Expanding its eight-month-old agreement with MFT sports training, Accell Fitness is now bringing the distribution of MFT's high-end training boards to North America as "MFT by Tunturi."
With the co-branded products in the same booth for the first time at the ispo trade show in Munich, Germany, Feb. 1-4, Austria-based MFT's science-based systems of balance and sports training are now available to specialty retailers in the United States and Canada. The line will be shown for the time in North America at the Health & Fitness Business show in Denver in August. They've been available in Europe since July 2008.
"Accell truly wants to be more of a vertical line, more than just an equipment supplier," said Jay White, vice president of sales for Tunturi. "It's different. It rounds us off a little bit."
The addition to the Accell Fitness equipment collection is intended to help retailers reach new markets, White said, such as schools, hospitals, sports training centers, senior centers and other vertical facilities.
"There really aren't a lot of limits," he explained.
Initially, as a part of the exclusive distribution arrangement, the two will have four co-branded balance and wobble boards with an additional interactive software-based training system for personal training, physical therapy and other situations where a consumer works with a fitness or health professional.
Three of the four boards (called Fun, Fit and Trim), all in a bright apple green and made from thick wood, range from balance or wobble boards to combinations of balance, wobble and twist training (MSRPs from $90 to $200). The highest-end board (Sport) is geared for training professional athletes and combines multiple training parameters (MSRP $370). Three of the four come with instructional DVDs.
A fifth co-branded product, MFT's "S3 Check" software-based system called the Challenge Disc, leads a user through various tests, training and games of different difficulty levels, with the system determining automatically what level users should attempt based on test results. The on-screen directions are colorful, with a small green cartoon figure leading users through the games, challenges and tests.
"It's one of those things that tricks you into working out," White said. Indeed, retailers being shown the product at the ispo show were eager to try it, since it shows levels and records progress or changes in a way that can also be motivating while also being playful.
"People may compare this to the (Nintendo) Wii," White said, "but this is not just a platform on the ground."
MFT (www.mft-company.com -- click on the British flag at the top for an English version) was founded in Austria in 2000 by Ewald Aigner, former trainer for the Austrian Ski Team, who had been working on training concepts for professional teams and athletes since 1998. MFT runs nine training academies in four countries. All products have two-year warranties, and the MFT company has done its own scientific research to support its training (Click here to see various studies.)
SNEWS® View: We like the look and capabilities of these boards, which can give retailers and dealers a new product to take to different markets. The price tags may scare off some, but vertical markets should see the potential. The Challenge system could also represent a profit-center for some facilities, including personal training studies.