On the Move
On the Move was a quarterly publication of the Fitness Associates Network (FAN), formerly a San Francisco bay area-based group of leading fitness instructors and business owners. The newsletter was designed to showcase local fitness industry leaders and to promote northern California training programs and other fitness-related activities.
Personality Profile: Judy Berger
Imagine a classroom of 50 enthusiastic aerobic students, led by an instructor who calls each participant by name. Sound farfetched? Not if the instructor is Judy Berger of Perpetual Motion in Walnut Creek.
As a fitness instructor with over 15 years of experience, Judy has made it her business to get to know her clients. "I'm very sensitive to my people," says Judy. "We currently have about 300 members, and many of them have followed me for more than 10 years!"
Perpetual Motion, Judy's own brainchild, is a culmination of years of trial and error in the fitness industry. Judy and her staff of 5 instructors teach a varied fitness program, renting space from the local recreation department. As owner, Judy is responsible for all aspects of the administration and content of the exercise programs.
How does she compete with glitzier clubs and studios? Judy feels her success is due in part to her reputation for having one of the safest programs around. "Safety is the most important thing to me, and all of my instructors know it," says Judy. "I work closely with them so they understand my philosophy."
Claudia French, a student at Perpetual Motion, tried several other programs before she discovered Judy in 1980. "I have a high stress job, so exercise is a big priority for me," she says. "Judy is a delight ro be around... She's really concerned about her students, and it shows."
Judy's love of fitness began with dance classes at the age of four, and continued through college where she received her degree in physical education from C.S.U. Chico. In 1975 she became the first Dancergetics instructor in the Walnut Creek area, quickly establishing herself as one of the top professionals in the fitness field.
Tricia Robinow, owner of The Park Exercise Studio in Oakland, and one of Judy's former students, says "Judy is such an inspiration ... and her energy level is incredible! She adds a real personal touch to her classes." Tricia hastens to add that Judy's success and encouragement were a source of inspiration when she developed her own business several years ago.
Dynell Garron, a former choreography consultant for Perpetual Motion, says, "Judy is very dedicated, and extremely committed to quality. She's established a good following because she takes a personal interest in her students."
"The average student today is trying to balance a home, a career, and a family," says Judy. "In the past we've emphasized image and weight loss. These days I motivate my students to feel better and reduce stress. I tell them that it's okay to take a break from aerobics now and then."
Although Judy feels the aerobics boom has peaked, she believes the committed instructors will endure. "Aerobics will be here a long time, but as fitness leaders we need to offer different avenues for special populations," she says. "By setting realistic goals for our students and offering them other alternatives such as cross training, we'll keep them coming back for more."
Kim Gunn, B.A., is a communications consultant to the Fitness Associates Network, and an aerobics instructor at Valley Aerobics in Livermore.
©1990 Kim Gunn
Step Training in Northern California (Part One)
The latest exercise trend sweeping the nation is also the hottest topic of conversation among fitness leaders right here in the bay area. Instructors from Sacramento to Monterey are raving about the latest craze in aerobics—step training.
Simply stated, step training is a low impact program which concentrates on the muscles of the lower body, particularly the legs and buttocks. Participants step up and down from a platform using various feet/hand combinations at a moderate pace of 118 to 126 beats per minute (bpm). Though the pace is slower, the cardiovascular benefits are the same for as for a traditional aerobics class. However, since the impact to the legs from stepping is similar to that of walking, the potential for injury is much lower.
Judy Harven, Aerobics Director at the Amador Valley Athletic Club (AVAC) in Pleasanton, began introducing step training classes in March, using 50 adjustable platforms purchased from The STEP. "We've been holding weekend introduction classes to explain step training and to show different approaches to the step." Judy says that students who participate in these classes receive hot pink cards designating them as having successfully completed introduction training.
As of April, instructors began teaching full step training workouts, starting at a slow and easy pace. "Even our most experienced students are not yet able to coordinate their arms and legs," she says. AVAC currently has eight classes per week on the schedule, but will be adding at least one more weekend class in the summer.
