Conservixs

It’s all over the magazines, frequently featured on television, and even some newspapers are in on the game. Advice on what to wear and what not to wear. The people we surround ourselves with tend to be all too happy to share their thoughts on our outfits. It’s hard to avoid, because the message is everywhere, and if we don’t follow the trend, we’re told we’ve “let ourselves go”.

But does it really matter? After all, the main purpose of clothing is to keep us warm and safe from the environment that surrounds us. Clothes are meant to be functional. Without fur or feathers to keep us comfortable, we rely on different materials to do the job for us. It certainly is nice when clothes look attractive, but no matter how appealing something is, if it doesn’t feel pleasant against the skin and if it is a pain to wear, why should we subject ourselves to it simply because it’s fashion?

One fashion statement has divided women’s opinions for decades – the high heeled shoe. Some women wear them because it’s generally thought that they make legs look good. Some wear them because they make you look taller. Some actually find them comfortable to wear, whilst others can’t manage to walk more than a few steps in them without twisting an ankle. They can cause foot problems, leg and back pain, all in the name of fashion. Is it worth it?

The answer is not as straightforward as it seems. Generally speaking, the older we get, the less we care about what’s in and what’s out. We’ve decided on what we like to wear and what we feel comfortable in, so when we go on a shopping spree, we’re likely to get more of the same or similar. We may get the occasional “fancy” item for special occasions, but if we like our jeans and trainers, that’s what we will return to on a day to day basis.

Like any industry, fashion is about money. The constant change in trends that makes people change the content of their wardrobes throughout the year is designed to keep us spending our cash. If fashion magazines told us that the latest must-have is, in fact, the same must-have as last year, and the year before that, people would only replace that item if it were damaged or if it didn’t fit anymore. To keep customers on their toes, and to keep people in the industry in work, fashion must keep evolving.

That doesn’t mean that we have to follow along. Not unless we want to. There’s no point in purchasing clothes just because they’re trendy if we cannot afford or long to do so. Yes, pretty clothes can help when we want to attract a partner, but unless that partner is part of the fashion industry or someone who follows the latest trends to the dot, they’re unlikely to care all that much.

My advice is to go for what you like, regardless of what the media tell you to wear. If you want to look good, just about anything will work if it’s suitable for your body type and skintone. If you like to dress to impress, go for it. If you like your high heels, go for it (though I wouldn’t wear them all the time – give your feet the break they deserve). If you like your clothes made for comfort, feel free. Don’t let anyone tell you you’ve let yourself go just because you like your hooded tops. They don’t have to wear them.

Everyone should be free to dress how they like. If you like what you wear, it helps you feel confident, and that’s far more attractive than the latest designer dress.

 

So lately, I’ve been getting a few messages about a new Travel-based Network Marketing company called Plannet Marketing. And chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about joining and you’re doing some last minute research on the company. If that’s the case, then look no further. In this Plannet Marketing Review, I’ll cover all the essential details you’ll need before you join. With that said, I do want to disclose that I am not a Plannet Marketing distributor. In all honesty, it really doesn’t matter to me one way or the other if you join so you know you’ll be getting a truly unbiased review.

Who Is Plannet Marketing?

Plannet Marketing is a company that sells travel through a Network Marketing business model. The company is based out of Atlanta, Georgia and as of this writing Plannet Marketing is just over 6 months old. The company was founded by Donald Bradley, formerly of YTB and Paycation Travel. Bradley brings with him 20 years of experience in Network Marketing. Before starting Plannet Marketing, Bradley was the Master Distributor and #1 Income Earner in Paycation Travel. He literally had everyone in Paycation in his downline and was responsible for bringing in the company’s top leadership group. I’m not sure what happened, but around the time Craig Jerabeck and Barry Donalson left 5linx and joined Paycation was the same time Bradley decided to leave. Maybe he didn’t feel good about those guys joining and being sponsored by the company when he was the Master Distributor. Who knows? And who really cares? Regardless of the reason, it looks like Bradley was willing to walk away from everything he built to start from scratch again. Overall, the company looks pretty solid. And while it’s too early to tell if they’ll even be around for the long haul because they’re only a few months old, Bradley and the other members of the Corporate team bring a ton of experience in Network Marketing and Travel, which is a good thing.

