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HFB 2013: Higher intensity workouts drives interest in recovery items

Recovery and relaxation items were more prevalent this year thanks to interest in high-intensity workouts and running.

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Don’t let the fun vibe of the newest functional workout products fool you — they’re designed for high-intensity workouts that leave your muscles crying for help.

That’s why recovery products had an even bigger presence on the show floor at this year’s Health and Fitness Business Expo.

Manufacturers and retailers alike said the recent boom in recovery products is being fueled by the ever-growing interest in running longer distances, obstacle course races and CrossFit.

“High-intensity athletes are participating in things like the Spartan Races and Tough Mudders,” said GoFit’s vice president, Paul Goldberg. “Plus, CrossFit people are working out harder than they ever have in the past.”

Recovery items long have been part of the product line-up for some companies — and it seems like while the movement was borne from the original foam roller, the RumbleRoller seemed to speed it along.

A few manufacturers launched products that looked similar to the RumbleRoller’s original roller.

GoFit was one. Goldberg said the GoFit roller is different because it has an open core, which makes it less expensive. The long version has a MSRP of $60; the short one is $40.

But regular foam rollers never go out of style, especially with the continued interest in running. Runners utilize foam rollers for a number of exercises and post-run muscle relief.

“If you’re a runner, you absolutely need a foam roller,” said Andrew Leshik, marketing and sales director for Leisure Fitness.

Spri has a few size options from 12- to 36-inch rollers (MSRPs $45 and $25) that come in white or gray.


A few years ago RumbleRoller started the trend of extreme foam rollers for deep-tissue massage. It launched a new massage ball to follow the Beastie Original — the X-Firm Beastie, which is built on the same concept.

RumbleRoller Inventor Ron Johnson and his wife are hard-core athletes who were always tearing themselves up and needed relief deeper than a normal foam roller could offer. The newest Beastie is a targeted form of the deep-tissue relief.

Many people use tennis balls on their feet or on their back to get a massage after a grueling workout. This product is designed to mimic that, Johnson said, but on a deeper level.

The X-Firm Beastie (MSRP $25 with base) has optional add-on items like the hook to massage a back (MSRP $25), the bar (MSRP $40) and a track that can be bolted to a wall for a back massage ($130 for a single track).

GoFit also had some target therapy balls, including the GoBall on a string (MSRP $25) and the Trigger Therapy Ball (MSRP $30).

Foam wasn’t the only material that was hot at HFB. Wooden items from Sae Tac were on fire. People from Interbike even made their way to the HFB ballroom just to try these products, which definitely created a buzz.


Sae Tac had three handcrafted realigning chiropractic items that we certainly enjoyed: the 4-in-1 Adjustable Wooden Pillow (MSRP $50); 2-in-1 Back and Lumbar Stretcher (MSRP $55, photo, above); and the Back Flex and Posture Device (MSRP $50).

The pillow was by far a favorite. Users can simply put it on the back of their neck as they’re laying down and roll the head from side-to-side, stand on it barefoot to massage the arches or lay face-down on it to massage the stomach for intestinal health.


Your HFB 2013 experience wasn’t complete if you didn’t visit Fujiryoki to get yourself a massage in the Dr. Fuji Cyber Relax massage chair or slim down on its Cyber Body Slimmer vibration machine to the crazy loud club music.

Though these products are probably not for home use — unless you’re rich, like Dr. Fuji Cyber Relax fan Paula Abdul — they were extremely relaxing. .

Another staple in the realignment/relaxation realm was the updated Teeter Hang-Ups inversion table, which Roger Teeter himself demonstrated for us. This is a home unit, and though it’s direct-to-consumer, it’s a good thing for anybody who wants to realign their back and release the pressure and tension that builds up daily.