Last month I visited an office utopia. Perched happily on exercise balls, the staff cooked up innovation for hours in their eco-friendly office spaces, basked in natural light. They broke from their creating for a one-hour workout in their lux, on-site gym before eating ridiculously cheap, natural and locally sourced food in their canteen for another hour and ended their break bonding over cappuccino and fuse-ball. Then I woke up flew home. Yes, my friends. This place exists. This place was the Wellness Village in Cescena, Italy – Technogym’s HQ. Read on to find out more.
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“It’s not about the one hour you spend in the gym, it’s about the other twenty three.”
If you work in an office, you’re a student, or you do anything that has you sitting down for more time than you’re standing up, you’re probably guilty of not moving enough.
It’s not your fault, entirely. On a societal level, we’re in the most sedentary age we’ve ever been in. We’re fast on the road to becoming this.
Technogym are on a mission to change that. The group who provide equipment for gyms across the world (most notably over here, Virgin Active and Gymbox) recognised that a segmented approach to fitness isn’t enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Health isn’t merely about fitness, it’s about a holistic view to looking after ourselves – exercise is important, but so is food, general activity and good mental health.
Visiting The Wellness Village – which houses their full operations, from the factory where every machine is built, to their state-of-the-art gym that also doubles over as a product showroom – with a handful of UK and German bloggers, I learned how Technogym is working for us to adopt wellness as a lifestyle and how the brand’s ethos shapes the way they work.
By the time I left, I was bowled over by the commitment and passion the Technogym team has for this philosophy of wellness. It goes beyond the gloss of the onsite basketball court, premium showroom-cum-gym, and 13.1 mile grounds. From talking to the passionate sports scientists in the team, seeing the equipment engineers on the factory floor, spending time with the marketing team and meeting founder Nerio Alessandri, the staff embody the sentiment proudly.
Obviously though, not everyone can go and experience their HQ to get sold into wellness as a lifestyle concept, so how do their new products fair in promoting the ideal?
We were each given Technogym’s new product, My Wellness Key at the start of our visit. With a principle not dissimilar to the Nike+ Fuelband, the Key’s purpose it to get you consciously thinking about being more active throughout the day. Technogym’s metric, Moves, charts your activity when you wear your Key fixed to your body for the day. For me, the design is a little clunky and lacks the sleek aesthetic of other Technogym products as it requires clipping the My Wellness Key onto yourself (such as on your hip). However, the feature I find (and think consumers will find) much more useful is the capability to use the Key at the gym. Plugging into Technogym machines, the Key can store workouts, link to your personal My Wellness account and track your progress, meaning you’d be carrying your own personal trainer to each gym session on a device the size of a USB key.
As the name would suggest, being forward-thinking with technology plays a big part in Technogym’s approach to their equipment. Their latest collection, Artis is built for today’s consumer who doesn’t want to be disconnected – even when training. Going beyond having just your workout metrics and perhaps even a television on screen, the fanciest of the beautifully designed machines have a fully integrated Windows-powered tablet with apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Angry Birds (note – if you can play Angry Birds while you’re on the treadmill, you’re not working hard enough!) and email functions.
We were put through our paces when we worked out using the Omnia work station, part of the Artis collection. Meaning ‘all things’ in Latin, it is an all-in-one, multi-functioning piece of equipment which allows for multiple workouts at once. We used the Omnia-8 as we bounded through a full-body circuit including box jumps, push ups, tricep dips and more, learning in a very real way how the Omnia can be used for conditioning, strength, stability and speed training.
The other multi-function equipment we trialled was the Kinesis, where we saw how a few changes in our movement increased the dynamism and intensity of our exercises. While working with the Kinesis we also go to have a go on the Wellness Ball.
Hands down, my favourite product is the Wellness Ball – I fell in love with it pretty instantaneously as I’ve subbed an office chair with an exercise ball before and I’d readily do it again. The Wellness Ball goes beyond a bog-standard ball; built for ‘Active Sitting’, the ball has all the benefits of sitting on an exercise ball (building core strength and stability) but it is double-weighted so it doesn’t roll away and it’s removable, washable cover is made from Technogym’s patented material.
One of the most interesting things about Technogym’s range of products – and their business approach is how inclusive it is. Working with the Olympics for the last 5 games, Technogym have provided training facilities specifically built for the athletes in each host city. At the other end of the scale, Technogym have been working with the World Health Organisation and national health trusts like NHS to provide equipment for medical rehabilitation and differently-abled people. With such a wide approach, Technogym have ensured that there is something in their expansive ranges for all consumers. Hopefully we’ll hear more people talking wellness over fitness in the near future.
Thanks to Valeria at The Communications Store, Kirstyn at Speed and the Technogym team. For more info on Technogym products head to the site.