How to drive new business with local news coverage of your gym.

Hosting a charitable event for an important cause makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. It also helps the bottom line at your fitness facility.

  1. Charitable events connect members socially and increase retention.
  2. Charitable events encourage members to recruit friends to help support the cause.
  3. Charitable events are a good reason for a featured story in the local news.

The fight against ALS is an important cause within the fitness industry. Augie’s Quest has done incredible work that has lead to major breakthroughs in treatment of the disease. ACAC in Charlottesville received some great local news coverage for riding in an Expresso challenge to support Augie’s Quest.

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The ALS challenge was open to a handful of clubs with a tradition of supporting Augie’s Quest. In the past, the Expresso community has supported the Boys and Girls Club, the Alzheimer’s Association, Livestrong and many more important causes. In September we will be riding to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society in the third annual Pedal to End Cancer.

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For 100 years, The American Cancer Society has been leading the fight to end cancer. With your support, we can help usher in an era where more people survive cancer than ever before. Join us to help finish the fight. And don’t forget to tell your local TV stations about it!

Three Months and 1,300 Miles Later

On October 27th, just before the Expresso Top 100 Ghostbusters II challenge ended, Linda Atkinson, age 60, rounded the bend to complete the ride she saved for last: Savage Revenge. She pedaled hard on this celestial 20-mile ride through virtual space at the Waterworld Geelong facility in Norlane VIC, Australia. “You’ll never catch me!” she yelled to Gary Simpson, who she was racing to the finish line on the bike next to her. Linda beat Gary by three minutes.

The GB II challenge required riders to beat “ghosts” or personal best times in past rides. Because she was new to the Expresso bikes, she had not ridden this route before and opted to ride it twice that day. With her friends cheering around her, Linda completed Savage Revenge the second time. “I had a cry when I finished it because I knew I was at the top [of the Expresso leaderboards] and I was so proud,” explained Linda. Linda went on to ride 600 miles in October, 350 miles in November, and 400 this month.

15 years ago, she would not have been able to accomplish this. Linda has a condition called Hypothyroidism – her immune system is attacking her thyroid gland – as well a vitamin B-12 deficiency. Linda worked 20 hours a week and was also a room attendant which is tiresome for anyone, but Linda suffered from extreme fatigue and tightness in her chest. After being placed in many hospitals, she was diagnosed and treated. Slowly her energy returned. “I’m very grateful to have my health back and now I look forward to riding the bikes every day,” she says.

Linda joined Waterworld nine years ago and began using the spa mostly. It was a six-year process to become active again, but she slowly fell into an exercise routine. In July, the instructors at her facility created an active adults program called Livewell. This program is designed for adults over the age of 55 to encourage a healthy and active lifestyle. The program’s participants are required to get a doctor’s approval, meet to exercise together at the facility, and are given weekly exercise goals to meet. “My instructor, Pam, uses weight-training, balance exercises, and cardio with the Expresso bikes.”

During Senior Month in Australia, in October, Livewell created an Expresso bike challenge asking the members to compete for the most miles. Linda won with 500 miles and was awarded a t-shirt and gift bag. She continued to ride the rest of the month and reached 604 miles by the end of the month. This was her first win on the Expresso bike and not the last. “It made me stronger and very happy,” she explains. “It was quite a social event too. I met a lot of people through it.”

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She competed in the Ghost Busters II Expresso Top 100 challenge while simultaneously racking up miles for the Livewell challenge. On that day at the end of October, she chose to do Savage Revenge twice to get it done and over with. She took only a half an hour break between the rides. She explained that the first Savage ride was harder because she rode slower to leave a margin to beat her personal best time. The second ride went much quicker. “I felt elated [after completion].” she says. “It was very emotional for me because of my history of illnesses. It was like winning a gold medal.”

Hypothyroidism and her B-12 deficiency cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Linda is more than managing – she’s competing and conquering. “I love seeing that you get in front of a ghost,” says Linda. “I’ve got a competitive nature and I love seeing the finish line!”

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Worldwide Top 100 Power Couple – Tom and Diane Walton

Tom and Diane Walton have been married for 43 years and live in Powhatan County, Virginia. Tom and Diane are both retired teachers. For the past nine years, they’ve been enjoying their retirement by fishing in local ponds. On Monday, Tom hunted and caught a wild turkey by the James River in anticipation of the holidays. With the exception of the first Ghost Busters challenge in June, Tom and Diane have been ranked in the top 15 worldwide in the Expresso Top 100 monthly challenges for the past ten months. “I found out you could compete and competing is something I respond to,” says Tom.

In May of 2012, before the Top 100 challenges existed, Tom and Diane first hopped on an Expresso bike at the Greater Richmond YMCA. They spent time riding every tour and casually rode until December when they started to practice chasing dragons on Proving Grounds. The next month, the first challenge was released: Turkey Day Giveaway, a race for the most calories burned. Tom and Diane started to climb the leaderboards and in March, Tom and Diane took 2nd and 3rd place in the world for dragon chasing in the Dragon Hunter challenge. “People see us in our 60s and say ‘if they can do it, we can do it too’,” says Tom.

