The fitness world lost an industry icon on June 30, 2017 as Michael Scott Scudder sadly passed away due to complications with a hip replacement surgery. Our hearts are heavy with the news of his unexpected death. Michael was a mentor to the small business owner and a friend of the common man and woman. He was the CEO of MSS Network, which provided weekly advice and expert evaluations of changing trends in our fitness industry. He was the soothsayer of today.

His priceless insights into tomorrow involved constant surveys and leaps of faith based on personal experience and professional evaluations. To put it succinctly, people trusted Michael. People shared with Michael, and everyone loved Michael.

His ability to not rely on only one opinion was his gift. His four decades of experience in the fitness/wellness industries include achievements as a “Top 100 Club”, selection as one of the Top Ten Health Club Managers in the U.S. and inclusion in the “Who’s Who in International Fitness.” In his career, he has advised over 700 fitness facilities providing insightful and valuable information to all his contacts though his consulting services and his MSS newsletter.

Yes, at times some might disagree with his opinions, but we all listened intently to what he had to say. He did not pin his positions on prejudice or the past, he looked beyond and most importantly he listened. Michael carefully evaluated all angles of history and predictions and did his best to integrate a quickly evolving landscape based upon fact. His surveys were watched carefully by all. His outbursts of wisdom were often loud and irascible, but always softly intended. He never wished to hurt; he was always there to help, and we all knew that Michael lived and worked with his greatest trait – his heart. He was passionate about everything he did. It was this passion that made, and forced, people to listen. Big business, small business and the budding studio industry – everyone listened. Everyone learned. Everyone respected him as a professional and a person.

Michael shared his wisdom at all eight of SCW Fitness Education’s MANIA® Fitness Professional Conferences over the past five years. We are grateful for the knowledge, wit and passion he brought to MANIA® and the lasting impressions he made on our faculty and attendees. He was truly one of a kind,

SCW Fitness Education will be offering a MANIA® Convention free attendance to a worthy budding studio owner needing business advice and industry education in Michael’s honor, It will be the Michael Scott Scudder Scholarship. SCW is also renaming its Business sessions to be the Scudder Business track.

Michael was my friend. I adored Michael. He would sit with me for hours on the phone or at a convention discussing the growing boutique studio trends. He would ponder over the future of HIIT programming and ruminate of the growing Active Aging market. I shared all the summaries of our MANIA® Convention evaluations, of which there were thousands. I just shared, openly, because it was Michael. It was Michael and he commanded trust.

He saw what was happening to the approximately 10,000 annual attendees at our eight conventions. He celebrated discovering small trends and looming impacts. He often laughed at finding something new, even if it slammed him in the face, disagreeing with his initial thought. He adored learning and sharing his knowledge.

Michael was someone I personally would confide in. Many, and frankly most, of our industry did. We all confided in Michael and sought his counsel and advice. He was more than a consultant or an industry expert. He was our friend, our mentor, our mirror into our businesses and ourselves. This was his gift and his untold mission. He craved knowledge and enjoyed the challenge of evaluation. He attacked each new fact with hunger and humility. It was all new to him – every fact, every day, was a new beginning and a joy.

He shared of himself with everyone he met. He adored his wife Phyliss, and would bring her to shows with him when he could. They would travel together, or stay home together. Michael missed many a conference because of his vacations (which were never true vacations – but just time he would use to write and read at home with Phyliss.) Michael would balance his professional life and personal commitments with ease and grace.

Micheal was a strong individual who was kind and thoughtful. He was generous with his insights and his opinions. He helped shape our fitness world of today, and will be truly missed for decades to come.

Rest in peace, dear friend.

Sara Kooperman, JD



A top-to-bottom rebranding campaign has transformed this iconic supplier of products into a multifaceted provider of solutions

By Jon Feld

The late Lee Atwater, a political advisor to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, coined the phrase “perception is reality.” Because it involves so many human intangibles, perception, if anything, is even harder than reality to change — especially when it has been firmly established for three decades. But that is exactly what Power Systems, LLC, is doing.

The company, which opened its doors in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1986, has long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as one of the industry’s leading suppliers of equipment for fitness professionals. However, according to General Manager Josh Goldman, even a firm that has been successful for more than 30 years has to evolve.

That’s why, in March 2016, for its 30th anniversary, Power Systems embarked on a rebranding effort, and the results have since reverberated in every aspect of its operation. The overall goal of the initiative was to get people to think about Power Systems not as a supplier of products, but instead, a provider of solutions.