How Do You Make Money With Plannet Marketing?

The actual compensation plan provides several ways for distributors to get paid. But the crown jewel of the compensation plan is the 3X9 Matrix. With a Matrix model, it’s critical that you get a spot early on if you want to capitalize on spillover. If you’re positioned underneath a strong builder, you can benefit from their efforts as they place people under you while they’re filling up their Matrix. With a fully filled 3X9 Matrix, you’ll have 29,523 distributors underneath you. If they’re all active and you get $4 monthly from each distributor, you can make up to $118,092 monthly. In addition to your Matrix pay, you can also earn a 10% Match on the Matrix pay of your personally sponsored distributors.

In addition to the Matrix, the company provides monthly bonuses to Directors. Here’s a simple breakdown of how the Director bonuses work:

1 Star Director – 100 active distributors – $500/month

2 Star Director – 300 active distributors – $1,000/month

3 Star Director – 500 active distributors – $2,000/month

4 Star Director – 1,500 active distributors – $5,000/month

5 Star Director – 4,000 active distributors – $10,000/month

6 Star Director – 10,000 active distributors – $16,000/month

7 Star Director – 25,000 active distributors – $30,000/month

8 Star Director – 50,000 active distributors – $50,000/month

9 Star Director – 100,000 active distributors – $100,000/month

Between the Matrix Pay, the 10% Match on your personals and the Director Bonuses, it’s pretty clear that there’s plenty of money on the back end. If you’re a strong team builder and you have a knack for creating good culture, Plannet Marketing might be a very lucrative opportunity for you.

Should You Join Plannet Marketing?

Well, only you can truly answer that. The company certainly looks solid. Travel is a very marketable service that’s easy to talk about. And the compensation plan is generous and lucrative. All those things together should guarantee success, right? Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. At the end of the day, it is your ability to sponsor people into your business on a consistent basis that will lead to your success. This is why I recommend that you learn Attraction Marketing. If you can position yourself in front of prospects that are already looking for what you’re offering, you’ll have no problem getting leads online. And if you have an abundance of quality leads, there’s no telling how successful you can be.

 

No business exists and operates in a vacuum, but as a part and parcel of the environment in which it finds itself. Efficient and effective marketing strategy is a function of the marketing manager’s ability to understand the environment in which the business operates.

The marketing environment consists of a set of factors or forces that operate or influence a company’s performance in its chosen target market.

Jain (1981:69) defined the marketing environment to include all those factors that may affect the organization directly or indirectly in any perceptible way. Marketing environment factors affects the organization by the way of input and the organizations also affect the environment by output. The relationship between the organization and the marketing environment is often referred to as “inseparable” the organization and it environment are constantly in a state of: give and take” or homeostasis.

The marketing environment consist of those forces or element that impacts on the company’s capability to operate effectively in its chosen target market.

The marketing environment is divided into two major components. The elements are,

Internal environment: the internal environment is concerned with the controllable variables. Controllable variables are categorized into two groups, they are; the strategy variables and unmarketable variables. External environment: the external environment is concerned with the uncontrollable variables. These variables are called uncontrollable because the marketing manager cannot directly control any of the elements. The marketing manager is left with the option of adapting to the environment by prompt observation, analysis and forecasting of these environmental factors. The external environment can further be divided into two components, the micro environment and the macro environment.

Micro environment:

The elements that fall under the micro environment consist of forces or factors in the firm’s immediate environment that affect the firm’s capability to perform effectively in the market place. These forces are suppliers, distributors, customers and competitors. Let us discuss each of the variables in details.