Tom & Diane's Stats
Click to view Tom & Diane’s Stats from the past year

By July, the Waltons were fully immersed in the Expresso world. The month’s challenge was Le Tour d’ Expresso, a competition in which riders needed to complete the tours allotted on certain days. Simultaneously, Interactive Fitness created a FUNraiser just for YMCA’s. They agreed to donate ten cents for every mile ridden that month to the facility that rides the most miles. The couple went into the gym every day, about 2 or 3 times a day, and use word-of-mouth to promote the program – resulting in about 30 Expresso participating riders. The strategy was to complete the rides designated for the Tour de Expresso that day, then ride as much as they could for the FUNraiser. 75 people rode 9,643 miles, won, and raised $538 – then a YMCA board member matched it. Their facility provides services for low-income residents, which influenced the gym to win. Although the Top 100 challenge spans the whole month, the FUNraiser ended on the 17th – but the YMCA members kept riding. Tom explains, “we were in it for the money at first, but then it was about pride!”

Tom and Diane grew up with active lifestyles and are driven by competition. Tom played basketball in school and Diane had less of an opportunity to play sports because her family moved around often, but kept active in her own time anyway. Diane explains that she may be more competitive than her husband, “I’ve got an older brother and he never let me be on his team until I started to beat him.”

Tom placed more importance on health after his father and sister passed away from stomach complications. The couple feel lucky to be healthy and vivacious. Diane proudly admits that they don’t need medicine to live day-by-day. Tom explains his emphasis on fitness, “you only get one body and you need to try to take care of it,” he explains. “I just feel like if you don’t use it, you lose it.”

Since retiring, Tom and Diane compete in half-marathons monthly on top of the Expresso monthly challenges. Their youngest daughter, Mary, a certified personal trainer, motivated her parents to enter a half-marathon at Disney World. It’s now the couple’s fourth year completing the Disney run, Richmond half marathon, and the Virginia Tech run. They average about 16-24 miles a week running around Powhatan. Tom explains how running and biking on Expresso have helped each other and increased his endurance. “It started out as more of a cross-training for running and now you could say that running is a cross-training for riding the Expresso bikes,” says Tom.

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In addition to running and biking the Expresso tours, Tom and Diane became absorbed in chasing dragons in the Expresso game, Proving Grounds – or the “chase game”. Tom says that he used to get 12,000 points in a 5-minute game and now get’s 44,000 points. He explains that his strategy is to recognize the terrain, stay away from certain parts of the map where it’s harder to obtain points, and even focus on some Chase game secrets. On the months when the challenge does not interest them, like the October Ghost Busters 2 challenge, they follow the Chase points leaderboard for the month and occupy spots in the top 5 or better. “I believe that my mind is mentally sharper now than before I started,” Tom says. “It’s good for the brain and makes me concentrate more.”

In August, Expresso released the Summer Sprints challenge with three sub-challenges. Tom and Diane participated heavily in the Chase portion called the Dragon Hunter Sprint. Again, Tom and Diane recruited riders to participate. Tom recalls the challenge, “a 75-year-old guy with both his knees replaced rode for eight hours that day,” he says. “We had more fun that day than any other because of the Expresso competition.”

One of the younger riders pulled up the Interactive Fitness Facebook page on his smartphone and noticed that a fellow dragon hunter by the name of Ken Dunn posted that Tom must have been cheating because of his accumulation of points. Ken later admitted that he knew the Powhatan facility closed at six so he stopped riding, thinking the YMCA would no longer be competing. But the YMCA stayed open late that night for the challenge. At seven, Ken saw the couple’s facility was still racking up points and gave up. Tom and Ken didn’t previously know each other but Tom wanted to contact Ken. “I called him and it was a lot of fun,” Tom says lightheartedly. “He said to me, ‘maybe you could give me insight into the Chase game,’ and I said ‘no, you’re too dang good!’”

There are about 23 YMCA’s in the Richmond area and the Powhatan one is one of the smallest. Tom explains that winning the Top 100 challenges is their claim to fame. “People ask us what we were doing and they would say it’s amazing that we could ride so much in a day, but it really isn’t,” Tom says. “Anyone could do it. If you set goals and work at it, you’ll improve.”

Try and Chase Ken Dunn

Ken Dunn, age 55, is a man that’s built his career in insurance bonds at Liberty Mutual and it’s preceding companies for 33 years. He and his wife enjoy traveling, having just roamed the North Dakota hills last month. They tour doing mission work and have called Pineville, North Carolina home for the past 19 years. Ken eats regularly and rode a leisurely 19.8 miles on Expresso tours in September. He may not have high mileage on the regular tours, but Ken is the #1 rider with the most miles on the Expresso Chase game of all time with 309,080,939 points and 62,549.92 miles accumulated – more than doubling the circumference of the earth.

Ken first discovered the bike in August of 2007 at the Anytime Fitness gym in Charlotte, NC. After a few years of indulging in Expresso, the gym’s bike struggled with internet connection, limiting Ken’s tour options and records. So in March of 2012, Ken opted to scrounge up the funds to purchase one and create a home gym. For Ken, it was worth the cost. At the Ken Dunn home gym, he has the Expresso bike set up in his upstairs home office. He works out everyday at 6 a.m. for an hour a day, 45 minutes on Saturdays, and rests on Sundays. He sets goals day-to-day and if he doesn’t hit them in the hour allotted, he’ll ride longer to hit it. “The best time to work out is in the morning, about 30 minutes after you wake up so I try to get an hour in every morning.”

Ken chases the dragon on his Expresso chariot for an hour a day.

He’s been an athlete for much of his life and was into weight training and bodybuilding. But as he grew in age, weight became more difficult to manage. By the time he joined Anytime, he was 235 lbs, a frequent guest at the doctor’s office, and slept every night with machines and tubes connected to his face. Ken had sleep apnea. He visited the doctor and asked if losing weight would help his sleep. The doctor replied that it was doubtful. “I said ‘I don’t believe you,’” Ken disagreed. “I went to the gym, it was boring as heck and then I got on an Expresso bike and it felt like 30 minutes on there was ten minutes.” Ken became engrossed in the virtual cycling world.

