Eric Lawson, who portrayed the rugged Marlboro man in cigarette ads during the late 1970s, has died. He was 72.
Lawson died Jan. 10 at his home in San Luis Obispo of respiratory failure due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, his wife, Susan Lawson said Sunday.
Lawson was an actor with bit parts on such TV shows as “Baretta” and “The Streets of San Francisco” when he was hired to appear in print Marlboro ads from 1978 to 1981. His other credits include “Charlie’s Angels,” ”Dynasty” and “Baywatch.” His wife said injuries sustained on the set of a Western film ended his career in 1997.
A smoker since age 14, Lawson later appeared in an anti-smoking commercial that parodied the Marlboro man and an “Entertainment Tonight” segment to discuss the negative effects of smoking. Susan said her husband was proud of the interview, even though he was smoking at the time and continued the habit until he was diagnosed with COPD.
“He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him,” she said. “He knew, yet he still couldn’t stop.”
A few actors and models who pitched Marlboro brand cigarettes have died of smoking-related diseases. They include David Millar, who died of emphysema in 1987, and David McLean, who died of lung cancer in 1995.
Lawson was also survived by six children, 18 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
A new fitness app, website and workout service aims to upend gym habits by charging users less the more they workout.
Called Fitmob, the fitness service eschews the normal gym model and instead connects users directly with fitness trainers for classes. The trainers put together the class and find a workout space through Fitmob, which has researched venues that rent by the hour.
Users can then attend the class and rate the trainers so other users know exactly what they’re in for.
While gyms will oversell their memberships knowing that many January signups will be no shows in August, the creators of Fitmob want to incentivize working out. They charge users less money the more classes users go to per week.
For example one class per week is $15, two is $10 each and three or more is $5 each and there is no upfront fee. If you miss a week, you aren’t charged anything.
Co-founder and CEO of Fitmob, Raj Kapoor said he was inspired to start Fitmob after learning that about the high rates of unused memberships.
Around 60 percent of gym memberships are unused by some estimates. Kapoor said he wanted to use the app and the website so that people would have workout communities and be more committed to exercise.
“Why don’t we create neighborhood communities, instead of using fancy equipment,” said Kapoor. “All you need is human body weight and you can get an amazing workout.”
Kapoor co-founded Fitmob with Tony Horton who developed P90x, an intense home workout. While eventually any user will be allowed to hold a class, in the early stages Kapoor said they have picked certified trainers to focus on yoga, core strength and running classes.
He’s says they’re also committed to finding unusual “fun” workouts with classes such as “Twerkout Conditioning” or “Weapons of A– Reduction.”
“If it’s not a chore, you’re much more likely to continue,” said Kapoor.
In the future if a class is held by a user, other potential students will be able to see if the class leader is certified and what other students have rated the class.
“They have to commit to a minimum schedule [of classes] and then if they don’t show up it will appear on their ratings like an EBay rating,” said Kapoor.
Kapoor said that the trainers would receive the majority of the profits from each class, but did not specify how much.
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This year’s Super Bowl will be played in New Jersey, but it looks as if the Seattle Seahawks will have the “ohm” team advantage, as head coach Pete Caroll encourages all his players to meditate daily.
“Coach Caroll combines old-school values with a real appreciation for the science of psychology,” said Michael Gervais, a high-performance sports psychologist who has been the team’s consultant since 2012. “He recognizes that quality of thought readily translates into quality of movement.”
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While Caroll hasn’t made meditation mandatory, he promotes it and about 20 players participate voluntarily, meditating several times a week, Gervais said. The team also incorporates yoga into its regular strength-training sessions.
Players new to meditation start off with six minutes of deep breathing, Gervais explained. As they gain more experience, they devote longer periods of time to the practice. Gervais said this demonstrated the tremendous tolerance they have for taking on extended tasks that can often be boring or difficult.
“That grit is a characteristic that helps them to get closer to their full potential on and off the field,” he said.
While football is obviously an intensely physical sport, mental muscles also flex pretty hard during a game. Learning to slow down and calm down is so important, Gervais said, because it teaches players to fine-tune their focus, attention and attitude. This leads to what Gervais described as a more mindful approach to the game.
“Simply put, mindfulness occurs when you become more aware of your thoughts,” he explained.
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There’s an entire body of science backing the idea that increased mindfulness can equate to better performance. Studies find that daily meditation helps raise awareness of self-defeating thoughts. Mindfulness practice also helps reduce production of the “flight or fight” hormone adrenaline that contributes directly to anxiety and distracting mental chatter.
Meditating regularly probably influences the size and topography of the player’s brains as well. Not that all that extra brain matter is useful for blocking or tackling opponents, but work sponsored by the National Health Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine found an increased thickness in areas of the brain associated with self-awareness, introspection and learning after several weeks of short meditation sessions. A regular mindfulness practice also appeared to shrink the more emotionally reactive spots in the brain that tend to plump up in response to chronic stress.
By halting negative thinking and replacing it with sunnier thoughts while in training, players learn to carry a more positive attitude onto the gridiron, Gervais said. This can also translate into direct physical advantages as well. For example, Gervais said the time players devote to sitting on a meditation cushion with their eyes closed has taught many of them how to slow their heart rates during the intensity of play.
And certainly a relaxed, more focused team certainly can’t hurt the Seahawks game, Gervais said. He can’t comment on the progress of individual players, but he said that over time, the athletes who participate in mindfulness training seem to develop a rich consciousness of the thoughts streaming through their minds. They’ve learned to block out distractions from the other team and from a fan base so rabidly vocal, cheering crowds triggered an earthquake at a recent home game.
“Collectively, they’ve learned to think more clearly under pressure,” Gervais said. And so far this season, the Seahawks’ appreciation for developing both brains and brawn seems to have paid off. They players appear to be pretty loose heading into big matchups, such as last weekend’s championship game against the 49ers.
Gervais said there should be a take-home message here for the rest of us.
“We can learn something here from some of the best athletes in the world,” he said. “What they do can be used outside of football. It’s relevant to any type of performance whether it’s on the football field, the board room or the living room.”
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