The Fitness Equipment Business - Where Is It Headed ?

I’ve been researching the fitness equipment business, which led me to this post and a request for your thoughts. I’m traveling at this moment on a direct flight from LAX to Hong Kong and then onto Xiamen with entrepreneur Michael Bruno, owner of the New Star Trac. We are going to visit his Land America plant in China - more details in posts to come soon.

When my colleague Sal Pellegrino was hired by Star Trac in 2010 he introduced me to Larry Domingo and others in the organization. At the time I relished the chance to learn more about their business. I'm trying to understand: “where is the fitness and wellness industry headed ?” Learning more about the equipment part of this equation is to say the least fascinating. Getting the perspective now from Michael Bruno, a true visionary in the fitness equipment world, was unexpected and a really invaluable opportunity.

While I am a great proponent of quality group exercise, my company fitmarc is the largest U.S. distributor for Les Mills, fitness equipment has been central to servicing members and helping people get fit (after all even BODYPUMP requires barbells). In the realm of technological development equipment has seen innovation too. Now emerging technologies including mobility, socialization of the web and monitoring devices offer even greater innovation potential for equipment.

Michael Bruno, a self made gentleman and owner of Land America, an impressive ISO, ETL, CE, ECI  certified manufacturing operation in Xiamen, PRC (see my subsequent posts), has been designing and manufacturing fitness equipment for a long time. Its no surprise, given his entrepreneurial background, that he acquired Star Trac a few months back and has now recapitalized and is in the process of reenergizing the company. Michael also owns Nautilus, Schwinn Fitness and StairMaster, among other brands. His story is quite interesting.

I’ll be sharing my experience around equipment, Michael Bruno’s and his Land America facility in China. In the interim I need your help. Please contact me, Bryan O'Rourke, and share your views. What do you think about equipment in the fitness industry ? Where has it come from and where is it going ? What is it that you think the industry is lacking or requires in fitness equipment that it does not have now ?

Thanks for your help and I look forward to sharing more details and thoughts on my trip.