But he isn’t interested in the regular Expresso tours on trails following a pacer and racing your past best rides. He prefers the Chase game where the rider scores points for capturing coins and hunting dragons. Five months after he joined the gym, Ken was up at 6 a.m. chasing dragons in a challenge put on by his gym to be the first to reach one-million points. Ken reached it by 11:20 a.m., about 20 minutes before the second place rider. Ken enjoys focusing on the fun, rather than the strain on his legs and the Chase game helps him achieve many miles without fatigue. “The Chase game makes you concentrate more than the regular tours,” he explains. “You’re going to find the right dragon and you don’t realize you’re going up and down hills.”

This internal gym challenge sparked Ken’s inner fire for dragon chasing. In March of this year, after Ken had been riding the digital chariot on Expresso at his home gym for a few years, Interactive Fitness presented the Top 100 Dragon Hunter Challenge on a worldwide scale.The challenge was that, for the month of March, the team – separated by different fitness centers – that gains the highest Chase score wins. Ken had a disadvantage with only one member at his home gym – himself. By the end, Ken, the one-man team in North Carolina, got 11th in the world with 8,593,227 points. But Ken’s goals are mostly internal. “It just makes me go into the gym every morning with a set regiment to reach certain goals,” he says. “Why?  Because I lost 40 pounds that first year – good reason to keep it going.”

In February of 2008, only after six months of riding on Expresso, Ken’s sleep apnea was almost completely gone. He explains that when he reaches over 200 lbs, his sleep apnea becomes a problem. The Chase game keeps him motivated to keep the weight off. Ken no longer uses the machine to sleep at night. “I don’t need it. I put it away in the attic and don’t want to ever use it until I’m too old to exercise,” he says. “The Expresso saved my whole sleep experience at night.”

A week after Ken’s first taste of competitive victory at the Anytime Fitness Dragon Chase to one-million challenge, Ken began to set personal goals for himself. At about November of every year, Ken sets a target to reach 10,000 total miles more than the previous year- mostly through the Chase game – by the end of the following year. He checks in and revises in the middle of the year depending on his progress. He’s expecting to reach 320,000,000 points by the end of this year.“I just like to compete,” he says. “And I compete against myself.”

Ken says all of his numbers – blood pressure, heart rate, etc. – in his annual physical are perfect. He no longer has pain when he exercises and sleeps peacefully every night. “I can honestly say I’m healthier than I was 20 years ago,” he says. “I can see myself doing this for 20 years to come.”

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Pedal for Patriots

Christian Fitzgerald, from Atlanta, Georgia is inventor of the Orion convection cooker. He specializes in smoked and steamed meats like turkey and ribs and reduced the cook time with his design. He spends his days running his business and residing with his wife and two daughters. On October 24th, 2013, he plans to ride from Atlanta to coast-central Florida in six days.

In February of this year, Christian went on a business trip to Los Angeles. He extended his trip so he and his wife could visit a friend in San Diego while in Southern California. His friend [remains nameless due to privacy policies] serves in the Naval force and took them on a tour around the base in Coronado Island. They visited a room that had pictures covering a far wall of all the Navy SEALs whose lives have been lost since the beginning of the War on Terror. “It just struck me how there are these warriors putting themselves in harm’s way 24/7 so that we can sleep at night knowing that our country is safe,” he says on his website. “I decided that day that I would do what I could to give back to sailors and their families.”

Christian devised a plan to raise $25,000 for the Navy SEAL Foundation. Rob Howells, Christian’s “bike sensei” and life-long friend, encouraged him to bike for the cause. He mapped out a 580-mile route of mostly flat land, crossing the border of Florida onto Highway 1A1. In hopes of a breeze off the Atlantic Ocean to his left, he’ll pedal all the way to his destination: the Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce. He looks forward to the solace of the road, having never driven this avenue or walked reenactment battle grounds at the museum.

Christian's 580-mile route to the Navy SEAL museum in Ft. Pierce, FL.
Christian’s 580-mile route to the Navy SEAL museum in Ft. Pierce, FL.

After two years as a member at the Metro Atlanta YMCA, visiting only for a relaxing sweat in the steam room, Christian prepared to start a rigorous training schedule. On March 5th, he tried Fruitdale, the 4.42-mile route on flat virtual terrain on the Expresso bike. “I can’t afford [biking outside] every day of the week to go out so I’ve got to find an alternative,” he explains. “I found the Expresso bike and completely fell in love with it.”

Christian began a carefully scheduled routine: get as many miles as possible before launch day. On weekends if the weather permits, he’ll bike outside from morning until 5:45 p.m. and reach 120 miles a day on the paved Silver Comet Trail through dense trees, over bridges and farmland all the way to the Alabama border then return home. During the rest of the week, he bikes 50 miles a day on Expresso. He chooses routes like Ascension, a virtual galactic 18.2-mile climb to it’s peak at 1788 ft. He aims for 25 miles in the morning and 25 miles after work in the evening. “When I’m talking to my friends about it, I don’t call it a stationary bike,” he explains. “I just call it ‘the trainer’.”

Christian will not be pedaling alone on his expedition. Ken Guillory, a retired Army vet and friend, will be his following in a car as his support with water, food, innertubes and an extra bike. They’ve spent the last six months pouring over maps and finalizing the details. Ken is completely capable of fixing any bike mishaps, is what Christian calls “more than proactive”, and will also be driving along for mental support. Christian describes his friend’s reinforcement, “He told me, ‘Christian, I’ll be doing everything to make sure the ride is successful.’”

