Archive for April, 2012

Hydration: Heed your body’s thirst cues

- April 5th, 2012

(Note: Today’s post is from guest blogger Allison Tai, owner of Urban Fitness Movement.)

Allison Tai says 'you know best.'

I ran a stair race this morning that took me six and a half minutes. That’s right, six and a half minutes. Even the group at the back took around 15 minutes, which leads me to believe that race times were about equivalent to that person’s mile time plus about 5%. I have never seen a water station in a mile race, yet there were two water stations on this course.

As a coach and athlete, I realize that water consumption during exercise can be a deeply personal issue for people. Some cling to water bottles during 30-minute yoga classes, others forgo hydration during two-hour hard interval sessions. But do either of these groups of people need or not need water? In Dr. Seuss fashion, I believe the answer is yes.

As has been shown recently, a 1-2% dehydration level (the amount typically agreed to trigger thirst) is not likely to cause a serious loss in performance. Ask Haile Gebreselaise if he was dehydrated when he ran the world record for the marathon, and he would tell you that he suffered a 10% loss in body weight due to dehydration. In fact, the faster you run, the more likely you are to be dehydrated at the finish line*.

Allison Tai listens to her body.

So what about the piles of studies that show dehydration to be a big factor in a decline of performance? The same studies funded by bottled water and sport drink companies? Well, most often, the participants are in a forced state of dehydration and they are not allowed to drink according to their thirst cues. Of course, performance declines. Yet somehow, this decline is attributed to dehydration (and thus thirst being a poor indicator) as opposed to correctly reasoning that people should drink when they are thirsty lest their performance suffer. Suddenly a major part of sport performance is who can drink the most water. And people started dying.

Enter hyponatremia. Originally (and often still) thought to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from dehydration, it caused a major backlash against “overhydrating” some years ago. Interestingly, the sport drink companies managed to make lemonade from these lemons so to speak — by stating that electrolytes would prevent you from swinging either way. As we have seen from the fact that 30% of all Ironman triathlon finishers have been both dehydrated and hyponatremic, the spectrum appears to … well … not be a spectrum after all**.

So, if I have convinced you to forgo water and become as dehydrated as possible in order to run faster, you have really missed my point. The main problem with studies that look at dehydration is that they are typically performed in a lab under unnatural conditions with a total disregard for thirst cues. My argument is that yet again, you know best. If you get thirsty when you run and you have no water, that likely impacts your performance (not to mention your enjoyment) but if you do not get thirsty, it is doubtful that swigging water will give you game (maybe just a sloshy tummy).

*http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2010/11/15/bjsm.2010.074641.short?q=w_bjsm_ahead_tab

**http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/salt.html

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Allison Tai is the owner of Urban Fitness Movement. Email her at info@urbanfitnessmovement.com or call her at 778-989-1836.

Three steps to more fitness memberships

- April 2nd, 2012

(Note: Today’s post is from guest blogger Joy Gendusa, owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm PostcardMania.)

Three steps to landing more fitness memberships

There is so much advice out there about marketing, and if you read enough of it, you probably have the idea that marketing is some mystical art that works every now and again for reasons unknown. But that just isn’t the case. Marketing can be consistently productive — and even predictable — if you follow the right outline. And it’s really pretty simple.

Here are the three steps to landing more memberships for your gym or fitness company …

1. Identify your target market

Of the three steps involved in creating a successful marketing campaign, this is the least glamorous — and most important! If you skip this step, or don’t take it seriously, you will most likely fail in your marketing. And if you don’t fail, you certainly won’t get the most for your money.

When trying to identify your target market, your best source of information is your current customer base. Are they mostly 20-somethings? Middle age? If you are an established business, you may even have multiple target markets. For example, your gym atmosphere may attract a younger crowd, but you also offer health classes for the elderly in the mornings. In this case, you would have two different target markets — and each would require their own marketing campaign.

Whatever the case is with your business, you need to figure it out. Who is the most likely to respond to your advertisements? Go ahead and create your ideal customer in your head. Do they have a family? How much do they make? Are they fit already? All these questions help you narrow down exactly who you want to target with your marketing materials.

