Fitness: Did you hear?…Augie's Quest earns $1 million for ALS research, plus HFB party, SportsArt, SGMA Fly In, Johnson Health Tech, Matrix, Everlast, a goat-milking kick-butt granny, and more…

Augie's Quest earns $1 million for ALS research, plus HFB party sponsor SportsArt adds fun touch, SGMA reveals lengthy FLy In attendee list, Johnson Health Tech gets new HQ, a goat-milking kick-butt granny, and more...

For the week of Sept. 7-12

>> In addition to receiving National Fitness Industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Augie Nieto was given a check for more than $1 million for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s ALS Division. Nieto, a fitness industry entrepreneur fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease), said the funds raised will go directly to an ALS research fund, “Augie’s Quest… Cure ALS Research Fund,” he started to help others with the disease. The $1 million raised made MDA history as its largest-grossing, first-time event. The night will fund more than 16,000 hours of ALS research. Nieto said he will personally work with the country’s top ALS experts to choose how funds from his “Quest” are spent on ALS research. For more information on the fund, visit To read our SNEWS® story about Augie and his cause from Aug. 19, 2005, “Augie Nieto discusses life as he cruises toward Life Time Achievement Award,” click here.

>> With such a good time to be had at this year’s Industry Party at the Wynkoop Brewery sponsored yet again by SportsArt, we forgot we were also working – put down that beer! — and to tell SNEWS® readers about it. As in years past, the industry party sponsored by SportsArt Fitness provided attendees with the opportunity to mingle and network away from the show floor while having a little fun. With the party slated to start at 6:30 or 30 minutes after the show’s close, the place was surprisingly already jumping by nearly 7; folks musta been thirsty and hungry. Hundreds came out to stretch their legs at the shindig, and many stayed around to soak up the atmosphere of Denver’s oldest brewery even after the festivities officially closed down. SportsArt’s presence was felt by hand-outs of yo-yos in clear acrylic with logo embedded in it with green LEDs – attention-grabbing to say the least. SNEWS® managed to snag one of the other branding elements: A clear acrylic cue ball with the XTrainer logo floating inside. THIS is a keeper. Thanks, SportsArt, for the fun.

>> Are you attending the SGMA’s Fly In for Fitness advocacy event in Washington, D.C., Sept. 20-21? SNEWS® is and so are representatives from these companies: 2nd Wind Exercise Equipment, Accusplit, American Council on Exercise, Balazs, Body-Solid, Danskin Fitness, Everlast Worldwide, Fitness Resource, Fitness Quest, Horizon Fitness, Icon Health & Fitness, Lamar Health Fitness & Sports, Moving Comfort, Nautilus, New Balance Athletic Shoe, Nike, Paramount Fitness, Polar Electro, Inc.m Sears, Star Trac, The Sports Authority, Under Armour, Universal Gym Equipment, and Vision Fitness. We bet that list will grow by the time the event hits. To find out more, click here.

>> Johnson Health Tech North America has broken ground on a building to become its new North American headquarters. The 216,000-square-foot building in Cottage Grove, Wis., east of Madison, is slated to cost $10.5 million, will be on 14.7 acres and will become the home of JHT subsidiaries, Matrix Fitness, Horizon Fitness and the JHT North America R&D center. Until now, the companies have operated separate offices. JHT company’s Vision Fitness will remain on its own campus slightly farther east in Lake Mills because, as Vision’s Chris Cox put it, the company’s facility is new (just built in 2001), with plenty of room to grow, and many members of its team live in the immediate area. For those divisions that do move into the one building, they will continue to be operated separately and will be dedicated to their individual product lines, but design, information technology, and human relations functions will be shared. Said Kent Stevens, Matrix vice president of sales, “We will have a permanent state of the art showroom and huge training area to view and try our full line of equipment.” Construction is expected to start this fall and will be completed in a year. When it opens, 130 JHT employees will be based at the new facility. In line with company growth, JHT estimates that it will have more than 300 employees by 2010.