With the many hours that Christian spends in the Expresso virtual tours and outside on trails, he still makes time to spend with his two young daughters and wife. His goal is to reach the Navy SEAL museum by October 29th to be able to fly home in time to see his kids trick-or-treat. “I have a goal of finishing this ride, but my responsibility as a husband and father is first and foremost,” he says. “The Expresso allows me to do just that; I can ride ride while they’ll sleep early in the morning and ride after work and still have time to kick the soccer ball around with them.”

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Christian enjoys tours on Expresso like Raven’s Roost and Ascension for the constant climb and strain on the legs. He explains the training he receives from it differs from biking outdoors because there’s no opportunity to coast. The rigorous routes command continuous leg motion. “I honestly like the elevation,” he says. “1700 feet in elevation and a ton of cardio. It’s a better workout because you’re constantly working your legs.”

To raise the money, he’s reached out to his local newspapers but with no luck yet. He mostly shares his hopes by word-of-mouth, his Facebook page, and website. Christian hopes to make it an annual event and looks forward to his first 100-mile-a-day trek at the end of October. “It’s going to be done. I’ve already made up my mind,” he says.

You can read more about his journey, track his progress, and donate on Christian’s website at: PedalFor.com. Or on his Facebook page facebook.com/PedalForPatriots.

Le Tour d’Expresso Champions!

What a month it has been. Le Tour d’Expresso has been filled with all the peaks, valleys, and drama of a classic bike race. The roads may be digital but the sweat is real and 84 of you sweated it out to the end! Each of our champions will be receiving an email from me with instructions on how to collect your shirt. Here are some cool stats on Le Tour:

Speed and Perseverance:
The times ranged from 6.3 to 15.4 hours on the bike.

Battle of the Sexes:
32 Women and 52 Men completed Le Tour.

Age is Just a Number:
1 teen, 7 twenty-somethings, 10 thirty-somethings, 28 forty-somethings, 25 fifty-somethings, 11 sixty-somethings and 2 incredible septuagenarians completed Le Tour.

Strength in Numbers:
18 teams had more than one rider complete the tour and Snap Fitness in Littleton, CO had 4!

Around the Globe:
1 Frenchman, 1 Englishman, 5 Canadians, 8 Aussies and 69 Americans completed Le Tour.

Bucking the Trend:
Overall our total miles for July were up 3.5% from June compared to last year where they were down 1% between these months.

We’re just like you:
Two Interactive Fitness employees actually made it to the end including our CEO!

Here are the final results:

