Last week there was a press trip to Technogym’s HQ in Italy, which due to running with my Run Dem Crew Youngers Women’s Project girls, I couldn’t attend, so I sent my good friend and fellow badass in my place to report back on all the glorious fitness-y stuff.
Guest Post by Angel Dee of Run Angel Run
If you’ve worked out in a gym, you’ve heard of Technogym, probably without even realising it. With equipment in hotel gyms and gym chains worldwide, the Italian brand, which was founded thirty years ago, has subtly been a part of a lot of our fitness journeys.
“It’s fine going to the gym for an hour of the day, but what about the other twenty three?”
Sitting in Turbogym’s stunning headquarters, I could sense that the next two days there were going to be different from the usual events I’d attended. On the approach to the Technogym Wellness Village (which houses all of their operations including the factory, laboratories, purpose built two storey gym and spa-come-showroom) it was apparent that the sleek Italian love of aesthetics were at the heart of the architectural marvel.
My Wellness Key
We had a brief introduction to Technogym’s new My Wellness Key product, which allows the user to create or download personalised training plans and sync with their phone, PC and compatible gym equipment and track daily movement, encouraging the user to be more active. If you’re familiar with Nike’s Fuelband, you’ll understand this – the wellness key takes it a step further.
In Technogym’s factory, every piece of equipment is purpose and custom built to specifications as per the client. There are facilities where they even test equipment they made 15 years ago to see if it still stands up to the demands of modern day, prolonged use. We toured the innovation lab, saw that the offices are all equipped with Wellness Balls and took a look at the very first piece of Technogym equipment – the hack squat machine. Nerio Alessandri, Technogym’s founder created it in his basement gym thirty years ago.
The Omnia Range
We were introduced to Technogym’s new equipment Omnia (‘all things’ in Latin) by a workout with trainer Alessandro. With eight different workstations including Olympic bars and a punch bag, we were put through our paces with an intense routine of push-ups, tricep dips, revolved lunges and resistance work to name but a few exercises. The equipment resembled something you would see bar athletes use, without using lots of space, which is ideal in smaller gyms or homes. If you think this workout was all for show, me and my arms are here to tell you that it certainly isn’t. As someone who loves to go hard, by the time we had finished most of us were wiped out.
The Artis Range
Our second and final day started with us looking at Technogym’s futuristic and beautifully designed Artis range, which is their highest specification equipment. With the Android software “Unity”, the user can log and track their activity via the equipment and their phone app or wellness key, watch television, surf the web and even play Angry Birds. With Technogym being the first manufacturer to have screens on their equipment, they’ve gone twenty steps further and have outdoor landscapes such as San Francisco’s Lake Mercer as a backdrop while clocking up the miles on the cardio equipment. As someone who’s just run a marathon there, I can vouch that the route is bonafide. The software remembers the users content and is personalised, so the transition from each piece of equipment is simple. I’m not sure I would be Skyping my friends while cycling along a scenic route as I doubt I would be happy to be on camera looking so sweaty and breathless, but it could be sexy to some people, no?
The Wellness Ball
After a walk through the grounds, which included a running track and basketball court, we squeezed back into our gym clothes and finally got our hands on the Wellness Ball™ *fist bumps aplenty*. If you’ve used an exercise ball you’ll be familiar with the fun of trying to stay upright and off the floor while working on your ab game and this was no different. Technogym have looked at the design and updated it for both exercise as well as Active Sitting within the workplace to encourage movement and reduction of back pain (the largest cause of sick leave in most office based businesses). The ball is double weighted to keep it from rolling away from the desk, but it is pitched as a dynamic chair that allows for exercise at work or home; it is still as versatile as ever if not more so.
My only criticism of the ball is that it’s a little slippery on wooden floors which I found out after falling off a couple of times. The cover is removable, washable and made up of durable dark fabric making it both practical and functional. Having used the ball both at a desk (carpeted) and during a workout, the Wellness Ball™ could work well in both environments as long as you’re willing to part with a hefty £230. Playing devil’s advocate, I would say that investing in prolonged health and style makes the steep price worth it, but with it being a clever and aesthetically pleasing spin on the exercise ball it may be a tad too high a price.
All in all Technogym’s take on wellness instead of fitness was very contagious, as an encompassing look at improving quality of life in all aspects is very appealing. Working there means being able to have a two hour break, which allows for a run in the grounds (half marathon distance), basketball game or gym session and have time to eat before getting back to work is my idea of badass. At times it did feel too perfect and could feel unattainable to someone who is more sedentary, but having met Mr Alessandri who founded Technogym thirty years ago and looks like the perfect advertisement for wellness, my thoughts changed once again. I definitely wanted a piece of that style and finesse I’d been a part of for a little over twenty four hours and it did convince most of us who attended that being more active for those other twenty three hours a day is something to strive for.
Check out more about Technogym over on their website.