To achieve that elusive objective, between 2012 and 2016, the company revised its way of thinking about the world, dramatically increased the number of items it offers, reimagined its marketing efforts, created a powerful new tagline, capitalized on its strategic partnerships, developed a wealth of educational content and began to exploit the endless possibilities of the Internet and social media.

Think of it as a top-to-bottom transformation.

“Power Systems was already well-known and respected in the industry as a supplier, so the rebranding didn’t involve changing who we are or what we do,” points out Goldman. “We’re proud of our legacy and grateful to all those individuals who, over the years, have helped build its reputation. The rebranding was really about evolving, about taking the next step — in order to achieve our full potential.”

Blazing a new trail

Like any such undertaking, the rebranding began by formulating and fine-tuning new ideas and developing a strategic approach that encompassed everything from general positioning to crafting a new mission statement to redesigning the company’s logo, collateral materials, etc. Initially, the firm worked with an agency to ramp up the process, but, notes Goldman, in the final analysis, it was the in-house Power Systems team that identified, and embarked upon, the new path. The objective enunciated and embraced was to transform the company from a product-driven brand to a complete resource for the fitness industry — one that offered tools to maximize customer results. In the past, the firm’s progress had been fueled, in large part, by its comprehensive catalog and just-in-time order fulfillment.

In the future, that wasn’t going to be enough.

Power Systems’ new attitude, and new emphasis, Goldman suggests, is best captured by the company’s new tagline: “Power Your Potential.”

“It represents the culmination of what we’ve done to reposition ourselves,” Goldman observes. “When we began exploring how the company has evolved, we spoke to employees and other people in the industry and asked why being a part of the industry mattered to them.

“The word ‘potential’ kept recurring — individuals discussed their potential; trainers talked about helping clients reach their potential or about fulfilling their own; and club owners reflected on the potential of their business and their members.

“The importance of this stayed with us,” says Goldman.

Turning ideals into real

Vision and mission and messaging and taglines may be important for successful rebranding, but so are other foundational, bricks-and-mortar-type components. You can’t just say you want to provide solutions — you have to have resources in place to deliver them.

One year ago, Power Systems had many of them; now, it has even more.

Then, it offered some 2,000 products. Today, its 250,000-square-foot warehouse accommodates over 2,700. The company distributes a wide range of iconic brands, including Airex, BOSU, Step360 and Life Fitness, along with its own branded fitness and performance products. And, after assessing its product base, it introduced new Power Systems–branded equipment to fill existing gaps in its functional-training line. Many of them made their debut at IHRSA’s 36th Annual International Convention & Trade Show in Los Angeles in March. Among them, the firm’s Pro Elite medicine ball, 2-in-1 Flip and Plyo, 3-in-1 Plyo Box, Foam Vault Box, Squat Rack, Modular Storage Rack and HiTrainer treadmill.

The theme for the Power Systems exhibit: “We Provide the Tools, You Provide the Results.” An expanding product catalog represents one part of the solutions puzzle but hardly provides the whole picture. Increasingly, partners, information, modern media and in-depth engagement — of customers and end-users — are crucial to answering questions, solving problems and delivering desired outcomes.

Power Systems, Goldman explains, is “leveraging strategic partnerships in areas where they fit.” It’s working with forward-thinking brands, such as MostFit, HiTrainer, PowerWave and WeckMethod, and it has created a brand ambassador program featuring high- profile fitness figures, such as Bernie Wylie, Jr., the winner of NBC’s Strong; PJ Stahl, a Reebok master trainer; and Yancy Culp, a top obstacle-course training coach.

The company’s new-content push has produced authoritative articles, with titles such as “Add Variety to Small Group Training” and “Maximize Your Space for Functional Training”; an e-newsletter; a beefed-up social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; and, most recently, a series of “2017 Trends” resources.

“The word ‘solutions’ in our marketing is more than just a buzzword,” insists Goldman. “It defines who we are. We want to provide our customers with both the products and the information they need to drive revenue. That’s what this rebranding is really all about.”

Article by: Jon Feld, [email protected]

Visit the MANIA® near you to try and buy many of the products Power Systems has to offer!





PLYOGA® is coming back to every event within the SCW MANIA® circuit!

PLYOGA® is a 4-part interval training system that uses accelerated and fundamental Yoga as a fluent and active recovery for Plyometric movement.

PLYOGA® was created by Stephanie Lauren (Former NCAA Division I Gymnastics and Track & Field Athlete Record Holder) who noticed a lapse in athletic training as it pertains to balance and flexibility in the HIIT/Boot Camp community. In the fitness environment, having fun is important for achieving goals, and everyone defines “fun” differently.

