Mobile Inventor’s Impeccable Professionalism Earned Gymfinity’s Respect

J Orkowski of Gymfinity talks about working with Mobile Inventor.

If anyone understands the value of having a mobile app, it must be J. He went through quite a lot to develop not one, but two of them.

J’s Mobile App History

J had developed an app that was working well. He had marketed it and had an impressive percentage of his gym’s parents using it. Then came the call. His mobile app company was dissolving and wouldn’t support the app anymore. That meant that his happy parents would no longer be able to use to the app from their smartphones.

J called Mobile Inventor and has never looked back. Mobile Inventor did something that totally took J by surprise – they tried to help him use his existing app. But after four months of efforts to negotiate with the defunct provider, Apple and Android it was obvious that this was just not going to happen.

“Mobile Inventor could have easily said that we would have to scrap the existing app and develop a new one. It would have been much easier for them – and probably more profitable. But they aggressively pursued the avenue that would be in MY best interest.”

Mobile Inventor quickly put a development plan in place to closely replicate J’s app so that his gym’s parents would regain as many of their features as possible.

Second-Time Charm

So today, with the new app developed by Mobile Inventor, J is reaping these benefits of having a mobile app:

  • Branding on the device parents are never without
  • A communication pipeline directly to customers
  • Time savings for staff in managing processes and information for parents
  • Eliminates the duplication of efforts within operational processes
  • Differentiation in his computer and smartphone savvy community
  • Integration with Jackrabbit tools

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“We’re thrilled to have an app back up and working for our parents.  We’re excited that the app we developed with Mobile Inventor is so closely integrated with Jackrabbit. It puts registration, class and payment capabilities in the pockets of our parents and opens up a pipeline for direct communication with them. It’s very powerful.”  

Partners with Integrity

Mobile Inventor earned J’s respect by putting the best interests of their customer first. This parallel’s Jackrabbit’s focus on customer need and is one of the reasons that the two companies are offering a combined solution for gyms.

“We truly know how much it means to our business to be supported by vendors with impeccable standards and irreproachable professionalism.”

Secondhand Advice

Equipment purchases are a big deal and in most cases big budget items as well! Considering used equipment is sometimes the only way that gyms can acquire the pieces that will help their organization grow and attract more students.

How do you go about a used equipment purchase and make sure you’re protecting yourself from an unwise choice? We found some advice that is spot on that was pulled together by freelance journalist  Dinsa Sachan in the October issue of Cheer Professional.

There are a few key points that you must keep in mind when considering used equipment for your gym so that you don’t pay too much or get equipment that doesn’t fit your facility or your students’ needs.


  • Do your homework – asking intelligent questions based on what you want and need.
  • Network like mad – online research is great for seeing what is out there but nothing works like talking to folks face-to-face about the equipment they use to really learn about how pieces work.
  • Consider age and depreciation. Get the specifics in writing on each piece you’re considering and fully understand what pieces age well and those that don’t so you don’t pay too much.
  • Seek credible sources. Ask people who know the real story (not those selling the products) like other owners who use similar equipment.
  • Carefully vet online purchases. Be VERY careful and thorough about anything you’re considering as an online purchase. Misrepresentation runs rampant here.
  • Capitalize on event attendance. You can learn a lot by looking at equipment displays and talking to vendors. You can compare the used you may have looked at to new – or you can get a great deal on a demo piece.

This sounds like lots of work but it is worth it to make sure that you don’t overpay or get stuck with equipment that doesn’t work out for your facility and your students.

Read all of the details.

Article reposted from Cheer Professional October 2, 2013.

You might also be interesting in reading another repost from Cheer Professional “Inspection in the Trenches: Buying Used Equipment“.


When Can We Start?

Pediatrician David Geller explains when it is appropriate for children to start dance or gymnastics lessons for the Baby Center.