AVAC also hosted a workshop in April featuring Gin Miller, the creative developer of the Step Reebok Program, which attracted over 60 instructors from throughout the bay area.
Fitness Associate Network's Dennis Fiore has been selected to be a member of the Step Reebok National Instructor Training Team. Dennis has been teaching step training at Symmetry for several months now, and reports his students are still challenged by the workout. "Only a couple of them are at the point where they need to add hand-held weights," he says.
Joan Redeker, owner of Valley Aerobics in Livermore, participated in a Step Reebok workshop out of curiosity, and was sold on step training immediately. She now has 30 adjustable steps and will begin putting classes on the schedule in May. "The students are skeptical at first, be we are encouraging them to try it out," she says. "I'm personally challenged by the choreography ... and the training classes are a definite plus when putting together step routines." Joan says her instructors will attend step workshops at the IDEA Convention (which by the way, sold out quickly reports Convention Director Patti McCord).
"We challenged our students to try it," says Karen Aiken on Move It! "We promoted it as the newest, latest, greatest thing, and it's been unbelievably successful!" Karen says step classes are a great way to educate students about the benefits of cross training. "Our program includes several types of classes, such as plyometrics, interval training and funk, and step training is another way to add variety to the schedule."
Since her students like to move at a faster pace, Karen recommends they develop confidence with the four-inch platform before adding additional height. "I like to see them develop a 'muscle memory' in their feet," she says. Also, since they tend to move fast, Karen recommends that her students step train without using weights. "The beauty of step training is that one class can accommodate several fitness levels. We just keep the pace moderate, and the energy high."
"We're sending three more instructors to the next available workshop," says Kathy Stepp of the Modesto Court Room. "Our instructors are hooked!" Once the platforms arrived, the facility held a Saturday introduction class for its members, and kicked off the program the following week. "We started with a few classes, and just kept adding more," she says. "The only resistance to step training came from some of our elderly members who couldn't balance or coordinate the movements easily."
Kathy says the popularity of step classes has taken pressure off the stairmaster machines. "We currently offer 13 classes during the week with space for 30 participants, and they're booked solid in advance."
Dawn Schurman, of the El Dorado Sports Club, oversees a popular and successful step training program in the Sacramento area. In fact, she recently ordered an additional 15 steps to accommodate more students. Dawn develops choreography which is also taught by her staff. "This is very helpful for our members ... they know what to expect," she says. The program began in early March and Dawn hopes to introduce new movements each month.
"We don't want to get too complicated with the choreography since we're drawing runners and men from the weight room." The local paper even ran a story about the step training boom in the community. "We started with 4 classes a week ... now we're up to 16," she says. Next on the drawing board is a "Step 1" class which will cover step training science and safety tips. "This will be a beginner level class to attract new participants, including other fitness professionals in the area.
Stay tuned for Part II of our report on the step training boom in northern California—including helpful teaching tips! If you are teaching step, give us a call to let us know about your experiences with the program. FAN can also offer you training and equipment resources if you have not yet started your classes.
Kim Gunn, B.A., is a communications specialist and certified aerobics instructor at Valley Aerobics in Livermore. She is also editor of "On the Move."
©1990 Kim Gunn
Step Training in Northern California (Part Two)
The step training phenomenon is still on the rise ... and northern California fitness leaders are capitalizing on this worldwide step craze to create excitement in their own studios. We interviewed several FAN members to learn how step training has impacted their programs.
Have you done anything special to market step training?
We were approached by Step Reebok to host Gin Miller when the step craze first began. The S.F. Chronicle did a major article on Gin which mentioned our club and led to a TV interview on KPIX, where Deborah Khazei demonstrated step training on a local news program. Getting involved in step training was definitely a positive marketing move for us.
Kia Rao, Telegraph Hill Club, San Francisco
We will be aggressively marketing step training over the next few months. Our print ads will feature a "step together" promotion aimed at the co-ed market. We'll be using a photo of a couple on a step, and they'll be wearing shorts—no thongs for now! We want to attract new people who might be intimidated by a high-end dance-exercise studio.
