On the Floor

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So, most of the rest of yesterday was spent walking the trade show floor visiting various vendors and running into people from the industry who I only get to see at conferences.

My first meeting was with Luis Gomez, media specialist for the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), Sherman Oaks, CA. Gomez shared with me that in looking for a way to do proctored practical exams online, AFAA had developed Multitraining Live, a video teleconferencing program.

However, the service has expanded beyond a way to allow trainers to do exams online. It can also be used by trainers to train clients who are out of town. Just using a Web cam, trainers can watch clients do the exercises that they've recommended to them.

My next visit was at the Life Fitness booth where I spoke with Steve Knipstein, Bob Quast and Veronica Korcz. Korcz shared with me information about the company's Virtual Trainer Web site, which the company launched two years ago. They now have 21,000 people signed up on the site. Any club that buys Life Fitness equipment can use the site. The company's Life Fitness Academy creates programs that it can share on the Web for personal trainers and their clients. Programs include options for those training for marathons and those seeking weight loss, among others. Trainers can track what their clients are doing on the Life Fitness equipment.

Quast showed me the company's Signature line strength equipment, which takes the Hammer Strength mechanics and puts it in a smaller footprint with higher-end materials and an appearance that's a bit more attractive to women.

Perhaps most exciting for Life Fitness is that they just received word that their Elevation Series Recumbent Lifecycle exercise bike received a global 2009 GOOD DESIGN Award. The award is given by the Chicago Athenaeum/Europe: Museum of Architecture and Design, recognizing the annual achievements of the most innovative and cutting-edge industrial, product and graphic design work across the globe. The Life Fitness Elevation Series Recumbent Lifecycle Bicycle was singled-out for its break-through design, accompanied by its easy-to-use functionality.

My next stop was Octane Fitness to check out the Pro4700 elliptical, which I'd seen at the Club Industry show this past October. I like the ability to change the stride easily. Ryan Pertile let me know that this elliptical is gaining traction in the health club market, which now makes up about 20 percent of Octane's business. He already had a few clubs put in orders the first day of the trade show, a good sign for manufacturers overall, as well as for Octane.

Lifeline USA was my next stop. The company has a new product, the Pullup Revolution, that helps people do chin-ups. The company began showing the product at various events a few months ago, but only recently had enough of them in production to start shipping them. However, that didn't stop people from faxing in orders “for that thing that helps you do chin-ups,” according to Bob Sotis, president and CEO. He said that some people even drew pictures of the product and faxed it to him because they couldn't remember the name of the product, and it was not on the company's Web site yet.

Throughout the day, I ran into many people either while walking the show floor or while I was standing in our booth greeting attendees. Laurie Cingle, a consultant in the industry, was resting at the tables in the back of the hall. She'd broken her ankle when she fell off a ladder rescuing a kitten out of a tree. What a trooper for deciding to go ahead and come to the show and walk the trade show floor! She said that she'd walk one aisle and then stop at the back to rest before going to the next aisle.

Denise Yohn, who is a branding specialist and lives in San Diego, stopped by. She has written a Step by Step columns for us in the past and will be writing a few more in the future. (Denise recorded a video from the show floor and offered her thoughts about the show.) I also said a quick hello to David McGarry with Cooper Aerobics Center at Craig Ranch. McGarry also is a Step by Step contributor.

During the afternoon, I also ran into Randy Ivey, who now works for iGo Figure. Ivey introduced me to Kyle Zagrodzky, CEO at iGo Figure, a software company. I promised to stop by their booth before the end of the show.

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