The past and the future took center stage at the Life Fitness booth at the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association trade show last week in San Francisco. The company launched several fitness equipment upgrades while also celebrating its original Lifecycle and the man who popularized that product.
Life Fitness introduced a revised version of its Elevation series cardio line. The new Elevation series includes several new technology upgrades to its Engage console, a hybrid feature that adds people-powered entertainment options, an upcoming smartphone app and ePub reader.
The company showcased its new Life Fitness Reader, which lets users read books and magazines right on the Engage console. The standard eBook format ePub lets users store documents on a USB and read them right from the console.
In coordination with the company’s Green to Go initiative to develop products and processes that respect the earth’s resources, Life Fitness created a hybrid energy-saving feature to work in conjunction with the Elevation Series Engage cross trainers and Lifecycle exercise bikes. The integrated LCD TV on the Engage products is the first of its kind to use the power generated from a user’s workout. The new hybrid products switch automatically from electric to self-generated power when a user reaches a certain intensity level in the workout, lowering the energy draw from the console by more than 75 percent.
“Our customers are increasingly interested in green options that will save them money, so we are putting solid investment behind product advancements that will drive a return to our customers,” Chris Clawson, president of Life Fitness, said in a release.
On the strength side, Life Fitness added new panel options for its Signature Series weight stack shrouds. The shroud panels now are available in six designer options (steel, bronze, bamboo, redwood and two pattern options) with 10 frame colors and 30 upholstery colors for the seats and benches.
Also at the show, Life Fitness introduced its limited edition Augie’s Quest Lifecycle exercise bike. The original Lifecycle bike was introduced more than 40 years ago as the first computerized stationary bike. A portion of the proceeds from the limited edition bike will be donated to Augie’s Quest, the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s ALS research initiative led by Life Fitness co-founder Augie Nieto, which has raised more than $28 million to date.
Life Fitness also previewed its Virtual Trainer smartphone app, which will allow users to track workout progress while on the go. The app syncs with the Life Fitness Virtual Trainer website, letting exercisers update workout results on both the website and their smartphones. A library of additional training features, such as recommended workouts, music packs and GPS, will be available as add-ons for purchase.
“Our users are busy people, and we’re making sure our products support not only a healthy lifestyle but also their daily life activities,” Clawson said. “By adding features like the Life Fitness Virtual Trainer app and the Life Fitness Reader, we’re streamlining activities for exercisers.”
Nieto was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in March 2005. Since his diagnosis, he has worked with the MDA’s ALS division to coordinate cure-driven fundraising in support of the organization’s worldwide ALS research program.
“Augie shaped Life Fitness into what it is today, and he’s an inspirational leader that we will forever support,” Clawson said. “Augie has touched the lives of many in the industry who will want this special edition Augie’s Quest Lifecycle, not only to support his cause, but also to pay honor to his life’s work.”
The limited edition Lifecycle displays the Augie’s Quest logo with red and black machine accents to coordinate with the Augie’s Quest brand image. A motivational quote from Nieto that reads “From Success to Significance” also adorns the upright bike’s base.
In addition to these products, Life Fitness announced its Personal Trainers to Watch contest in conjunction with the American Council on Exercise. The contest celebrates the more than 261,000 personal trainers across the country who have helped clients achieve a lasting lifestyle change.