Steve Ross Asks Gym Rats To Exercise Fingers, Brains

Stephen Ross, chairman of both Related Companies and its subsidiary, Equinox Fitness, wants his high-paying gym rats to engage in

Stephen Ross, chairman of both Related Companies and its subsidiary, Equinox Fitness, wants his high-paying gym rats to engage in some low-impact brain exercise.

Equinox COO Scott Rosen has sent an email to Equinox members asking them to write the state Legislature and express their opposition to a proposed sales tax on health club services:

As you may be aware, Governor Paterson and the New York Legislature are considering imposing a sales tax on health club dues and services (including personal training) to make up for New York State’s budget deficit.

We don’t believe taxing health club dues is the route to take to remedy the situation. Fitness is essential to overall public health. And Governor Patterson [sic] agrees.

Governor Paterson has talked extensively about the medical and economic importance of healthy lifestyles and is proposing an "obesity tax" on non-diet, sugary sodas and advocating a "Healthier New York". Therefore a tax on health clubs is directly in opposition to this goal. The State should be encouraging, not discouraging, memberships to health clubs to stem the obesity epidemic and promote good health.

As an Equinox member, we know how important fitness is to you to lead a healthy, balanced life. And to support overall wellness, Equinox is taking an active role in opposing this tax.

Here’s how you can help – visit today to quickly and easily tell your lawmakers to oppose this proposed tax.

Thanks in advance for participating. I will update you as the details unfold.

In good health,

Scott Rosen

Chief Operating Officer, the Web site for the The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, takes visitors to a page from which they can send letters to their representatives. The Association offers potential letter-writers some fodder for their missives, including the claim that gym-goers "could be forced to pay 4% more for your membership dues and services as Governor Paterson tries to close the $15 billion budget deficit."

But first — perhaps fearful that gym-goers may be nothing more than vacuous muscle-bound meatheads — the Association gives visitors some helpful writing tips:

Keep it professional: Just because it’s an email doesn’t mean you should be casual. Email is preferred over letters, especially for Congress because of mail delays, but it’s not the same as sending a quick note to a friend about weekend plans.
Use proper capitalization. You would never send a letter to a business associate signed: joey treadmill. Joseph P. Treadmill Jr. is more like it.
Also, sparingly use bold, underlines, italics, ALL CAPS, and exclamation points!!! You can show you really care about an issue without using every font option available.
Get to the point: Don’t make them read to the third paragraph to find out what you’re really writing about. A great way to start: As a concerned constituent and fitness enthusiast, I ask for your support of (or opposition to) Bill #/Bill Name.
Make it personal: After stating the issue and your position, talk about your connection to the issue. How has regular exercise at your health club impacted your life? What would this bill mean to you?
You don’t need to tell your life story, but illustrate how the bill affects real people in the lawmakers’ community.
Back up your argument: Use the talking points provided to help back up your argument, but don’t forget that your personal touch helps drive home the key points.
Use spell check and proper grammar: Just like you wouldn’t send a sloppy and error-filled letter to a business associate, you should never do the same with elected officials. Take a minute to run spell check and proofread your email before hitting the send button.
Steve Ross Asks Gym Rats To Exercise Fingers, Brains