fitness trends: my biased opinion

so after returning from the IHRSA (international health, racquet & sports club association) 2011 in san francisco, i must say that my creative juices are still on overdrive. this is not the case however when we set up and man a booth at these industry tradeshows – usually i need 3 days just to recover!  my whole purpose in attending was to 1) check it out to see if we want to exhibit next year (we do), 2) make connections with great companies that we want to partner with to sell fitbooks, and 3) play!  so rather than bore you with the business side of things, i thought i’d share my very biased list of stellar products that caught my eye.  seriously this show was like (sugar-free) candyland.  this is where all the product manufacturers launch the latest & greatest, the innovative & inspiring – so i took it upon myself to take pics and share my findings with fitbookers (and perhaps give santa plenty of lead-time for christmas). 

journey gym

disclaimer: my girlfriend, kim lyons, was up at ihrsa demo’ing this product (as seen in this lovely pic of her – fab job kim!) but honestly after seeing this little contraption at work, i was sold. this little go-anywhere portable gym is a step above all other resistance band products in that the bands are contained in this nice little handy travel box – oh, but wait…it’s not a box at all.  this little guy folds open and here-in lies the beauty: not only are there these great grips that make using resistance bands 10 times easier, but they are all pre-loaded so you can lift weight from 5 to 100lbs.  then – the little box transforms into this little step (think aerobics, leg warmers not required) so you can use the step for adding spurts of cardio in between resistance exercises.  but wait (no, this is not an infomercial and i in no way get compensated – i’m seriously that excited about it) …my fave feature was that you can lie on your back on the bench and because it’s elevated you can do bench press or flys to get in a chest workout which is tough to do with resistance bands.  i had the pleasure of meeting the creator of this nifty product and after expressing my love (for it, not him) i was more ecstatic to learn that they’re working to get these in hotel rooms.  how perfect is that?  so would’ve come in handy this weekend.  my favorite part was the infectious entrepreneurial energy that flowed out of john, the founder – meeting with like-minded people that have the same passion and ability to take action stokes my fire and ignites all kinds of ideas that i can apply to fitlosophy.  be on the look-out: i’m hittin’ him up to pack a little journey gym fitbook inside!

espinner bike

while it clocks in at almost four g’s, this high-tech spin bike is the mother of all spin bikes.  since this is my wish list, i’m adding it (a girl can dream!).  it features over 1 million different rides that you can follow on the 15″ high-resolution screen – plus it has a fan, built-in heart-rate monitor, and (my fave feature): a bulletproof aluminum frame.  i’m sure their thinking was to convince the consumer that it’s durable, but this only made me chuckle  as visions of a drive-by on spin bike filled my head.  not sure if my bike needs to be bulletproof in orange county, but i must say i will spin more comfortably knowing that my ride is prepared if anyone comes packin’.

step360

this isn’t the newest product at ihrsa – kim actually picked one up last year to use in her home-gym, but this was the first time i got to play on it.  it’s sorta like an aerobic step meets the bosu all so you get the stabilization benefits of the air discs underneath, but a larger platform on top like a step!  i’m a big fan of doing almost any exercise on an unstable surface so you get a double-whammy of working your core while focusing on other muscles.  so you might do bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, shoulder overhead press, squats - whatever your little heart desires – and doing this on the unstable surfaces burns more calories and triggers those little teeny-tiny muscle fibers in your core to ignite.  i heart this and it doesn’t hurt that it’s red & black.  what great taste!

woodway treadmill

ok so this actually tops my want list, but of course i have fabulous taste because it’s also the most expensive. at right about $8k, the “curve” woodway treadmill is the top-of-the-line equipment which is why 97% of all nfl teams sport these non-motorized running machines.  here’s the deal: you burn up to 30% more calories because the belt is powered by your legs versus a motor, and due to the incredibly ergonomic surface, the woodway reduces the impact on your joints by about 90%.  so of course i had to try one.  at first wobbly step it was an odd feeling, but you get the hang of it quickly.  move forward and lean into it and you easily can break into a run…or move back a little to slow down.  unfortunately i wasn’t able to show off my cougar-like speed due to my injury, but i so wanted to.  kim came back from ihrsa last year raving about these – and now i see why.  so i’m letting santa know now that he’s got his work cut out for him to get this sucker all the way from germany and down through the chimney – but i’m a good girl and deserve it.

