Allan Collins, Director of Education at Jordan Fitness, explains what's hot at FIBO this year:
FIBO is one of the largest trade shows for the European market, covering multiple halls and hundreds of stands. This year the show had moved from its previous location for many years at Essen to a new location in Cologne. This has allowed the show to expand and accommodate an even greater number of companies to exhibit there. The show is long (9-6pm each day for four days), but it needs to be to allow visitors to get around around the whole show. It also has FIBO Power (like BodyPower in the UK) running at the same time, so there is a real mixture of attendees, unlike some of the shows in the UK.
This year was a very busy show for Jordan, meeting our current distributor network, and starting business with new distributors from all over the world. Tthe future potential growth in the “functional market” looks huge. More and more customers, fitness staff, distributors and manufacturers now understand how functional training fits in with the traditional freeweights, machine or cardiovascular areas, and see that this is the area for significant change in their clubs.
At both IHRSA and FIBO this year, what has become apparent is that a period of consolidation is happening with functional training. For a number of years, we had dozens of amazing new products coming out - Kettlebells, Suspension Systems, Ropes, Sandbags, Slam Balls, Bungee Cords, SMFR tools, powerbands, chains etc - but this deluge of great equipment can’t continue exponentially. If this products are so good, then eventually we must consolidate how we use this equipment together and the release of new functional products will plateau - and this is what we are seeing at the moment. I know we are developing some new products (including a great one that we are showing at BodyPower 2013), but are focusing on refining and improving our functional range, rather than trying to simply “have more”, remember more is not always better....
As I have seen over the tradeshows in the UK, US and across Europe, Functional Training Rigs continue to be a popular section of the market at the moment. And there are rigs for every type of the market with ones from the the large manufacturers (LifeFitness and a new one from Technogym), ones for the hardcore Crossfit market, some amazing new designs from Exigo (which are now available from Jordan’s), Escape’s Octogan Rig, and then are some which are a health and safety nightmare, those which don’t seem “fit for purpose” and even one painted every colour of the rainbow. Rigs are definitely popular, but make sure you get some advice on what type of rig is best for your club.
Education is finally becoming the key ingredient it should be to complement functional training equipment. The importance of education is now on everybody’s lips - distributors were constantly asking us about what education support is available to them (lucky we have the largest portfolio of CPD courses in Europe!!!) and how they feel it is critical that these things work together. FINALLY! I started my own training provider business in 2006 that soley focused on CPD courses, because I understood its importance back then. It’s nice to see competitors like Escape really promoting the benefits of education now.
“We can rebuild him. Better, Faster, Stronger. We have the technology!”*
There are some very interesting web based systems at these shows, as companies look to provide some new technological solutions to membership tracking, sales, social media integration, on-line diaries and bookings. Technogym (who are always forward thinking when it comes to technology on their consoles) have released Visioweb - which means you can browse the web, social networking or even chat via webcam. Knowing what I look like when run, I won’t be skyping anyone! Over the next 12 months there will be some really interested new web-based platforms that will start to make the life of the member easier and your fitness business run efficiently and smoothly. Just by the demos that have been shown to me by colleagues, there are some interesting things in the future - and like many industries, the potential for technological solutions to some of our age-old problems is massive.
Education - companies will start to invest more and more in the key area of their business - staff. Money invested in correct education of staff should pay a ROI of at least 5-10 fold. Digital solutions for education will also start to become more accessible.
Strongman - we’ve had unstable (stability ball, BOSU), we’ve had multi-planar, now the popular training is modified strongman - heavy sandbags, farmers walk bars, log bars, chains, sleds and much more. Great for indoor use, bootcamps and athlete training programmes.
Small Group Training - more and more interest in small functional group training (like our RBT Classes) - great for motivating staff, providing an additional income stream, making PT services more accessible and can be delivered in studios/gym floor/outdoors.
Happy Training and check out all the images from the show on our Facebook page
*If you don’t know that quote is from the 6 million dollar man, then shame on you!