Cindi Osborn, The Exercise Studio, Danville
We're putting together a new print ad featuring the step. And I've just hired someone to paint a step "billboard" on the big windows in front of our studio. We did a similar campaign to promote low-impact aerobics several years ago.
Joan Redeker, Valley Aerobics, Livermore
How have you promoted step training in your community?
We've just put together a coupon which will be distributed to 10,000 homes in our area. The coupon shows a picture of me working out on the step and says, "Try the hottest class of the '90s!"
Debbie Flansburg, Lafayette Health Club (LHC) Lafayette
Our health club director has been giving lectures on exercise and nutrition to weight loss groups at the local hospital and in the school district. Part of the lecture includes a demonstration of step training as a form of low impact aerobics. We've literally taken our steps on the road to educate the public about step training.
Kathy Stepp, Modesto Court Room, Modesto
We've been distributing coupons all over the community... we're just promoting the heck out of it! We also mention that child care is provided during our "step together" class, so families feel welcome to come on in.
Cindi Osborn, The Exercise Studio
How have men reacted to the introduction of step training?
I find they relate well to it because most of them were athletes in high school or college. They see the steps and say, "Oh yeah, I used to do that on the bleachers." Another thing that attracted their attention was putting a picture of one of our step instructors in the men's locker room with a brief explanation of what the class was all about.
Kia Rao, Telegraph Hill Club
I expected to see 50% more men instantly. That didn't happen, but we are attracting them, especially in the evening classes.
Donna Connor, ClubSport of San Ramon
We're seeing more men than ever ... we're even drawing bodybuilders from the weight room. Men seem to enjoy workouts that are more on the calisthenic side, so we've created bodysculpting step classes where the step is used primarily as a prop.
Tammy Gray, Modesto Health & Fitness, Modesto
We haven't had a glut of men, but they are trying it. Surprisingly, some of our really in-shape guys felt that the workout was too hard!
Debbie Flansburg, LHC
What advice would you give to a club that wants to introduce step training?
It's a good idea to promote the program as much as 6 weeks before introducing it. Spell out the rules up front. We posted a list of 10 "step safe" rules—our "Ten Commandments" of step—to educate and remind students to keep it safe. And finally, choose teachers that are personable and creative... you want to encourage people to have fun while working out on the step!
Cindi Osborn, The Exercise Studio
I suggest having a "step night" social with snacks and mineral water featuring a demonstration of step training. We had a good response to a teaser videotape we got from Step Reebok. We played it over and over during one of our club get-togethers, and when we later introduced step training, it was familiar to many of the students.
Kia Rao, Telegraph Hill Club
Emphasis should be placed on training instructors, since they will ultimately determine the success of the program. We offer 19 step classes each week, and they're taught using freestyle choreography. That means each of the instructors must learn a variety of safe movements to keep it interesting. All of our instructors atended Step Reebok workshops for their basic training, and they're also required to team teach before they go solo.
Donna Connor, ClubSport
Despite the step training boom, I think you have to keep in mind that step training is not for everyone—just like high impact is not for everyone. Invariably, there will be students who can't do the movements for biomechanical reasons, or who just don't like it. You just have to hope that they try it and like it and hang in there long enough to love it!
Debbie Flansburg, LHC
Kim Gunn teaches step training at Valley Aerobics in Livermore, is editor of "On the Move," and will be presenting at this year's "Body Revival."
©1990 Kim Gunn
Personality Profile: Dorie Krepton
What is a fitness pioneer? Well, it's probably someone who has been involved in the fitness industry for a long, long time. Someone who has inspired a great many people with an insatiable commitment to fitness education and training. A person who blazes new trails for industry professionals, and often puts others' achievements before his or her own.
If you know Dorie Krepton, you know she fits this description.
For the past eight years, northern California fitness professionals have sought education and credibility through instruction certification programs at California State University, Hayward. Thousands of instructors have graduated from the certification clinics, and the demand for specialized programs and education has continued to increase over the years.