According to Dr. Geller, there’s nothing toddlers like better than tumbling around on soft mats. Though your child probably won’t be able to perform any “moves” such as somersaults or headstands until she’s at least 24 months old, she’ll have a great time trying! With the help of a teacher she can bounce on a trampoline, crawl through an obstacle course, and balance on a low beam. Many gyms and recreation centers have tumbling classes for toddlers and this may become the highlight of your child’s week!

Between her second and third birthdays she’ll become ready for more complicated moves; she may even surprise you by learning to hang from the parallel bars, bounce on her bottom on the trampoline, or slide along the vault (with a teacher standing by).

Dance classes may be an even better option for a 2- to 3-year old. While most formal dance classes, such as ballet or tap, won’t accept kids younger than 4 years old, you should be able to find a class just for toddlers that focuses on creative movement, or “pre-dance.” This usually means letting toddlers have fun moving their bodies to a beat. Any class that lets your toddler work off steam by leaping like a deer, hopping like a frog, or unfolding from the floor like a flower growing will probably be a hit. Perhaps most important, it will also encourage her to be more comfortable in social settings.

“Mom, I’m done with gymnastics.”

What would you do if your daughter or son said they were quitting gymnastics? Would you push them to stay? Would you let them go? Read Leonora Anton’s story published on Tampa Bay Times for a real life example of what a parent goes through.

Before my daughter was truly Lauren, she was a gymnast.

She was 7 when she joined her buddy Elizabeth for a tumbling class at Tampa Bay Turners. She had nice clean lines and a kind of rubber band flexibility, so they moved her into their competitive program quickly. I still have her first leotard. It’s a purple velvet number speckled with silver flecks. It would fit an American Girl doll.

At her first meet, one of her toughest skills was a tiny leap on the beam. Watching her compete was like a roller coaster ride. Would she stay on the beam? Swing around the parallel bars just right? More often than not, she did.

Her competitions — as she progressed through gymnastic’s levels — became family affairs with aunts, cousins, grandparents in attendance.

When she was 11, she earned first place all-around for her level in the state, all ages. It was an incredible moment, and I started believing that maybe she was good enough to get a college scholarship.

Then the injuries started. She fractured the growth plate in one wrist, then the other. Later, there was an ankle fracture. After that, the fear crept in. The skills were getting harder, and the back handspring on the beam gave her anxiety. Her palms often had giant blisters from the bars. I asked her often if she still wanted to do gymnastics. She always said yes.

This past year, she entered high school. Her gymnastics schedule had grown to five days a week, more than 20 hours, and it seemed like all she ever did was work out and do her homework. She often stayed up late trying to get it done, and I worried about her injuring herself while trying to learn the difficult Level 9 skills.

We were driving home after a vacation in Virginia a few weeks ago when she told me: “Mom, I’m done with gymnastics.” Just like that. After almost eight years — about half her life — she was ready to trade in her leotard for a life outside the gym. She said the sport wasn’t as much fun anymore. She was tired of being afraid.

I’d met several parents over the years who told their daughters to buck up and keep going. I knew others who wished their daughters would quit but weren’t sure how to broach the subject.

My first comment surprised me. I told Lauren I was proud of her for making such a huge decision on her own. And I truly was.

She wanted to stop immediately. I asked her to go back one last time, to make sure.

On the day of her final practice, I realized a little late in the day that this might be the last time I’d ever see her perform. I raced to get out of work. When I got to Tampa Bay Turners, I peered through the giant picture window at the sea of girls — the bouncy tykes tiptoeing down the fat beam, the muscled high schoolers with their knee braces and their ankle tape doing back tucks on the skinny beam. Then I spotted Lauren in a corner doing her end-of-workout run.

I’d missed it. I would never see her do a double back handspring on the beam again.

