SCW Spotlite: Issue 22

March 16, 2020
Enjoy this biweekly buzz about all things fitness. Fitness Pros are always on the go, so we’ll leave the “Lite” on!

Keep Protected from Coronavirus | The Case for After Meal Walks | Hacking Your Playlist | Social Media Marketing Mishaps | Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer & Wipes

How to Wash Your Hands of Coronavirus

by SCW Spotlite Staff

Almost every email being received over the past several days from businesses has been about what they are doing for themselves & their customers to stay healthy.  Our top priority at SCW is the health, safety, and security of every Participant, Presenter, Staff Member, Volunteer, Sponsor, Exhibitor, Delegate, and Associate who work for and attend our MANIA® Fitness Conventions and Certifications. SCW has always taken every precaution to keep our MANIA® venues and office as clean and sanitized as possible. With the outbreak of Coronavirus, we have stepped up our sanitation process and continue to take the steps necessary to keep everyone as healthy as possible. All our MANIA® Fitness Conventions will continue to have hand sanitizer in every room. We are also adding antibacterial wipes for attendees to wipe down their equipment before and after use.

We, as Fitness Instructors, need to think of ourselves as a business and do the same thing, not only through an email, but in our classes. Many of us already use our common sense when it comes to keeping ourselves “germ-free”.  Here are a few tips and suggestions when it comes to your facilities and classes:

Microphones & Mic Belts

Bring your own personal windscreen.  We not only talk (or yell) into a mic, but we spit.  Having your own windscreen will cut down on sharing someone else’s germs. Also, having your own mic belt means you don’t share someone else’s sweat.  Just another precaution.


Bring your own equipment and recommend that your attendees do the same.  If you bring your own, they may be more likely to follow your lead.  Yoga mats, dumbbells, tubing, & other equipment can carry germs and sweat. Even though wipes are provided to wipe them down, that doesn’t mean they are clean. There are plenty of places to purchase equipment; maybe even suggest a few in your area.

Class Time

Think about arriving to class earlier than normal, at least 10 minutes. The attendees are usually waiting to get into the room, which makes it a great opportunity to either hand out antibacterial wipes or squirt hand sanitizer in their hands. It is also a great time to talk with them about the equipment, staying healthy, and other important topics. Remind them that eating healthy, nutritious food and exercising regularly will help keep their immune system strong.

At the end of class, think about ending a couple of minutes early to allow time for dispensing of wipes to wipe down the equipment. Also, don’t forget to wipe any door handles, stereo knobs, light switches, etc., especially if you are the last instructor of the day.

Wipes & Hand Sanitizer

Most gyms & facilities provide either sanitizing spray bottles & paper towels or pre-moistened wipes.  There is almost always a hand sanitizer dispenser on the wall.  Please encourage your students to wipe their equipment before and after use.  Even though it gets cleaned by the gym staff, how clean is it really getting? The larger the studio, the less clean the equipment might be.

All in all, whether it is as serious as Covid-19 or as mild as a common cold, these tips are useful all the time.  Remind your students to refrain from attending class if they are sick, coughing, sneezing, have a runny nose or a fever.  If someone in their household has any of these symptoms, please ask them to temporarily skip their class workout.  Do your best and remind your students not to touch their face, rub eyes, or put fingers in their mouth.  Germs can last on surfaces from hours to several days.  Lastly, have several boxes of tissues in the room and throughout the gym.  At least that way if someone sneezes, they have tissues to contain their DNA.

We at SCW hope everyone stays healthy and we look forward to seeing you at an upcoming MANIA® Fitness Convention.

Continue reading below to learn how to make your own hand sanitizer & anti-bacterial wipes.

The Case For Taking a Walk After You Eat

TIME Magazine

At the end of a long day, it’s tempting to dive into your social feeds or Netflix queue the minute you’ve finished eating. But back before screens bogarted all our free time, an after-dinner stroll was a popular activity and one associated with improved health and digestion. “Italians have been walking after meals for centuries,” says Loretta DiPietro, a professor of exercise science at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, “so it must be good.”

Research backs this up. One small study co-authored by DiPietro found that when older adults at risk for type-2 diabetes walked on a treadmill for 15 minutes after a meal, they had smaller blood sugar spikes in the hours afterwards. In fact, the researchers found that these short post-meal walks were even more effective at lowering blood sugar after dinner than a single 45-minute walk taken at mid-morning or late in the afternoon.

The human digestive system converts food into the sugar glucose, which is one of the body’s primary energy sources—so after a meal, glucose floods a person’s bloodstream. Hormones like insulin help pull that glucose into cells, either to be used immediately or stored away for later use. But for people with diabetes and impaired insulin activity, too much glucose can remain in the blood, which can cause or contribute to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other health problems.