This comes as no surprise to Dorie Krepton, who directs "The Health and Fitness Institute"—the company that actually produces the clinics at the university—and oversees a part-time staff of 30 people. "We could hold a clinic every month and still not saturate the market," she says. "In addition to aerobic instructor certification, we offer programs in personal training, strength training, aqua aerobics, and exercise for special populations, such as kids and seniors."
The aerobic instructor certification program began in 1982 and is considered the most comprehensive in the bay area. The two-day clinic features lectures and activity sessions conducted by respected names in the fitness industry. The program is not easy—it includes both practical and written examinations—but it provides graduates with solid skills and knowledge with which to lead safe and effective exercise classes.
Wanna-be fitness leaders are inspired by Dorie's enthusiasm for the fitness industry as she tells them, "We need you in our profession." Dorie says that the demand for qualified instructors and program directors far exceeds the supply of trained fitness professionals.
"Health clubs and businesses want to hire people with degrees and certifications, so they call us. Our job board has about 25 listings right now, and we just don't have enough graduates to fill the positions," she says. "I should be a matchmaker!"
As a professor in C.S.U. Hayward's Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, Dorie takes special pride in the university's degree program in exercise nutrition—the only program of its kind in California, which she developed, and one of only three such programs in the entire country.
"Several students in the program are graduates of the aerobic certification clinics," she says, "but we have one student from the east coast. A former flight attendant who overheard someone talking about it on a flight from Chicago to San Francisco. She moved to California and enrolled within the year. Can you imagine? That conversation changed her entire life!"
Though she travels throughout the country lecturing for such groups as the Women's Sports Foundation and the International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA), and lives on a sprawling central coast ranch, Dorie spends most of her time in northern California. "I love the Institute, and I feel fortunate to be doing what I enjoy—educating and exchanging ideas."
Dorie plans to be involved in the fitness industry until she's 106, and is equally optimistic about opportunities for other fitness professionals in the years ahead. She feels the major areas of growth potential will be personal training and exercise for adults, particularly seniors. "Half the population in the United States is over 50 now," says Dorie. "Many of these people want and can afford the individualized attention given by a personal trainer."
"This is the business of the next century," she says. "I believe that in the next three years every Fortune 500 company will develop its own corporate fitness and wellness program. The industry is going to do nothing but grow, and the only thing holding fitness leaders back will be their own vision."
Everyone should have the opportunity—and it is an opportunity—to chat with Dorie Krepton. She has unconditionally offered many professionals in the bay area her vision, drive, guidance, inspiration, resources, and love. It's that kind of spirit that will continue to keep this pioneer going strong!
©1990 Kim Gunn
Personality Profile: Pam Staver
Anyone who knows Pam Staver will attest to her radiant personality and boundless enthusiasm for life. And if you've followed her career over the past couple of years, you'd know that a good part of that energy is now being channeled into a very important cause—the kids of America.
Many fitness professionals are dismayed by the statistics regarding the unfit youth in our country. But Pam is determined to turn the situation around. As creator and President of PowerPlay, she has embarked upon a mission to put the fun back in fitness and motivate kids to move.
To combat the negative effects of advertising messages that bombard the kids of today, PowerPlay takes an aggressive, albeit entertaining position against drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. Instead of relying on scare tactics, rap songs emphasize the uniqueness of each child, and encourage them to treat their bodies with respect.
To spread the PowerPlay message, Pam and the other PowerLeaders conduct action-packed assemblies which include songs and noncompetitive games. PowerLeaders mingle throughout the presentation, and see that each child is acknowledged individually with a "high five" or a pat on the shoulder.
The PowerPlay program has three interrelated goals: (1) to educate kids about the importance of the heart and other major muscles in the body; (2) to build self-esteem by emphasizing noncompetitive activities; and (3) to make physical fitness a natural part of each child's daily routine.
"We want them to make lifestyle changes," says Pam. "Our goal is to show kids how fitness can become a part of their everyday life."
Though Pam was clear on what she wanted to achieve with PowerPlay, solidifying the program took time. "The key is communication," she says. "As long as kids know you believe in them, they'll look up to you." Pam says that fitness instructors do have one advantage in that kids perceive them to be cool.
