Mike May

PHIT America



DATE: November 1, 2017



In the newly released Tracking the Fitness Movement report by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), there’s a Q & A with Gene McCarthy, the Group President and CEO of ASICS America Corporation (Irvine, California). McCarthy’s career includes 30+ years of executive experience in the sporting goods, footwear, and apparel industries with Merrell, Nike, Under Armour, Reebok, and Timberland. Besides his years of executive experience in the industry, McCarthy’s background as an athlete — an NCAA Division I track & field All-American at Fordham University and a semi-finalist in the 1980 U.S. (track & field) Olympic Trials — give him a uniquely qualified forum from which to speak.

In the current edition of Tracking the Fitness Movement, McCarthy discusses one of the biggest issues affecting the immediate future of both the United States and the sporting goods industry — physical inactivity……..and what PHIT America is doing to combat physical inactivity.

Question: What’s the state of physical activity in schools these days?

Answer from Gene McCarthy: It’s a serious, major issue that needs to be addressed. Based on the ‘INACTIVITY PANDEMIC’ REPORT 2017 released by PHIT America, a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic,’ kids’ inactivity trends are becoming a big problem. Both age groups (6 to 12 and 13 to 17) have reported a steady decline in activity since 2011. This is a “time bomb” for the nation’s healthcare system, as well as for the sports and fitness industry.

Question: Why is physical activity during the school day so important?

Answer from Gene McCarthy: It’s very important because there’s a correlation between being active and an increase in academic performance. Studies have shown a negative impact on overall health and academic performance in American children as they’ve become more sedentary.

We need to reverse this trend.

Question: ASICS recently announced that it had signed on as one of PHIT America’s partners. Remind us about PHIT America, if you would. Describe the movement.

Answer from Gene McCarthy: The PHIT America has three strategic approaches — education, supporting school-based activity programs, and advocacy — that will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit, and healthy.

One of our most recent partnership activations with PHIT America was this past June. Leading up to Global Running Day, a celebration of the sport of running, which took place on June 7th, ASICS challenged nationwide participants to run a total of 60 minutes using the popular Runkeeper app. For each completed challenge, ASICS donated $1 to PHIT America, for a total contribution of $50,000 in celebration of this major event that dates back to 2009. We also continue to support many of PHIT America’s ongoing efforts in schools all year round.

Question: Why has ASICS made this commitment? Why is the company uniquely qualified to make a difference?

Answer from Gene McCarthy: ASICS is dedicated to promoting and driving participation in sports and getting people to move. We have and always will play a central role in our consumers’ personal fitness journey. This is perfectly aligned with the mission of PHIT America and ultimately made them a great partner for our brand.

Question: How do your goals and those of PHIT America coincide? What’s the upside for both?

Answer from Gene McCarthy: ASICS and PHIT America are aligned in the mission to aid in personal improvement through fitness. ASICS is actually an acronym derived from the Latin phrase anima sana in corpore sano, which means, “a sound mind in a sound body.”

By working together, we can affect change across a broad and widespread demographic by educating the masses on the importance of physical activity, while inspiring both athletes and non-athletes to be the best version of themselves.

Question: Please tell us about the PHIT America GO Grants, and how they work.

Answer from Gene McCarthy: PHIT America GO! Grants are awarded to school P.E. programs by PHIT America to provide opportunities through sports and fitness to the schools and communities they serve. In the past two years, almost 300 PHIT America GO! Grants have been awarded nationally — helping more than 100,000 school children get physically active by giving them the gear, programming, or training they need.

Question: What other efforts has ASICS been making when it comes to encouraging kids — and adults — to become more active?

Answer from Gene McCarthy: ASICS introduced the ASICS Extra Mile campaign last year, which encouraged consumers to create positive change by adding an “Extra Mile” to their workouts. The campaign engaged and inspired people at all levels of physical fitness, and from diverse backgrounds, to band together for a common cause.

The campaign generated a total donation of more than $1.5 million worth of shoes to benefit Girls on the Run International, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles for young girls.

Also, ASICS recently launched a global brand refresh with the aim of getting the world moving one city at a time. The hero brand message, I MOVE ME, taps into ASICS’ 70-year philosophy that emphasizes the correlation between a sound mind and a sound body. It has been designed to inspire people of all ages and abilities to move more, so they enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

In addition, the partnership brings further support to PHIT America as it encourages Congress to pass the PHIT Act. It will change current federal tax law to allow for the deduction or use of pre-tax dollars to cover expenses related to sports, fitness, and other physical activities — and a better life.

Companies or individuals interested in helping PHIT America fight the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ should contact PHIT America at Alliance@PHITAmerica.org.

To order your copy of Tracking the Fitness Movement, click here.

Background on PHIT America:

To elevate the national awareness of the importance of physical activity for all Americans, PHIT America has declared May 2018 as PHIT America Month, where more than 100 corporate sponsors and sports celebrities, plus thousands of local supporters, will be offering hundreds of ways for Americans to get physically moving through local events. PHIT America Month — PHITMonth.org — will be open to all Americans and many of the programs offered will be available, free of charge.

Founded in January 2013, PHIT America is a non-profit campaign focused on overcoming the severe ramifications of the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ through four strategic approaches — education, supporting school-based activity programs, a national event and advocating — which will get Americans, especially our youth, more active, fit and healthy. Companies or individuals interested in more information about PHIT America’s fight to reverse the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ should access www.PHITAmerica.org.

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PHIT America ç962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 300, Silver Spring, MD 20910 ç p: 301.495.6321 f: 301.495.6322



Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA)

SFIA is the leading global trade association in the sports & fitness industry. SFIA is the #1 source for sport & fitness research. More info at www.sfia.org.