The trade show at the IHRSA Convention is amazing. Just imagine a whole convention center floor filled with all the latest equipment, technology, accessories, clothing, then add hundreds of fit and fabulous exhibitors, demonstrating, exercising, motivating, talking and teaching. To that mix add thousands of spectator/participants testing out the equipment, taking the exercise classes, measuring, planning, dreaming about how it would all fit in their perfect fitness center. Lot’s of color, music, noise, it’s all there, and it all adds up to quite an experience.
(More pictures are posted on my Facebook page)
The trade show opened on Thursday at 11:00. I spent about two hours walking through the convention hall, stopping here and there, getting impressions and deciding where I would like to focus attention. We are not really in the market for new equipment, but I like to keep up on what is available. We just started our Pilates reformer program, so I made sure to stop by the Balanced Body booth, where I met both Octavio, the designer of the new Orbit, as well as Mark, my sales rep.
I was also drawn to the Zumba and TRX booths.
After my trip through the trade show, I was exhausted, but I had a plan for the following day. Unfortunately, the next day (Friday) I woke up with a migraine. Instead of taking in the Friday speaker and another session, I stayed in bed, took my meds, and finally felt good enough by about 10:00 to get a start on my last day. After a shower, packing up and checking out, I headed back to the trade show.
This day, even though I wasn’t feeling quite up to par, I focused on trying some of the workouts and equipment. I headed over to the Precor booth (although “booth” is a gross understatement). They (and all the big equipment companies) have basically set up shop on the convention floor. They have all their equipment laid out, plugged in, and ready to try out. I hopped on their AMT Open Stride just in time for the demo workout.
I also participated in the Krank workout. The Krank cycle is operated by your arms only, and the workout consisted of intervals of arm workouts combined with lower body challenges, like squats (or squat jumps in you’re game), and lunges. Boy, my arm muscles were sore the next day!
The final workout that I took part in was the Total Gym Gravity workout. I didn’t get any pictures of the equipment, but picture those old Chuck Norris/Christie Brinkley ads, but on steroids. The new Total Gym is a professional quality, challenging, functional piece of equipment. There were a lot of elements of a Pilates reformer workout in the small group-type workout. I enjoyed it.
My final impressions? I was happy to see so much functional workout equipment, things to balance on or hang from, things that make you use your entire body. The technology available on some of the equipment is amazing. You can be connected to the internet, watch a movie, play a game, or feel like you are running or riding through mountains, all while you are exercising inside a gym. Much of the equipment is designed to be used for small group training programs (although you need a lot of space for it), which seems to be a trend that is here to stay.
Interestingly, what I didn’t see, maybe because I just missed it, was equipment designed for accessibility. When I wrote about Chritina Ripatti, the paralyzed police officer who spoke at the 2010 convention, there was a lot of talk, plus a lot of the companies were putting a focus on, making fitness more accessible to people who are wheelchair bound, or deal with other challenges. I just didn’t see companies following up on that focus. Which is a shame. I saw a lot of very fit, very able, bodies demonstrating difficult, challenging programs. Which is fine. I just hope that the fitness industry, either at my end at the fitness center level, or at the production end, all those big equipment corporations, don’t forget about the unfit, the overweight, the disabled, the elderly. Because, fitness should be for every body.