Snyderman, Licensing Legislation Highlight Club Industry East

BOSTON -- The Club Industry East show last week drew industry professionals from the Northeast and even some from other areas of the country as the show returned to Boston for the first time since 2000. This year’s show was held in the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.

The main draws at the conference and trade show beyond the trade show floor and seminars were the keynote speaker, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, and the Thursday afternoon town hall meeting on the licensing of personal trainers.

Snyderman spoke on Thursday to a crowd of more than 200 people about how societal changes have affected people’s weight, eating habits and physical activity.

“We are gluttonous,” the NBC News chief medical editor told the crowd, admitting that she had at one time been 50 pounds heavier than she is today and had tried many types of diets.

Snyderman mentioned that in her new book, “Diet Myths That Keep You Fat,” she does not advocate cutting out any specific food group or even cutting out fast food altogether. Instead, she advocates changing the way people think about food. People should think about it as fuel, they should eat slowly, they should cut down their portion sizes and they should stop eating once they are full, she said. And, of course, people should increase their physical activity levels, she added.

She said that the fitness industry plays an important role in people’s lives.

“You are the truth tellers,” she told the audience of club operators, directors, general managers and personal trainers. “People look to you to tell them what’s true [about exercise and diet].”

Snyderman gave away free copies of her book, which she also signed after the keynote.

On Thursday afternoon, four panelists in the town hall meeting, “Pending Personal Training Legislation: How Could It Affect You?” addressed a crowd of approximately 60 people about pending legislation related to licensing of personal training. Amy Bantham, deputy vice president of government relations for the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), detailed the pending legislation in Massachusetts and New Jersey and IHRSA’s opposition to both bills. She also talked about legislation in California, to which IHRSA is more open. Earlier this year, the association for for-profit health club operators met with the author of the California bill to help revise it.

The panel also included Art Curtis, CEO of Millennium Partners and a member of IHRSA’s board of directors; Brian Biagioli, executive director of National Council on Strength and Fitness; and Amy Hyams, education program and accreditation consultant, who serves as a commissioner for the International Association of Continuing Education and Training.

On Friday afternoon, Will Phillips, CEO of REX Roundtables and founder of greenhealthclubs.org, moderated the free panel session, “It Is Easy Being Green: Saving Money (and the Planet) with Simple Green Ideas.” The panelists – Michael Curnyn, chief strategy and marketing officer of the Green Revolution Inc.; Gary Graham, co-founder of green architect Graham/Meus Inc.; and Hannah Kempski, marketing director of Healthworks Fitness Centers for Women – discussed green architecture, recycling and new cardio equipment that converts energy generated by exercising members into usable, green energy.

Not only is being green just the right thing to do, according to Phillips, but club operators also can save anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 per year on energy costs by going green.

Phillips advocates that health clubs can become the green leader in a community because no other type of business has picked up that role. Besides, he says, being green allows for brand consistency.

“How can you be a health club if you do not have a healthy environment?” Phillips asked.

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