Suppliers:

Suppliers are business customers who provide goods and services to other business organizations for resale or for productions of other goods. The behavior of certain forces in the suppliers can affect the performance of the buying organization positively or negatively. The critical factors here are the number of suppliers and the volume of suppliers to the industry. An audit of the suppliers will enable us to appreciate their strength and bargaining power, which the suppliers hold over the industry as a whole. The answers to the issues concerned have the potentials to affect the capability of firms in the industry to effectively deliver need-satisfying goods and/ or services. The trend today is that buyers attempt to persuade the supplier to provide exactly what the firms want. This process is known as “reverse marketing”.

Customers:

Customers are those who buy goods and/ or services produced by the company. In a purchase chain, different people play significant roles before a purchase decision is made. The various influences must be understood. The customer may be the consumer of the products where he/she is the user. The critical factor here is that needs and wants of consumers are not static. They are fast changing. The changes in the preferences of the consumer create opportunities and threats in the market. The changes called for the marshaling of separate strategy to either fit into windows of opportunities or survive the threats in the market. A good knowledge of consumers’ behavior will facilitate the design and production of goods and services that the customers need and want, and not what they are able to produce.

Competitor:

A competitor is a firm operating in the same industry or market with another firm. The consideration here is that, Firm A produces a substitute to that of firm B (industrial approach) or firm A and firm B seeks to satisfy the same customer need (market approach.

 

There are some instances where travel agents can travel for free, but for the most part they do come out of their pocket. Below are three instances where travel agents can rack up extra savings and put money back into their pockets.

I will share my savings experience as a home-based agent, which has caused me to save hundreds of dollars!

Get Paid on Retail or Sale Pricing

When I travel as an insider, I get paid when I book travel for myself (and of course I get paid when I do it for others). The price I pay could be the same as any one that is not part of the industry, the difference would be I get a check and you don’t! Commissions are already built-into the price of what you see online or what your travel agent quote you already has the commissions built-in. (they are never in addition to price quoted, if you are told extra fees need to be added to cover commission… run)

Travel at Net or Wholesale Pricing

Now, if I decide that I want to travel at a lower cost and forgo my commission, I still have to pay the net cost, I just would not get paid for the trip. You can get travel at great bargains if you travel this way!

But, I must add that various agencies may have ‘special’ discounted trips that agents can take for themselves or sell to their clients and STILL get a commission! I love these because your getting paid AND the rates can be even better than net rate PLUS you have a great deal you can offer to your clients. Only downside is that there may be a limit on how many can travel and restricted to specific dates.

Travel on the Industries Dime

What about those really dirt cheap trips? Yes, dirt cheap destinations do exist and are exclusive for travel agents and are typically known as FAM trips or Familiarization trips. These trips are more educational for travel agents and teach agents about the property or destination experience they are visiting.

Vendors invite agents on these ‘FAM’ trips so they can get more in-depth knowledge to share with their clientele. The goal is to promote to get more bookings for those properties or destinations. Prices for these trips are such a steal that they might as well be free!

Just to recap, travel agents pay for their trips in four ways:

1. Travel at retail pricing & get paid the already built-in commission

2. Travel at retail minus already built-in pricing (therefore no commissions are paid)

3. Travel at wholesale plus get a commission (vary per agency and limits dates & quantity)

4. Travel on a FAM trip – steeply discounted trips (exclusive to travel agents

Travel is frequently listed as one of the “must do” things on peoples’ lists, and resort hotels that not only pamper but also include natural beauty, history, great food, and lots of recreational opportunities are very attractive. Here’s the lowdown, in no particular order, on five of these resort destinations I’ve visited recently; they are located in the eastern part of the country, and some are offering enticing incentives during these tougher economic times (golf, tennis, pools, and spas are part of each location unless indicated):

1. The Greenbrier Resort, White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Of the five hotels, I’d say this one has the prettiest lobbies and other public areas – colors such as peach and pink combine in magical ways to produce drop-dead gorgeous palettes. The resort became popular in 1778 because it was thought that the mineral waters had healing properties, and people flocked to “take the waters.” Located in the Allegheny Mountains on 6,500 acres, there are more than 700 rooms and 50 different activities you can attempt, including falconry, kayaking, and geocaching. Eight restaurants, ranging from jacket and tie to casual attire will address your culinary needs. Don’t miss: The Bunker Tour ($30/person), a hidden government enclave under the Greenbrier built to shelter Congress in case of a nuclear war. Rates begin at $99/person. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee. (The resort is undergoing some changes – West Virginia businessman Jim Justice of Justice Family Group LLP recently has acquired The Greenbrier from CSX Corp.)

2. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Farmington, Pennsylvania. The ambience here is woodsier – after all, you are in 2,000 acres of the Laurel Highlands of Southwest Pennsylvania. The resort offers 335 rooms within its six different options – from lodge guest rooms to luxury homes. The property began as a private game preserve, was later used as a conference center, and took on its present character with its purchase in 1987 by the founder of 84 Lumber Company, Joseph Hardy III. The name of the resort honors Chief Nemacolin, a Lanai Lanape Indian. A few less-common activities include a shooting academy, dog sledding, and a bowling alley; you can also land your plane at the resort’s 3,900-foot airstrip. Dining ranges from elegant (jackets suggested) to casual with more than a half-dozen choices. Don’t miss: The Great Escapes E-Newsletter notifies you of upcoming activities, special promotions, and reduced rates. Rates begin at $319/person. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

3. The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia. This National Historic Landmark was founded in 1766 (pre-Revolution), but according to the site’s timeline, archaeologists found evidence that the “hot springs” were used in 7000 BC! With 483 rooms on 3,000 acres in the Allegheny Mountains, miles of hiking trails, a 270-seat movie theater inside the resort, carriage rides, ice-skating and skiing, there is something for everyone year-round. Only 40 miles from the Greenbrier, you could try out both places over a long weekend. A number of restaurants, from formal to casual, will tickle your taste buds. Don’t miss: We’re beginner golfers, and played 9 holes on the Old Course, so named because it was completed in 1892 (we did schedule the last tee time so we wouldn’t delay anyone’s game). The Number 1 tee is the oldest tee in continuous use in the United States. Rates begin at $99. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

4. Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle, New Hampshire. My parents are from the North Shore area of Massachusetts, and I love going to New England any chance I can. So, our July visit to this Marriott Hotel & Spa was eagerly anticipated, and I wasn’t disappointed. An hour north of Boston, this is the most easily accessible resort hotel among the five, with 161 rooms and views of the Atlantic. Wentworth by the Sea is close to Portsmouth, an historic, pedestrian-friendly city. The hotel itself was built in 1874, was closed in 1982, and, after many changes in ownership and its almost-demolition (two different times), it ultimately re-opened in 2003. Historically, the Wentworth is noteworthy as the venue for hammering out the 1905 Treaty of Portsmouth, which ended the Japanese-Russo War. Although the grounds are small compared to the first three hotels, golf is available at the adjacent Wentworth by the Sea Country Club, and a 170 slip marina is available for boaters. Dining includes the seasonal Latitudes restaurant by the marina, and the Wentworth Dining Room with a local emphasis (i.e. lots of offerings from the sea). Don’t miss: Portsmouth Harbor Cruise departing at Ceres Street (I’d recommend making reservations in the summer – a few walk-ups were turned away). About an hour and a half long, the Harbor Cruise offers lovely scenery, historical sites, and is fully narrated ($16/person). Rates at Wentworth by the Sea begin at $229. Pet friendly? Yes, for an extra fee.

5. The Wauwinet, Nantucket, Massachusetts. The Greenbrier had the prettiest public places, but the Wauwinet had the most charming rooms (all 35 of them) – each one unique yet elegant – ours had blue and white flowered wallpaper, a high antique pine bed, and a small but modern bathroom. The little extras were nice – especially nice turn-down service with yummy chocolates, personalized stationery, full breakfast included with room, the services of an excellent concierge (she knew us by name), and 4 p.m. port, sherry and cheese. The location of the Wauwinet, on the secluded end of the island between the bay and the ocean, lets you escape from it all, but with jitney service provided to town nine miles away you enjoy the best of both worlds. No pool at the Wauwinet and no golf on the premises, but it’s nearby. Now a member of Relais & Chateaux, the inn was built by two sea captains in 1876, and is only open from May until October. TOPPERS restaurant provides fine dining, and has won many culinary awards. We ate there twice -once for the formal dining, and once on the deck enjoying a spectacular sunset. Don’t miss: Use the Wauwinet’s bikes and pedal (about five miles) to ‘Sconset, a quaint oceanside fishing village dotted with historic cottages covered in roses. Rates can vary – a lot. We were originally going to go over Labor Day Weekend, but found that the price of a room was hundred of dollars less per night on the Tuesday/Wed/Thursday preceding the holiday weekend, so ASK (we were able to book a room for $250/night. Pet friendly? No, and guests (human) need to be over the age of 12.