Nevertheless, before a new game or song or piece of equipment is included in the PowerPlay program, it must pass the scrutiny of a very meticulous Board of Advisors—including Pam's sons Seth, 12 and PJ, 10. "They let me know right away if my ideas are acceptable or not, and I've learned to trust them as one of my most valuable resources," she says. "When the kids accept what you do, and you get their stamp of approval ... you've got it made!"
In addition to the assemblies, Pam conducts activity sessions for kids 6-12 years of age through local recreation centers. Future plans include expansion into other community recreation centers, with the ultimate goal of expanding PowerPlay throughout the U.S. "We absolutely plan to go national with the program" says Pam. "In fact, it looks like we will be test marketing in other parts of the country as early as this year."
Pam is also a dynamic motivational speaker who travels around the country training other fitness professionals and teachers. "Anyone who has a passion for kids can use our program," she says. "Our goal is to get everyone—parents, teachers, and kids involved in fitness."
The demand for information about PowerPlay is so great that she recently published a manual which provides tips for teaching anatomy and fitness, equipment and music ideas, recipes, rap songs, and student handouts. Next on the drawing board is a video which will demonstrate many of the PowerGames covered in the manual.
Pam is especially proud of a recent appearance on national television, during which PowerPlay was featured on ABC's Home Show. The segment featured 25 of the PowerKids performing a circuit-type workout with fun props like pogo balls and a parachute.
Whether Pam communicates with kids one-on-one or through national television, her goal is the same—to make fitness fun and to shape and mold the minds and bodies of the future. "Each time I begin a PowerPlay session, I say to myself, 'I have one hour of my life to spend with these children, and I'm not going to waste a minute of it!'" Judging from the smiling faces in her PowerPlay sessions, it has been time well spent.
©1990 Kim Gunn
Personality Profile: Len Kravitz
Of the hundreds of fitness leaders in northern California, one has probably reached out to more students than any other—Len Kravitz.
As a college professor for six years at San Jose State University (SJSU), author of the successful book, "Anybody's Guide to Total Fitness," an internationally acclaimed master instructor, and star of two fitness videos, Len is the consummate fitness instructor. But Len has left the bay area—only temporarily we hope—to pursue his doctorate at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque (UNM).
"The timing is right," says Len, who received his masters degree in 1981. "I always knew I wanted a PhD, but was selective about the program." The doctorate program he ultimately chose is one in "health promotion," an interdisciplinary program which includes studies in stress management, behavior modification, exercise physiology, nutrition, and health science.
"It's essentially a wellness program," says Len, who feels that fitness education involves more than just instruction in exercise technique. "Fifty percent of the people who begin fitness programs drop out after six months," says Len. "I want to learn more about those who commit to fitness and make lifestyle changes. I want to know what motivates them to go to class."
Len believes that education is the next growing spot for the fitness industry. "As fitness educators, people are going to turn to us for advice on such things as stress management and nutrition," he says. During his research, Len plans to address these topics in further detail to help other instructors understand and motivate their students as well.
"I'll probably write more articles than ever," says Len, who will have access to a bounty of resources and equipment at UNM. One of the reasons he chose the university was for its practical rather than theory-based method of education. The university has its own wellness center and exercise physiology laboratory where Len will conduct studies during his personal research time.
Len will also be a featured speaker at the 1991 IDEA International Convention to be held in Nashville this summer. Along with his associate Craig Cisar, PhD, Len will present the results of a comprehensive step training study that was conducted last fall in the Department of Human Performance at SJSU.
Other projects on the drawing board include a new book, a third aerobic video which is in the preproduction stage, and additional research studies on step training. Len would also like to produce a fitness video for distribution in New Mexico. "It would be a creative project highlighting the tri-cultural aspects of the state," says Len, referring to the Indian, Hispanic, and Anglo influences within New Mexico.
Len will surely be missed by his friends and associates in California. Carrie Elkins, another instructor at SJSU, organized a first-class sendoff at which Len was "roasted" by a number of his closest friends. The highlight of the evening was a slide show that captured Len's activites over the past several years. The show was so popular that Carrie will present it again in February when Len returns to participate in the San Jose Dance For Heart event.
