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features

Interview: Kilian Saekel

Light, sound and vibration are being used by A-Champs to make training more effective and fun for amateurs and pro athletes alike. CEO Kilian Saekel speaks to FitTech about the power of multisensory stimulation

Published in Fit Tech 2021 issue 2

Tell us about A-Champs – what’s it all about?
At A-Champs we’re concerned that people of all ages don’t move enough to stay happy and healthy. And that’s why we’ve recently developed an interactive home training system that’s more fun and effective than any other way of training. It works body and brain at the same time and turns any training into a playful experience.

It’s a platform that features sports science-based training programmes and games – these are delivered through interactive sensor pods that come with light, sound and vibration. Through the app, the users can select different training content for all members of the family. These include: fitness programmes, active games and sports-specific training that lets you train like a pro athlete. And the cool thing is, you can even compete with others from all over the world via the global leaderboard.

Where did the idea for A-Champs come from?
My whole career I spent developing and manufacturing sporting goods in China. When my wife got breast cancer a few years ago it made us much more aware of how important it is to take care of ourselves and our health. Lifestyle and physical activity play a crucial role in staying healthy and fit. So once we got through with all her chemotherapy and rehab we decided to start a business to help families to stay fit, and that’s how the idea for ROX came up.

What was your first product and how did you develop it?
From the very beginning we have been producing solely ROX. The original idea was to recreate the Super Mario game in real life, where kids run between interactive light blocks to get points.

Overall, kids and parents loved the concept and experience, but we found that it was very difficult to market it as it required lots of customer education.

However, sports coaches immediately saw the value in our product. At that time training based on the reaction to light stimuli started to become a hot topic in pro sports, as sports science realised that this kind of training helped to improve crucial mental capacities – like sensory capacities, reaction, decision making, perception and concentration/alertness – of players.

The problem was that until then all available light training solutions were extremely expensive, not user friendly, and based on an old-school technology.

Based on this feedback, we developed our current product, ROX Pro, to be a smart training assistant for everybody in the game of training people. It’s the only interactive training system on the planet that not only comes with light, but also with sound and vibration – this is ‘multisensory’ stimulation, and it’s much more versatile and effective than pure light-based reaction training.

By now some of the biggest and most famous sport clubs and coaches use ROX Pro to create more effective and engaging one-to-one sessions with their athletes.

Who’s your target audience?
Our core target audience for the last 18 months has been performance coaches, personal trainers, amateur sports trainers, physical therapists and PE teachers.

With our new version – ROX Home – we are now targeting families who want to work out at home but who are bored with traditional ways of home training.

How customisable are your products?
The best thing about ROX is the fact that they are fully customisable. They can be integrated into any kind of training, at any place, and help people of all ages, fitness levels and abilities to get effective and engaging training done.

We have interactive content for fitness (HIIT, Family Fitness), active games and sports specific training so that you can train like a professional athlete in many different sports categories. All our programmes are developed by coaches and sports scientists who have worked with and for some of the biggest global athletes and teams.

Every interaction with the ROX is measured, so our users can also track all their sessions, either via the in-app analytics or via the cloud-based dashboard.

Have you done any scientific research into the impact your products have?
Our proprietary MSNP training methodology was developed by a team of sports scientists and coaches around our unique multisensory stimulation function.

Currently we’re working with Victoria University in Australia on a big research project to showcase the performance improvements in athletes and daily life.

How does gamifying fitness create better results?
It’s a key piece! But according to our experience, gamification will only have lasting effects if it is more than just earning badges in ‘boring’ training sessions. In our case we have two levels of gamification: first, we create training experiences that are fun and playful. By putting focus on tapping different lights and sounds while doing gruelling planks, for example, you stop focusing on the pain and you’ll be surprised how quickly 45 seconds can be over.

And then the more traditional gamification kicks in: in the app all results can be monitored and you can even compete virtually with people from all over the world. The competitive beast pushes the bar and makes sure that you don’t miss the next session.

What’s really cool is that this doesn’t only work for regular people in their home training. Even coaches of world-leading athletes report to us that integrating the ROX into their training helps to make athletes work harder and longer because they either want to beat their high scores or those of their teammates.

