IHRSA 2014: Eye-Catching Group Exercise

by Dr. Bruce on March 26, 2014

See what group exercise demonstrations caught my eye–functional to quirky, and everything in-between.

As you walk the IHRSA trade show floor you can’t help being drawn towards and attracted to the myriad of group exercise demonstrations that go on/cycle throughout the trade show day.  Sometimes the attraction is auditory through the use of upbeat, pounding, toe tapping music (see Zumba), and sometimes it is “visual,” via unique movements or the use of interesting training apparatus (see Antigravity).  And, sometimes it’s both (see Piloxing)!

My video shows you a summary of MY eye (and ear) catchers.  Below, are a few comments (and a few criticisms) on some of the group ex. demos (and the associated equipment) that you’ll see:

1) Piloxing:  Gets my vote for the quirkiest group ex. at the Show!  Who envisions “flowing” between pilates, boxing and dance in the same workout?  Whoever it was, the combination is uniquely creative!!  So, is Piloxing a “trend?”  In my opinion, not yet.  The Piloxing web site does list a significant number of certified instructors, nationwide, but I’ve never see it “in action” in the club setting.  I shared my observations about the IHRSA Show with a British customer of mine, and I couldn’t help mentioning, and describing, Piloxing.  I love his truly British response to my description: “It’s like mixing Guinness and tomato soup.”  To me, Piloxing is still a spectator sport; pull up a chair, get a cold beverage, and watch the ladies pirouette and uppercut.  Good luck to Piloxing, and stay tuned…

2) Zumba: I’ve always been a fan of the energy, electricity and excitement that Zumba generates.  And, I’ve been impressed by the legions of people who pack into Zumba classes and Zumbathons and the smooth moves of Zumba instructors!  However, I’ve never been a fan of the technical deficiencies of Zumba instruction/instructors–there is a significant lack of effective movement change cues.  As you can see in the video, Zumba movements can be quite complex.  Without proper, and properly timed, cuing participants spin their wheels in neutral until they figure out the next movement sequence.   Movement/exercise time is lost, and it can get quite frustrating to always be a few “moves” behind the instructor.  Memo to Zumba instructors–you are there to teach, not perform.  Improve your cuing–both verbal and nonverbal.

3) Fluidity Fitness: I’ve been watching Michelle Austin’s Fluidity infomercials for years, and I’ve seen Fluidity’s spots on the Home Shopping Network.  Up until now, the Fluidity barre workout/apparatus has been geared toward the at-home exerciser.  It was nice to see, at the IHRSA Show, Fluidity’s entry into the commercial sector.  Their dual Fluidity-bar apparatus is very sturdy–yetmquite collapsible for easy out-of-the-way storage in multi-use group exercise rooms.  Group barre classes have become quite popular–my wife takes one every Saturday.  Welcome to “this” side of the industry, Michelle.

4) Antigravity–Suspension Fitness and Aerial Yoga:  Quite beautiful and entertaining to watch.  Looks like a Cirque du Soleil training class.  My one question regarding Antigravity training is…how and how often are the sheets cleaned?

5) Pole Dance Fitness: The woman doing the demonstration makes the activity look so easy!  I think a pole class would be great total-body training for many things!

6) Pavigym:  The Energy+ functional training station flooring was designed to maximize member touch in minimal space.  And, the flooring can go “vertical” with the interactive wall.  This product was designed with the idea of tapping into the popularity of High Intensity Inteval Training (HIIT)–the #1 fitness trend of 2014–and turning it into an organized group exercise activity.  I like the concept, but I’m wondering how many facilities will capitalize on this trend with their own homemade version of functional training station flooring with tape marks and paint (on their existing floor).   Homemade may not be as sleek, but it could be quite effective and a lot cheaper!

Please feel free to comment on my comments, and/or add your own.  And, if you were at the IHRSA Show, what caught YOUR eye?

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IHRSA 2014: Eye-Catching Equipment

by Dr. Bruce on March 24, 2014

See the equipment and equipment trends that caught my attention, and had me scratching my head in some cases.

As I walked the trade show floor at last week’s IHRSA Show, I was not so much interested in seeing the latest and greatest in treadmills and ellipticals, etc.  Instead, I was interested in seeing the “other side” of equipment–equipment that addressed some of the newer(est) trends in the industry, such as HIIT and functional training, as well as some that had me saying…”You’ve got to be kidding.”  This video shows a variety of equipment that caught my eye enough to capture it on video.  You’ll hear some of my on-the-spot impressions/comments on the video, and below, I’ve expanded on my observations with a few more details about the products/companies that made the  equipment:

1) Escape Fitness’ (a UK based company)  80Kg (176 lbs.) TIYR: Heavy and round like a real truck tire, but (is advertised as being) cleaner than a real tire and has the addition of nylon handles for better flipping.  The outer covering probably prohibits the sledge hammer whacking exercise that many people do.  Good looking functional piece of equipment!

2) Startrac’s Box Master: Can’t beat boxing moves for a great upper body workout.  Add some “float like a butterflies” and “Ali shuffles,” and you have a great lower body workout, too.  Add roller skates, and you earn Dr. Bruce’s “you’ve got to be kidding” award.

3) Hoist’s Movement Cage: I think my commentary on the video is self explanatory.  This is a good looking, multi-functional piece of equipment!  For many facilities the question of to buy or not to buy will probably come down to space.  Functional training cages take up a lot of space.

4) Speaking of taking up space…Movestrong’s cage is huge.  Multi-functional, but very large.  Is it worth it (to a club) to devote so much space to one piece of equipment–realizing that “one piece” may represent/offer 10+ exercises?

5) Escape Fitness’ Octagon: Taking advantage of the cage craze and the MMA/boxing trend, this piece offers several exercises/movements that are somewhat different that those that can be performed on/in the Hoist and Movestrong cages.

6) Stairmaster’s Treadclimber:  I know this is almost a treadmill, and almost a stair climber, but that’s the curiosity.  That’s a pretty bold claim that they have on the back of the Treadclimber.  Anybody…direct me to the objective science/research that backs up their claims!!

7) Saving the most curious head-scratcher for last…Vacu Activ’s Roll Shaper:  Reshape your body with the no frills (futuristic looking) basic model–it just rolls you into a more contoured and shapely physique, or get the souped-up mode that offers infrared heating and chromotherapy (colored light) therapy to make the rolling therapy more effective.  Once again…an open-ended offer to show me the objective science research.

I hope you enjoy this look at the IHRSA Show.  Remember, this is what caught my eye and elicited the opinions that you hear on the video, and read in my writings above.  If you were at the show, I’d love to hear your observations and opinions on your eye catchers.

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GymValet in the News(paper)!

January 2, 2014

Let’s play the GymValet version of “Where’s Waldo!
Recently, my good friend, Dr. Franklin Marcus, sent me a clipping from the Health section of the December 11th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Dr. Marcus wanted me to read an excerpt from a medical news brief.  I couldn’t help but notice on the same page was [...]

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I’m 58 years old.  So, yes, I do remember:
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GymValet Reappears on The Bigget Loser!

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On the Woodway Curve In Dolvett’s Dungeon!
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Good Greens Bars Revisited – Remarkable!!

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New Pumpkin Spice Bar Added to Stellar Line-Up.
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