The years ahead will hold many challenges for Len. We wish him continued success and hope that one day we can welcome him back to northern California.
"On the Move" editor Kim Gunn has been an instructor for 6 years, and teaches step training at Valley Aerobics.
©1991 Kim Gunn
Fitness in the 90's—What's In, What's Out
In the '80s, fitness clubs were often known as the "meet markets" of the singles set. In recent years, however, the values and lifestyle of the average club member have changed. These days you're more likely to see couples stopping off at their club's childcare room before starting their respective workouts.
The facilities are changing too. Stairclimbing machines and treadmills are quickly replacing traditional club sports such a racquetball, tennis and basketball, as the fitness activities of choice for large numbers of time-conscious health club members. This trend has enormous implications for the fiscal fitness of traditional health clubs, according to recent studies by health club industry marketing experts.
"Health club members are increasingly interested in individual fitness activities that they can fit into their daily schedules. They want to join health clubs to stay fit, not to socialize," according to analysis done by David LeCompte of Clubsource, a San Francisco-based, international health club marketing and management company.
Clubsource's LeCompte believes the decline of indoor club-based sports signals challenging times for large health clubs that try to serve members' every need.
"What we saw in the '80s was an industry-wide growth of "mega-clubs," says LeCompte. "Building these 100,000 to 200,000 square foot clubs with everything from racquetball courts and swimming pools to hair salons and travel agencies under one roof may have worked for a time, but we feel it is a concept that has limited applications for the '90s."
In simple terms, as clubs grew, club revenues per square foot did not keep up, so owners continued adding ancillary services. By contrast, the club that will be successful in the '90s is one that goes "back to basics," is conveniently located, and substitutes an ample supply of exercise equipment, spacious locker rooms, and frequent fitness classes for undesired amenities, such as club bars and hair salons, according to LeCompte.
Large clubs can take advantage of the trend by providing some of these "back to basics" features. The 1,700-member Livermore Valley Tennis Club—which recently expanded its facilities to include indoor racquet courts, a gymnasium, and an indoor track—also added several stairclimbing and rowing machines, more Nautilus stations, and a larger child care facility.
"The indoor track takes the place of a treadmill and is frequently in use by both walkers and runners," says Barbara Fuller, one of the club's owners.
Convenience and specificity are the keys to success for clubs in the coming decade, according to Clubsource's LeCompte. Research indicates that individuals are choosing a club for fitness results, as well as ready access to the equipment or classes that will help them achieve their goals.
"People who want to enjoy popular sports like cross-country skiing, hiking, and mountain biking need to be in shape," says LeCompte. "That means making regular aerobic activity a part of their lives."
"If you watch people cross-country skiing or mountain biking on the weekend, it's easy to spot the ones who don't work out during the week," he adds.
Kim Gunn is editor of "On the Move."
©1991 Kim Gunn
Personality Profile: Andre Houle
When Andre Houle auditioned for an aerobic instructor training position with Jim Mobley 7 years ago, it was a meeting that would change his life. Andre was selected, and, under Mobley's guidance, developed the skills that would later earn him a reputation as one of the top fitness instructors in the world.
Originally from Oregon, Andre relocated to the bay area after graduating with a degree in Business and Health Education from Oregon State University. Andre was working as a high school teacher and an aerobics instructor when he began entering aerobic competitions. The rest is fitness history. Andre won several competitions, most notably the 1988 Crystal Light National Championship, in which he and partner Deborah Khazei placed first.
How did it feel to be a national champion? "It was a great year traveling with seven wonderful people," Andre says. The group toured nationally and abroad, including appearances in Japan, Brazil, Italy, Greece, and the Soviet Union. Last year, representing the U.S., Andre and Deborah received the bronze medal in the first World Aerobic Championship in San Diego.
Andre still appears to be on a winning streak. In January, he and business partner Lynn Whitlow opened "Andre's Body Shop," an exercise studio in downtown San Francisco. "We're strategically located near the ballet and symphony," says Andre, adding that many students learn of the facility as they stroll by after the evening's performances.