Rank Name Gender Age Duration (hours) Facility City State
1 john huntington M 40-49 6.37 Anytime Fitness – Wangaratta Wangaratta Victoria
2 joe drew M 60-69 6.45 Wheatridge Recreation Center Wheatridge CO
3 Doug Picton M 40-49 6.48 Vidant Wellness Center Greenville NC
4 Neal Hubbard M 40-49 6.63 Folkestone Sports Centre UK
5 Tim Ridgwell M 40-49 6.65 Leisurelink Waurn Ponds Australia
6 Joe Strummer M 50-59 6.71 Elite Health and Fitness Stoughton MA
7 Jason Baker M 30-39 6.94 Anytime Fitness – Salisbury Downs Salisbury Downs Australia
8 Patrick Rush M 40-49 6.96 Big Vanilla Athletic Club – Pasadina Pasadina MD
9 William Lutz II M 40-49 6.99 Wolf Creek YMCA Maumee OH
10 Joulia Loic M 40-49 7.05 Keep Cool Avignon Avignon France
11 Duane Regenold M 50-59 7.08 Cedar Falls Recreation Center Cedar Falls IA
12 Kerry Adamson M 50-59 7.16 Tri City Court Club Kennewick WA
14 Marc Maddux M 40-49 7.18 Consumer Sedona AZ
14 Kara-Lynne McCaleb F 20-29 7.28 Crunch – 83rd Street New York NY
15 Ryan Steinberg M 30-39 7.30 Lionheart Fitness State College PA
16 Kevin Ingram M 40-49 7.35 Peak Health & Wellness Great Falls MT
17 Bob Vagonis M 50-59 7.40 YMCA – Delaware – Bear-Glasgow Family Newark DE
18 Andrew Kwan M 20-29 7.52 The Derrick Club Edmonton AB
19 Roger Reina M 50-59 7.60 Roger Reina Lafayette Hill PA
20 Tom Crouch M 40-49 7.66 Club Aquarius Mildura Australia
21 shaf thob M 50-59 7.70 Arbutus Club Vancouver BC
22 Daniel Troy M 50-59 7.86 YMCA (Buffalo – Independent Health Family Branch) Williamsville NY
23 Bob McDonald M 50-59 7.88 North Club State College PA
24 Bryan Wilcox M 20-29 8.01 YMCA – Greater Oklahoma City – Rockwell Plaza Oklahoma City OK
25 Albert Riccio M 20-29 8.01 Retro Fitness – Bellville Bellville NJ
26 A Princess F Under 20 8.01 YMCA (Buffalo – Independent Health Family Branch) Williamsville NY
27 Dave Anderson M 50-59 8.03 Health Unlimited Mount Airy MD
28 Tom Walton M 60-69 8.05 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Powhatan Branch Powhatan VA
29 Mark Molthan M 40-49 8.05 Mark Molthan Homes Dallas TX
30 J Peoples M 30-39 8.15 YMCA – Delaware – Bear-Glasgow Family Newark DE
31 Marc Caperna M 30-39 8.20 Anytime Fitness – Athelstone Athelstone Australia
32 Gina KOCH F 40-49 8.23 Snap Fitness – Littleton Littleton CO
33 Jason Lawter M 20-29 8.29 YMCA – Greater Oklahoma City – Edward L. Gaylord Downtown Oklahoma City OK
34 Kathryn Bacon F 40-49 8.31 Anytime Fitness – Seymour Seymour IN
35 Jeffrey Freedman M 50-59 8.50 Jeff Freedman Laurel MD
36 mark brown M 50-59 8.51 Snap Fitness – Littleton Littleton CO
37 Melanie Wheeler 🙂 F 20-29 8.57 Anytime Fitness – Seymour Seymour IN
38 Rob Whittemore M 50-59 8.60 Retro Fitness – Howell Howell NJ
39 Scott Cirello M 40-49 8.61 Urge Fitness Ewing NJ
40 Kristina Williams F 40-49 8.77 Midtown Athletic Club – Rochester Rochester NY
41 Jeremie Moen M 30-39 8.77 University of Iowa Iowa City IA
42 David Phillips M 50-59 8.79 Big Vanilla Athletic Club – Arnold Arnold MD
43 WUBA ’97 (Tawnya) Mullins F 30-39 8.85 Snap Fitness – Littleton Littleton CO
44 Maria Picton F 50-59 8.86 Vidant Wellness Center Greenville NC
45 Bruce Kamerer M 50-59 8.93 Anytime Fitness – North Quincy North Quincy MA
46 Michael Neiderer M 30-39 8.95 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Shady Grove Family Richmond VA
47 Chase McCaleb M 20-29 9.02 Crunch – 83rd Street New York NY
48 john morlock M 50-59 9.03 Gold’s Gym – Ashburn (Red Rum Dr) Ashburn VA
49 Brett Tucker M 60-69 9.35 JCC – Oshman Family Palo Alto CA
50 Karen Land F 40-49 9.40 The Gap Health & Racquet Club The Gap Australia
51 Lena Harris F 30-39 9.40 Wolf Creek YMCA Maumee OH
52 Bill Rourke M 70-79 9.42 JCC – Rochester Rochester NY
53 Bill Stensrud M 60-69 9.46 IFH Corporate Office Sunnyvale CA
54 Kevin Becker M 40-49 9.74 Lionheart Fitness State College PA
55 P. CookieLady F 50-59 9.78 Wolf Creek YMCA Maumee OH
56 deborah vagonis F 50-59 9.84 YMCA – Delaware – Bear-Glasgow Family Newark DE
57 Bileen Nel F 40-49 10.03 The Gap Health & Racquet Club The Gap Australia
58 Gwen Speirs F 60-69 10.11 The Glencoe Club Calgary AB
59 Clarke Ohrstrom M 50-59 10.47 Palmerstone The Plains VA
60 Kathy Moen F 30-39 10.47 University of Iowa Iowa City IA
61 Vanessa Christopher F 40-49 10.61 ACAC – Albemarle Square Charlottesville VA
62 Winton Spiller M 70-79 10.68 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Powhatan Branch Powhatan VA
63 L Bratton M 40-49 10.78 Little Rock Athletic Club Little Rock AR
64 Thinus Nel M 60-69 10.82 The Gap Health & Racquet Club The Gap Australia
65 Ron Ragan M 50-59 10.83 YMCA – Palm Harbor Palm Harbor FL
66 Michael Jordan M 60-69 10.89 Bodenhamer Center – City of Gulf Shores Gulf Shores AL
67 Sarah Finamore F 40-49 11.02 Anytime Fitness – Hespeler Cambridge, ON Canada
68 PAULA BOSS F 40-49 11.27 Anytime Fitness – Morris Plains Morris Plains NJ
69 Rita Tiarks F 60-69 11.29 The Center Council Bluffs IA
70 Kelly Wood F 50-59 11.37 Snap Fitness – Littleton Littleton CO
71 Diane Walton F 60-69 11.46 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Powhatan Branch Powhatan VA
72 Kate McCollough F 50-59 11.58 Anytime Fitness – Connersville Connersville IN
73 Martha Loti F 60-69 11.66 Sun City Texas Georgetown TX
74 Dawn Gilday F 40-49 11.74 Anytime Fitness – Uncasville Uncasville CT
75 Kathleen Sanders F 50-59 11.88 Anytime Fitness – Thurmont Thurmont MD
76 Lynn Bowdry F 40-49 11.91 Wheatridge Recreation Center Wheatridge CO
77 Mike Burgess M 40-49 11.97 Healthworks Wellness – Guthrie Hospital Painted Post NY
78 George O’Meara M 40-49 12.11 Anytime Fitness – North Quincy North Quincy MA
79 Sheila Wright F 40-49 12.26 Sheila Wright Belcamp MD
80 Cat Woman F 50-59 12.29 Arbutus Club Vancouver BC
81 Michelle Helmuth F 30-39 13.08 Urge Fitness Ewing NJ
82 karen hinchey F 50-59 13.53 Retro Fitness – Bellville Bellville NJ
83 Joanne Ridenhour F 60-69 14.34 JCC – Charlotte Charlotte NC
84 Jody Forsythe F 40-49 15.37 North Club State College PA

Expresso Bikes are Hot for Home Gyms!

