H&F Biz show '05: Kickboxing … and the vibrating Equus

Although studies show that the kickboxing fitness trend isn't spurting upward as quickly as it had been, it's still hanging in there quite strongly among popular activities. When it comes to the Equus trainer … oh, heck, just read on and see for yourself what it's about. We can't begin to say more....
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Although studies show that the kickboxing fitness trend isn't spurting upward as quickly as it had been, it's still hanging in there quite strongly among popular activities. Those who discover it, and find it speaks to them, remain devoted.

When it comes to the Equus trainer … oh, heck, just read on and see for yourself what it's about. We can't begin to say more.Â

(Several weeks of coverage of the Health & Fitness Business show began Aug. 29, so don't miss out. Look for more in coming weeks as SNEWS® continues the best and most detailed show coverage -- you won't find more complete or more accurate reports anywhere else. Already done is an overall show report with attendance numbers, strength equipment, and educational sessions, in addition to this week's on kickboxing and exergaming. Yet to come are reports on cardiovascular equipment, accessories, yoga/Pilates, the GearTrends® Forum and panel discussion, and other news and entertaining bits heard around the floor.)

Small selection of kickboxing companies despite popularity
Kickboxing remains a top fitness activity among women (68 percent of women participate in kickboxing compared to 32 percent of men, according to NSGA's Sports Participation reports), so we checked in with the few companies that exhibited at the Health & Fitness Business Show in late August to see what they had up their, er, gloves.

Amber Sporting Goods -- Making its first HF Biz show appearance, Amber Boxing Gear offers a full line of boxing, kickboxing and related fitness products. Specializing in high-end leather products for gyms, Amber debuted the Champ line -- a lower-priced so-called "pleather" category -- to compete in the fitness market; Pleather is a synthetic or mock leather made out of plastic. That line includes lace-up and Velcro-close boxing gloves (retail, $25), precurled bag gloves (retail, $14), speed bags (retail, $16), and heavy punching bags weighing in at 70, 100 and 150 pounds -- retailing respectively at $36, $47 and $55. Using its same manufacturer in India, gloves and bags in the Champ line maintain the same quality as its leather line. Heavy bag shells are sent to the United States and filled here to keep costs down. www.ambersports.com

BS&T Boxing -- Still trying to gain its footing after its buyout by Accell Fitness, Germany-based BS&T Boxing product samples had just arrived at the Canada-based North American offices of Accell. When we dropped in for a peek at show, we were told it was as new to the folks there as it was to show attendees. BS&T (standing for, yes, Blood, Sweat & Tears) is broken out into the Black Pro, Classic Gym, Fitness Boxing and Boxing Equipment lines. In North America, BS&T will be pushing its accessories rather than its mainstream lines for now, fitting into its current dealer base, and then looking for other channels. The whole line has been revamped slightly with a new focus on achieving the "right price point," we were told. For example, check out the Fun Boxing Gloves in 6, 8, 10, 12 ounces retailing for $30, complemented by the synthetic leather Standing Punch Bag, a mobile freestanding punch bag for in-home fitness training (retail, $150). www.accellfitness.com

TKO Sports Group -- A standard at the show when it comes to kickboxing and fitness accessories (and a company that continually gets top ratings in the annual SNEWS® Retailer Survey as a key accessories suppliers to specialty), TKO Sports has full range of boxing and cardio kickboxing products to allow specialty dealers to go big or just stick to the accessories. TKO told us it sells a lot of heavy bags and stands to fitness dealers and a light home and commercial model, the Heavy Bag Stand with Adjustable Speedbag Platform (retail, $300), sold out during the show. Other cool products include the Big Boy portable and freestanding foam bag and the washable neoprene Pro Gel Handwraps, which offer a unique slip-on design. www.tkostrength.com

Equus: Gyrate and get fit (?)
You may remember the vibrating strap that wrapped around a women's butt or thighs that was supposed to vibrate away the fat. You thought those days were over? At the Health & Fitness Business show last month in Denver, yet another vibrate-the-fat-away device was launched. Called the Equus Reactive Trainer, its promoters said it allows you to lose weight and firm up while you sit and gyrate.

At the Industry Party at the Wynkoop Brewery after the first day of the show, talking about it was all the rage. The men were telling us about this thing shaped like a horse's saddle that was reminiscent of the electric bucking bar broncos of yore. These guys, who said they saw only women trying it out (!), said the women appeared to be "enjoying" it – yet still trying as seriously as possible to pay attention to the man who was explaining the fitness benefits. OK, so we had to see this.

The Equus Reactive Trainer is by Panasonic (although Panasonic told us it doesn't like the name and is working on coming up with a new one -- We had some suggestions but kept our traps shut since we didn't think Panasonic would appreciate them.) The Equus trainer, not available in the United States until January with a slated retail of about $2,000, is indeed shaped like a saddle and literally gyrates in little circles, mimicking for the user the sensation of trying to stay atop a horse. The benefits are said to include core strengthening, muscle-building and calorie-burning as well as giving a boost to glucose absorption. We didn't ask about other … er … benefits. The picture in the brochure features a young woman sitting on her Equus watching TV. Young or old, male or female, in shape or not, everyone can benefit from the Equus, Panasonic says. Now, you can sit, gyrate, watch TV … and stay in shape. Wow, what a world it is.

Sorry, you can't see it on the web yet since Panasonic and Technology Sourcing (www.technologysourcing.net) are still debating whose website it will be on. Meanwhile, for more information, call 847-412-0011 or email info@technologysourcing.net.

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