3-4 times a day. Stay away from junk or filler foods. Avoid eating till you're stuffed or considerably "satisfied." And eat on a schedule having 3 full meals each day, trying to snack rarely and healthfully, if and when you do.
As far as exercising and activity goes you should aim to be active at least 3-4 times a week to maintain a fitness level that is in line with being healthy. Exercise can be moderate to strenuous based on your current physical shape or fitness goals. Just be sure to stick through exercising even if at first you seem unable or not strong enough - the effort put into a workout is completely worth it, as is your overall good health that will surely follow.
Truly, Anyone Can Have Great Health and High Fitness Levels
And don't underestimate yourself through the process of becoming a healthy individual. You can (stressing the word "can") eat well and be active all at once. It will just take some initiation and unbendable determination on your part. For, no one ever said that being healthy was a matter of just proclaiming yourself healthy. It takes work. It requires drive. But, in truth, it's really not all that difficult to work toward; having good health and being fit is easy enough for everyone to achieve.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fat Health And Fitness Lie

Good evening, everyone. So Craig, you've been in the fitness industry for over 26 years and with that, I imagine comes a bit of wisdom. Why don't you start with your story and how you've gotten to where you are now?Craig: Sure Kevin. Well, first of all, I started out in the fitness industry as a personal trainer making $3.50 an hour.
Kevin: Wow.
Craig: So I've been in it for awhile and I grew through the ranks in the fitness industry to the executive level. I was the president of two of the largest fitness organizations in the United States. I was the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the largest chain of fitness clubs in the world operating in 11 countries. I also successfully owned and operated my own fitness company. I've visited 30 countries and evaluated health and fitness trends all over Russia, Asia, Europe. I've been to dozens of fitness conventions, purchased millions of dollars worth of equipment, supplements and other health and fitness related products and I've also had the ability to train thousands of health and fitness professionals around the world and help them to help other people improve their lives. So this really kind of led me to where I am today, which is to where I just got to the point where I want to do something more and that's why I wrote my book The Big Fat Healthy Fitness Lie and founded the Fit Advocate website so that I could create a platform to protect and enhance the lives and health and fitness consumers.
Kevin: Now you just mentioned your book, The Big Fat Health and Fitness Lie which I absolutely love. What is the big fat fitness lie. Let's just lay it on the table.
Craig: Why mince words? Let's dig right in. The lie is that there are these billion dollar industries out there getting richer while we get sicker and fatter and with all the so-called solutions available for losing weight and improving our health, we are literally in the worse shape in the history of modern civilization. There's big profit in sickness and in fatness, and a lot of times people question that and they think, "Oh, well we live in the United States, we're in great health and we have the best health care system" which is a complete fallacy. Here's an interesting fact that people should be aware of, we're approaching some 300 million people in the U.S. and we have every year 200 million diseases that are diagnosed for conditions that could be prevented with simple lifestyle changes.
Kevin: Wow.
Craig: And we spend in the United States, 270 billion dollars on 3.7 billion prescriptions written to, not to cure anything because there's really very few cures in modern medicine, medicine is meant mostly to mask our symptoms. So taking into our bodies a lot of toxic chemicals and you know there's so much confusion out there and misinformation about health and fitness. So there's a huge opportunity, unfortunately, for people to make big money on the lack of knowledge that people have about how to lose weight, improve their health, get in shape and live better. So millions of people are out there paying thousands of dollars that have no chance of helping them achieve their goal and that's really the big fat lie.
Kevin: And let me just ask you this, you've been on the other side, you've been a part of the industry that is making a lot of money in the fitness clubs and the organizations and everything. When did you suddenly say, "Hey, you know, maybe I need to educate people about this."
Craig: Well, first of all I never felt that the club industry was a bad industry.
Kevin: Okay.
