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Leisure Management - LIW 2013

Show review

LIW 2013

New products, new trends, new ideas. Lorraine Francisco takes a look back at Leisure Industry Week 2013

Lorraine Francisco
Andre Agassi launched his new BILT range of equipment at LIW
Scores of other exciting new product launches at the show
Scores of other exciting new product launches at the show
Escape’s new functional training range is designed to be less intimidating
Life Fitness Discover consoles offer swipe technology touchscreens
HD Elite: A new customisable, highly durable rack line
Technogym showcased its ARTIS range of equipment

Three-days of jam packed activity – including live Q&As, celebrity appearances and live demonstrations – welcomed visitors at this year’s LIW 2013, which took place at the Birmingham NEC on 24–26 September.

LIW covers the entire leisure industry, with the show split into six zones: Health & Fitness, Play & Attractions, Leisure Facilities, Sport, Pool & Spa, and Eat & Drink.

A popular re-introduction this year was the live working swimming pool feature, the STA Swim Zone, which returned to LIW after a few years’ absence. The STA organised interactive demonstrations within the dedicated Swim Zone across the three days.

Another returning feature was LIW Live, a live stage offering visitors demonstrations of fitness trends, plus interviews with sporting legends.

A major feature of LIW is the free-to-attend education programme, which this year featured keynotes from David Stalker, CEO at ukactive; Stuart Turner, head of standards and qualifications at SkillsActive; and Zoe Cooper, business development manager at the STA.

Stalker spoke about the opportunities for the sector to grow in today’s environment, and outlined the work ukactive is doing with its Let’s Get Moving campaign to place community exercise professionals within GP practices. A pilot of the programme saw 504 people engaged, notching up a total of 48,000 active hours. David Cameron has commented on the programme, saying: “I’m delighted to support ukactive as it launches its plans to help embed physical activity into the DNA of our communities by getting more people, more active, more often.”

LIW 2013 saw a wide range of new product launches, including…

Beaverfit’s The Gym Box – a collapsible, portable functional training rig with the option of adding a range of training equipment: two kettlebells, two sandbags, two TRX Force kits, one TRX Riptrainer and also one Ankorr resistance harness.

BILT by Agassi and Reyes – precision-engineered resistance equipment to help users safely and effectively reach their training goals. The brainchild of tennis legend Andre Agassi and his coach Gil Reyes, the machines are designed to allow for high-intensity muscle isolation, helping build strength safely and without injury.

BodyFire announced the launch of two nutritional supplements, Hades and Hella – pre-trainer, fat burning supplements named after mythological gods and targeting men (Hades) and women (Hella).

Body Plus Nutrition – a fresh ready-meal service tailored to gym goers and focused on offering healthy, pre-packaged, portion-controlled ready meals – also launched at the show.

CYBEX launched the 790T treadmill, a new ‘performance plus’ commercial treadmill with speed levels programmed to reach 15.6mph (25kph) and a maximum incline of 20 per cent. It also launched the Big Iron glute ham/reverse hyper-extension bench to the UK, part of the Big Iron series of racks and benches.

Escape Fitness launched its new functional fitness equipment range, designed and manufactured to be less intimidating, more fun and more appealing to all. Items include TiyR – a soft but heavy oversized tyre – and GripR steel sandbags.

FitQuest was launched by MIE Medical Research – a new three-minute fitness testing concept that involves standing on the FitQuest platform, which measures human performance over seven different parameters and allows progress to be tracked over time.

FreeMotion introduced its brand new LIVEAXIS cable-based strength training system, with progressive resistance to ensure muscles stay at optimum activation throughout every movement. Its ‘live-sliding’ pulley technology allows you to activate multiple muscles on one machine, and instantly change the point of activation, just by moving position.

GANTNER launched its fingerprint ID stations to the UK market, which can be easily retrofitted into clubs and which help eliminate member fraud caused by card sharing and swapping.

Gladstone Health and Leisure debuted Communicate at LIW – a new software programme designed to improve and drive digital interaction with new and potential clients – as well as new mobile app Mobile Pro, which enables customers to book and pay on the go, on any type of smartphone.

Hammer Strength introduced HD Elite, the brand’s most durable rack line, built for ultimate customisation and extreme training conditions. The modular line of racks can be customised into more than a thousand combo rack configurations or used as standalone units.

HeatPumps4Pools showcased COVERFree, a new liquid swimming pool cover that forms an invisible layer on the water surface, reducing evaporation by up to 85 per cent and heat loss by up to 70 per cent. Safe, non-flammable, non-hazardous, biodegradable and PH neutral.

Jordan Fitness launched a new 6kg pink neoprene-covered kettlebell, as well as new Curl Barbells, to complement its wide range of functional training equipment.

Leisure-net Solutions introduced Tribe, an online orientation product to allow new staff to familiarise themselves with the aims, ethos and vision of the company they’ve joined.

Les Mills International launched Les Mills Virtual, a video-based workout allowing health and fitness clubs to run virtual BodyBalance, BodyCombat, BodyPump, CXWorx and Sh’bam classes.

Life Fitness introduced the new Life Fitness Discover tablet consoles, with swipe technology touchscreens. The console, available on the Elevation Series, works with LFconnect technology, giving exercisers personalisation options, workout recommendations and the ability to track workouts. The latest development includes wifi and Bluetooth.

Matrix Fitness launched the 7xi, mPower and the Magnum strength range into the UK market. Magnum consists of multi-station towers, free weight units, plate-loaded machines, racks, platforms and accessories focused on performance, durability and function. Patented Breaker Bench technology is available on select Olympic bench products, allowing the user to move the bar into an optimal position before take-off.

