CEO Middle East
Discover how Nerio Alessandri, the founder of the world’s leading luxury fitness brand, is harnessing the power of a new global fitness wave
PERSONAL FITNESS HAS, FOR MANY, BECOME A BIGGER FOCUS IN 2020, WITH AT-HOME WORKOUTS, RUNNING OUTDOORS AND IMPROVING ENDURANCE AND PERFORMANCE ALL CONTRIBUTING TO AN INCREASED AWARENESS AND APPETITE FOR PHYSICAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING. IT’S AN ATTITUDE TO HEALTHY LIVING THAT HAS LONG BEEN ESPOUSED BY NERIO ALLESANDRI, CEO AND FOUNDER OF TECHNOGYM, WHICH MAKES THE WORLD’S MOST SOUGHT-AFTER GYM EQUIPMENT
020 has certainly changed our lives and our attitudes to many things, and fitness and wellness is one of the topics that has had a spotlight shone on it. Leaders and executives, alongside athletes, gym enthusiasts and anyone who loves to move – were not exempt from the effects of the lockdown and as time went on, people took to working out at home.
For sure in the last months health has definitely risen within people’s priority list. During lockdown most of the people have been working out from home both by buying home fitness products as well as following remotely, thanks to digital technologies, their fitness club or trainer programmes from home. Of course, people are now going back to gyms and at the same time they are training at home.
In the future, the trend will not be fitness club or home fitness, but will be fitness club and home fitness. People will go to fitness clubs to socialise, to get professional guidance and service and they will also train at their convenience at home.
From a business perspective, how has 2020 been for a company such as yours which is presumably well poised to benefit from the increased hunger for home and remote exercise solutions?
In the first half of 2020 we registered a +50 percent increase in home fitness business. At the same time we have been working alongside fitness clubs, which are key partners for us, to provide them the possibility, though our Mywellness cloud digital platform, to stream their programmes and classes to members at home.
The link between physical and mental health cannot be understated, and the past six months has highlighted this for many. It’s a fact well known to Technogym for many years; how do you encourage your clients to maximise the benefits of exercise beyond merely physical results?
We have been promoting wellness for almost 30 years. While fitness is only about physical results, wellness is a lifestyle, a balance between body, mind and spirit. That’s why wellness is very personal… some people are more physical, some other people are more mental, some other more social. That’s why, consistently with our wellness vision, our aim is to provide every single individual a fully personalised wellness experience, based on personal passion, personality, needs and aspirations.
The core philosophy for Technogym and its purpose, resonates particularly strongly now. What is your continued mission and has your philosophy evolved or adapted to respond to the needs of your clients in 2020?
Our mission is very clear: helping people live a better life thanks to wellness. And this does not change. What changes is innovation and the possibility to make the experience more and more personal and more and more accessible anytime and anywhere: at the gym, at home, when travelling, at work, outdoor.
How can business leaders help their teams when it comes to mental and physical wellness? Is it an evolving conversation, or do you think it should remain the individual’s decision?
Workplace is where people spend most of their time, that’s why it’s a key hotspot in which promoting wellness and healthy lifestyle, that ultimately, of course, they represent an individual decision.
On the perspective, employers play a fundamental role in ensuring a sustainable development to society. If they create the conditions within their companies for people to have access to exercise and healthy lifestyle they will on one hand provide a tangible benefit to their team and on the other hand contribute to an healthier and more sustainable society
For a time-poor executive, what are some of the options available if they are looking to enhance their home gym experience?
Technogym is able to offer a full range of products and bespoke solutions based on the space available, on people’s different training needs, sport passions or home interior style.
Whether your goal is athletic training, from running to cycling, to triathlon, or simply to stay in shape, with Technogym you can comfortably train at home by choosing the right product for you: compact solution for limited space or smart equipment offering digital services and on-demand training programmes.
For design lovers, our Personal Line includes a complete range of cardio equipment – treadmill, bike and elliptical and the iconic Kinesis, Technogym’s exclusive solution to train strength, balance and flexibility – combining acclaimed designer Antonio Citterio’s style with Technogym’s experience in fitness and wellness technologies. For those living in smaller apartments with limited space available, MyRun, Technogym’s smart treadmill, is compact minimal and easy-to-use, but at the same time able to offer a wide range of features and training contents by just connecting it to your tablet.
