As most of you know, last week, I was able to jet off to Las Vegas for 2 quick days to check out the Interbike and Health & Fitness Business (HFB) Shows. David’s company sends him each year to cover HFB which is a small show compared to the much larger Interbike trade show held upstairs. While David usually reports on the outdoor industry, he is less familiar with the Health & Fitness crowd, which is why he encouraged me to come again this year.
Last year, we had fun exploring plenty of new, small companies just getting started. Sadly, there were fewer exhibitors this year. The ones that were there were mostly larger, established brands. While there was less exploring of smaller brands, we did find some cool things. And when we ran out of people to talk to at HFB, we managed to make our way upstairs to Interbike where the beer was flowing (no joke), the bikers were out in full force, and new forms of bikes were everywhere. I will post more about Interbike in a different post
So the Health & Fitness Business Show is an opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their products to retail stores who sell home fitness equipment. The number of these retail stores mostly all independent) has dwindled in recent years as gym memberships grow and big box stores (think Dicks and Sports Authority) sell more equipment. However, all manufacturers seem to see an increase in retail sales and are hopeful for the future.
The best thing I found that I think you all will be interested in was the Zero Runner by Octane. This new cross between a treadmill and an elliptical offers runners an opportunity for zero-impact running in the comfort of their own home. I think this is so newsworthy that it deserves its own post: Stay Tuned.
Last year, rowing machines were really taking off, and companies were developing new apps to connect with machines so users can have all of their workout data as soon as they complete a workout. Both trends continued this year, though not as many of the companies seemed as app-crazy as last year. Companies are realizing that users want to pick and choose a single app to hold all their data, so they are doing more to make their machines have the ability to send the data to a user’s phone or tablet.
The way Crossfit has–and is–changing the industry was another topic of discussion. Aside from just more rowers being sold, many companies were talking about accessories people can have in their homes. Kettle-balls, ropes, medicine balls and resistance bands are all big items. We talked to a representative from Spri who discussed the challenge is now teaching users how to use these items to their full capability. He used the example of ropes where people only know how to shake them up and down (as is often portrayed on The Biggest Loser). There are over a dozen ways to use a rope at home, so they are making videos to educate users (I personally do not know much about ropes!).
We saw a few new ab machines. The AbSolo looks just like basketball games at fairs, but it uses a medicine ball and makes you hold it over your head as you lean back. You then aims to hit the target and the machine will keep track of how many you hit as well as your time:
We also saw a yet-unnamed product from a New Zealand couple who debuted the product at the show. You can use it two ways: one for push-ups and the other for sit-ups. But the shape of it allowed you to safely get a solid workout. Depending on how you use it, it can assist with push-ups if you cannot do a complete one.
Finally, in an effort to attract more females to weights, a few companies talked about how they made their products aesthetically-pleasing. I heard from several people (all men by coincidence?) that studies have shown that men want weight machines at home, but women hate how they look. So they have cleaned the machines up to make them fit better in the home. In other words, they are sleek and shiny as opposed to big and bulky with lots of bolts showing. They did look nice, but I would probably prefer a more rustic one, if I ever end up with a weight machine (unlikely since our basement ceiling is really low). Here I am trying one out:
As mentioned, later this week, I will recap Interbike and the Zero Runner. Sorry to drag it out, but it is easier than one big, long, massive post!