This year's IHRSA show was as much about the meetings that went on away from the trade show floor as it was about what took place on the floor.
I had three such meetings that involved companies you may be hearing more about in the future. The first meeting was with Patrick Murray, president of Trixter North America Inc. "Paddy" as he's called, showed me the Trixter Xdream Bikes. Earlier this year, Trixter announced it had signed more than 80 deals with clubs and gym management companies in the United States after launching last June. Gold's Gym, Chelsea Piers, the YMCA, Harvard and Yale are just some of the companies, organizations and universities tied to Trixter. Paddy told me that Rihanna tried out the bikes at Chelsea Piers and immediately ordered two of them.
I completed a mile on one of the interactive bikes, and while I will not reveal my embarrassingly slow time, I will admit I had help from the invisible bumpers on the sides of the path on one of the easy modes. If only there were invisible bumpers in real life!
My next meeting was with Calin Pacurariu, CEO and co-founder of FitView, a software company that provides tools for coaches and trainers to help their clients through the use of mobile and desktop platforms, including iPad and iPhone apps. Calin (pronounced like Collin—his last name is pronounced "pack-U-rar-E-U") brings an impressive resume from Apple and worked directly with Steve Jobs (good contact if you can get it) on major product launches.
After seeing an overview of the company, which attempts to bridge technology and health care, I told Calin that he should attend the next day's session on the Fitness Industry Technology Council (FITC), which we wrote about in our March issue. FITC co-founder Kevin Steele was kind enough at the beginning of the session to acknowledge Club Industry's efforts in letting folks know about the council. I think the session's attendance exceeded Steele's expectations.
Calin got a chance to meet other members of the council, including FITC co-founder Don Moore of Intel. I think there could be a future there, thus leading to Club Industry's new slogan: Bringing the Industry Together One Person at a Time. (Side note: I ran into Calin, who also held a public session of his own, each day of the show, which I believe is a new IHRSA record.)
The last one-on-one meeting I had scheduled was with Missi Wolf, president and owner of Blast900: The Ultimate Workout, a studio based in Atlanta that is now offering franchise opportunities. Blast900 provides a high-intensity 60-minute workout.
You couldn't miss Missi on the show floor—she wore a bright orange outfit, part of the studio's color scheme. Her husband is Chuck Wolf, founder of Wolf Camera. The program is Missi's baby, an idea that took shape after she lost 100 pounds following the birth of her second baby more than 12 years ago. It was Missi's birthday the day we met, and she received a happy birthday call from her daughter while we were chatting. Spending birthdays apart from family is sometimes the sacrifice you have to make when you're trying to get your name out in the public.