I looked around. The waiting room was as it had been for as long as I could remember. A mom I’d known for three years was talking to a dad I’d known for six. The newbie moms were parked with their laptops and their iPads and their art projects at the table in the front, one eye glued to their pony-tailed progeny through the window. There was a large picture of my daughter taped to the door of the gym, a shot of her at the apex of her “giant” on the bars, tall and perfectly straight, the moment of one of her last gymnastics achievements, a 9.750 at a meet in Louisiana in March.

I realized we were leaving this tiny microcosm — her fellow gymnasts, their parents, her coaches, her future in gymnastics — and now the tears were slipping down my cheeks.

It was like that for the next three days. It was like a death.

My daughter, on the other hand, felt relief. She was sad to leave a place that had been such a big part of her life. But she didn’t have to worry about the fear anymore or the stress of juggling gymnastics and schoolwork. She couldn’t understand why I was crying.

Had I not wanted her to quit? she asked me.

No, it was the right decision, I replied. I just needed time to grieve.

I thought of all the money I’d invested in her sport, hundreds of dollars a month, the trips to competitions in Cancun and New York City. We could have probably paid off a year at a fancy out-of-state college. I thought about all the time she’d spent trying to get her full twist on the floor, her flipping tsuk on the vault, her double back handspring on the beam. How many hours — no, days — had she spent trying to master just one of those skills? What could she have done instead with all that time?

It took me a few days to realize that the huge investment of time had made her who she was now. She’d had to be organized to get her homework done. She was meticulous, focused and strong. Gymnastics had done that.

She’d learned to take risks. She’d learned to fight fear. She’d learned perseverance in the face of disappointment. She’d learned to succeed at one of the toughest sports on earth. She’d learned to give it up on her terms.

Grief turned to relief. No more worry about the sport’s impact on her body. All that cash back in my bank account. We could actually take family vacations. But I thought about her identity. More than half her life had been spent as a gymnast. I wondered, would she feel lost without her sport?

Two weeks later, I watched Lauren put on the green and black Speedo of St. Petersburg High School’s swim team. I held my breath as she stepped onto the diving board.

All eyes were on my daughter as she flew into a front somersault full twist, then cut through the water in the deep end. Her classmates — her teammates — cheered. Now she was competing for her school. She smiled as she pulled herself out of the pool.

My daughter, the athlete.

Cleaning Tips to Address Your Customer’s Top Priorities

Some parts of owning your own business are fun, some are not. Cleaning may be one of those things that fall into the ‘no fun’ category but they are vital to your business. Germs are everywhere – and not just the cooties that your students may claim their peers have. We’re talking about serious germs here that can be dangerous for the health of your students.

At the Wings Center, Amber Uriarte (Marketing Manager) put together a strict set of guidelines for cleaning. Putting a list of procedures together has really helped keep all of our employees on the same page. Everybody can reference this list and know how to clean and disinfect.

There are a lot of resources out there for information about cleaning. I have gone to several including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to put together the Wings Center Facility Cleaning Standards and Procedures.

For starters, knowing the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting is huge. Sometimes these terms are used as if they mean the same thing, but they are not the same.

Sanitizer is a product that reduces germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations. A sanitizer may be appropriate to use on food contact surfaces (dishes, utensils, cutting boards, high chair trays), toys that children may place in their mouths, and pacifiers.Disinfectant is a product that destroys or inactivates germs on an inanimate object. A disinfectant may be appropriate to use on non-porous surfaces such as diaper change tables, counter tops, door and cabinet handles, and toilets and other bathroom surfaces.

Now, when you’re disinfecting you must provide the proper tools for your employees.
The key is to clean effectively, disinfectant where required and sanitize where required. You can’t do all
effectively for every square inch of a facility so you need to clean as per traffic and contact patterns.
Use color-coded (see code references above) microfiber cloths in restrooms, counters, windows and a
variety of other places.
If you use microfiber on a surface, it gets about 98 percent of the bacteria. Knowing the proper way to
use microfiber, you will be able to cut down on chemical usage

This next part about caring for our children is very important. At the end of the day, cleaning and disinfecting may be a pain but in the big picture it is protecting the children.

Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards 444
Treat urine, stool, vomit, blood, and body fluids, except for human milk, as potentially infectious.
Spills of body fluid should be cleaned up and surfaces disinfected immediately.
For small amounts of urine and stool on smooth surfaces,
● wipe off and clean away visible soil with a little detergent solution. Then rinse the surface with
clean water.
● Apply a disinfectant following the manufacturer’s instructions.
For larger spills on floors, or any spills on rugs or carpets:
● Wear disposable gloves while cleaning. Disposable gloves should be used when blood may be
present in the spill;
● Take care to avoid splashing any contaminated material onto the mucous membranes of your
eyes, nose or mouth, or into any open sores you may have;
● Wipe up as much of the visible material as possible with disposable paper towels and carefully
place the soiled paper towels and other soiled disposable material in a leak-proof, plastic bag that
has been securely tied or sealed. Use a wet/dry vacuum on carpets, if such equipment is
● Immediately use a detergent, or a combination detergent/disinfectant to clean the spill area. Then
rinse the area with clean water. Additional cleaning by shampooing or steam cleaning the
contaminated surface may be necessary;
For blood and body fluid spills on carpeting
● Blot to remove body fluids from the fabric as quickly as possible.
● Then disinfect by spot-cleaning with a combination detergent/disinfectant, and shampooing, or
steam-cleaning the contaminated surface.
● If directed by the manufacturer’s instructions, dry the surface.
● Discard disposable gloves.
Mops and other equipment used to clean up body fluids should be:
● Color coded
● Cleaned with detergent and rinsed with water.● Rinsed with a fresh disinfectant solution.
● Wrung as dry as possible.
● Air-dried.
● Wash your hands afterward, even though you wore gloves.
● Remove and bag clothing (yours and those worn by children) soiled by body fluids.
● Put on fresh clothes after washing the soiled skin and hands of everyone involved.

Selecting an Appropriate Sanitizer or Disinfectant
One of the most important steps in reducing the spread of infectious diseases in child care settings is
cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting surfaces that could possibly pose a risk to children or staff. Routine
cleaning with detergent and water is the most useful method for removing germs from surfaces in the
childcare setting. However, some items and surfaces require an additional step after cleaning to further
reduce the number of germs on a surface to a level that is unlikely to transmit disease.

Do you have a similar cleaning procedure in place for your gym? Share your comments and experiences below. I’d love to chat with you more.

6 Gymnastics Moves For Beginners

Going back to the basics. Where do you start? The first moves your beginner gymnasts should know are these six. Of course the more advanced the gymnast gets, the more advanced the moves. The basics should never be overlooked because they are the foundation for the gymnast’s skills.

Forward Roll

The starting body position is upright, hands reaching toward the ceiling. Gymnasts reach for the floor, tuck their chin, roll on the floor and come back up to a standing position. The key, Sharp says, is “looking at your belly button as you roll, having the upper back touch and not the head, and as you stand, reaching forward in a tuck position to finish.”


This move starts in a tall stance, one foot in front of the other. Gymnasts reach down with their hands, side by side and in line with their front leg. They kick their back foot over their head, then kick their front foot. They land in the lunge position, with the leg opposite of the one they started with in front. Their knee is bent, slightly behind the toes, and their base leg is straight. Their chin is up, their ribs are in.

Backward Roll

This move starts with a tall stance. Gymnasts then squat down on their heels, sit on the mat, roll backward, push off the ground and elevate into a standing position.


This move starts with a tall stance, one foot in front. Gymnasts reach for the ground, extending their legs to the air with their feet “kissing” when the body is vertical and upside down. Then they come down into the standing position.


The bridge starting position is on the back, hands next to the head with fingertips pointing toward the toes. Gymnasts bend their legs and place their feet on the floor and push with their arms and legs. They get their the arms straight and their head off the ground.