“Insulin secretion in response to a meal tends to wane later in the day, and this is especially so in older people,” DiPietro says. She points out that many of us eat our largest meal of the day in the evening, and we also tend to sit around afterward. As a result, “blood glucose levels will rise very high and will stay elevated for hours,” she says.

What good does walking do? “The muscles we use to walk use glucose as energy, drawing it out of circulation and therefore reducing how much is floating around,” says Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

Reynolds coauthored a 2016 study of people with type-2 diabetes and found that just 10 minutes of walking after a meal helped control their blood sugar levels. “We saw the biggest differences with walking after dinner time,” compared to other times of the day, Reynolds says. Like DiPietro, he says many people just sit around in the evenings, and this may be especially bad because the body’s ability to manage blood sugar at that time of day is weakest. “Getting up and moving around at that time was very effective,” he says.

Along with combatting surges in blood sugar, a little post-meal movement may also aid digestion. “Exercise stimulates peristalsis, which is the process of moving digested food through the GI tract,” says Sheri Colberg-Ochs, a diabetes and exercise researcher at Old Dominion University. Her research has found that a post-meal walk is much more effective than a pre-meal walk for controlling blood sugar.

More research has found that walking helps speed up the time it takes food to move from the stomach into the small intestines. This could help improve satiety after eating. There’s also evidence that links this type of faster digestion with lower rates of heartburn and other reflux symptoms.

Walking isn’t the only type of post-meal exercise that provides these benefits. “Whether it is resistance exercise or aerobic exercise, both have a similar impact on lowering blood glucose levels,” says Jill Kanaley, a professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri. One small study by Kanaley and others found that for people with obesity and type-2 diabetes, doing a weight training session with leg presses, calf raises, chest flies and back extensions 45 minutes after dinner lowered their triglycerides and blood sugar for a short time—and improved their wellbeing.

But more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to post-eating exercise. There’s some evidence that vigorous forms of training may delay digestion after a meal. “Exercising muscles pull more of the blood flow their way during activity, and the GI tract gets relatively less,” Colberg-Ochs says. “That actually slows down the digestion of food in your stomach during the activity.” Most of the research on post-meal physical activity suggests that moderate intensities—think fast walking or biking—are best. “Anything but really intense exercise would probably work equally well,” she adds.

As far as timing goes, try to move your body within an hour of eating—and the sooner the better. Colberg-Ochs says glucose tends to peak 72 minutes after food intake, so you’d want to get moving well before then.

Even if you can only fit in a quick 10-minute walk, it’ll be worth it. Apart from the perks mentioned here, more research has linked short bouts of walking with benefits like lower blood pressure and a reduced risk for depression.

So make like the Italians and head out for a walk after your next meal. Your TV and the Internet will still be there when you get home.


Read the original article here.

“Hacking” Your Playlist

Well + Good

Picture this nightmare of a situation: you’ve mustered up all your remaining energy after a long day of work to pack your running shoes, sports bra and towel, only to realize once you got to the gym that you forgot your headphones. You now have a tough decision to make: go back home to get your AirPods, or tough out a workout that’s sure to feel a lot more monotonous and challenging?

If going back home to retrieve your headphones so you actually survive this workout sounds like more, well, your jam, you’re not alone. “There have been scores of research papers and controlled studies demonstrating that music enhances athletic performance significantly,” says Eric Stensvaag, curator and writer at, a program that works with musicologists to curate motivating playlists for every situation. “Music can also create an increased commitment to exercise, resulting in people working out more frequently and for prolonged periods.”

Specifically, a study from the journal Ergonomics found that participants who boosted the tempo and volume of their music while on the treadmill ran faster than those who didn’t. Bonus: The study also found their quickened pace maintained their perceived effort, which increased their endurance.

Turns out your best training session yet doesn’t involve hiring a personal trainer. Here’s how to create the perfect playlist so you breeze through your next workout.

Consider your workout type

The music you bring to a sprinting session on the treadmill is going to differ drastically from a playlist you use to stretch it out on the mat. According to Stensvaag, your workout type should guide your music choice to a greater degree than your mood since “the music will theoretically help to adapt your mood to what’s needed for the workout, whether that’s a more energetic mood for cardio or weight training, or a more relaxed mood for something like yoga,” he says.

