Name changer: Efi Sports Medicine goes back to its roots with Total Gym

Efi Sports Medicine, maker of the Total Gym, realized that its top consumer brand name -- and former company-wide moniker -- was more recognizable. So it’s in with the old to coincide with new products and marketing.
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For past 10 years, Efi Sports Medicine and its commercial line of Gravity fitness training machines and programming just couldn’t shake the more established name of its home consumer line and former companywide moniker – Total Gym.

And, as they say, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

Efi Sports Medicine is now changing its name back to Total Gym – which had graced the top of company letterhead from 1974 to 2001.

“With Total Gym being one of the most recognized brands in fitness, we wanted to create a full continuum for our products and brands that is consistent and recognizable for all consumers, whether they are using our products in a fitness center, a physical therapists office, or at home,” executive vice president Randy Bergstedt told SNEWS.

It’s a reversal from what the San Diego, Calif.-based company decided in the early 2000s – introducing the Efi Sports Medicine business name (which stood for “Engineering Fitness International”) with Gravity as its commercial brand and Total Gym as its consumer brand – to help draw distinctions between the product lines.

Going into this year’s IHRSA show in San Francisco March 16-19, the company will also debut a new product line as well as a new “you” themed marketing campaign featuring real users and customers, rather than the previous focus on celebrities and models. With that, it wants to lessen any differences and eliminate any confusion.

“It has become clear that the millions of people who use a Total Gym at home or in physical therapy clinics around the world creates so much brand value and awareness that we have decided to capitalize on that in commercial fitness too,” Bergstedt said.

While the changes mean ‘so long’ to the Efi Sports Medicine name, the Gravity brand name will stick around, officials said.

“The best example would be that Total Gym is our hardware and Gravity is our software – the education and training support,” Bergstedt said.

Total Gym’s signature products feature inclined rails with glideboard, on which the user sits or kneels while pulling their bodyweight back and forth with cables. According to Total Gym, 14,000 physical therapy clinics, hospitals, universities, athletic training facilities and health clubs use the product. Plus more than 4 million units have been sold since 1974 when company President Tom Campanaro, then a competitive body builder, developed it with partners Dale McMurray and Larry Westfall.

Total Gym’s three new bodyweight training products – the Sport (MSRP $2,495), GTS (MSRP $3,495) and the motorized Power Tower (MSRP $4,895) – are quieter with aluminum rails and feature a slimmer and sleeker design, along with additional levels of incline to further vary the difficulty of a workout. The three new products are available through the company's website (www.totalgym.com), its corporate sales team and dealers carrying Total Gym equipment.

In the crowded field of bodyweight, suspension, and functional training products for retailers, gyms and consumers to choose from, Bergstedt said the company has the advantage of experience and longevity.

“We have been telling this story since 1974,” Bergestedt said, “because we believe it is the best way to train for life – natural human movement, varying levels of stability and non-compressive exercise.”

--David Clucas

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