Some tales have a way of inspiring you to the point of changing you. A way of amending your outlook on life. The development of Technogym from its humble beginnings to the entity it is today is one of those stories. Technogym: From Garage to Gold Medals via the Grand Prix.
The humble beginnings are not just there for dramatic effect may I just add. The brand has undergone a massive transition over the course of its relatively short existence and the company has developed pretty rapidly from its inception in 1983. In that year a 22 year old Nerio Alessandri noticed the poor form of gym attendee’s at his local gymnasium and created a hack squat machine to aid members to train harder and better combining his loves of engineering and fitness. From this the concept of Wellness was born; using a machine to help guarantee a person’s wellbeing through regular physical activity and a thus ensuring a positive outlook. With this first piece of equipment being so popular, the gym owner ordered another three, paying Nerio up front for the order so parts could be bought and the order fulfilled. Wandering down to the local telephone box with a bag of change became a regular occurrence as Nerio began to spread the word about his new gym machines.
With the onset of the 90’s, came the emergence of cardiovascular training for the masses. The treadmill became a mainstay of a healthy lifestyle and Technogym worked hard to be constantly developing products to further push the boundaries of health with technology emerging including a constant pulse rate system being patented and implemented across their range to allow a users heart rate to regulate the intensity of their workout. By 1992 a young Michael Schumacher had become a fan of Nerio training equipment, and Nerio advised that he would build Schumacher a state-of-the-art travelling gym to accompany him to each and every race in exchange for a spot of advertising on Schumacher’s outfit. The difficulty was that all the novice German had left was some low profile room on his sleeves. Luck being what it is, the German won the F1 world championship in 1994 with 8 wins and 10 podiums, all of which with his arms aloft emblazoned with the Technogym logo.
In 1995 the brand had expanded to the point they were able to open 6 direct branches in Europe and the USA to promote their products, and by 2000 Technogym was official supplier to the Sydney Olympic games, with the company responsible for the provision of both equipment and knowledgeable human resource to the contemporary facilities used by elite athletes trying to win medals. This is a prestigious relationship which has been maintained to this day, with Technogym having supplied equipment at Athens, Bejing and London, with hopes high for Rio in 2016.
The opening of the magnificent purpose-built Technogym Village in 2012 was a commitment to, and to focus on, the pursuit of Wellness. This has enabled Nerio to have a place to exhibit his vision for Wellness alongside a place to research, design, manufacture and showcase the technology to take the business forward in the future.
The pursuit and sharing of the Wellness philosophy operates on a number of levels. The first of which is within the business environment which has been created for employees. The Technogym Village incorporates a restaurant which provides fresh, locally sourced cuisine to employees in exchange for a small donation each day (employees pay around £1) which covers anything they want for lunch including fruit, soup, meat, pasta, vegetables, bread and drinks. This can be enjoyed during one of the two hours which employees are entitled to for lunch, one of which can be spent eating and the other can be spent in the companies state of the art gym the Wellness Centre.
With ties to the local community being strong, the business has also been investing in manufacturing, agriculture & food production and infrastructure in the locality and surrounding region to create the Wellness Valley. The idea is to develop the Romagna region where Technogym is situated leveraging wellness as an opportunity for economic development, establishing it as the premier exhibition of Wellness in the whole of Italy. If Rome is History, and Milan is Style, then the plan is for Romagna to epitomise Wellness.
The underlying message is to spread the mantra of Wellness worldwide to improve peoples health and daily lifestyles by increasing productivity, reducing health costs and increasing productivity. In an effort to make this possible, Nerio Alessandri set up the Wellness Foundation, the non-profit organisation which runs parallel to the Technogym side of the business, and tasked with creating a more sustainable society, making the most of the experience and knowledge acquired in the company’s brief yet rich history.
The Technogym Ecosystem goes some way to achieve this as clients have the possibility to access their training experience anywhere in the world at any time through the interactive equipment using the Wellness key, mobile apps, and Technogyms own digital platform called mywellness cloud, constantly keeping a track of their progress – no matter where they find themselves with the ability to log activity using third party applications like MapMyRun.
Wellness is a legacy that’s become bigger than the employees, local community and gym goers though. The concept is a fixed item on the agenda of the World Economic Forum, and was also at the centre of an initiative sponsored by the United Nations in New York, with investment and training being shared into schools in both the USA and UK to help children learn using Wellness as a basis (using equipment in PE, learning how the body works in Biology and analysing the statistics produced by the machines in Maths among other things.)
The journey of one of the worlds most inspirational companies is set to continue with the launch of their new range and with the announcement for the Official Supplier for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro coming in late 2014, Technogym look set to keep the next generation of elite athletes (as well as us normal folk) in tip-top condition.
Our thoughts of course go out to Michael and his family at this difficult time.