 

Integrated Resorts by definition are resorts with mixed development like hotels, restaurants, convention centre, theme park, shopping centre, casino etc. Because of the gaming component – casino, integrated resorts development has stirred a great controversy among the Singaporeans.

The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Long announced the cabinet’s decision to develop 2 integrated resorts in Marina Bay and Sentosa. The Singapore Government stated that the aim of the Integrated Resorts is to boast the country’s tourism industry. There has been very keen competition from the neighboring countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Hong Kong. According to the Government, the Integrated Resorts are expected to create some 35,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

There has been debate among the Singaporeans on the plan to build Integrated Resorts. Religious groups and social workers voiced their disapproval at the negative social impact of gambling.

The Government however, promised to have a proper and strict safeguard to limit the social impact of gambling, among others exorbitant entrance fee and the casinos would not extend credit to local population.

Marina Bay Sands

It is located at the Marina South of Singapore. Currently, there are a few pretigious hotels operating like Ritz Charlton Millenium, Oriental Hotel, Marina Mandarin and Pan Pacific Hotel. It will have a panoramic view of the sea and tranquil environment.

The Government of Singapore called for request for concept in December 2004. It received overwhelming response from the industry. A total of 19 bids were submitted during the request for concept.

In the formal bids later, 4 companies/consortiums submitted their tender including:- (i) MGM Mirage/Capital Land, (ii) Harrah’s Entertainment/ Keppel Land, (iii) Las Vegas Sands and (iv) Genting International/Star Cruises.

Eventually, Las Vegas Sands succeeded in their tender, by committing the highest development investmetn of S$3.85 billion. The concept was designed by Moshe Sofdie consisting of 3 layers shells containing conference halls, 3 hotel towers linked to top floor of a sky garden.

Resorts World at Sentosa

Sentosa which means transquility in Malay is a popular island resort in Singapore. Previously, it was known as Pulau Belakang Mati (Island of Death from Behind). Statistics shows that it has been visited by some 2 million people annually. It has a sheltered beach of more than 2 km in length on the Southern coast, historical Fort Siloso from World War II, two golf courses and 2 5-stars hotels.

The island has an area of 5 square kilometres. 70% of it is covered by secondary rainforest. It is the habitat of monitor lizards, monkeys, peacocks, parrots as well as native flora and fauna.

Since its inception of development in 1972, some S$420 million of private capitals and S$500 million Government fund have been invested to develop the island.

3 consortiums submitted their proposal on 10 October 2006. They are: (i) Kerzner International with Capital Land; (ii) Genting International with Star Cruises Universal Studios and (iii) Eight Wonder with Publishing and Broadcasting Limited, Melco International Development Limited, Isle of Capri Casinos Inc.

The bid were reviewed by a ministerial committee and a tender evaluation committee and results were announced on 8 December 2006. Genting International and Star Cruises won the bid. Genting committed to a development investment of S$3.85 billion.

With these 2 Integrated Resorts completed and in operation by late 2009, Singapore will be placed at a totally better position in tourism industry in the region as compared with its competitors.

 

The term “financial skills” covers a range of activities that a professional buyer or procurement executive needs to have if they are to deliver value for money and manage commercial risk for their organisation. However, these skills are not always covered by conventional training which means that a buyer could be creating needless exposure both for themselves and their career as well as their organisation.

There are six financial skills that everyone who works in procurement should acquire.