What’s one of the hottest trends in home fitness? Expresso bikes for the home! We spoke to Norm Morrison, Product Manager and Trend Advisor at Gym Source—the nation’s largest most popular fitness retailer—who told us that the Expresso bike is a top-seller and one of the more high-profile machines that brings people into his showroom.

“We sell all the top brands at Gym Source, so we’re used to hearing customers rave about the equipment we sell,” explains Norm, “but the clients who come in asking about an Expresso bike are some of the most passionate and enthusiastic I’ve seen. They love the Expresso because it’s like no other training bike out there. Customers want the Expresso because they’ve tried it at the gym, had a blast, and decided they have to have one in their home. In fact, for many clients, the Expresso bike is the first serious piece of fitness equipment they’ve ever purchased—it’s just that cool.”

Norm says that in particular, customers love the Expresso’s high-resolution console display and exotic virtual locales. “Of course, the Dragon Chase is a perennial favorite,” he continues, “and there’s no denying that the social aspect of the Expresso is one of its best features. Cyclists can’t resist posting their times to Facebook or Twitter. The fact that friends can compete on the Expresso from anywhere and everywhere makes it so much fun, and keeps everyone coming back for more.”

The Expresso bike keeps exercise fun and adventurous, and experts like Norm agree that making fitness fun means that it’s more likely to become part of someone’s everyday routine. That’s good news for Expresso devotees, because the health benefits of stationary bicycling are numerous—and proven. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, cycling improves cardiovascular health, strengthens bones and rarely results in overuse injuries that are common in other forms of exercise. What’s more, regular exercise is proven to reduce the risk of heart attack, diabetes and high blood
pressure.

Norm appreciates what the Expresso Bike provides to Gym Source clients. “We’re passionate about fitness and about our customers’ well-being,” says Norm, “and we never get tired matching enthusiastic fitness fans with machines as fun and as effective as the Expresso Bike.”

Find a store with a fully connected Expresso bike
View all Gym Source stores

The Connected Fitness Explosion and What it Means for Your Gym.

I love working in the health and fitness industry. Every day, I get to meet passionate people who are dedicated to improving the lives of those around them. IHRSA is the fitness industry’s biggest trade show and over the past few years of attending it has become obvious that the most successful products are those that give people a platform to share their passion for health and fitness.

Expresso bringing together two Legends. On the left is G. Cisnero and on the right is M. Bogumill. Go to any all time leaderboard and you will find these guys in the top 10.

Let’s look at Zumba and TRX. These aren’t revolutionary new products. Zumba is, in essence, repackaged aerobics with animal print tights instead of fluorescent leg warmers. TRX is nothing more than a bunch of canvas straps hanging from the ceiling. This is basic stuff. What makes these products so successful and effective, is that they give great people a way to connect with others and share their passion for health and fitness.

Cardio equipment does not do this! In fact, it does the opposite! You walk in, you put on your headphones, and flip on the TV. You don’t interact which means there is no opportunity for connection. Have you ever tried to talk to a pretty girl on a treadmill watching The Bachelor? Good luck!!

We call this “Isolation cardio” and it’s a big problem! Most people keep working out and bring in friends because they feel like they are a part of something, not because they can watch Seinfeld reruns on a treadmills. The good news is that cardio equipment manufacturers are trying to change their ways. The bad news is that they’re not quite there yet.

For gyms looking into new cardio equipment, IHRSA 2013 was the year of Connected Fitness. With Connected Fitness, new equipment will talk to the cloud to store preferences and workouts for you. Most of the big boys now have something to show. Precor has Preva. Matrix has M-Power. Technogym has Artis. Free Motion has iFit. LifeFitness is working on it. And Interactive Fitness (my company) has eLive.

We were interviewed by kurriosity.com the social network for healthy living. Go to 2:08 for the interview.

Connected Fitness, done right, is a very good thing for gyms. Done wrong, Connected Fitness is expensive and leaves your gym no better off than it was before. So what’s the difference? Gym owners should ask themselves one question:

Does all this new technology actually help the people at my gym connect with each other or does it further encourage “Isolation Cardio?”

Unfortunately, what I saw at IHRSA was a lot of technology, but not a lot of reason to be excited. Cardio equipment is now going to help you create and track goals and this is a good thing, but beyond this I’m not thrilled with the direction of the industry. Most Connected Fitness solutions are built around saving media preferences, like what are your favorite songs, TV shows, or websites. Making it easier to find your favorite show is great for your TV. It’s not great for your workout. This will further encourage “Isolation Cardio” and all this technology which could be so powerful will instead be wasted.

At Interactive Fitness, our philosophy is different. Our Expresso bikes make exercise fun with virtual reality workouts so that you don’t need to be distracted with video or internet content. Our Connected Fitness programs, like the Top 100 “Team Cardio” monthly challenges give you a reason to interact and connect by aligning your goals instead of encouraging media driven “Isolation Cardio.”

As a smaller company we have to be ahead of the curve in order to compete. I can only hope that for the sake of the industry that over time we demand cardio equipment that stops competing with our couches for entertainment value and starts creating real and compelling shared exercise experiences.

Resolution Smez-o-lution! Expresso is for Life!

By now you’ve probably noticed the traffic in your gym is starting to thin out.  It’s sad but true.  A lot of people have a hard time sticking to their healthy resolutions. So how did Expresso riders do compared to the rest of the world? Have we bucked the trend or fallen off the horse?

