Club Industry Show Offers Peek at New Products

CHICAGO -- Buzz at the Club Industry show often centers on some of the new products being introduced at the show. This year was no exception. Several vendors released new products or upgrades of existing products. The following is a sampling of those introductions:

Affiliated Acceptance Corp., Sunrise Beach, MO, demonstrated a new peripheral for its facilities management and personal training software. This device uses a driver’s license, or an employee or student ID card to replace membership cards as a check-in device. AAC has further integrated this technology to populate customer records to quickly capture contact information for new members or guest registrations within four seconds. The product, called SnapShell, was developed by Card Scanning Solutions and uses a 3-mega-pixel camera that captures a high-quality digital image that is then powered by an optical character recognition engine that can read drivers licenses from all 50 states and from 40 countries.

Cybex International Inc., Medway, MA, introduced its new 750 family of cardio products. The line includes the category-creating Arc Trainer, a treadmill and a new bike line with both a recumbent and upright cycle. The products offer an intuitive and informative display, increased programming and performance options, and are loaded with new functionality. In addition to a consistent design, the 750 series offers enhanced state-of-the-art audio-visual entertainment options and accessories, such as dual water bottle holders, a utility tray/iPod holder, and dual speed fans.

Expresso Fitness, Sunnyvale, CA, launched its third generation of upright bikes, the S3u, and its second generation of recumbent bikes, the S3r, at the show. The two new models integrate high-quality fitness with sophisticated computer systems to provide true exertainment, according to the company. The enhanced features and functions on both bikes include a 19-inch widescreen LCD video screen situated at an angle ideal for upright and recumbent biking. The upright bike also includes improved ergonomics by offering more dynamic shifting functions, which are now located on the handlebars. The bikes bring the adventure of outdoor riding indoors by allowing users to race in more than 30 virtual tours, access chases or watch TV.

At the Fiserv’s CheckFree Health & Fitness booth, the Brookfield, WI-based company touted the features it added to its Compete software. The latest release of CheckFree Compete includes functionality that allows health and fitness clubs to schedule simultaneous events, group and individual activities, and provides nursery monitoring to give members peace of mind regarding their children’s safety. In addition, the product enables member self-service for scheduling activities and managing personal club accounts, provides locker management to assign and manage lockers throughout the club, and facilitates gift card purchase and redemption.

iTech, Aurora, CO, unveiled its XRKade 2.0, which features new graphics and options. XRKade 2.0 now offers 3D exergaming with no controllers or peripherals. iTech and Softkinetics have launched a 3D gesture-based boxing game (so new it doesn’t have a name yet) in which users fight in a virtual gym using only their bodies. iTech also introduced Dogfight, a brand-new flight simulator on an exercise bike, on which users can choose their aircraft and course, and engage over the network in aerial combat. Another new offering is iZone, a mobile product for places where space and tech support are at a premium. It needs 300 square feet and one electrical outlet for eight people to play on bikes, boards and dance pads.

Life Fitness, Schiller Park, IL, reintroduced its Life Fitness Academy at the show. Club owners who purchase Life Fitness equipment can train their staff about Life Fitness equipment through manuals and tests, online training and in-person training through the Life Fitness Academy. The company also promoted its Virtual Trainer Web Site, a site where users can create workout programs and view and track workout progress. Clubs can use this to enhance personal training.

Matrix, Cottage Grove, WI, introduced its line of treadmills—the T7xe, T7x and T5x. Each offers an array of features, including compatibility with iPod on the T7xe and T7x and a 15-inch touch-screen LCD TV on the T7xe. All three new treadmills have the Ultimate Deck System, which absorbs impact for a soft user feel and provides more than 25,000 miles of maintenance-free performance. The treadmills also have the Matrix Dynamic Response Drive System, the same drive system that’s on the Matrix T5x treadmill. Coupled with advanced controller technology, the Matrix Dynamic Response Drive continuously monitors and adjusts the motor’s output to ensure each stride is smooth, fluid and even. In addition, T Series treadmills include an embedded FitLinxx wireless transmitter for service and performance monitoring.