Back Bend/Back Bend Kick Over

The starting position is standing with arms straight up by the head. Gymnasts look at their hands and bend backward in a “U” shape until their hands touch the ground. Once this is mastered, they can kick their legs over their head and land on their on their feet in the lunge position.

Does Gymnastics Enhance Reading? Yes!

You may or may not realize the tie between the success that your athlete has in his or her academics and the gym. Learning and perfecting gymnastics moves and routines is much more than physical. Your student develops such attributes as dedication, time management skills and organizational abilities through their reg
ular participation in an activity that they love.

Have you ever thought that there is another factor, perhaps far greater in its influence, that actually predisposes gymnasts to success in school and in particular – reading? This is exactly what Dr. Ralph R. Barrett is trying to prove – his belief that there is a direct path between gymnastics-type instruction and developing neurological pathways in students.

Dr. Barrett has more than twenty years of teaching and gymnastics coaching experience to support his article on how gymnastics enhances reading. His article provides actually reading test stats and research that add validity to Barrett’s title statement.

See his article on the USA Gymnastics website.

Technology Connecting Gymnastics Professionals

CoachUp is a service that connects athletes with private coaches. They believe strongly that private coaching is the secret to reaching the next level in sports + life. And they are dedicated to their mission: to help kids change the trajectory of their lives through sports.

So, what does this mean for your gym?

You now have access to coaches in your area. Your athletes can train privately with coaches to help them reach the next level. Use CoachUp for a platform to connect with the best coaches in your area.

Private coaching helps kids positively change the trajectory of their lives. It can make a dramatic difference for young athletes, regardless of their skill level, in their development both as athletes and, more importantly, as people. A private coach provides the following opportunities for a young athlete:

  • Discovering potential — Learning to set goals and meet them
  • Getting better at the sport he or she loves, or learning to love a new sport — Getting a leg up on the competition, whether the athlete has been playing the sport for years or is just starting
  • Continuous improvement — Avoiding hitting the dreaded training plateau by working with a coach who knows what needs to be done next
  • Mentorship — Ensuring that the athlete is getting the help and personal attention he or she needs to reach the next level in sports + life
  • Increased learning — Opening his or her mind to new strategies for identifying what needs to be done in different situations
  • Successful experiences — Leading the team to victories, playoffs, and championships
  • Building confidence — Setting measurable goals, and nailing them; seeing himself or herself improve dramatically
  • Increased health and overall fitness – Making himself or herself stronger, quicker, more flexible, better conditioned, and mentally tougher

Gymnasts Can Curb Emotional Eating

An article published in the July/August 2013 issue of USA Gymnastics Magazine was written by Karen Owoc, a highly credentialed authority on exercise. Karen shares great information on why we eat what we eat when we eat it. Please enjoy her article provide below.
As an athlete, you burn countless calories, but even so, you’re not immune to gaining weight. While food fuels your muscle, it also feeds your feelings. When eating is triggered by an emotion rather than physiological hunger, it’s known as “emotional eating.” It comes at a cost to your health and here are some of the causes, dangers and solutions.

Emotional Hunger

Emotional eating is distinctly different from physical hunger. It strikes suddenly, whereas the rumblings of physiological hunger occur gradually.  Emotional hunger is a psychological need to fill a void and generally involves a craving for a specific food, i.e., “comfort food.” On the other hand, physiological hunger can be satisfied by any variety of foods and isn’t focused on one particular item.

Comfort Foods

Comfort foods are foods that you crave to obtain a good feeling when you’re in a negative mood, such as when you’re angry or depressed. But you may also reach for comfort foods to sustain good, positive emotions, such as when you’re happy, relieved or elated. Comfort foods become dangerous when they’re unhealthy choices. The most popular comfort foods for women are ice cream, chocolate and cookies, whereas men tend to gravitate toward pizza, steak, casseroles and chips.


