Industry preps for IHRSA show in Vegas

With a rockin' show last year in San Francisco, IHRSA's Las Vegas appearance next week will have something to live up to. But with less pricy digs and eats in the desert town plus entertainment galore, we wouldn't be surprised if this 23rd annual convention and trade show breaks new attendance records during its four-day run March 22-25.
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With a rockin' show last year in San Francisco, IHRSA's Las Vegas appearance next week will have something to live up to. But with less pricy digs and eats in the desert town plus entertainment galore, we wouldn't be surprised if this 23rd annual convention and trade show breaks new attendance records during its four-day run March 22-25.

Of course, it's not just about getting out and about, but getting in and around the show floor, presentation halls and workshop rooms to see what's new and get a little education under the belt not only for health club owners, managers and staff, but also for retailers who do commercial outfitting.

Of course, there are the keynote addresses -- three as a matter of fact: Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor, Tues., March 23, 9 a.m., sponsored by Precor; Daniel Goleman, co-chair of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence, Wed., March 24, 8:30 a.m., sponsored by Technogym; and Bill Novelli, AARP CEO, Thurs., March 25, 9 a.m., sponsored by the American Council on Exercise.

Early morning workouts on Wednesday and Thursday from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. promise classes all over the floor, plus the chance to try all the equipment you can handle. Other classes happening in rooms will include ones from Airex and The Pilates Coach.

SNEWS® did a little poking around to preview a few companies' trade show unveilings to entice you just a bit. We can't cover all the hundreds of companies, big and small, old faces and new, that will be on the floor -- heck, we wouldn't want to ruin your exploratory fun either -- but we'll take a quick look at a few (in alphabetical order, below). One word: If you're attending, DO take the time to look around the fringes of the show floor; the small and new companies can have surprising gear and technology to show off.

Airex by Alcan – A balance-oriented group-exercise program will debut at IHRSA, after being shown briefly at the show last year as a test and since tweaked. Using the Airex balance pad made of closed-cell foam, program developers call it "BeBalanced!" The class, developed by Carmen-Manuela Rock, director of the Bruegger Institute in Zurich (Switzerland), and Manuela Boehme, director of the Institute of Fitness Education in Hamburg (Germany), combines coordination training, mobility, standing stability and motor-skill training.

Cybex -- With financial turnarounds and high-tech acquisitions in Trazer, we expect the normally colorful but relatively staid Cybex booth to have a bit more going on. Trazer has cool interactive technology that offers all kinds of opportunities for athletic and fitness fun and games for young and old.

Dew Rags -- Head gear that has been known as streetwear or bike wear has been acquired by Kappler USA to bring the cap-like fabric to sports- and active wear markets. Don't know what a Dew Rag is? Go to www.dew-rags.com.

Fitter International -- The balance specialists will be showing off new "classic" (more affordable) products such as a dual-level balance board and an exercise ball. Plus, be prepared to dodge Trikke testers in the aisles. Those are the three-point "cycles" that a rider controls by rocking and swaying his or her body weight so it indeed means a workout.

FreeMotion Fitness -- The originators of cable motion, FreeMotion says it will announce a "relationship" with "one of the largest brand names in the world of sports and fitness." OK, OK, don't disappoint now. Plus the company plans new product for studios and will have it all in a new double-decker booth. The National Academy of Sports Medicine will be setting up shop within the booth and debuting its product called BodyMap that it calls a state-of-the-art interactive guide for performing individualized assessments. (SNEWS® got a plastic bottle with a compass, felt pen and magnifying glass to announce the assessment tool, and we're still trying to figure out what a yellow highlighter pen has to do with it.)

Harbinger -- Look for the club intro of its G2 workout glove that is two gloves in one with an inner and outer portion that can be used together for tough workouts or separately, for example, using the inner lightweight liner for cardio alone. Also, if you didn't see them at The Super Show, the company will also have a new ribbed, rolled, durafoam mat and small weight workout balls.

Hoist Fitness -- The company's kids circuit of equipment will be open for all to see and try for the first time after its closed-door unveiling last year. Hoist will also add kid's bikes that are fully functional (no play things here), and will set up an example of a personal training studio to show trainers how they can set themselves up without huge cost. And the company also promises no stark white equipment will cross the threshold of its booth for the first time ever.

Life Fitness -- Its cable motion strength line will have newly designed multi-jungles and a revamped version of the dual adjustable pulley and cable column. Continuing its color and aesthetic redesign, the company also promises the same look here. The Fit Stride Cross-Trainer, intro'd at the Athletic Business conference in December, will also be on hand, as will the company's partners Peak Pilates, LeMond RevMaster and StretchMate.

Nautilus Group -- A highlight at this booth will be the introduction of its "Fusion Fitness Training" program that combines yoga and Pilates with fitness conditioning. The company says it takes a "modern approach" to traditional forms and focuses on physiology and proper biomechanics. Also, look for the StairMaster ClubStride elliptical trainer.

Precor -- With all its acquisitions of late, Precor will have a booth to showcase it all, from Precor cardio offerings, Icarian strength and ClubCom and Cardio Theater entertainment, as well as a few other surprises from other Amer Group companies. Product refreshes, of course, continue.

Spri Products -- The company will not only have its wide array of popular rubber resistance products such as bands and tubes, but it will also have Pilates products for core-strengthening plus programs to go with them. The company has aligned itself with Pilates Coach and PowerHouse Pilates for certification and education.

SportsArt America-- The company will showcase its new trade ads in a gallery (see separate story this week) but will support them with activities too. For example, take part in a SportsArt triathlon by using each of three different products in the booth for one minute each and get your own T-shirt (ask for the one with Spike). Group exercise workouts will be held on the company ellipticals too. And there will be great schwag bags with $100 worth o' stuff for folks who do 10 minutes of workout during an early morning workout.

Trixter -- Trixter will have a separate booth for its X-Bikes from its partner Matrix, which will also have Matrix-branded Trixter bikes in its booth. Hard to imagine it's only been a year since the X-Bikers blew away IHRSA with their yellow indoor bike with the outdoor attitude. They promise more outrageous stuff, including a custom-painted bike that will "blow people away," the company promises. "It will look like it's going 200 mph standing still." Expect other product tweaks in the booth too.

Troy Barbell -- Look for what the company calls "an innovative free weight puzzle" with plates that have a patented interlocking design. The design allows more weight on bars safely and quiets wobbling and spinning.

True Fitness -- Golf pro Randy Myers will lead attendees through flexibility routines on the True Stretch gym with an emphasis on an improvement in golf swings.

Tuff Stuff -- The company promises low-profile and sleek new designs that it says are belt-driven. They are a selectorized circuit that accommodates converging motion and pre-stretch and will go right along with other items already added to the line.

Trade show maps and exhibitor lists as well as educational programs can be found at www.ihrsa.org.

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