Well the stats are in and the numbers don’t lie.  In February we rode 2.1 million miles.  That’s the same as pedaling around the world 84 times or taking 4 trips to the moon and back.  But you know what the best part is?  We actually rode more this month then we did in January!  3,246 more miles per day or 5% farther! How cool is that!  We are getting stronger and sticking to our goals. What’s our secret? Riding the Expresso bike is actually FUN! Shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone…

 

And once again, a big Congrats to our top 100 individual riders. You are the leaders of this virtual worldwide peloton. We solute your efforts and thank you for bringing the rest of us along for the ride.

Rank Rider Calories Facility City State
1 M. Groff 50,009 YMCA – Lebanon Lebanon PA
2 a. free 42,868 YMCA – Butler Butler PA
3 P. Olivier 36,671 Keep Cool Draguignan Draguignan France
4 T. Walton 36,149 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Powhatan Branch Powhatan VA
5 D. Bacchus 34,733 YMCA – Bear/Glasgow Family Newark DE
6 D. Herndon 34,035 Lorain Community College Elyria OH
7 J. Hessenauer 31,104 YMCA – Central Maryland – Parkville Family Center Parkville MD
8 B. Campbell 30,740 Gold’s Gym – Arboretum Richmond VA
9 s. cyril 30,108 Keep Cool Callian Callian France
10 B. Vagonis 29,456 YMCA – Bear/Glasgow Family Newark DE
11 C. Katter 29,265 Reebok Sports Club New York NY
12 o. immink 28,923 YMCA – Central Maryland – Hill Family Center Westminster MD
13 D. Baer 28,540 Hamilton College Clinton NY
14 j. bass 27,760 Lorain Community College Elyria OH
15 D. Walton 25,931 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Powhatan Branch Powhatan VA
16 P. Burch 25,355 Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center – Mayo Clinic Rochester MN
17 B. Clara 24,915 Movida Albi Le Sequestre France
18 M. Denning 24,731 Tuckahoe Family YMCA, Richmond VA
19 J. Acker 23,941 Cozad Community Wellness Center Cozad NE
20 L. Jones 23,727 YMCA – Metro Atlanta – Carl E. Sanders Family Atlanta GA
21 D. Allen 23,437 The Derrick Club Edmonton AB
22 J. O’Sullivan 23,225 Big Vanilla Athletic Club Pasadina MD
23 R. Johnson 22,857 YMCA – Berwick Area Berwick PA
24 C. Wiley 22,794 Wheaton
Sports Center
Wheaton IL
25 d. vagonis 22,489 YMCA – Bear/Glasgow Family Newark DE
26 B. Walker 22,430 YMCA – Rock River Valley N.E.B. Loves Park IL
27 R. Keatinge 21,981 Denver Athletic Club Denver CO
28 A. Lehto 21,673 Wolf Creek YMCA Maumee OH
29 B. Linnon 21,105 YMCA – Butler Butler PA
30 D. “El Diablo Machine” Meyers 20,238 Anytime Fitness – Cottage Grove Cottage Grove WI
31 W. Lutz II 20,115 Wolf Creek YMCA Maumee OH
32 E. Rivkin 20,112 JCC – Betty and Milton Katz Cherry Hill NJ
33 K. Dunn 20,103 Ken Dunn’s Home Gym Pineville NC
34 J. Edwards 19,885 YMCA – Corry Corry PA
35 D. Miller 19,746 Hempfield Recreation Commission Landisville PA
36 N. Shaw 19,601 Goodlife – Canada – Talbot Village London, ON Canada
37 T. Lind 18,959 YMCA – Bear/Glasgow Family Newark DE
38 T. Revely 18,929 Snap Fitness Gansevoort NY
39 S. Schroeder 18,825 Little Rock Athletic Club Little Rock AR
40 B. Patrick 18,673 Keep Cool Callian Callian France
41 S. Martin 18,610 YMCA – Metro Atlanta – Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Alpharetta GA
42 J. McMahan 18,594 YMCA – Pierce and Kitsap Counties – Haselwood Silverdale WA
43 18,500 YMCA – Greater Richmond – Chester Family Chester VA
44 J. Venditti 18,435 YMCA – Greater Providence/Newman Family Seekonk MA
45 M. Bowlby 18,428 Elite Health and Fitness Stoughton MA
46 S. Straniero 18,330 Retro Fitness – Howell Howell NJ
47 A. Rokes 18,321 JCC – Omaha Omaha NE
48 E. Jankulla 18,321 Florida State University Tallahassee FL
49 A. Patrick 18,063 Keep Cool Callian Callian France
50 M. Campanella 18,019 Eclipse Fitness, Sports and Wellness Green Brook NJ
51 P. Cox 17,922 Anytime Fitness – Aurora Aurora IN
52 D. Regenold 17,838 Cedar Falls Recreation Center Cedar Falls IA
53 D. Brent 17,824 YMCA – Pierce and Kitsap Counties – Mel Korum PUYALLUP WA
54 B. Lang 17,818 Upper St. Clair Township Recreation Center Upper St. Clair PA
55 S. Atkins 17,757 Dedham Health & Athletic Complex Dedham MA
56 D. Ebert 17,751 Eagan Community Center Eagan MN
57 E. Vaz 17,662 YMCA – Greater Providence/ Kent County Warwick RI
58 A. Kroesen 17,463 Colorado Mountain College – Spring Valley Glenwood Springs CO
59 J. Loveless 17,408 YMCA – Pierce and Kitsap Counties – Mel Korum PUYALLUP WA
60 17,294 Hoover YMCA Hoover AL
61 R. Sonnon 17,231 YMCA – Lebanon Lebanon PA
62 B. Pecora 17,006 YMCA – Hockomock/ Franklin Franklin MA
63 J. Moen 16,787 University
of Iowa
Iowa City IA
64 G. WASSERMAN 16,706 YMCA – Westfield Area Westfield NJ
65 A. Legreid 16,678 YMCA – Missoula Family Missoula MT
66 M. Hill 16,586 Anytime Fitness – Carver Carver MA
67 M. Olejar 16,465 YMCA – Bear/Glasgow Family Newark DE
68 T. Stafford 16,464 YMCA – Greater Hartford – Farmington Valley Granby CT
69 C. LaBerge 16,298 YMCA – Central Maryland – Towson Center Towson MD
70 D. Edwards 16,270 Fitness Formula Oak Park Oak Park IL
71 T. Rabe 16,185 Troy Rabe Portland OR
72 M. Crawford 16,185 Niagara University Niagara University NY
73 P. McCarthy 15,962 YMCA – Greater Richmond -Shady Grove Family Richmond VA
74 B. Buchanan 15,911 Ithaca College Ithaca NY
75 A. Snyder 15,802 YMCA – Tompkins County, Ithaca Ithaca NY
76 D. Pendleton 15,791 YMCA – Greater Providence/Newman Family Seekonk MA
77 d. christophe 15,743 Keep Cool Marignane Marignane France
78 J. Freedman 15,668 Jeff Freedman laurel MD
79 C. VENDROT 15,617 Espace Forme Aurillac France
80 G. Herman 15,539 YMCA – Central Maryland – Walter & Betty Ward Family Center Y Abingdon MD
81 R. Mutel 15,411 University
of Iowa
Iowa City IA
82 P. Sutliff 15,345 YMCA – Greater Boston – West Roxbury West Roxbury MA
83 D. Weables 15,288 YMCA – North Canton Community Building North Canton OH
84 S. Blakeney 15,277 Cedar Falls Recreation Center Cedar Falls IA
85 m. sidor 15,230 Sportime – Quogue East Quogue NY
86 K. Koka 15,153 Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center – Mayo Clinic Rochester MN
87 E. Rendzio 15,063 Retro Fitness – Paramus Paramus NJ
88 E. Pansewicz 14,976 Northeastern University Boston MA
89 N. Nebbe 14,946 Cedar Falls Recreation Center Cedar Falls IA
90 C. Richard 14,946 Keep Cool Marignane Marignane France
91 j. ludeman 14,928 JCC – Omaha Omaha NE
92 F. Fabien echandia 14,762 Keep Cool Vallauris Vallauris France
93 P. Bruce 14,714 YMCA – Metrowest Framingham MA
94 A. Princess 14,615 YMCA (Buffalo – Independent Health Family Branch) Williamsville NY
95 14,525 Keep
Cool Marignane
Marignane France
96 M. Mandara 14,499 YMCA – Greater Rochester – Northwest Rochester NY
97 H. Hofmann 14,495 Iowa State University Ames IA
98 J. Samuel 13,933 Bellevue Club Bellevue WA
99 M. Mandara 13,911 YMCA – Greater Rochester – Westside Family Rochester NY
100 M. SnavleyMartinS 13,762 AT&T
Sports Center
Palmer AK

