I love attending the expo every year. It is my annual reminder that there is no single definition of fitness. It is the only place where triathletes and body builders, Zumba fanatics and cross fitters, treadmill junkies and boxers meet and embrace each other with a chorus of – ‘I am – you are – we are all fit’!!!
The 2013 Australian Fitness and Health Expo made me happy. I felt like it was a three day celebration of everything good in the fitness world.
Interestingly, the fitness equipment world seems to be pulled in two very different directions. On the traditional side, the cardio equipment manufacturers have clearly focused their energy on the ‘customer experience’ aspect of their equipment. While the machines received cosmetic surgery, the real focus was on console technology; software development and touch screens with the goal of delivering internet access to the cardio experience.
At the other end of the tug-o-war rope were the ‘minimalist’. Popularity of group based olympic lifting and body weight movement patterns were highlighted by the Cross Fit show. Undisputedly trending well and in-focus, peripheral products – especially those relating to functional movement represented strongly and proudly.
If there was one piece that defined the shift in balance in 2013, it was the Life Fitness Synrgy 360.
The Synrgy 360 (I still struggle misspelling the word intentionally) is a statement. In my opinion it is the traditional commercial equipment suppliers response to the minimalist movement.
Traditional ‘box gyms’ pride themselves on low key minimalistic equipment such as basic squat racks and chin up bars. Life Fitness have delivered a high class show piece that most any studio owner would be proud to own. It is well built, thought out and combines self body weight tools with neat storage and best of all – a dual weight stack!
I fell in love with Life Fitness when I met the Dual Adjustable Pulley. What an amazing machine! Sexy, functional and neat. So when I saw the Synrgy 360 had a Dual Adjustable Pulley built in it was a “ohhh man… Where do I sign?!?!!”
What Life Fitness have cleverly delivered is an up-market minimalists dream.
I loved seeing the growth in competition on other products too. I remember less than decade ago, Polar was the only performance watch manufacturer at the expo. Now Garmin, Suunto & Timex have joined the party and delivered some healthy competition.
2012, supplements were an interesting inclusion to the Expo. In 2013, supplements were off the charts! It was nearly impossible to move in that section the entire weekend. I felt a little left out as I didn’t receive a massive black plastic bag full of goodies. A bag so big in fact, you needed a Ford F350 to drive it home. Luckily someone had such a truck. I soon got over my bag envy while eating my free Chobani yoghurt!
Other highlights in 2013 included the Cross Fit games, frequent Zumba Shows, the Total Gym display was pretty cool too and my favourite was definitely the VIPr show. The VIPr show had plenty of energy and truly showcased what the product can really do. I’ve always loved the VIPr, but felt it is a bit top heavy (price wise). I heard one guy say “I guess I was wrong. A hunk of rubber can get you fit”
Walking up and down the isles over the weekend, there was a constant feel good vibe, wrapped in a healthy dose of fitness commerce… ahhh I love commerce in the morning… W wonder what the sales figures are over the 3 Expo days. I bet it’s millions!
In the end, it was sad to see the Australian Fitness and Health Expo wrap up in Darling Harbour, Sydney for the last time. I am certainly glad it moved to my favourite city to visit, Melbourne. I am certainly looking forward to a busy weekend of fitness, yogurt and a show or three.
Stay tuned for 2014 highlights.