2. Promote to your target market

Once you have an idea of who your target market is, you need to find a way to actually target them with your marketing. Personally, I don’t know of a better or more effective way to do this than postcards.

The reason is that you can obtain a targeted mailing list that ensures every one of your cards goes to a legitimate prospect in your target population. These are raw leads, which means they are probably not looking for you — yet, based on reviewing your customer database, we already know they are likely to want what you have to offer simply because other similar folks did!

Once you have a list of prospects that fall into your target market population, all you have to do is mail to them. The key to this is consistency and perseverance. The more someone sees an ad from your business, the more likely they are to respond to it — especially if you have done your research in the targeting phase. This means the more you mail, the better your return will be. And as you grow, you can begin to widen your scope and target different markets as well.

3. Follow up with new leads

So now you know who your target market is and you’ve sent them a direct mail postcard. What now?

Well, you field their calls. People are going to respond, which means they are going to call you or go online for more information. You need to be ready to collect their contact information so you can follow up with them. This means at the very least you get their name, email address and how they found out about you (so you can verify the effectiveness of your campaigns). You can do this over the phone simply by asking, and online by requesting that they fill out a form to get a discount or more information, etc.

Once you have their info, you should have an email follow up system in place that keeps your name in front of them and warms them up into a sale or membership. At the very least, this should be a monthly email newsletter. Ideally, it should be an automated-response “funnel” system that sends them periodic emails based on what phase of the sales process they are currently in. Meaning, if they actually had a dialogue with someone in your organization but didn’t buy yet they are hotter than someone that simply downloaded a free report. Depending on this activity or lack thereof determines which email “funnel” they are in and what message you send them. But that’s fodder for another article.

If you take these steps seriously and are consistent and persistent with your marketing, they will work and your business will grow. I’ve seen it literally thousands of times in my career. Target. Promote. Follow up. This is how you build a thriving fitness business and pump up your membership.

About Joy Gendusa

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. Joy began PostcardMania in 1998, with nothing but a phone and a computer, never taking a dime of investment capital. Joy originally started PostcardMania as a full-service postcard marketing company helping clients create turn-key marketing campaigns with graphic design, printing, mailing list acquisition and mailing services. Since then, PostcardMania has expanded to offer its clients more services including website and landing page design and development, email marketing and full marketing evaluations — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice.

In 2010, PostcardMania reached more than $19 million in annual revenue and the company now employs more than 190 people, prints 4 million and mails 2 million postcards each week, and has more than 50,000 customers in over 350 industries.

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Fitness 4×6

Complete challenges from Oprah’s trainer, win prizes

- April 1st, 2012

bob

Bob Greene, the exercise guru best known as “Oprah’s trainer,” is launching a motivational program this month that’s sure to get people excited about health and fitness.

Here are the deets that were emailed to me:

Get your spring health and fitness goals off to a rocking start with Bob Greene’s “The Best Life” all during the month of April and win prizes with The Best Life’s “Spring Into Small Changes” program. (www.thebestlife.com.)

As you know, small changes can make all the difference when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle and losing weight.

Join Bob Greene and The Best Life for a month of doable challenges that will make a big difference in your health — and enter to win Bob’s bestselling The Life You Want book or a Best Life-approved Blendtec blender!

How to participate: Check for the small change challenge of the day on Best Life’s Facebook and Twitter feed daily at 11:30 Eastern. To participate, simply fulfill the challenge and tag Best Life on the photo (Facebook) or mention @bestlifediet on Twitter! Participants will be entered into a random drawing with 50 winners receiving Bob Greene’s book and one lucky participant — a Blendtec blender at the end of the month.

Examples of Upcoming “Small Changes” Challenges:

• Show us your water bottle

• Detail your workout today

• Show us your healthy snack

Anyone can participate, but only U.S. and Canada residents (Quebec excluded) are eligible to win prizes. Best Life will be there every small step of the way to encourage and celebrate your small victories.

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Website:http://www.edmontonsun.com/author/cary-castagna

Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Keeping-Fit-with-Cary-Castagna/106367266730

YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/user/CaryIsKeepingFit#g/u

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/cary-castagna/