Strive for consistency

To create a sense of “flow,” or to get out of your own head and feel immersed in your activity, Stensvaag says to strive for consistency in each song so that none of your selections are distracting. The last thing you want is to go from one different genre to the next, pausing to acclimate to the change in beat and musical ambiance. Create, for example, a separate playlist for genres like hip-hop, rap, and R&B; another for punk, pop punk, and rock; and another for pop, techno, and electronic dance.

Pick the right beat

To trigger the desired flow state, “songs definitely need to deliver an appropriate tempo—beats per minute or BPM—and intensity of music for the workout,” says Stensvaag.

Okay, now we’re getting technical. But don’t feel the need to get bogged down by BPM’s. “[It’s] an instance where going with [your] gut is usually as effective if not more so,” says Stensvaag. “Our curators use BPM to evaluate song selection, but we find the more subjective criteria of intensity is even more important.” To evaluate a song’s intensity, use your best judgment on how fast a song feels, how hard-hitting the music is, and how aggressive the lyrics are, he recommends. That should give you a good idea about when and where that particular song would complement—or enhance—your routine.

Break up your playlist

The same way you break up your workout into three parts—the warm-up, workout, and cool down—you should also break up your playlist. Aim for something upbeat for your warm-up to motivate you to get started, something fast bordering on aggressive to guide your pace and intensity for the main workout, and something soothing for your cool down. “If you’re able to vary the playlist in this way but want a shortcut, we’ve found that the type of music suited to warm up and cool down is similar enough that it can be used interchangeably,” says Stensvaag. If you don’t have the luxury of creating separate playlists for the warmup and cool down segments of your workouts, he says that simply playing the music at a lower volume during those sections is effective. Turning it off completely during your cool down should also do the trick, he says.

Be gentle on yourself

Look, the goal is definitely to give it your best given that you went out of your way to retrieve your headphones from your bedroom and made it back to the gym with only an hour to spare before closing. (Right? Right??) But there’s really no need to force an unnecessarily challenging intensity to match the tempo of your music, since this can make you prone to injury. “It’s probably best to only sync your workout with the beat if this feels natural and helpful for your performance,” says Stensvaag. “Otherwise, let the intensity of the song guide you towards pushing more or less, and listen to your body.” In a spin class that hinges on matching your cadence to the beat, a good instructor will suggest you modify your bike’s resistance and/or your repetitions per minute to suit your physical needs or limitations.

Don’t overthink it

Above all else, you should love the music, and no one can decide what that sounds like but you. “Songs that you know, and love should form the backbone of your playlist,” says Stensvaag, “but to prevent things from getting stale, it’s good to include some new or unfamiliar tracks.” He says his fellow curators at aim for 75 percent familiar songs, and 25 percent songs new to discover. And there’s scientific proof that your favorite music puts you in the mood: a study from the journal Nature Neuroscience found that listening to your favorite music, or even anticipating it, lights up the reward system in the brain and releases the feel-good hormone dopamine, which can thus motivate you to work out and boost your self-esteem.

Keep in mind that your favorite song might not lend itself well to your workout, and that’s okay. “It’s been shown that pop music has been slowing over the past several years,” says Stensvaag. “Much of what’s popular right now lacks the right intensity for workouts. And there are examples where artists tend to specialize in making great music that may backfire in a workout context, like Billie Eilish, Lana Del Rey, and The Weeknd.” Hey, at least you always have your cool down to listen to your favorite slower tracks.


Read the original article here.

Social Media Marketing Mishaps

By Amanda Vogel, PFP

Most fitness studio owners know that social media is a necessary part of any fitness business marketing plan. But it can also be a major time-waster in both obvious and subtle ways. Here are five things you might need to stop doing now on social media for improved productivity and results.

1. Stop using all the social channels

As a gym owner, you don’t have to, and probably shouldn’t, employ every available social platform to market your fitness studio. Social media moves quickly and there are so many features even within just one platform. To make the best use of your time and marketing power, it’s better to carefully strategize how and where you use social media for business.

Zero-in on the platforms where you’ll find the majority of your target audience and the most engagement (hint: Facebook is the largest platform but Instagram has a reputation for getting better engagement). Post to these networks the most, or exclusively. Cross everything else off your list.

2. Stop overlooking social advertising

You can’t take it for granted that your followers will see what you post most of the time—the social space is just too crowded. And, besides, Facebook has become largely a pay-to-play model for businesses. Allotting advertising dollars to your social media should be part of your fitness studio’s promotional strategy. Advertising helps you reach more people, potentially generating more leads and/or sales.

It also helps you circumvent Facebook’s algorithmic “rules” that could prevent your followers from seeing your content. For example, an unpaid post that contains words like “sale,” “save” or “discount” gets even less reach than other types of unpaid posts. Why? Naturally, Facebook wants you to pay for promotional content. If you’re going to the trouble of creating posts to promote a discount, product or special event, you’re better off paying to get better reach and results.