Octane Fitness, Brooklyn Park, MN, introduced three elliptical products at the show. The xRide, a seated elliptical, is for older adults, people who are rehabilitating, obese individuals or just people who want a little easier workout to mix up their routine. Users can get a full body workout or engage just the lower body or upper body. Unique to the xRide is the Active Seat Position, set at a 45-degree angle to open the hips and torso for greater muscular activity as well as to create comfort and support for exercisers of all sizes. The company also introduced two standing ellipticals, the Pro370 (for heavy-traffic facilities) and the Pro310 (for lighter traffic facilities). The Pro370, offers Converging Path handlebars, which replicate natural movement by moving inward slightly on the forward stroke and diverging laterally by the same amount on the backswing, and MultiGrip handlebars, which enable exercisers to choose from several biomechanically correct positions to recruit different muscle groups and customize their workouts. The Pro310 elliptical offers Octane’s Body-Mapping Ergonomics and QuadLink drive, a 20 1/2-inch stride length and the MultiGrip handlebars.

Paramount, Los Angeles, introduced its line of self-powered 6.85E elliptical trainers, which the company touts as being space efficient with a 33 ½ by 71 ½-inch footprint. The ellipticals have a 21-inch stride length, 15 training programs with 25 resistance levels and a small LCD screen on which users can choose from various backgrounds, including an outdoor track, farmland, hills and a desert. Fitness facility operators can personalize the screen so that their own logo appears when the elliptical is not in use. Paramount has increased its new products by 30 percent since 2006, according to Jim McIntyre, vice president of sales and marketing for Paramount.

Peaksware, Lafayette, CO, introduced the new version of its online training and nutrition log software, TrainingPeaks 3.0. Originally created for the endurance sports world of cyclists, runners and triathletes, this software can also be used by clubs and their members. Personal training clients can record their training and meals on the club or trainer’s site, and staff can monitor and prescribe training with unlimited numbers of clients remotely. The software allows trainers to offer enhanced services 24 hours a day, even when clients go on vacation.

Polar, Lake Success, NY, introduced a new line of training computers for general fitness and cross-training use. The line is designed to appeal to a broadening audience of mainstream users who want to become more active as well as those who are currently engaged in a regular fitness routine and lifestyle. The models range from the FA20, which doesn’t need a chest strap and measures both the quantity and quality of steps so it is ideal for the average walker or jogger, to the FT80, which is for more serious cardio and strength programs. The FA20 has a suggested retail price of $119.95. The FT 80 has a suggested retail price of $349.95. The other two models, the FT 40 and the FT 60, have suggested retail prices of $179.95 and $239.95, respectively.

Precor, Woodinville, WA, introduced two lines in its Experience Strength series. The C-line is being launched with a first wave of 12 models, featuring modern industrial design. Upper body choices within the first wave of C-Line products include Bicep Curl, Tricep Extension, Chest Press, Shoulder Press, Lat Pulldown, Seated Row and Rear Delt/Pec Fly. Lower body models include Leg Extension, Seated Leg Curl and Leg Press. Abdominal and Back Extension machines target core muscles.A second wave of C-Line models will launch next year. The 13-piece Experience Strength S-Line offers a turnkey conditioning circuit designed for facilities with space constraints. S-Line models have step-by-step instructional placards, walk-in designs and fewer adjustments. S-Line models targeting the upper body include Bicep Curl, Tricep Extension, Chest Press, Shoulder Press, Pulldown, Seated Row and Rear Delt/Pec Fly machines. Lower-body exercise needs are addressed with Inner/Outer Thigh, Leg Press, Leg Curl and Leg Extension, while Abdominal and Back Extension machines focus on the core.

Star Trac, Irvine, CA, introduced its new eSpinner bike, which is a bike for the cardio floor rather than for the group cycling room, says Keith White, director of global branding at Star Trac. The bike allows facility owners to offer their Spinning enthusiasts a Spin-type experience outside the group cycle room and a way to introduce new people to the joy of cycling. Using the 15-inch touch screen, users are guided through an interactive program. The product offers an adjustable touch screen computer, a body position icon, a hand position icon, an iPod connector and a USB port. Users can choose their workout, and the computer will build customized workouts, which can create thousands of potential ride combinations.

True Fitness, St. Louis, MO, showed its new CS5.0 treadmill, which comes in three sizes and has a range of options depending on the size and price point. The CS5.0 comes with a speed range up to 12 miles per hour and an incline range of 0 to 15 percent. The product has a biomechanically correct running surface and is equipped with a digital contact heart rate monitoring system as well as a Polar wireless telemetry system. True Fitness also introduced its CS8.0 recumbent bike, a bike that is self-generating and can be placed anywhere in a facility. It has a reclining seatback, uses a custom LCD screen and has the True HRC Cruise Control, which is standard on True Fitness products.

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