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2014 Fit Expo strengthens American sports business

Two thumbs up for FitExpo 2014!
Two thumbs up for FitExpo 2014!
Photo by Max Donner

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in business – sports business that is. The former Mr. Olympia and two-term California governor is reinvigorating his legacy in sports business with a new endorsement and license agreement with Musclepharm. The pre-workout energy booster is called “Arnold Iron Pump” and is just one of hundreds of new products and exercise programs that packed the Los Angeles Convention Center with enthusiastic customers at the first Fit Expo of 2014 this weekend.

On site sales were incredibly strong and point to a sports business boom that will continue for years. Gym equipment manufacturer NuFit booked enough sales to keep manufacturing at capacity for over two months. ROCK 360, aka Rolling Core Kinetics, introduced a new portable kinetic exercise system and sold out its inventory after large crowds watched its live demonstrations. Quest Nutrition has built such a strong following from its social media sites that it needed a second booth to accommodate its social media followers for an on-site promotion. The CrossFit Challenge was at capacity with viewing stands completely full. Many attendees brought private supermarket style shopping carts to stock up on sports nutrition foods and supplements.

The variety and quality of nutrition products tailored for the active athletic lifestyle market continues healthy growth. Supreme Protein has expanded its appeal by repositioning its protein bars for the large consumer market at popular retailers. Supplement manufacturers are increasing teamwork with health food organizations to increase the absorption of nutrients from with healthy supplementation. And the sports nutrition business is paying attention to customer feedback that good taste is important, too. On site sampling at Fit Expo gave exhibitors immediate feedback on their taste tests.

Cross Fit continued its momentum as a growth phenomenon. As Mike from Cross Fit Active Performance explained, “the people here are not your average gym member. We love to beat ourselves up.” Zumba demonstrated its vitality with new product extensions like Zumbini, an exercise regimen for infants.

Investors were equally enthusiastic. Corporate giants PepsiCo and Post Holdings have been sending scouting teams to look for healthy lifestyle products to help their businesses grow. Sports business start-ups reported getting private investor financings completed as quickly as one month’s time.