The cardio and sweat-driven fitness fan often proclaims that Yoga is just not something they can slow down for and attend regularly. They do not find it “fun” by itself. Couple this with the lack of stretching and functional movement in many HIIT formats and you have the recipe for imbalanced, overused and tight muscles. These were many of the driving factors behind the creation of PLYOGA® in 2013.

PLYOGA® uniquely focuses on utilizing all exercise and core planes evenly. It is an equipment-free format that caters to every participant through balance, agility, power, flexibility and endurance work. It allows each person to shine in his/her element and reach forward in places that need more attention.

Currently, PLYOGA® has over 1100 certified trainers in nine countries (predominately U.S. and Canada). PLYOGA® has grown its reach by creating as much value as possible to the trainers they call “The PLYOGA Family.” PLYOGA® rallies around its open format, which Stephanie Lauren says, “brings the trainer back into fitness with the ability to cater to their audience within PLYOGA’s effective outline.” PLYOGA® is also free of music cueing, which allows the trainer to bring his/her music personality into the class, and more importantly, allows participants to take the class at a pace that is safely conducive to each person.

Learn more about PLYOGA® at Follow PLYOGA® – @PLYOGAFitness.

Find out how to use PLYOGA® effectively with your clients by attending a PLYOGA® Post-Conference Certification at an SCW MANIA® conference:

CEU Accreditation: SCW – AFAA – ACE – canfitpro – ISCA – NASM

EXPERIENCE PLYOGA® AT MANIA® – LIVE! Come get certified!




WATERinMOTION® is a pre-choreographed, group exercise aquatic class that changes the music, choreography and marketing every 12 weeks. This provides an excellent opportunity for a facility to attract new members, grow the participation base and increase class retention. By encouraging members to bring their non-member friends, family and colleagues, the goal is to have a full-blown party, or simple master class every twelve weeks to encourage member involvement and attendance growth. Set goals for this launch…Try to get at least 20 new people to come to your facility that have never dipped their toe in the water before…Try to have at least 10 of them “Sign up today”! Setup a one-day-only discount. Offer an enroll-now promotion. Work with your sales and marketing staff to really WORK the launch and make it WORK for you!


Both aqua and land group exercise instructors are your most valuable resource. Ensure that you include them in the launch process. Have everyone in the club get involved in promoting your upcoming launch by having the instructors engage their class participants, the front desk staff sign people up, and any additional staff help put up the marketing materials that are provided. Also, have the sign-up sheet right inside the door of the pool or in the locker room with a pen attached so that instructors can get their students signed up right then and there.


Our WATERinMOTION® Launch Kits are adobe-writable and allow you to type in your personal club’s information. The mini-posters can be personalized and posted in the locker rooms, bathrooms, front doors, and at local businesses around your area—coffee shops and schools work well. The session passes drive people to your facility and the sign-up sheets encourage enrollment and provide a way to track sales. The punch cards offer 10 or 20 class passes that allows a facility to charge for a class or simply encourage participation. If a facility does not charge for classes, they can enter in an expiration date and once a student participates all 10 or 20 times, they would be entered into a drawing to win a discounted personal training session, or $25 gift certificate at a pro shop or sporting goods store, or a neighboring restaurant.


Planning every detail is important. Have everyone in the facility involved. The sales staff should be onsite to welcome new participants and take them on tours. The personal training staff should check-in people at the front doors with business cards in hand. Even the towel crew should be available to meet and greet potential and returning members. Create a detailed outline of what your participants can expect on your launch day. This should include the who, what, where, when and how of the event.


The best way to get people to your launch is by getting the word out. Use the marketing kits, have your instructors wear costumes along with the front desk staff and trainers. Announce, announce, announce and pass out event passes at every turn. Tape the passes to all the cardio machines, leave the classes by the sinks in the bathroom and display them proudly at the front desk. Check with your local newspapers and radio stations to announce the events. Many of them will do this free of charge if you only make the time and effort.


Don’t forget to have fun! Make it a party, the place to be. Get excited and spread the word!

WATERinMOTION® website:



SCW Fitness Education and WATERinMOTION® consider Active Agers as some of the most loving, appreciative and savvy participants to grace the aquatics environment. Active Agers often manage physical issues, but instead of labelling this group as a “special population,” we embrace a mindset of “Inclusive Teaching.” Everyone is “special,” so we do not refer to subsets as special populations merely to differentiate various types of physical ailments.


