Health & Fitness Biz Show: An early peek at a few products and events

Barely over two weeks from now the annual Health & Fitness Business show swings open its doors in Denver, and this year offers a short, but value-packed lineup of seminars plus a little food and fun to boot. A number of manufacturers have shared with SNEWS® a few preview notes about what they'll be doing or showing at the event. Read on for that info.
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Barely over two weeks from now the annual Health & Fitness Business show swings open its doors in Denver, and this year offers a short, but value-packed lineup of seminars plus a little food and fun to boot. A number of manufacturers have shared with SNEWS® a few preview notes about what they'll be doing or showing at the event. Read on for that info.

Meanwhile, if you're coming, don't miss the GearTrends® Fitness Forum Aug. 25, 10:30 a.m. to 12, featuring a panel of retailers and manufacturers ready to discuss all the issues that are burning in your soul, open and honest. Before that is the Vision Fitness-sponsored talk by Harry Friedman and, at noon, anyone who attended either or both of the morning sessions gets a free lunch. See your economics instructor was wrong: there is such a thing as a free lunch. On Aug. 27, do not even think of missing a talk about how to market to women by former Nike and Ryka marketing exec, Kate Bednarski, at 8:30 a.m.

The fun part of the expo also includes the second-annual GearTrends® Block Party, Friday Aug. 26, from 4-6 p.m. with free beer and snacks on the floor and a raffle with prizes from our party pals, Stott Pilates, Fitter and Lamar Health, Fitness & Sports. This promises a good time, and who wants to go to a show and not make it fun too?

Remember, SNEWS® and GearTrends® will be covering the show from all angles in the couple of weeks afterward so stay tuned if you can't make the trip – and even if you did since with our team, we'll likely see things you may have missed.

Here's a little peek at what a few folks told us they'll have or be doing at the show. In addition, look for knee braces, new treadmills from newcomer Alatech and from New Balance by Fitness Quest, spas, a new online retail sales training program from Tom Richard, and much more than this sampling can provide:

Accell Fitness NA – Formerly Wynne International, Accell Fitness North America has been owned by Accell Fitness of The Netherlands since April. President Martijn Nelisson will be in the Accell booth at show opening on Thursday to give a short talk about the transformation, why it all happened, company goals and expectations and how he sees the market. That should happen about 1:15 p.m. In addition, the company will serve food in the booth both Thursday afternoon and Friday noon to make for a more festive atmosphere for the Tunturi relaunch, as well as the launch of the Bremshey sport and the BS&T boxing brands.

Aquabells – A newbie at the show, Aquabells is just what it says: inflatable dumbbells that you fill with water for weight, meaning they are totally transportable! The dumbbells weigh just over a pound when packed up but can become a 32-pound set when in use. www.aquabells.com

Bladez -- Bladez will show an all new line up of treadmills from $1,200 to $3,700 and ellipticals from $1,100 to $2,500 with some equipped with flat-panel LCD TVs designed into the console and multiple A/V inputs so a user can watch TV, DVDs, or play a favorite game system. If they're anything like the ones we got a sneak-peek of at The Super Show, they are pretty cool. The company will also debut, in Denver, a new treadmill warranty. For 2006, the warranty will be lifetime frame, lifetime motor, five years parts and one year labor for units under $2,500, with all treads that retail for more than that getting an additional year labor. Last year the warranty was two years parts.

Continuing Fitness – A new company both at the show and in general is Continuing Fitness, calling itself the first fitness brand to launch a complete line of equipment and accessories designed specifically for "mature adults." The company's flagship product is the "Resistance Chair" exercise system, which the company says will be followed by a home gym, ergonomic exercycles, and accessories. www.continuingfitness.com.

Fitness Master -- Fitness Master will show the first few pieces of its new, entry-level-priced products under the Fitstar banner, including an upright and recumbent bike and an elliptical. We're told more under that name is to come later this year too.

GoFit – Officially dropping the dot-com part of its name, GoFit plans to introduce itself formally to the fitness specialty market during their first official appearance at this show. Appearing in the booth will be Mark Verstegen, author of “Core Performance” and president of Athletes' Performance. Verstegen has trained numerous world-class athletes including Mia Hamm, Phil Mickelson, Curt Schilling and Nomar Garciaparra. A football fan? Maybe you oughta talk to Mark: He trained 12 athletes who were first round draft picks in the 2005 NFL draft. Also appearing in the booth will be GoFit partner Trace Armstrong who is a 15-year NFL veteran, former NFL All-Pro Defensive lineman with the Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders, and former President of the NFL Players Association. A dealer raffle will give away autographed memorabilia and other good stuff.

Horizon Fitness – Look for Horizon to unveil its new Elite elliptical design with a stacked flywheel design that places the flywheel higher than the pedals, rather than in line with them. The stacked design allows for the foot pedals on the EX Series to be closer together, therefore reducing the stress to the lower back, hips and knees that can be found in machines with higher Q factors. Also, the company's flagship treadmill, the 5.2T, now features a 2.75 continuous duty horsepower motor; a new digital drive system; a new folding mechanism it calls SafeZone. Plus, the company will introduce a CD training package – a tutorial on treadmill and elliptical technology using dynamic animations, illustrations and video to better equip associates on the sales floor with the tools they need to explain and sell fitness products.  

Iron Bull Beef Jerky -- Introduced by Accufitness, the company calls it "the perfect substitute for a protein bar – except it has great taste." The jerky is made from premium cuts of lean 100 percent beef, slowly smoked and seasoned to perfection.

Lamar Health, Fitness & Sports – Lamar will introduce its new Ignite brand for specialty, as well as new Lamar pieces, Universal cardio pieces and, of course, the Crocs rubbery footwear that is making a colorful global splash. "It's our first time on the floor and we're really excited," said President Kevin Lamar.

LifeSpan Fitness – PCE Fitness will introduce its new LifeSpan recumbent bike and upright bikes with consoles that allow the user to tilt them to the most comfortable position, blue LEDs for good visibility, and spring-loaded magazine rack to keep reading material where it belongs.

Productive Fitness Publishing -- Look for the maker of the "Great Handbooks" to show its new line of 24-x-36-inch fitness charts for commercial or home use. They include muscle diagrams, heart rate info and training information, and are available in paper, laminated, or framed.

ProSpot Fitness – Creator of the self-spotting machine, ProSpot will show a home gym that folds away for storage. When closed, the gym has a footprint of only 20-x-45 and is only 78 inches high.

Vision Fitness – Vision will hold SPRINT 8 "interval" classes in its booth on Friday morning before the expo for retailers, led by Phil Campbell, creator of the SPRINT 8 program. Plus, the company is coming out with new step-through, semi-recumbent bikes for 2006.Â

York Fitness – With lots of changes late last year and earlier this year in management, direction and product, York is a last-minute add to the show floor. So don't miss it!

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