The Body Shop has over 50 classes on the schedule per week, at least a dozen of which are taught by Andre himself. "We're getting a reputation as the leading step studio in San Francisco," Andre says. "We have several step classes including cardio-step, bodysculpting, circuit training, and even step 'n stretch," he adds.
The Body Shop's roster of instructors includes a mixture of well-known bay area fitness presenters, including Suya Colorado and Gregg Gonsalves, as well as rising stars like Daniel DeLeon. The classes are so popular that students often reserve a space in advance by telephone.
With his business off to a resounding start, Andre has taken to the road once again. His weekends are usually spent presenting workshops as a representative of the Nike Network, and he is particularly excited about his first appearance as a presenter for the International Dance Exercise Association (IDEA) convention this summer in Nashville. In addition, Andre recently completed a video for the popular CIA instructor training series.
A people person, Andre enjoys meeting and inspiring other instructors throughout the country. "When I give a workshop, I offer what I enjoy doing when I teach my own classes. I show people what works for me, and if they find something they can take home, that's wonderful."
With so many achievements in the fitness industry, Andre is refreshingly modest about his success. "I never take anything for granted. I've been really lucky," he says.
Though he still refers to himself as "an Oregon boy," Andre is one fitness role model that northern California is proud to claim as its own.
©1991 Kim Gunn
Personality Profile: Tricia Robinow
Tricia Robinow is a woman who has often inspired leaders in the regional fitness community. She entered the scene many years ago as an instructor, and later established her successful Oakland-based studio, The Park. Many people would be satisfied to savor the success of these accomplishments, but those close to Tricia know that she's always looking for a new challenge. So it came as no surprise last year when she embarked upon another venture—a travel agency.
According to Tricia, balancing fitness and travel careers has been fairly easy since both businesses are client-based. At this time, the travel agency is marketed exclusively to her fitness clientele, which numbers in the thousands, thanks to years of careful record keeping and ongoing communications with clients of The Park.
"There are so many similarities between the fitness and travel industries," says Tricia, pointing out that both rely on promotion as well as giving clients the best possible service. "Like the fitness industry, competition in the travel industry is stiff," she says. "The successful agencies make sure that the client is satisfied," she adds.
"Everything I learned in the fitness industry can be applied to this business," says Tricia, who attends workshops and reads trade journals to keep abreast of new destinations and opportunities for travelers. "Just like the fitness industry, you need to keep on top of what's going on," she says.
Tricia's love of travel began during college. She majored in German, then spent two and a half years traveling throughout Europe. "That's where I got the travel bug," she laughs.
Things began to click into place during a seminar at the 1990 FAN Leadership Conference. "We were asked to list our goals, and I wrote down that I wanted to start a travel business," says Tricia. Acknowledging that desire proved beneficial—within months she was establishing her own full-service agency.
"Most people don't realize that a good travel agent can actually save you money," says Tricia. "It doesn't cost the consumer additional money since the agency works on commission," she adds. Another advantage in Tricia's case is that she has traveled extensively and can counsel her clients from personal experience.
Though her dual-career schedule keeps her moving at a rigorous pace, Tricia swears she's not a workaholic. A top priority is spending time with her husband and son Joel, 12. "I try to take most weekends off and make it home by six so we can have dinner together," she says.
Tricia's immediate goals include building and maintaining a top-notch fitness staff at The Park, where she oversees the aerobics program. Bay area favorites Kerry Silverstone, Jani Matsui, and Sandy Bean are already on the roster. She'll also be coordinating more group tours to beautiful places like Rancho La Puerta Fitness Spa, near San Diego.
Though fitness will always be a major part of her life, Tricia plans to seek out new challenges in the years to come. "After being in the fitness industry so long, I've learned that the people who are the happiest are the ones who have other things going on," she says. That being the case, Tricia is sure to enjoy many happy years ahead.
Kim Gunn is editor of "On the Move" and teaches at Valley Aerobics in Livermore.
©1991 Kim Gunn