The Psychology of this Mindset

The definition of teaching is to induce an independent change in behavior or thought. For this to occur, think about one thing you would like each of your participants to be able to execute (behavior) or recite (thought) at the end of the workout and then work backward to create a successful learning environment.

Keeping in mind that not everyone in this heterogeneous group will interpret information the same way, here are some tips that sum up the norms when developing your approach to this population. Active Aging Mindset Coaches (AAMC) use inclusive terminology.

PACE: Demonstrate skills at an appropriate pace for most participants present in the class. Generally, consider a slower pace when introducing verbal, visual and kinesthetic cues.

VERBAL CUES: Speak clearly and loudly, and avoid slang. When choosing words and terms, be aware that there is a fine line between patronizing and condescending language and words of endearment. Where “dear” and “honey” may be appropriate for some, others may take offense. Ask what is appropriate or steer clear of these terms.

VISUAL CUES: Keep movements deliberate and precise. Wear bright colors and move around as you demonstrate to help your participants see your movements.

KINESTHETIC CUES: Be creative, inspirational and inventive. Instead of always saying “pull in the navel toward your spine,” consider alternative ways to say the same thing, such as “shrink your waistline,” “suck in your core for a photograph” and “make your abdominals go inside like when you cough.” Create confidence in each participant by giving earned praise whenever possible. When providing feedback, make it as specific as possible. Finally, using words such as “feel” and “sense” when cueing helps connect to your students’ kinesthetic learning.


WATERinMOTION® Active Aging Teaching Techniques

To be effective communicators with Active Agers, there are steps we can take to produce the most pleasant and effective results in the least amount of time. Please consider the following suggestions:

  • Dress to earn the respect of Active Agers. Active Agers want to be taught the way they want to be spoken to — on a level of equality, respect and understanding despite any age difference among them or between them and the instructor. Clothing that is both appropriate to the session and respectful of the Active Ager means avoiding:
    • Showing excessive amounts of skin
    • Displaying inappropriate logos or profanity displays on labels or clothing
    • Choosing darker colors — instead use bright colors, not only to enable those with vision disabilities to see movements easily but also to create a cheerful environment
  • Place your participants in semicircles when possible. This provides better visual access and creates a “family-style” team feeling of camaraderie.
  • Teach the session from various positions on the deck, which will allow you to build an exciting amount of group dynamics. This also gives you visual access to view participants at different angles and assures you will be closer to different students at different times, which can instill a feeling of safety in your participants.
  • Demonstrate arms first. Many instructors begin with moving the legs and then offer additional movements involving the upper body. You may wish to start with the easiest common denominator for many, which often includes moving the arms first because more people have less inhibiting conditions with the arms versus the legs.
  • Face the class and perform movements on the same side of the body as participants to cue toward their orientation or mirror image. This is advantageous because it is easier for participants to see, hear and follow the instructor. You can perfect this skill by practicing in front of a mirror.

Successfully training this population also depends on owning the mindset that a positive emotional approach to the passing of time helps Active Agers become complicit movers and thinkers instead of static victims. Since lifestyle choices come from a mindset, happiness plays a great role in aging. The happier an individual, the better lifestyle choices he/she will make during the day.

The Centers for Disease Control believes lifestyle decisions impacting our health and well-being play a greater role than medication. We shape our wellness and happiness through our decisions and lifestyle behaviors. Age has less to do with what we can and cannot do than does our attitude, which helps determine some of the types of age we display. Encourage our Active Aging population to age optimally, not perfectly, which includes managing life’s ups and downs both physically and emotionally.

After all, in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

Each MANIA® Conference offers an entire track to the Active Aging population so you can feel confident that when you attend MANIA® you’ll leave with a multitude of ideas and ways to implement these techniques into your career!

Come to a MANIA® near you and learn from the best – LIVE! You can also get certified! Online, or in person!

WATERinMOTION® website:


This perfect-for-summer recipe was designed by nutrition student Lindsay Aragon in the Whole Foods Cooking Lab. The star of the dish is cabbage, which has strong cholesterol-reducing effects, and is assisted by vitamin C-rich lemon juice and nutrient-dense almonds.


  • Half of one small red cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1 green apple, finely sliced
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • Fresh parsley, minced for garnish
  • Black pepper to taste

Mix cabbage, carrots and apples in a large bowl. In a small bowl, add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup and pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously until well-emulsified. Pour over cabbage mixture and top with almonds, parsley and freshly ground black pepper.

Recipe created by Lindsay Aragon. In her Cooking Lab at MUIH.EDU from the market basket she received