1. Financial analysis – this covers the use of financial ratios that enable you to identify suppliers who are under performing compared to their competitors or who might be financially vulnerable and so create a supply risk for you. Ratios compare one financial value with another in order to give you an insight into the way that supplier is run. For example, liquidity ratios look at the ability of a supplier to meet its short-term financial obligations by dividing the value of current assets (such as cash and inventory) with the value of current liabilities (such as creditors). Other ratios tell you how efficient the supplier is in turning sales into profit, generating sales from the use of assets and its ability to grow.

2. Activity based costing – this is a method that takes all of the costs of an organisation and assigns them to the products or services that the supplier sells. The big difference between this approach and more conventional costing methods is that it first allocates costs to the activities that create those costs and then to products or services in direct proportion to the amount of those activities that they use in their production or service fulfillment. What this means is that you get a clearer picture of the true costs of making a product or delivering a service than you get from conventional means. The importance of this for the buyer is that they get an understanding of what drives costs and so what actions suppliers can take to reduce them which in turn lets them reduce the price to the buyer and still make an acceptable profit.

3. Understanding profit and loss accounts and balance sheets – the profit and loss account shows a buyer a summary of all the transactions a supplier has made in a period of time (such as a year) with the resulting profit they make and the balance sheet is a snapshot of the financial position of the supplier at that point in time. Accounting policies that the supplier adopts can make a big difference to the declared profit; for example, a supplier can choose how much to charge each year to the profit and loss account for an asset it has bought and this can have a major impact on the profit in any one year. Knowing what accounting policies a supplier uses can help a buyer to understand their accounts and so make sure that the financial ratios that are used to get an insight paint an accurate picture.

4. Understanding cashflow – the lifeblood of any organisation is its cashflow as it can only pay its bills on time and remain solvent if there is cash in the bank. It is important to understand that this is not the same as its profit. For example, if you sell something for $100 now and give your customer 14 days credit then you will not physically receive the cash for another two weeks. If you have bought materials that have been used to make that product and your supplier has given you only 7 days credit then you will have to make a payment to them before you receive the cash from your sale. If you do not have the money in the bank then you may be in difficulties. Understanding the concept of cashflow and how to calculate and analyse it is an important tool in predicting the solvency of your suppliers and their vulnerability.

5. Understanding break-even analysis – this technique calculates the level of activity your supplier needs to have if it is to break even. Levels of activity above the break-even point result in a profit for your supplier and levels of activity below it means your supplier is operating at a loss. The importance of knowing this figure is in negotiations. If your supplier is already above its break-even point and has included your current level of purchases in its calculation, then any further business from you will provide a “super profit” (that is, profit over and above its expected amount as their fixed costs have already been covered). You should be able to negotiate a price reduction based on this information.

6. Price and cost modelling – one of the key questions that procurement people ask of themselves is “am I paying the correct price for this item?”. Price and cost modelling helps to answer this question. Price modelling involves comparing the price you pay against some yardstick of reasonableness such as the price paid last time or a benchmarked price. Cost modelling goes further and is a technique in which you build up an understanding of the cost of the materials, component and other costs that go into the items production or delivery (if it is a service) so that you can assess whether or not they are reasonable and whether the subsequent profit is fair.

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

The 1950’s spawned a wide variety of original and distinctive styles, presented with a classic new age twist. For America, recently recovering from catastrophic tragedies related to the second World War, the 1950’s brought restored hope; a chance for a new way of life whose destiny would be decided by them alone. This metamorphosis of America was heavily represented by fashion.

Women especially dramatically altered the way they dressed and presented themselves; during the evolution of an increasingly liberated society, women began to favor casual, relaxed clothing over traditional dress rules and associated formality of previous decades. Some of the most admired new trends for women in the 1950’s included button-up sweaters with simple necklines, fitted blouses, and full knee-length skirts. However, the most prevalent fashion for women during this time was dresses. Most dresses were worn casually, and were accentuated with circle skirts, halter straps, or small collars. Evening wear dresses seemed soft yet daring, coming in many pastel hues and accompanied with bold ruffles, tulle trim, and dazzling velvet bows. The fitted evening wear of this period, which was usually sleeveless or strapless, was also emphasized with sheer silk.

