Time seemed really short at the conference and trade show this year, so my visits in the exhibit hall were rather limited, but I did visit with a few exhibitors.
My first stop was at the Life Fitness booth where I chatted with Stephanie Weiss, who had been the company's PR person for the past few years, and spent her last day with the company at the Club Industry show on Thursday. In addition to Stephanie, I spoke with Bob Quast, vice president of brand management, and Steve Knipstein about the company's new Integrity Series of cardio equipment, which includes a treadmill, elliptical cross trainer, Summit trainer, Stairclimber, and upright and recumbent Lifecycle bikes. All of the line comes in a silver and gray palette. The series is compatible with iPod products, and exercisers can view video content delivered from their video-enabled iPod. The console is simplified and houses integrated controls so that exercisers can skip songs, adjust the volume and change channels right on the console.
On Friday, I chatted with John Ford, president and CEO of Virtual Active, and Ryan Damm, director of photography for the company. The two are offering a little on-road escape for treadmill users, in particular Matrix treadmill users. Virtual Active created videos of various scenic locations around the globe that treadmill users can view while walking or running—as if they were walking or running through these locals. The treadmills even rise and fall with the terrain, so users feel like they are really on the trail, whether it be in Yosemite, CA; Crater Lake, OR; and Las Vegas, NV. The video is really steady, not shaky, due to the technology used. It's the first time this technology has been used on treadmills, according to Ford.
I stopped by the iGo Figure Software booth for a short visit with Randy Ivey, marketing director. Randy hinted at some big news to come from the company soon, but he said I'd have to wait. He did promise to let us in on the news as soon as he could.
My last booth visit was with Julie King, marketing and PR person for Octane Fitness. Julie showed me Octane's new Cross Circuit Pro, which is a unique way to combine cardio sessions on the elliptical with strength intervals using weights, resistance bands and body weight off the machine. This is the first time club operators are seeing this equipment, as it's still in its prototype phase. Julie suggested it could be placed on the cardio floor and used in group training. She said that the company has received a lot of interest in the product.
I wish I'd had more time for visits. Perhaps at next year's show.