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Fitness convention draws hundreds
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times

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Hundreds of fitness professionals hit McCormick Place Oct. 7-9 for the 2015 incarnation of the Club Industry show.

Speeches this year covered a variety of topics, including leadership/management, compliance issues, sales and retention, childhood obesity and event posture alignment.

However, for many, the highlight was the exhibit hall ( noticeably smaller than in previous years ), with vendors who promoted everything from new fitness items to insurance. Just a few of the vendors ( some reflecting trends including technology and hybrid classes ) included:

—TruFusion: Based in Las Vegas ( but expanding ), TruFusion's stated mission "is to spread joy and wellness by offering a sacred space where people from all walks of life can enjoy a variety of classes." Costing less than $75 a month, more than 200 classes are offered weekly, including Pilates, barefoot boot camp, barre and various types of yoga—and, by seeing the very limber Cristina and Patrick at the exhibit, seeing is definitely believing.

—Formula 32: You think you've seen/tasted all protein shakes? Formula 32 is different ( and has the best-tasting shake I've sampled ). Personable spokesperson Casey Bass ( who said he's lost dozens of pounds since taking Formula 32 ) added that the company also has innovative dispensers that tackle the tricky issue of hygiene.

—Impact Fitness: This company offers a variety of workout configurations ( Octagon, Hex Pro, Quad Pro and Dynamo ), but what stood out for me is the Tire Flip 180—a training device that has half a tire ( 75- or 150-lb. versions available ) that you simply flip, which is a definite space-saver.

—Star Trac: One of the first items I noticed at this year's exhibit hall was the company's Treadclimber, a product that aims to increase workout efficiency by combining the benefits of a treadmill, elliptical and stepper.

—MyZone: It seems that everyone is wearing one of those items that tracks steps and heart rates, but MyZone claims it tops those units with its belt/app combination. Users wear the MZ-3 belt, exercise anywhere and can then monitor results—and competitive people can even compare their results, thanks to built-in leaderboards.

—Orion Fight Tech: A seemingly ever-youthful Larry Roberts demonstrated what his company's website describes as "the first-ever fully interactive sparring system that challenges the user by forcing them to respond with their entire body." He said that beginners should engage the system for 15 minutes—although he added he'd just used it for six hours the previous day. There's no doubt that fast reflexes are important; make the wrong move and you'll know it ( although the arms are made of foam, Roberts stressed ).

The conference will return next year ( Oct. 12-14, 2016 )—but will be at the Hyatt Regency Chicago instead of its usual McCormick Place spot.

Photos and text by Andrew Davis

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