They came from all over to celebrate with him. Twelve hundred attendees, including the director of the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine at Harvard Medical School; the president of the National Association of Fitness Instructors in Malaysia; an epidemiologist from the University of South Carolina; the president of Italy; the Italian ministers of health and of economic development; Ferruccio and Leonardo Ferragamo; Alessandro Benetton; Sergio Rossi; Fiat’s John Elkann; the crown prince of Saudi Arabia; even Bill Clinton, who gave the keynote speech.
Nerio Alessandri, founder and president of Technogym (technogym.com), the Italian fitness equipment manufacturer, was inaugurating the Technogym Village, a wellness campus in Cesena, Italy, his hometown. As the company’s new headquarters, housing its research and development lab, production factory and cultural university, it is the epicenter of the Romagna Wellness Valley, an initiative championed by Alessandri to create Europe’s first wellness district, where individuals can immerse themselves in the Italian lifestyle as defined by Technogym. And as the brand has grown to become a global leader in the fitness industry since its inception some 30 years ago, that lifestyle is creeping into the American psyche, or so Alessandri hopes.
We wondered how he intends to spread his beliefs to the masses when his equipment is so highly designed and expensive that many cannot afford it. “We made a choice to be high-end,” Alessandri says. “We wanted to differentiate ourselves by choosing the best clubs and hotels in which to feature our equipment, and we are supplying many Silicon Valley companies, like Facebook and Google. Corporate gyms, fitness clubs and those in hotels will allow people more access to our products.”
In June the company launched the unity console, an Android-based display for cardio equipment that lets you customize information and entertainment options as you would on your mobile device. It integrates with Technogym’s MyWellness app and MyWellness Key to know what books you like to read, your favorite websites and TV shows and your training schedule to create a personalized workout wherever you go in the world.
“If I had to compare my brand to the car industry,” says Alessandri, “I wouldn’t say it’s a Ferrari. I prefer something more democratic that’s not just for one person but for everybody.” May we suggest the Cadillac of fitness?
Technogym's Cross Personal elliptical machine (pictured here; $14,345) launched in the U.S. this past spring.