Kiwi ingenuity takes gyms outside
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
16th December, 2013
Kiwi ingenuity takes gyms outside
GymGuru launches in New Zealand providing free outdoor gym equipment to parks and public spaces
GymGuru is taking the roofs and walls off gyms by providing a fun, safe and free way for people to get out and get fit by putting New Zealand-designed and developed outdoor gym equipment in public places across the country.
The innovative new products have been designed for people who want to exercise outdoors more, and for councils and community boards wanting to encourage people to interact with their local environments in a new way. Managing Director, Brett Forsyth says, “There are so many benefits to exercise. It’s not just great for you physically, it’s great mentally and socially as well. There are many under-utilised open spaces in New Zealand, which given the right equipment will really help entice people outside, address work-life balance, and do this by combining workout routines with the great outdoors.”
GymGuru did extensive research with councils and community boards before bringing their products to market. “One common desire was for community place-making in the form of recreation points,” says Brett. “Our product creates a solution to this desire by establishing fitness destination points, which can become social meeting areas within communities.”
With customers and users firmly in mind, the equipment is designed for low maintenance and durability, and so they can be used by any person, regardless of their age, body type and physical condition. “This is one of our key points of difference,” says Brett. “The technology we’ve developed doesn’t rely on an individual’s own body weight and so anyone can safely use it. It’s a first of its kind.”
The idea for outdoor gym equipment was originally developed by GymGuru’s parent company Hotshot Sports Equipment - a Hawkes Bay company that has made and supplied outdoor sports and playground equipment to New Zealanders for more than 30 years - before being spun-off into its own company.
Forsyth, son of Hotshot founder Roger Forsyth, says the idea was progressed after a trip to China revealed how popular outdoor training was over there. “But the machines they used were such poor quality they’d never have stood up to New Zealand’s tough safety requirements and would quickly have become a burden on our councils and a health and safety risk for the public.”
GymGuru’s machines have been ruthlessly tested and peer reviewed by some of the best, says Brett. This includes New Zealand’s own Callaghan Innovation, Sports Performance Research Institute (SPRINZ, part of AUT), Napier-based product and industrial design company AXIA and Team New Zealand America’s Cup designer Richard Karn.
After talking to councils, parks people and others, GymGuru whittled down its product development list to five launch products: an elliptical cross trainer, a stationary bike, a seated overhead press, a seated leg press and a hip flexibility swing. All have been put through their paces by SPRINZ and GymGuru’s own team - undergoing 35 days of continuous stress testing and more than 3 million swing movements apiece. The final product utilises the latest corrosive and UV-resistant materials, and all comply with the stringent New Zealand playground equipment standard.
The new equipment is currently being trialled in three Auckland parks: Sommerville Park, Howick Domain and Logan Carr Reserve. “It’s really satisfying to see dozens of people a day giving it a go,” says Brett, “and the feedback from all involved parties has been overwhelmingly positive”. Consequently, there are now plans to roll out the trial to other parks in Auckland over the coming months.
GymGuru is also looking at launching its equipment in Australia and the US, says Brett. “At the moment though we’re just concentrating on New Zealand as we want to make sure we have a really robust, quality offering before we head overseas. As far as we can tell, there are no products as robust and easy to use as ours on the market. Yet more and more people are making fitness a key part of their leisure time. What better way to get fit than to get out of the gym and outside. It’s good for you and it’s free.”