>> Scott Reeves and Rich Fonbuena have joined Wisconsin-based Matrix Fitness Systems as territory sales managers. Reeves is now covering the South Central Territory and Fonbuena is representing Matrix Fitness in the Northwest Territory. Reeves was the health and fitness Director of a YMCA and has a bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology from Southern Illinois University. Fonbuena has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and was the key account manager at Balanced Body.

>> The Harvard Health Letter has reported that “quickie workout programs” such as Curves often promise too much. But the report also concludes that any physical activity better than none. Most studies show that to prevent disease and weight gain, you need much more exercise than any of these programs recommend, reported the September issue of the Harvard Health Letter from Harvard Medical School. And any routine that doesn’t include aerobic exercise is “sorely lacking,” pointing to several that only incorporate strength-training. “While these quickie workouts are shortcuts that most Americans can’t afford to take,” the newsletter acknowledged that brief bouts of activity like the ones promoted by these centers and books may be worthwhile for some. “After all, a little exercise is better than none,” the letter wrote.

>> RUSSIA – Look to the ispo trade show in Russia from Sept. 14-17, 2005, to have a large emphasis on fitness this year since the fitness segment is growing exponentially. For more,

>> Everlast Worldwide has entered into a licensing agreement with Misterio del Mar S.L. of Vigo, Spain, for the launch of Everlast-branded sports apparel and hats for men, women and children in Spain, Portugal and the Canary Islands. Set to debut fall 2006, the new Everlast products will be sold through sporting goods retailers and department stores.

>> IHRSA is launching a new bi-monthly consumer publication titled Get Active!, which will be distributed to more than 400,000 active lifestyle consumers through IHRSA’s U.S. member health clubs. The debut issue is being distributed in September. The mission of the magazine, according to IHRSA, is to reinforce the adoption of a healthy lifestyle, offering articles on exercise programs, nutrition and beauty. In conjunction with the magazine, IHRSA has a companion website,, where visitors can access current and past Get Active! articles, relevant health information, exercise and nutrition tips, and even locate an IHRSA club. Further, visitors are able to send a personalized e-mail to their elected U.S. representatives on several important health and fitness related issues.

>> The National Retail Federation is encouraging its members to endorse ICE, which stands for “In Case of Emergency,” a new awareness campaign that will allow ambulance crews, police officers, and rescue personnel to quickly contact family or friends in the event of an accident or disaster. The ICE initiative, conceived by a paramedic in England, is to have cell phone users program the acronym ICE before the names of the people they want to designate as emergency contacts in their cell phone address book. Retailers nationwide are getting involved in the campaign, asking their employees to program an ICE contact into their cell phones and encouraging them to have their family and friends do the same. In the event that a person suffers an emergency in a retail store where they are unable to communicate, store employees and emergency personnel will be able to search the customer’s phone for ICE listings and notify family or obtain medical histories.

>> When you gotta set up a new employee’s cubicle in the men’s bathroom (for a woman, no less), you know it’s time to move. The Portland Business Journal takes a look at the impending move of Nautilus Inc. to its new 23-acre campus in East Vancouver, the company’s evolution in the last two years and some insight straight from Chairman and CEO Gregg Hammann’s mouth, including about how the product when he arrived looked more like “farm equipment.” Click here to read.

>> IHRSA recently reported that association membership in Europe has increased by 115 percent since October of last year, representing record growth for the association in Europe. It credited the growth in the last 10 months to the work of Herman Rutgers, IHRSA’s director-Europe, and its international development team. IHRSA currently has 1,604 European members in 24 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and United Kingdom. New member additions include ILAM in Ireland (300 clubs), Fit!Vak in the Netherlands (460 clubs), SATS across Scandinavia (90 clubs) and the Belgium Federation (De Fitness Organisatie) (175 clubs).

>> Who needs functional trainers and multi-weight dumbbells when you can milk goats? A news report out of Lithuania told the story of 93-year-old Soja Popova who opened her door at home recently and found two young muggers outside who shoved her to the floor. Did granny just cry for help? Heck, no. She reached up and grabbed one of the young men in a, well, sensitive area and squeezed with all her might. She told police that the man screamed “like an animal” and his friend couldn’t yank him free. Neighbors heard the screams and called police. Popova said she developed the vice-like grip by milking goats. Go granny, go granny, go granny, go!