Growing increasingly popular, the full skirts of the 1950’s needed some sort of support in order to maximize their look. To address this problem, Nylon petticoats were created exclusively to be worn in conjunction with full skirts to create fullness. Nylon was a favorable material because of its high quality and easy care wash. This fullness it created transformed the skirt who gave nothing more than a gentle swish, into a glamorous royal-like flutter. Another significant fashion of this period is the swing coat, developed in the last 1940’s by Jacques Fath. The silhouette of the swing coat was “designed perfectly to cover full skirts, and also ideal for the post war high pregnancy rate”. Another trend in the 1950’s was the “trapeze dress: a swinging dress almost triangular in shape and designed to be worn with low shoes and bouffant hairstyles.” The trapeze dress was later modified into a shorter baby doll tent style dress, which was popular in the next decade. Perhaps one of the most classic fashion garments from the 1950’s was Christian Dior’s H-line of 1954, which consisted of a slender tunic-style suit with a slim skirt. His other popular fashions during this period were his A and Y lines. Dior has long been a dominant force in the fashion world, especially in the 1950’s. His creative and usually voluminous garments gave women a more feminine touch. Another designer, Hubert Givenchy created a Parisian style dress in 1957 which he called the Sack. The Sack began the trend of straighter-waist dresses. Initially, it developed into the “fitted darted sheath dress and later into the loose straight short shift dress.”

Coco Chanel was another major fashion designer in the 1950’s. In contrast to popular full and flouncy skirts, Chanel began creating the boxy, now classic Chanel suit jackets and skirts in trimmed and textured tweed. The materials Chanel chose were always richly textured, which contributed to the finished product’s high prices. Chanel’s silhouette of her suits was completely straight, divinely lined with silk. Her look was classic, refined, and adorned with details. Chanel also accessorized many of her designs with strings of pearls and collarless jackets, both of which were considered fashionable in the 1950’s. One of the most classic trends from the 1950’s is the empire line, which was introduced in the late 1950’s. This style was applied to dresses and shirts mostly, and was adored by teenagers who looked innocently childlike, hence the coined phrase “baby doll style”. During the 1950’s, all teenagers were expected to dress like their elders. The empire line was also a striking contrast from what most mothers wore at the time, which contributed to its high approval among teenagers in America.

Until the 1950’s, the term “teenagers” was not commonly used, and certainly not a targeted market group. But with a new range of influences, including film, television, rock music, and magazines, teenagers began to be respected and acknowledged in the community. Often nicknamed the “Space Age”, the 1950’s was an important time in history for science and development as well. So many aspects of life changed during this period, perhaps partially attributed to the recent end of World War II. America had emerged from war with prosperity and a new identity. A new consumer-based society was “forging ahead, helped by such new developments as the credit card system” (Baker, 6). These innovative conditions however produced a similar effect on the fashion industry: while so many things in the lives of Americans were changing, they stayed clear from the radical, intense fashions while preferring the normalcy of standard trends. For once, being normal felt good. Another huge change in the 1950’s was the increased ownership of television sets. Popular television programs such as I Love Lucy connected Americans on both sides of the Atlantic, bringing a sense of unity in the country. Segregation was ended in 1954, which brought together black and white students for the first time though racial tensions were still high, and also birthed the existence of civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. Constant fears of communism reaching the states held many Americans tight with fear. More changes brought forth in the 1950’s include the discovery of DNA, the launching of the first space satellite, an increase of women in the work field, and of course, rock and roll. All of these economic, social, and political changes in the world affected the American citizens, and therefore the fashion industry.