MYZONE unveiled version 2.0 of its heart rate monitoring software system, which replaces the old touchscreen system with a new desktop system that allows club staff to run the software from their smartphones and tablets. Functionality includes Zone Match, a group exercise programme for the gym floor, and Weekly 300 Point Target, so users know they are exercising at the right intensity to meet recommended activity guidelines.

payasUgym.com introduced its new real-time class booking and marketing service, set to launch to the public in early 2014, which will help club operators fill classes by promoting studio timetables through the payasUgym.com website.

Physical Company launched two new products: Resistance Band Systems from Stroops Performance, for sports-specific power, strength and agility training; and X-Lab, the customisable, modular functional training rig from Torque Fitness.

Precor launched RFID ‘Preva Tokens’ at LIW – the latest technology allowing Precor Personal Account users to log into their fitness account using convenient swipe technology.

Quest launched its new Excellence Ambassadors scheme, whereby the manager of any centre or sports development team that has achieved Excellent in Quest Plus, or Outstanding in Quest Stretch, will be invited to become an ambassador to share best practice with other centres.

Retention Management launched RM360, an automated customer scoring feedback system based on NPS and a follow-up question. Online dashboards show the results, so clubs can take action and compare their scores to industry benchmarks. Text analysis also means recurring themes can be identified in the feedback.

Rugged Interactive, the developer of motivational fitness technology, debuted its FitMakr Pro data capture software, enabling users to track user data over time. This can include score, date, time, side bias, colour bias and reaction time.

Schwinn launched its new AC Performance Plus Carbon Blue bike – the same look as its AC Performance Plus model, but featuring the new Carbon Blue belt, which combines the benefits of a belt bike (maintenance-free, no lubrication, quieter ride) with the authentic ride feel of a chain.

StairMaster launched its new TreadClimber, Black Beauty, which offers a high-burn, low-impact workout that is said to burn around twice as many calories as walking at the same speed on a flat treadmill.

Star Trac showcased products that are now available in the UK: the Spinner Blade ION, the newly redesigned TreadClimber, the StairMill, and the Boxmaster total body conditioning system.

Technogym introduced OMNIA, the modular functional training rig that forms part of its premium ARTIS range. It also launched UNITY to the UK market – a connected, swipe-screen cardio console based on an open Android 4 technology platform – which allows users to customise information and entertainment, and track their exercise progress.

Total Gym launched the Total Gym Core Trainer, which targets the core musculature as a whole to enhance abdominal muscle definition and improve stability. It’s built on an incline, so difficulty can be tailored to the user’s ability level, with progression achieved via changes in body position or added movement for increased instability.

Wexer Virtual, the virtual class software system – which is installed by Zoom Media in the UK – had its LIW debut. The company announced a deal with Les Mills whereby Wexer will be one of the platforms for Les Mills Virtual (see p64).

Celebrity spotting

Olympian James Cracknell and England rugby player Ben Morgan on the Matrix stand (above).

Daly Thompson and Kevin Keegan charming visitors.

Ricky Hatton sparring at the Hatton Academy stand.

Andre Agassi signing miniature tennis balls.

Jordan Fitness hosting an array of sporting legends, including England rugby stars Jason Robinson and James Haskell and professional boxer Jordan Gill.

Kelly Sotherton on the Live Stage, and Lee Latchford-Evans, formerly of pop band Steps and now a PT, demo-ing UniKurve.


Olympian James Cracknell and England rugby player Ben Morgan on the Matrix stand

STA Swim Zone
The programme in the Swim Zone demonstrated all aspects of pool use, from swimming lessons to fitness classes and fun-packed activities such as Aqua Zumba, Aqua Yoga, Aqua Running and Aqua Sensory from Little Splashers, a new style of baby swimming classes.

The exclusive STA programme also included snorkelling and sea scooters, as well as vital health and safety information and updates including pool water testing, and a live demo of 3m bio trace real-time microbiological testing.

LIW Live
Returning for a second year, this popular feature showcased a live stage with demonstrations and personal appearances from sporting legends including tennis star Andre Agassi, boxer Ricky Hatton and England rugby player James Haskell.

Live demonstrations included Tabata, London Jumping Fitness, UniKurve, Power Hoop, Lauretta Johnnie’s Boot Camp, Fuller Figured Fitness and Fit2Fite’s Fighting Moves to Funky Grooves.

Power Hour
LIW 2013 challenged fitness professionals to compete with one another across the three days with the launch of a brand new show feature: Power Hour.

Participants were ranked against one another in unique 15-minute challenges taking place on exhibitor stands across the Health & Fitness section, with performance data measured by Power Hour partner MYZONE and a leader board to keep track of the front-runners.

“Visitors to LIW have always been encouraged to discover the equipment by having a go, and this Power Hour challenge is a natural progression from that,” says LIW event director James Samuel.

Innovation Trail
Exhibitors that had products new to the market were given the opportunity to feature in the Innovation Trail. More than 100 exhibitors submitted products and were signposted with the Innovation Trail logo and highlighted on the floor plan, so visitors could easily find them.

REPs National Convention
LIW also hosted the REPs National Convention, a paid-for programme for all fitness professionals wanting to stay on-trend and gain vital CPD points.

The 2013 programme included 30 practical workshops, plus top keynote sessions and educational content. Keynotes included ‘Weight loss – what works, what doesn’t, and why?’ with Dr Ian Campbell, obesity expert as seen on TV shows like The Biggest Loser, and ‘The biggest market for the fitness industry over the next 20 years – the independent older adult’, with Keith Smith, master trainer at Life Fitness.


There were lively demos and fitness classes in the swim zone

Originally published in Health Club Management 2013 issue 11
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