Do you have any plans for future products?
At the moment our focus is on the launch of our ROX at-home edition. On top of that we will soon launch the Cardio Cage – the ultimate 360-degree interactive training experience. It features our ROX Pro technology in a ‘Thunderdome style’ cage and delivers game-changing sports- and position-specific training as well as fully functional HIIT workouts for individual and partner training. Sports performance academies, as well as gyms around the world, are lining up to get a piece of the action!

We’re also currently taking part in the Techstars SportsTech Melbourne accelerator programme to bring the ROX training experience to Australia.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
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Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
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Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
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Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
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The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
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We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
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When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
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features

Interview: Kilian Saekel

Light, sound and vibration are being used by A-Champs to make training more effective and fun for amateurs and pro athletes alike. CEO Kilian Saekel speaks to FitTech about the power of multisensory stimulation

Published in Fit Tech 2021 issue 2

Tell us about A-Champs – what’s it all about?
At A-Champs we’re concerned that people of all ages don’t move enough to stay happy and healthy. And that’s why we’ve recently developed an interactive home training system that’s more fun and effective than any other way of training. It works body and brain at the same time and turns any training into a playful experience.

It’s a platform that features sports science-based training programmes and games – these are delivered through interactive sensor pods that come with light, sound and vibration. Through the app, the users can select different training content for all members of the family. These include: fitness programmes, active games and sports-specific training that lets you train like a pro athlete. And the cool thing is, you can even compete with others from all over the world via the global leaderboard.

Where did the idea for A-Champs come from?
My whole career I spent developing and manufacturing sporting goods in China. When my wife got breast cancer a few years ago it made us much more aware of how important it is to take care of ourselves and our health. Lifestyle and physical activity play a crucial role in staying healthy and fit. So once we got through with all her chemotherapy and rehab we decided to start a business to help families to stay fit, and that’s how the idea for ROX came up.

What was your first product and how did you develop it?
From the very beginning we have been producing solely ROX. The original idea was to recreate the Super Mario game in real life, where kids run between interactive light blocks to get points.

Overall, kids and parents loved the concept and experience, but we found that it was very difficult to market it as it required lots of customer education.

However, sports coaches immediately saw the value in our product. At that time training based on the reaction to light stimuli started to become a hot topic in pro sports, as sports science realised that this kind of training helped to improve crucial mental capacities – like sensory capacities, reaction, decision making, perception and concentration/alertness – of players.

The problem was that until then all available light training solutions were extremely expensive, not user friendly, and based on an old-school technology.

Based on this feedback, we developed our current product, ROX Pro, to be a smart training assistant for everybody in the game of training people. It’s the only interactive training system on the planet that not only comes with light, but also with sound and vibration – this is ‘multisensory’ stimulation, and it’s much more versatile and effective than pure light-based reaction training.

By now some of the biggest and most famous sport clubs and coaches use ROX Pro to create more effective and engaging one-to-one sessions with their athletes.

Who’s your target audience?
Our core target audience for the last 18 months has been performance coaches, personal trainers, amateur sports trainers, physical therapists and PE teachers.

With our new version – ROX Home – we are now targeting families who want to work out at home but who are bored with traditional ways of home training.

How customisable are your products?
The best thing about ROX is the fact that they are fully customisable. They can be integrated into any kind of training, at any place, and help people of all ages, fitness levels and abilities to get effective and engaging training done.

We have interactive content for fitness (HIIT, Family Fitness), active games and sports specific training so that you can train like a professional athlete in many different sports categories. All our programmes are developed by coaches and sports scientists who have worked with and for some of the biggest global athletes and teams.

Every interaction with the ROX is measured, so our users can also track all their sessions, either via the in-app analytics or via the cloud-based dashboard.

Have you done any scientific research into the impact your products have?
Our proprietary MSNP training methodology was developed by a team of sports scientists and coaches around our unique multisensory stimulation function.

Currently we’re working with Victoria University in Australia on a big research project to showcase the performance improvements in athletes and daily life.

How does gamifying fitness create better results?
It’s a key piece! But according to our experience, gamification will only have lasting effects if it is more than just earning badges in ‘boring’ training sessions. In our case we have two levels of gamification: first, we create training experiences that are fun and playful. By putting focus on tapping different lights and sounds while doing gruelling planks, for example, you stop focusing on the pain and you’ll be surprised how quickly 45 seconds can be over.