Regardless of the world’s issues, the top fashions that drove the industry were more influenced by those who were idolized by the consumers: celebrities. Some of the most popular celebrities in the 1950’s include Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Ricky Nelson, and of course, Elvis Presley. Marilyn Monroe’s sexy yet simple style was a widely imitated across America, by women of all shapes and sizes. Elvis Presley was another huge influence in the 1950’s; not only was he adored by millions of girls, but he was also an inspiration for men. In a time where men only wore traditional attire, Elvis tore down all barriers which confined men to navy suits and ties. Elvis typically wore clothes that were more popular among the African American population. His wild pegged pants and zoot suits concerned the conservative community of America, who hardly approved of such a “gender bending, race-integrating star” (SOURCE). Elvis’ bright and baggy clothes, makeup, and so called obscene dancing all acted as evidence of his single handed destruction of the morals of America’s youth. Not all men followed the examples Elvis set however. In fact, more men in this time period dressed conventionally than not.

Most men in the 1950’s maintained clothes with casual and modest colors, including dark blue, dark brown, and charcoal. The occasional daring young man would wear pastel pink to stand out; a trend that was just gaining momentum in the 1950’s. Cardigan sweaters were popular among athletes, and older men. Additionally popular were fitted vests, plaid flannels, and collared jackets. There was flexibility in men’s casual wear, and was a common sight to see shirt tails sticking out. Basic fedora-style hats were also a staple item in the 1950’s for men.

Hats were also fashionable accessory for women in the 1950’s, for the reason that they were believed to add a final touch of glamour to any woman’s outfit. The pillbox hat, first introduced by Balenciaga and later modeled by Jackie Kennedy, became one of the trendiest accessories of the decade. Several glorious hat styles existed in the 1950’s. Some hats were covered in flower petals, while others were adorned with swirls of georgette. Gloves were also worn often by women, especially those of elite social status. Some were made of cotton, which was much more affordable than leather or nylon. Though gloves came in many colors and styles, clean gloves whose color was white or cream were the most favored. Fur trimmings and adorned collars were also extremely fashionable. Brooches too, were considered a glamorous accessory.

The 1950’s was a decade in which fashion changed dramatically from previous generations. Multiple influences from political debates, to economic issues, to new age celebrities and mass media all influenced the distinct styles and trends which identify the 1950’s. Recovering from the casualties of World War II brought a lasting change to America, which was reflected in the fashions of this decade. The American women craved glamorous simplicity in their new lives, and as a new and liberated society evolved, the women of America began to liberate themselves by choosing which fashions they felt depicted them best. Not only were the 1950’s important in history, but they also greatly transformed the face of fashion in America.

The world has undergone enormous changes over the past decade. We now live in a world where communication is paramount. It seems that everyone and everything is connected in some way.

For school students this has made things much more efficient. Research papers that used to involve hours of laborious effort, can now be researched and documented without ever touching a card catalog or a periodical index. Worlds of information are now available at the click of a mouse.

Questions that people pondered without any answer previously can now simply be typed into any convenient search engine and answered almost immediately. There are countless sites filled with informative short articles all over the Internet. Videos and music can now be seen on demand and news from across the world can be delivered in an instant.

There are some people who worry that the technological revolution and evolution we are experiencing today is moving too fast. There seems to be a loss of privacy in some respects and the specter of a Big Brother society looms larger than it has since 1984. Whether their fears are well founded or not will remain to be seen, but it is unlikely that people will ever willingly give up the almost instant connections to our wired world.

Flying in the face of these fears are individuals who share their worlds through their blogs. What used to be shared with only close friends is now put online for millions of people to see if they should happen upon the blogger’s website. Individuals are learning to take advantage of this by using their well placed blogs to sell products and services. The internet has allowed individuals an opportunity to step on to the same playing field as the big boys of business. With the right information and the ability to get it seen, anyone can now reach the masses and share their thoughts, feelings and even sales pitches.

Businesses as well as individuals have come to rely on the Internet as a source of advertising and actual sales. Entire business models have been constructed and thriving based solely on using Internet websites. It is rare today to find a traditional brick and mortar establishment that does not have some type of online presence. Any business that does not adapt and grow to keep up with the newest technology seriously risks being left behind in the wake of their competitors who choose to ride technology’s leading edge.

Time will tell where this all will lead. We should make the most of the positive possibilities technology promises, but we should also keep a careful watch on where we are going.