For athletes or sport amateurs, the right choice is Skill Line, the range that includes professional treadmill, rower, bike and Skillmill - dedicated to athletic preparation and sport performances (i.e. for cyclists, runners, triathletes) and conceived starting from Technogym’s experience as the official supplier of the Olympic Games in its last seven editions, and also of Tokyo 2020.
How does Technogym live complement the Technogym lifestyle experience?
The newly launched Technogym Live console that allows you to choose your personalised training experience from an extensive on-demand training contents including trainer-led session, athletic training routines, outdoor virtual training and endless entertainment options.
You can choose your favourite Technogym Session based on your specific goal: lose weight, build stamina, etc. In addition to this, you can try the Routines, our guided and intuitive exercises with a specific goal and intensity.
The Outdoor Virtual Training option offers virtual and immersive courses set in nature or in your favourite cities. Moreover, the Technogym Live console offers you endless entertainment options that include TV channels, social media, Netflix and a wide range of apps ranging from games to breaking news. Within such a variety of options and content, the brand new Technogym Coach – the first artificial intelligence applied to fitness – guarantees each user a completely personalised experience. Technogym Coach manages users’ data and preferences and guides them, day by day, suggesting different training options based on their passions, needs and personal tastes.
Fitness-related apps are hugely popular; what does the Technogym proprietary app offer its users that’s different to others available?
Our Mywellness app allows people to access their personal training experience by logging in on Technogym equipment anytime and anywhere: at home, at the gym, at hotels, etc. Alongside a fully seamless experience on the equipment the app is open to third parties and it aggregates all tracking device and outdoor apps data in order to aggregate all training data, both indoor and outdoor.
As a leader in the wellness industry, do you think the word ‘wellness’ has been hijacked or misappropriated? How can we get a clearer understanding of how to achieve good holistic health for ourselves and those in our communities?
In the early ‘90s in a market dominated by the American stereotypes of fitness and bodybuilding, we launched Wellness, a new lifestyle that leverages the Italian culture and quality of live, starting from the “Mens sana in corpore sano – healthy mind in healthy body” of the Romans. Wellness means a balance between regular physical exercise, healthy nutrition and a positive mental approach and in today’s scenario it represents is an opportunity for all community stakeholders: for people to live a healthier and longer life,
for companies to invest in a more productive and motivated staff and for governments to ensure a better quality of life to people and to save in health care expenditure.
Fitness is such a personal journey, but many leaders try to inspire those around them; do you think corporate wellness programmes have a value, or do you think they’re seen by employees as an obligation related to good standing in the company? Presumably at Technogym it’s a little different!
We strongly believe on the potential of corporate wellness programmes. Corporate wellness offers to the company in terms of improvement of people’s health and physical condition that translated in improved productivity and motivation and to people an equally tangible benefit in terms of health and happiness.
At Technogym, we wanted to walk the talk that’s why created the Technogym Village – our headquarters that represents the first example of wellness campus in the world offering people a 360° wellness experience: from the wellness centre to the outdoor spaces, to the company health-oriented restaurant, to the office designed and layout to the comprehensive educational programmes on nutrition, sport and mental health. Technogym Village represents a point of reference for the entire industry and the lab in which we develop our solutions and programmes for our customers. Today we have over 8.000 corporations running the Technogym Corporate Wellness Programme around the world.
What have been your big challenges this year personally and professionally?
Combining quick and short term actions to support customers and, at the same time, keeping the focus on our long term strategy and investments since we strongly believe on the great opportunities for the fitness and wellness industry.
What are the big evolutions and changes moving forward, for your industry?
The good news for our industry is that health has definitely risen within people’s priority list. At the same time, the crisis we have been going though in the last months has definitely accelerated the digital revolution, that was already happening. No doubt in a few months we witnessed a jump in terms of digitalisation of many aspects of our life – fitness and wellness included. I’m very positive about the future of the wellness industry and I believe that alongside the growth of home fitness, also fitness clubs will benefit since more and more people will work out both at home and at fitness clubs by combining the socialisation, services, programmes, and fun they can find in fitness club with the possibility to train at the convenience when at home.
“THE GOOD NEWS FOR OUR INDUSTRY IS THAT HEALTH HAS DEFINITELY RISEN WITHIN PEOPLE’S PRIORITY LIST”