The Winners Circle: Gold’s Gym, Sterling, VA

Today I’m proud to extend a long overdue congratulations to Gold’s Gym in Sterling, VA. The members and staff of this incredible club rode over 3,000 virtual miles and burned a whopping 119,091 Calories on just two Expresso bikes, to win the December Gold’s Gym Top 100 Challenge and earn a third bike for their club worth $6,999.

The Gold’s Gym Top 100 is the start of a revolution in cardio equipment that brings people together working towards a common goal with Expresso instead of isolating themselves. We call this new type of exercise “Team Cardio” and as Greg Custard, Area General Manager explains, it has a powerful effect on the club culture:

 

Why did you decide to get involved in the Gold’s Gym Top 100 and what did you do to promote it?

We do an in house challenge on the bikes. Members can win a free month to as much as a $100.00 visa gift card. they really look forward to the competition, so they really took wining the bike to heart once they saw we were on top after the first week they just kept it up. Rick Horton (23,000 calories) really got everyone involved.

Can you take me through some of the highlights for you and your team throughout the month?

We held the lead from start to finish. the biggest highlight had to be keeping the lead down the stretch. The Carmel Gold’s really turned it on towards the end. Their late push really got our members concerned we had members checking in and riding twice a day on the bikes.

What were the keys to victory?

I’ll keep it simple Rick & Trudy Horton, Dennis Rotherham, Isabel Raines, Lawrence Daughtrey and my kids Jack 15 Hanna 14 and Megan 12. New Years Eve when Carmel was making a big push about 2pm, no one on the bikes, my wife brought the kids in and they burned about a thousand calories!

What was the feedback like from your members and staff who joined the team?

They loved it. We have a real competitive group of members.

Do you think this experience strengthened the bonds at your club?

I don’t think most of the riders knew each other as well before the Top 100, now they do. They can’t wait for THEIR new bike to get here!

Lucky for us, two of the top riders from December were at it again while we were there to deliver the prize. 70 year old Isabelle Raines rode 213 miles and burned 6,641 Calories to help her club win and as you can Imagine she is a big fan of the bike. Isabel you may have old knees but you are definitely young at heart. 🙂


Top Rider, Rick Horton was a big part of the win for Gold’s Gym Sterling. As Rick explains, he has lost over 15 lbs! No doubt the 623 miles and 23,490 Calories he burned in December had something to do with it. Enjoy your new bike Rick. You earned it!