And then the more traditional gamification kicks in: in the app all results can be monitored and you can even compete virtually with people from all over the world. The competitive beast pushes the bar and makes sure that you don’t miss the next session.

What’s really cool is that this doesn’t only work for regular people in their home training. Even coaches of world-leading athletes report to us that integrating the ROX into their training helps to make athletes work harder and longer because they either want to beat their high scores or those of their teammates.

Do you have any plans for future products?
At the moment our focus is on the launch of our ROX at-home edition. On top of that we will soon launch the Cardio Cage – the ultimate 360-degree interactive training experience. It features our ROX Pro technology in a ‘Thunderdome style’ cage and delivers game-changing sports- and position-specific training as well as fully functional HIIT workouts for individual and partner training. Sports performance academies, as well as gyms around the world, are lining up to get a piece of the action!

We’re also currently taking part in the Techstars SportsTech Melbourne accelerator programme to bring the ROX training experience to Australia.

Sign up here to get Fit Tech's weekly ezine and every issue of Fit Tech magazine free on digital.
Gallery
More features
Editor's letter

Into the fitaverse

Fitness is already among the top three markets in the metaverse, with new technology and partnerships driving real growth and consumer engagement that looks likely to spill over into health clubs, gyms and studios
Fit Tech people

Ali Jawad

Paralympic powerlifter and founder, Accessercise
Users can easily identify which facilities in the UK are accessible to the disabled community
Fit Tech people

Hannes Sjöblad

MD, DSruptive
We want to give our users an implantable tool that allows them to collect their health data at any time and in any setting
Fit Tech people

Jamie Buck

Co-founder, Active in Time
We created a solution called AiT Voice, which turns digital data into a spoken audio timetable that connects to phone systems
Profile

Fahad Alhagbani: reinventing fitness

Let’s live in the future to improve today
Opinion

Building on the blockchain

For small sports teams looking to compete with giants, blockchain can be a secret weapon explains Lars Rensing, CEO of Protokol
Innovation

Bold move

We ended up raising US$7m in venture capital from incredible investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, Primetime Partners, and GingerBread Capital
App analysis

Check your form

Sency’s motion analysis technology is allowing users to check their technique as they exercise. Co-founder and CEO Gal Rotman explains how
Profile

New reality

Sam Cole, CEO of FitXR, talks to Fit Tech about taking digital workouts to the next level, with an immersive, virtual reality fitness club
Profile

Sohail Rashid

35 million people a week participate in strength training. We want Brawn to help this audience achieve their goals
Ageing

Reverse Ageing

Many apps help people track their health, but Humanity founders Peter Ward and Michael Geer have put the focus on ageing, to help users to see the direct repercussions of their habits. They talk to Steph Eaves
App analysis

Going hybrid

Workout Anytime created its app in partnership with Virtuagym. Workout Anytime’s Greg Maurer and Virtuagym’s Hugo Braam explain the process behind its creation
Research

Physical activity monitors boost activity levels

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have conducted a meta analysis of all relevant research and found that the body of evidence shows an impact
Editor's letter

Two-way coaching

Content providers have been hugely active in the fit tech market since the start of the pandemic. We expect the industry to move on from delivering these services on a ‘broadcast-only’ basis as two-way coaching becomes the new USP
Fit Tech People

Laurent Petit

Co-founder, Active Giving
The future of sports and fitness are dependent on the climate. Our goal is to positively influence the future of our planet by instilling a global vision of wellbeing and a sense of collective action
Fit Tech People

Adam Zeitsiff

CEO, Intelivideo
We don’t just create the technology and bail – we support our clients’ ongoing hybridisation efforts
Fit Tech People

Anantharaman Pattabiraman

CEO and co-founder, Auro
When you’re undertaking fitness activities, unless you’re on a stationary bike, in most cases it’s not safe or necessary to be tied to a screen, especially a small screen
Fit Tech People

Mike Hansen

Managing partner, Endorphinz
We noticed a big gap in the market – customers needed better insights but also recommendations on what to do, whether that be customer acquisition, content creation, marketing and more
More features