3. Stop publishing all your Facebook posts from your phone

Most people use apps on their phones to access social media, but that doesn’t mean you should be posting all your business content from mobile (unless the platform is mostly mobile-based, such as Instagram). Did you know some social media sites offer slightly different features and capabilities between web-based and mobile app versions?

Take a good look at the publishing options on your Facebook Business Page from a computer. You’ll find really useful content-creation tools there that aren’t always available on mobile (e.g., the ability to add captions to videos or create picture slideshows and carousels).

4. Stop asking clients to follow you without following back

While it’s not possible to follow individual people back from a Facebook Business Page, you should be following your own clients and qualified prospects back on Instagram if they have a public (not private) account. Good marketing on social media is about creating connections, not amassing as many random followers as possible (which anyone can buy anyway).

Once you’re following clients and prospective members, show interest in their posts when it’s appropriate to do so. Double tap a photo on Instagram or react to a Story. And when someone comments on one of your posts, comment back! FYI, when you engage with clients’ posts, you also become more visible to their network, making it easier for clients/members to refer friends and family your way.

5. Stop scrolling past Instagram stories

If you assume most people aren’t looking at Instagram Stories, you’re wrong. Consider that Instagram Stories launched in 2016, but the main Instagram feed has been around a lot longer. At press time, there are about 500+ million daily active users on Instagram and also 500+ million daily active users looking at Instagram Stories (source: Digital marketing experts forecast that Instagram Story activity will surpass activity in Instagram’s main feed in the near future. Unless you feel quite confident that your audience and studio members are not on Instagram, stop dismissing Stories. You’ll want to leverage this feature for more effective fitness marketing this year and beyond.


Read the original article here.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer & Wipes

Wired Magazine

Properly scrubbing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and viruses, and to ensure you don’t get sick yourself. But if you don’t have access to soap and clean water, or if you’re out and about and nowhere near a sink, you should carry hand sanitizer to protect your health.

As you’re no doubt aware, bottles of hand sanitizer (Purell, Wet Ones, and the like) sell out quickly during public health crises. But don’t worry—making your own hand sanitizer is remarkably easy. You just have to be careful you don’t mess it up. Make sure that the tools you use for mixing are properly sanitized; otherwise you could contaminate the whole thing. Also, the World Health Organization recommends letting your concoction sit for a minimum of 72 hours after you’re done. That way the sanitizer has time to kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the mixing process.

(Note: To reiterate, nothing beats washing your hands. Hand sanitizer—even the real, professionally made stuff—should always be a last resort.)

We actually have two recipes for you, and links to find the ingredients. The first is one you can make with stuff you likely already have in your cabinets and under the sink, so it’s effective in emergency situations. The second recipe is more complex, but easy to make if you have the opportunity to do some shopping and planning ahead of time.

Potency Matters

You’re going to need some alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your sanitizer mix must be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective. But it’s better to get way above that. A bottle of 99 percent isopropyl alcohol is the best thing to use. Your regular vodka and whiskey are too wimpy and won’t cut it.

The Quick (Gel) Recipe

  • 99% Isopropyl alcohol
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Tea tree oil

Mix 3 parts isopropyl alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to give it a pleasant scent and to align your chakras.

The Better (Spray) Recipe and Sanitizing Wipe Base

The aloe mixture gets the job done, but aloe also leaves your skin annoyingly sticky. So, here’s a recipe that’s less sticky and more potent, based on the mix recommended by the WHO.

Mix 1 ⅔ cups alcohol with 2 teaspoons of glycerol. You can buy jugs of glycerol online, and it’s an important ingredient because it keeps the alcohol from drying out your hands. If you can’t find glycerol, proceed with the rest of the recipe anyway and just remember to moisturize your hands after applying the sanitizer.

Mix in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, then another ¼ cup of distilled or boiled water. (If you’re working with a lower-concentration solution of rubbing alcohol, use far less water; remember, at least ⅔ of your final mixture has to be alcohol.)

Load the solution into spray bottles—this isn’t a gel, it’s a spray. You can wet a paper towel with it as well and use that as a wipe.

To make sanitizing wipes simple tear off a half a roll of paper towels, place them in a plastic tupperwear containers and pour this mixture over them and let it all soak in. Then just take as you need.

If you must, you can add in a splash of essential oil to your concoction to make it smell nice. Just don’t use lavender. Everyone else uses lavender, and your sanitizer is superior.

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