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Ollie goes Arnie – The official Brandwave FIBO show review

Body builders, monster salads and the odd overenthusiastic Italian cycling instructor to boot, it can only be FIBO 2014!

Earlier this month, Vicky and I headed to FIBO in Cologne to see what’s new and all the latest developments in the fitness industry. After an early rise, short flight over from Gatwick and some questionable translation of the German train network we soon arrived at the Köln Messe.

FIBO Flags

First up we headed over to the ‘Power Halls’, dedicated to the literally larger than life bodybuilding sector of the fitness industry. Not being the most ‘stacked’ of physique (more built for speed *ahem* Brandwave Bleep Test) it won’t surprise you to hear that arms wider than my torso were ten to the dozen along with many questionable outfits that would have even made Schwarzenegger blush in his bodybuilding heyday.

Although this market is clearly thriving, it’s hard to believe the similarity of brand identity between those exhibiting. Supplement brands, I’m looking at you…


Next up, we went to check out ‘Functional Training’; home to a plethora of differing gym equipment and workouts. It was truly great to see the latest developments and seemingly endless opportunities for functional training. It’s an increasing trend for training brands to partner up to increase their exposure within the industry and strengthen their brand equity. This was clearly the case with the brand partnership seen between Les Mills and Reebok Fitness. These guys seemed to be the perfect fit for one another with both brands helping the other to stand out at the show.

Reebok stand

The ‘Training Equipment’ arena was like walking into a fitness metropolis of stands, all with shiny new products to feast our eyes on. One key trend that had strong prominence and noticeably continues to rise was own-brand mobile apps and wearable tech. Designed to monitor equipment in gyms as well as motivate, meet and exceed fitness goals; there’s no arguing that it’s a great method to increase brand loyalty on a global level.  Of course, no international tradeshow would be complete without a good old booth party, thanks to Precor for the music and the Currywurst!


It was interesting to see that US based, SportsArt have gone one-step further than just designing products with standard eco credentials, with the development of  their ‘green art’. Fitness equipment designed to harness, store and give back the energy generated by the user for the gym or home to reuse. There’s even talks of a completely eco friendly gym supported by SportsArt coming soon to the UK….


With the future looking promising for the fitness market as a high growth industry with huge potential for brands, it was also surprising to find that some of the global apparel brands you would expect to have a presence were not at FIBO. Who knows – maybe next year? Plenty of new faces, brands, fitness fanatical action and even the whopping great salads all contributed to a fantastic 48 hours in Cologne. We can’t wait to head back and see what’s new at FIBO 2015!


Oliver Robinson

Author Oliver Robinson

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