Fitness: Did you hear?…LA Gym founders bid adieu, plus Germany's Karstadt, Dick Vitale, AB conference, Gold's Gym, NSGA, Fly In for Fitness, Precor, and more.

LA Gym owners bid adieu at Denver show, Karstadt sells its clubs in Germany, Precor named "Vendor of the Year" by Gold's, Dick Vitale to keynote at AB conference, and much more...

For the week of Aug. 30-Sept. 6

>> Running into former LA Gym owners Eli Ner-Gaon and Ran Radzewsky on the show floor at the Health & Fitness Business show, found the pair making the rounds, saying good-byes (for now, they say) and feeling pretty relaxed. Said Ner-Gaon, “it’s sweet and sour” about the sale. “It’s relaxing,” he added. “It’s a strange feeling.” He called the stores and their sale to Busy Body Home Fitness (see SNEWS® story, Aug. 17, 2005, “Busy Body parent FHI nabs LA Gym, will leave brand as-is”) an “achievement,” comparing it to a piece of art that someone works on and works on, making it just right, then somebody else wanting to buy it and take it away. They said they were to be around only about three weeks in the transfer, then gone – but not likely gone for good. No details, however.

>> GERMANY – Germany retail chain Karstadt, which expanded its fitness offering substantially not too long ago into the club arena, is selling its health club operations. Six fitness operations in three cities with 200 employees and 20,000 members have been sold to World of Fitness AG, based in Aachen. Financing was done by private-investment firm Waterland. World of Fitness until now operated 22 fitness centers with about 30,000 members.

>> Gold’s Gym International has been selected by American WholeHealth Network (AWHN) to be the leading fitness chain provider of its alternative benefit package. AWHN places its insurance clients with providers of alternative health services, including gyms and fitness centers, as part of its portfolio. Members are either covered under an affinity benefit program or a covered benefit program. An affinity benefit program is a national discounted program that, as part of this partnership, reduces Gold’s Gym enrollment fees up to 50 percent for AWHN members. Under the covered benefit program, currently available in 20 states and growing, the entire cost of the monthly gym membership fee is covered. In addition, both AWHN programs offer members access to Gold’s Gym’s 550 plus locations across the country. Gold’s Gym’s partnership with AWHN officially launched the program at its international convention in July.

>> The National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) is returning to a familiar location with new dates for its 42nd Annual Management Conference & Eighth Annual Team Dealer Summit. The 2006 event will return to The Westin LaCantera Resort in San Antonio, Texas, the site of the event in 2000. The new dates will be May 21-24. Originally scheduled for Hilton Head Island, S.C., the move was precipitated by space concerns for the 50th Anniversary Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame dinner. Speakers, panelists, workshop leaders and moderators will be announced as they are confirmed. For more information, contact Sue Wenderski or Chuck Suritz at NSGA, 847-296-6742; e-mail: Additional details are available at

>> We’ve told you once and we’ll tell you again: Mark your calendars for the upcoming Fly In for Fitness, where industry leaders will develop a policy agenda to take to members of Congress and deliver a strong message to legislators about the impact of the fitness industry on America’s health crisis. Scheduled for Sept. 20-21, the two-day event features four panels, speakers and one-on-one lobbying, and costs $175 for SGMA members and $225 for non-members. For more info and to register, click here. SNEWS® View: Never done a lobbying event in D.C.? Then be there. It’s well-worth it.

>> UNITED KINGDOM — Sport England said it is launching a national survey to determine how many people in England take part in sport and physical activity. The Active People survey will question 350,000 people over a period of a year — with at least 1,000 surveyed from every local authority area in the country. The study, which will also find out what activities people undertake and where they undertake them, will be repeated in three years to measure progress. The organization said the survey will form a major part of its initiative to develop England as an active and successful sporting nation, with the target of increasing participation in sport and physical activity by an average 1 percent a year. The Active People survey will start in October, with prelim results in February 2006 and final results in November 2006. For details, check out

>> Gold’s Gym International named Precor as its “Vendor of the Year” for 2004/2005, and Precor Sales Manager Jeff Hoke as the “Outstanding Support Individual.” Hoke is Gold’s gym’s principal contact with the Precor sales and service team. The awards were presented at an annual meeting of representatives from more than 600 Gold’s Gym facilities.

>> Dick Vitale will present the Athletic Business/NAYS keynote on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Athletic Business Conference & Expo. Vitale will present “The Game of Life” about the lessons learned from sports and how to apply them to business and daily life. The 24th Annual conference is Dec. 1-3, in Orlando, Fla. For more, click here.

>> Founded in 1945, Hibbett Sporting Goods said it will open its 500th store in the Colonial Promenade Alabaster in Alabama on Sept. 17. Hibbett has locations in 22 states, each typically within a two-hour drive of the other. The company employs about 5,000 throughout its footprint and about 500 in the Birmingham area.

>> What would your yogi think? The Wall Street Journal is reporting that yoga apparel is making the segue way from the studio to the street. The $1 billion yoga clothing industry is getting an added kick as the clothes find broader appeal — and morph into sexier styles, it said. To read more, click here after you are a registered WSJ user.