Talk Back

Dear Editor:

The December 2006 article, “Cardio Confusion,” includes a comment on the confusion members seem to have regarding cardio exercise. “They jump on the same machine with either their favorite fitness magazine…and [it] makes the hour go by faster, but weeks, months and even years later, the members still look the same,” the person is quoted as saying. That is the problem right there: cardio exercise is not prescribed to change your looks; it's designed to alter your heart's ability to function better by pumping blood to the muscles more efficiently.

The standard sales job in most gyms is that cardio is how to lose weight; therefore, people are frustrated when they don't. The real message should be that sufficient exercise — cardio and resistance — will assist a reduced-calorie, healthy dietary regimen in facilitating weight loss. The cardio burns calories, sure, but so does resistance exercise. And burning calories is not the only or even best way to lose weight, not compared to the ease of caloric reduction. We need to reinforce the value of cardio for its health benefits and its functional enhancement. The prescription for weight loss via cardio is so cumbersome on most people's lives that it is more a turn-off than an attraction.

A final note: clients who have been doing the same thing for years and still look the same should be praised. Most of their peers have gained weight, lost muscle and their fitness level. Whatever it takes to keep someone motivated is what I want for my clients, not the temporary and often unattainable body-changing weight loss too many fitness professionals espouse and rarely achieve for their clients.
Irv Rubenstein, Ph.D., exercise physiology
President, STEPS Inc.

Dear Editor:

I read with interest the article “AED Response” in the November 2006 issue. I felt there were a few statements in the article that should be clarified.

Industry Standards: Whether or not an industry creates a written standard, the standard still exists. What the standard is will be determined by a jury for each situation. However a good indication of what the standard may be is what juries have determined in the past. Because of the number of successful lawsuits against clubs for not having AEDs, I would advise that the industry standard is “you must have an AED in your club.”

Whether the legislature of a particular state passes a law requiring AEDs at health clubs does not change the legal standard. The statute would only memorialize what is probably the standard.

Good Samaritan Laws: I have been researching and writing about Good Samaritan laws recently. No state Good Samaritan laws protect health clubs. Good Samaritan laws only protect individuals, not businesses or corporations who assist injured people. A health club employee is required to provide care to injured members of a club; as such, most state Good Samaritan laws will not be applicable. Good Samaritan laws apply only to people who have no involvement in the incident that caused the injury. A first aid requirement or the fact that club employees must provide first aid to injured or ill members eliminates the “uninvolved passerby” requirement for Good Samaritan laws to provide a defense.

Cost: I find the argument that AEDs are an extraordinary cost to be redundant in these situations. If Town Sports International saved six people, the membership dues paid by a survivor exceeds zero paid by a deceased person. If only half of the people TSI saved are still members, the membership paid by the survivors has more than paid for the AED, let alone the lost time to the club if employees and managers are at depositions.
James H. Moss, JD
Fitness Law Review

Dear Editor,

As a 28-year veteran in the club industry, I still read every issue of Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro. However, two articles in the November 2006 issue were a little too negative. Michael Scott Scudder has been a great club advocate and consultant, but his article, “Is Our Model Out of Date?” concluded that our industry is a failure. My perspective on the industry is more optimistic than ever. We have towns in upstate New York that have 40 percent to 60 percent penetration. This causes some industry shakeout but is an indicator of the market acceptance to the present business model. Also, although I don't agree with Planet Fitness' business concept, they are getting some incredible market penetration. Nevertheless, Scudder should know that with every complaint he comes up with, he should provide a solution.

In the One Last Thought column, “You Can't Please Em All,” John Agoglia suffers from similar negativism. Certainly some people cannot be satisfied and will present complaints from diametrically opposed positions. Too hot and at the same time too cold. These people do this in all walks of their lives, so for us to throw up our hands in desperation is not productive. The majority of people have good comments and appreciate your response to their comments/complaints. I still get good ideas from the comment box.
Alan Hanford
Penfield Fitness and Racquet Club

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