With the annual Health & Fitness Business retail-centric show nearly here, it's time to take a quick advance look at a few products, companies and brands -- new and old -- that will be on the floor.
SNEWS® asked dozens of companies for information and we are printing highlights from those who, one, took the time to answer us, two, told us something worthwhile more than just secretively hinting "we'll have great stuff," or, three, said they were just updating a few minor features or colors.
New brand launches, show first-timers
SNEWS® has already written about the debut of Advanced Fitness Group (the new specialty brand from Horizon) that will launch at the show (click here to read a July 9, 2007, SNEWS® story, "Horizon Fitness multi-brand strategy unveils specialty exclusive Advanced Fitness Group"), as well as the transformation of Bladez into BH Fitness with its acquisition by the Spanish company (click here to read the March 29, 2007, SNEWS® story, "BH Fitness of Spain acquires Bladez Corp. from DK City"). In addition, look for a separate story looking at the first appearance of FreeMotion Fitness' specialty retail line in this week's SNEWS®, "FreeMotion to launch specialty line." As a part of the debut, FreeMotion has also taken on the title sponsorship of the show and moved into the front booth next to the on-floor registration area.
Other first-timers on the floor include, as far as we can tell, Saris with its CycleOps indoor cycle, and Koko Fitness with its interactive strength trainer that SNEWS® has called the first "quick start of strength training" (click here to see a May 14, 2007, SNEWS® story, "Koko Smartrainer"). In addition, Precor will be back on the floor after an absence of several years, and year-old Torque Fitness will be exhibiting for the first time.
Early morning workout
A couple of companies have told us about specific classes or workouts they will offer on a first-come, first-serve basis during the Friday, Aug. 3 morning workout slot from 8-9 a.m. All companies can open their booths and equipment for attendees to try out, so be sure to ask about any companies you want to come see. We expect most will be open for workouts.
GoFit will offer demo kettlebell classes by its kettlebell guru Sarah Lurie with T-shirts to participants as supplies last. If you're interested, stop into the booth on Thursday to signup to make sure you get a spot. Vision Fitness will also hold two Sprint 8 classes -- one at 8 a.m. and one at 8:30 a.m., as space is available on equipment. We're sure there will be other opportunities for guided learning so ask around on Thursday at the show.
Here's a look at a few other equipment preview tidbits:
Ab Coaster – A new piece that says it promotes core stabilization while putting the user in a kneeling position with his or her forearms on arm rests. A curved track allows the user to engage abdominal muscles as a carriage glides on a track. MSRP $1,500.
Accell Fitness – Accell will showcase equipment from both Bremshey and Tunturi brands. The Bremshey brand will show new knobs on the consoles that make the console and program control easier to use. A user scrolls through a menu by rotating the knob and then presses the button to make a selection. Also, look for a 19-inch front-drive elliptical and a new folding rower with battery-operated console. Tunturi will show in the United States for the first time its new "T-Road" screen that allows users to follow routes in various landscapes on a 7-inch screen as a part of a workout, with the route actually controlled by the way a user pedals. Also, look for new step-through recumbent bikes with gliding seats and the turn-and-click knob system.
BH Fitness – With a well-established worldwide network of countries and more than 85 commercial products, the company will not chintz at its debut. Look for a packed booth filled with its silver and gray products. The company will have its so-called AWT ("adjustable width technology") ellipticals that allows a user to adjust the foot platforms wider or narrower. Also, it will have a high-end folding treadmill, two indoor cycles and some home gyms.
Bodyguard -- Look for ellipticals to be introduced this year.
Body-Solid – Its new Fusion line has personal training gyms and attachments, one with a smaller profile so it can fit into rooms with limited height or space. The so-called "Best Fitness" line is a brand new line that seeks to address the desire among its customers for simple, fully assembled workout equipment in one box. The pieces come in a box no bigger than a treadmill box, are pre-cabled and 90 percent assembled.
BodyCraft – Its equipment will include new multi-station gyms with a small footprint, and a new free-weight-style bar on its Jones machine that allows for side-to-side balancing.
Diamondback – The company will introduce three new pieces, including two treadmills and an elliptical. One treadmill will have an orthopedic belt, wireless heart rate and a 20-x-62 deck, as well as programs. The other is more "budget-minded" with an LED display and an incline that tops at 10 percent. The elliptical has a low step-up and a compact footprint.