g-series fit

i steer clear of all the samples at these shows because i’m not big on all the processed foods and it’s not my cup of tea to indulge in little pieces of protein bar that other people have rummaged through. ew.  i did however stop at the g-series fit because of the packaging (i’m a sucker for design).  however, sports drinks aren’t my thing because a lot of times they’re just calories we don’t need – and full of added sugars.  in fact, only performance athletes or someone working out for a period of one hour or more at an intense rate even “need” to replace electrolytes with a sports drink.  but this is a line i can get behind. each element in the series is for before (prime 01), during (perform 02), and after (recover 03) workouts.  but what i liked was that the macros were exactly what your body needs as far as carb/protein breakdown, and the calories were impressively low.  prime, the pre-workout snack, are these little bite-size, individually wrapped bars that are 180 calories & 6g protein with the main ingredient being almonds. then the perform sports drink is only 20 calories for the whole bottle of lightly flavored (yummy) watter injected with electrolytes for energy. 

finally, the recovery drink is 110 calories & 12g protein and has a smoothie-like consistency and a tad bit of juice to restore glycogen stores.  the whole series would set you back only 310 calories to get in pre- during & post- workout energy to fuel killer sweat sessions.  i have to say…i’m on board (after my no-processed foods stint is over, that is).  i tried the drinks but didn’t taste the pre-workout bar but here’s an image of the ingredients to get a sneak peak. watch for them coming out soon….they are in my mind one of the most innovative lines i’ve seen that makes it literally as easy as 1-2-3 to equip your body for performance (without breaking the calorie budget).

efx wristbands

note: i’m not a big believer that if i wear a magnet or sport some energy-induced armband that i’m going to have superpowers…i think it’s partially full of you-know-what.  so, of course after taunting the poor guys working the booth that i didn’t believe it, they said they’d prove it. by golly – it worked!  here’s the thing – you can check out their website at efxusa.com to check out the “why” but all i know is they had me balance on one leg and hold my arms out – and while i must say i have a strong core, the guy was able to pull my arms down and i fell over…eventually.  with the wristband, nope.  i was rock solid.  ok so this isn’t gonna change your world, but first things first: they look cool.  then they have this embedded frequency that promotes energy flow.  so it MAY increase balance, strength, flexibility & endurance and MAY reduce stress, jet lag, swelling & motion sickness.  and you look cool doing it. you can get the wristbands or even hats, shoe insoles, sweatbands, necklaces…as long as the frequency is on your body.   my favorite: the efx doggy tag – mylo mommy was thinking of you!

so those are the best of the best that i saw at ihrsa 2011.  i have to share the worst.  it was quite possibly the funniest thing i’ve ever seen in my life. there is this mechanical horse-like object that is big & bulky covered in this cheap fuzzy furry fabric, complete with a mane & tail.  i seriously thought it was a joke, but no!  you get on the horse and the idea is that the movement mimics riding a horse and while you’re riding, you use a fake rifle to shoot ducks on a screen!  what is the fitness industry coming too?  this was like duck hunter meets bull-riding and they called it an exercise machine. the cost: $15,000.  let me clarify something from a little lady who used-to-be-a-cowgirl: for $15,000 you can go buy you a real horse (a darn good one – actually 2 for that matter) and get a lot better exercise than you ever will with this machine. however, if you want the sheer enjoyment of watching people look like fools, be my guest: this machine’s for you!

ihrsa turned out to be a great success – fabulous business contacts with companies like dotfit, anytime fitness, spending time with my girls kim lyons & devin alexander (yes, i’m the non celeb of the bunch) and i randomly saw our canadian partners from fitness town too.  the best thing that i walked away with is how important it is for me to get from out behind my desk and frequently ignite that little fire in my belly that i have for what we do at fitlosophy.  our mission and why we created fitbook and the company was to help people live better lives.  while part of running the company is managing operations, overseeing marketing, and ensuring our customers are happy – the most pivotal thing i need to do i stay passionate.  that passion will only result in better business decisions and ultimately products and experiences for our customers.  so thank you ihrsa – we’ll see you in los angeles in 2012 - but in our red ‘live life fit’ tanks with fitbooks in tow!



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