Last Saturday I took the train from Amsterdam to Cologne to visit the FIBO fitness expo (fibo.de) in Germany. The FIBO expo attracts around 76.000 visitors and 600 exhibitors each year. Visiting this fair is a nice way to keep in touch with the latest trends, play with new equipment and fill up my pantry with protein powder for half the price :)
Here are a couple of things that got my attention:
Different than cable, different than resistance bands, I found that Core Stix was an interesting strength training device. You can perform a myriad of exercises and multi-directional movements using the resistance of the long plastic rods. There are different rods with different resistance levels and you can place them in various positions on the Core Stix Board.
I especially liked the fact that you can perform the same moves in slightly different directions and that it forces you to use your core to stabilize yourself. It’s a great tool not only because it gives regular exercisers a fresh look on some of the moves they already do with weights, but also because it doesn’t look intimidating for people who aren’t into weight training. Beginners and seniors can benefit from it. It looks quite safe-to-use and I can’t really imagine how someone could hurt themselves with it.
The cheapest Core Stix board costs 849 dollars. It is quite expensive for an individual home use, but a relatively cheap investment for a gym or a rehabilitation center.
One trend I’ve been noticing lately here in the Netherlands is the emergence of on-site office gyms: small gyms that are located in the same building as people’s office. Office gyms may sound very common in the US, but the idea of employees having their own gym a few steps away from their office is very new in Europe. I think it’s a great way for the employer to offer some kind of additional benefits and simplify the employees’ lives.
However, I’m not a big fan of the treadmill desk. I think it’s taking multi-tasking a bit too far.
There’re not so many outdoor gyms in Europe, and I really like the idea of a “democratization of fitness”: a city or locality offering its citizen a space with some free simple and solid fitness equipment available for anybody.
It’s all about the bike
Living in the Netherlands, I’m a frequent bicycle user in my everyday life and a huge spinning fan. I thought the RealRyder spinning bike was pretty cool: it leans, oscillates and steers, simulating outdoor cycling. Website: www.realryder.com. And because Dutch cyclists can get frustrated cycling in a country that’s so flat, they invented an indoor racing bike with virtual reality experience: www.praxtour.eu.
However, I’m not a big fan of all the weird elliptical bikes (click on the pictures to see larger pics). Aside from their “fun factor”, they all look pretty inconvenient for daily use.
And a few more gadgets
|“The Fiveriders” looks fun but I honestly doubt you’re working anything on it.
|Medi-lines: some ropes with a sliding board on it. Not really convinced and looks dangerous without any mat placed under the ropes.|
|Climbstation: looks like a great idea for amusement parks, but also looks really dangerous at the same time: what if the kid is too slow and ends up at the bottom of the ‘climbmill’? What if the kid climbs too fast?
|SurfSet: looks interesting but let’s face it: we only have a few couples of surf spots in Europe. I don’t really see the point in learning a skill you’ll probably never use in real life.
|Pro Ski Simulator: might be a bit more useful than SurfSet considering the amount of people who go on skiing holidays. But here again, I don’t see the point if you never ski.
|I thought this mechanical treadmill was kind of neat: no electricity necessary, but you do need a partner to cycle at your side!|
Playoke looks like a fitness video game, using 3D motion analysis. Nothing very new compared to all the existing wii games. But people trying it seemed to really enjoy it. The Playoke DeLight-System captures and measures every of your steps and compares them to the moves of all other participants. They were many fitness instructors walking around on the fair and they all got a bit competitive…
TwistRun: a South Korean gadget. A pure fitness gimmick but it just made many people smile :)
Things I didn’t like
• Pole dancing for kids. Is it just me? Is nobody else bothered by the idea of a 10-year-old learning pole dancing?
• People judging other people’s bodies:
• Low-carb pasta: I’m really far from a picky eater and my blog is full of recipes using protein substitutions in place of carbs. Yet I didn’t enjoy these spaghettis…
• The big crowd of young guys wanting to take a picture with body building champions. I thought Phil Heath and other fitness celebrities were really, really, really patient to stand there for hours.
• Supplement companies making big money selling people plastic jars and promises. But at least this company was honest with its slogan:
I think “Do the work” summarizes it all: whichever trendy fitness classes you register for, whatever the equipment, whatever the food supplements … If you don’t do the work, you don’t get the results :)