GoFit – Look for the debut of kettlebells (Iron Core) at GoFit that come with instructional DVDs. The vinyl-coated bells, which come in weights down to 5 pounds, can be used for all kinds of workouts, including cardio, strength, mind-body, balance and flexibility.
Hampton Fitness – The company is taking its gel technology in the handles and grips of bars, and strategically positioning the colorful urethane gel so a user doesn't have to guess where to put his or her hands.
Inspire Fitness – It will unveil a new gym called the M4 that is a hybrid machine for both functional and traditional training. Its press arms, leg and lat stations are independent, allowing the user to do iso-lateral workouts. Its bench can be unlocked and swiveled to the side to open up space in the front for other types of exercises.
Lamar Fitness – This company will add a recumbent elliptical to its growing line.
LeMond Fitness -- New data consoles will interface with th website for workout download and analysis.
Lifecore Fitness – Its growing bike line will add a recumbent with a mesh seat for an MSRP of $1,500. Another compact recumbent -- 44 inches long -- has a gas-assist to adjust its seat and has an MSRP of $1,200.
Life Fitness -- A full booth will include a home version of its just-launched commercial iPod-compatible treadmill.
Medi-Dyne – A newcomer to the show, Medi-Dyne will exhibit a shock-absorbing footbed for workout shoes with a design that keeps it from slipping and sliding around. The inserts called SoftMoves are available for both the ball and heel of shoes and have MSRPs from $7.50 to $8.
LifeSpan – Its TR2000 treadmill has a decline feature to allow downhill walking, and its R3 recumbent bike now has a step-through design.
Mio – Look for its heart-rate monitors without chest straps, including the new "Motiva" geared for lifestyle wear with a calorie counter and calorie program for $100. The "Drive" model ($80) has more features geared toward workout enthusiasts.
Natural Fitness – This company had its national debut in June, but its founder has been in the business of eco-minded products for years, doing production for other companies. The company makes yoga and Pilates gear as well as fitness accessories such as stability balls, all with an environmental flair. The yoga line is already 100-percent environmental friendly with mats that are natural rubber with cotton mesh grids for stability, hemp bags and belts, and bamboo blocks. It also has a "Zero Impact Program" using wind and solar power, carbon offsets and has its website hosted and run totally by solar power. Plus, it will plant a tree for every product sold.
ProSpot Fitness – Look for four new home gyms, including a folding space-saver model (MSRP $2,300) with others moving up from there in features and price. All floor models will come with a six-minute continuous loop on a DVD with an introduction to functional training to help retail staff show and sell the ProSpot equipment and help customers understand the system.
Quantum Fitness – Another new home treadmill has 16 programs, a 3-HP motor and an MSRP of $2,600. A new elliptical called the 210H is 44 inches long while still maintaining a 21-inch stride (MSRP $2,900). Quantum's new "Phantom" series has frosted pastel ice shrouds, a low profile and small footprint, all with instruction plaques.
Spirit Fitness -- Spirit will add to its elliptical line.
SportsArt Fitness – The company will launch a full line of new products including six all-new ellipticals from $1,500 to $4,200 (with two space-saving fixed-stride units), three treadmills and an entire range of cycles.
Sports Beat – A heart rate monitor manufacturer, Sports Beat now has the exclusive license to distribute a booklet under the well-recognized "Dummies" brand called "Heart Rate Monitors For Dummies," which will also come with a simple heart rate monitor. The publication, launching at the show, will offer benefits of heart rate monitoring, as well as explain the proper use of monitors and include tips on exercise routines.
Spri Products – Look for a launch of the company's new products in its sports performance line, some of which it worked with Todd Durkin to develop. Spri will also debut its kettlebells to the retail side of the industry. After a soft introduction last year at the show, Spri now will show its beefed-out downloadable exercise library and how it can benefit stores and staff in helping customers.
Torque Fitness -- After its off-floor debut with prototypes last year, Torque will show three more gyms and a leg press.
Trixter X-Bikes -- Look for three new bikes, with one being an upright cycle that incorporates the patented resistance handlebar system used in its indoor cycle that allows an exerciser to work his or her upper body (MSRP $2,300)
TuffStuff -- Forget the walled-in booth, TuffStuff will be in the open with a new home gym and free weight line too.
Vescent – In the category of other equipment, Vescent will show its new SolaJet massage system that keeps a user dry. It uses traveling water jets but separates the water from the user by a flexible barrier.
This is, of course, not an all-inclusive listing of what's going to be at the show, but it gives SNEWS® readers a bit of a jump on new products and brands they may be interested in checking out.