When physiological hunger is satisfied, you’re more likely to stop eating, whereas when you’re eating to satisfy an emotional need, you’re more likely to continue earing past the point of being full. Emotional over-eating often results in feelings of guilt and defeat if you’re trying to lose weight. These feelings can trigger yet another emotional eating binge.

The Dangers

When you’re eating emotionally and not when you physiologically need food, you’ll ted to consume more calories than your body needs. If these extra calories aren’t used, they’ll be stored as fat, which can eventually lead to health problems, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Managing your Emotions

Children who are given food as a reward or to cope with emotions, wuch as cookies or ice cream to “cheer them up,” never learn to manage their emotions. When food becomes their friend and their only strategy to resolve emotional distress, they risk the associated dangers of overeating and unhealthy eating.

Know Your Triggers

Take ownership of your emotions and health. Dealing with emotions is a skill that’s learned. Triggers often include; loneliness, boredom, sadness, fear, frustration, stress, depression, depravation, anxiety, shame, lack of control, avoidance and defeat. When you have the urge to eat emotionally, consider the following alternatives to cope:

  • Express your emotions rather than shove them down with food. Call a friend or write about your feelings in a private journal.
  • Get physical or productive. Get some fresh air! Go for a walk, play with your pet or play a game. (Exercise helps release endorphins that trigger feelings of well-being.) Wash the car, help around the house, do laundry or redecorate your room.
  • Calm yourself. Do yoga or meditate.
  • Seek help. Individual or group counseling may be effective in coping with emotional stress.
  • Find ways to have fun and laugh.
  • Be aware of your behavior. Be careful not to substitute your emotional coping mechanism [eating] with one that can lead to another negative out-of-control (addictive) behavior.


The solution to emotional eating is to first recognize it as well as identify a pattern. The next time you have the urge to eat:

  • Stop and ask yourself if you’re physically hungry.
  • Then rate your level of hunger I a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being ravenous and 1 being barely hungry).
  • Next, rate your mood. Are you happy, sad, lonely, bored, stressed, etc.?
  • Then note what food you’re craving.

This exercise will help you identify whether your need to eat is emotional or physiological, which emotions trigger you to eat, and which emotions are associated with particular foods.

Exercise Control

It’s not necessary to completely eliminate comfort foods from your eating plan Eat them in moderation. If you can satisfy a craving with a few spoonfuls of ice cream versus a whole pint, then that’s okay. The key is to learn how to manage your emotions and control the cravings.

About the author: Karen Owoc is a writer, producer and television host with her own television show. She is a Health News Reporter/Anchor, exercise Physiologist, Cardiac Rehabilitation Exercise and Green Living Specialist. Karen is a Clinical Exercise Physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine in Health Fitness Instruction and the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Click here to read more about Karen.

This article was originally published in the July/August 2013 issue of USA Gymnastics Magazine.

The New Routines Are Out!

Are you interested in what is going on with new Women’s Junior Olympic program routines?

It’s time for the eight year cycle of change when USA Gymnastics modifies the Women’s Junior Olympic program. The new routines are out! August is their full competition mode debut. This year it’s not just the routines that are changing. USA Gymnastics is also re-organizing the Women’s Junior Gymnastics levels to provide a more comprehensive progression by now offering five levels of compulsories and five levels of optionals.

The first of two women’s National Compulsory Workshops that was help at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney Resort inBuena Vista,Floridawas a big success. More than 1,600 gymnastics professionals attended the sold-out workshop (and that group included some of you)! The second national workshop took place inReno,Nevadawith more than 1,300 participants.

Coaches from around the country gathered to learn the new routines that they took back to their gyms to teach to their students.

You can click here to see photos from the workshops. We know that many of you attended the workshops! We would love to see your comments….please post them as comments to our blog post!

Watch the 2013 Compulsory Elements on YouTube!

You can also find new routine information in your July/August issue of USA Gymnastics Magazine.