Craig: And in my book I still am a big proponent of joining a fitness center for the average person, there are, of course, some caveat of how to get a quality club. I have an article on the ten worst tricks for the fitness industry. So I try to expose the things that I think are bad but there's also a lot of good too, but what I did notice while I was operating all of these clubs and trying to help people is that I would talk to thousands of consumers, face to face. For a big part of my career, my job was to get out there and help, work with people in the field, club operators, managers, sales people, fitness staff members, personal trainers, to talk to them about how to help people make decisions that are good for them and the guiding principle, of course was always don't focus on making money, focus on helping people and you will make money as a natural result, as a natural bi-produce of helping people. That's always been one of my guiding principles, but in speaking with all these consumers, you find that the average person spends thousands and thousands of dollars on products and services that have no chance of helping them. They spend hours and hours of wasted time on information that will never help them improve their health or change their lives. So I got tired, frustrated and really kind of outraged at all of the quick fix solutions that are out there that people jump from one to the other and without really understanding the true cause of why they're in such poor health. So I wanted to try to educate them on all of the things, the lies the deceptions while also trying to give them simple solutions for how to improve their health, how to lose weight, how to get in shape, how to live better, how to feel better with no tricks and no gimmicks for the rest of their lives. That's really what the big fat health and fitness lie is all about and that's really what the Fit Advocate website is all about.
Kevin: And you take a different approach in your book as opposed to a lot of the other books that I've read about health and fitness and it's related to addiction. You say addiction feeds this whole lie. What do you mean by this?
Craig: Well, many people live a self-inflicted toxic lifestyle that destroys their health and feeds this lie. So what do I mean by that? Well, the definition of toxic, first of all, is poison and in our society we are surrounded by poisons, in our air, it's in our water, some of them we can't avoid and many of them we can, however. A lot of these poisons, they're not going to kill us today, but instead what they do is they slowly and quietly deteriorate and destroy our health.
There's two specific types of poisons or toxins that I talk about that create these health problems. The first, of course is chemical exposures. There are thousands of untested chemical combinations in our food supply to improve taste, texture, color or to extend shelf life. There are low calorie, low carb foods laced with toxic sweeteners that has contributed to obesity and diabetes. We've been conditioned to believe that sodium fluoride, for example is good for our teeth. Yet it's a known chemical waste bi-product of the aluminum and phosphate fertilizer industry. This chemical has been pumped into our water supply and put into our dental hygiene products for years but fluoridation has been flatly rejected by many developed countries because of the dangers and the lack of really any scientific evidence of any health benefit. Beyond that, we have toxic chemicals in our household products, our cleaning products, personal hygiene products. Fruits and vegetables have been treated with herbicides and pesticides. Chickens and cows are fed ground chicken and beef. Then pumped full of antibiotics to stave off disease from the horrific conditions in which they live and where they're slaughtered. So we have all of those, you know, all of this chemical toxicity. That's the first concern.
The second is the biggest toxic exposure which is related to stress, and people don't realize this but as much as 80% of all disease is the result of stress and having had the ability to travel all over the world and visit, you know, I believe I've been to over 40 countries now, you find that we in America are the most stressed out country on the planet. We work more than any other activity other than sleep. Just think about our normal lives, we wake up every day and we're running on empty from morning to night. We've got the pressures at work, at home, the challenges sustaining some sort of happy relationship with our significant others. We've got the demands of the kids, trying to pay the bills. We have all of the negativity in the news. We're all trying to live the American dream which is predicated on financial freedom, but the truth is only a fraction of people out there actually ever realize the American dream and the rest of us are simply trying to get by, and, you know, we're buried in a mountain of debt. All of these things add up to a lot of worry and stress and to cope with this stress, what do we do? We drink, we smoke, we take drugs, we over eat, we eat the wrong foods and we spend hours in front of the television or surfing the internet. All of these activities, unfortunately make us fat, lazy and out of shape, and what happens is this poor health that's created from this self addictive lifestyle creates, and opens the door for these big fat health and fitness lies. One of them is companies that market, manufacture and market and sale products that have no chance of helping us and then, of course, the worse thing is when we look to synthetic chemical compounds, prescription drugs, as the first line of defense to handle our self inflicted health problems. So we really have a lot of issues that we have to deal with in order to be healthy, but people need to understand the basis of where it starts, the cause.
Kevin: Yes. How does someone take that sort of addiction or quote unquote addictive personality and turn that into fitness success?
Craig: Well the first thing they have to do is identify it.
Kevin: Yes.
Craig: You have to realize it. Here's, here's a fact that's pretty important that people should know about, the number one reason that people give for not exercising regularly is that they don't have enough time, okay. Yet the average American watches four and a half hours of television a day. So there's an issue there with priority and people have to understand that time is the most important and the most valuable thing that we have because once it's gone you can't get it back. If you want to improve your health, you have to make time to do all of the things that are necessary to improve and enhance your health and your life and it's not just exercise but it is one of the key components. So they have to first understand the issues and then have the right motivation and set the right priorities to get them to where they need to be.