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Les Mills International
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Les Mills International
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

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
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
people

Adam Zeitsiff

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

Mathieu Letombe

We’re ultimately bringing health monitoring technologies from the doctor’s office into the home, to help patients and their physicians make life-saving changes

Refining augmented reality

London boutique The Refinery has created an avatar-led digital fitness offering called ALFI, which utilises augmented reality (AR) to demonstrate movements. Zoe Bertali, one of the co-founders of the gym, tells us more

Jessica Ennis-Hill: founder of Jennis

Jessica Ennis-Hill is on a mission to close the gender data gap in health research. Her app, Jennis CycleMapping, is designed to help women understand their cycles and how to train during each different phase. Steph Eaves speaks to Ennis-Hill to find out exactly how it works

How usable is your product?

Your fit tech product might be a game changer, solving problems or creating new possibilities for clients, but none of this will matter if it’s not easy and enjoyable to use. Industrial designer Nick Chubb explains why usability is key, and the factors to consider when designing your new product

Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more
interview

Kilian Saekel

With ROX Home, we’re now targeting families who want to work out at home but who are bored with traditional ways of home training

Adrian Hon

Zombies, Run! is one of the most enduring fitness apps, with half a million users getting active while engaging in ‘missions’ against the zombie apocalypse. Its co-creator spoke to Steph Eaves about the power of story

Digital community

Matt Stebbings of SLT Group talks about the creation of their Community Portal, a new platform that aims to help anyone to get active, whether that’s inside or outside of SLT’s facilities

Funxtion: A vital connection

NonStop Gym, Switzerland’s no frills gym chain, has appointed FunXtion to create its member training app

Monitoring mental health

New technology uses advanced machine learning to monitor patients’ mental health between visits to their medical providers
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
people

Andy Etches

Founder and sports director, Rezzil
Rezzil was able to have an injured player learning his new manager's philosophy, positioning and playing style – all from a seated position
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games. If only you could be the hero in a game that levelled up your life
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As Surge expands its offer with the launch of a third dedicated Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) studio this summer – this time in Fleet Street, London – the brand reflects on the vital role of its estate wide digital ecosystem, created in partnership with Fisikal, designed to drive business efficiencies and commercial success.
Featured supplier: EMS personal training: shockingly simple
People's fitness goals are extremely diverse – ranging from an elite athlete focused on the next goal to someone who dislikes all activity due to chronic back pain.
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It trains humans better than humans train humans. Read more
Company profile: Rocca Creative Thinking Limited
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Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software
Featured supplier: Surge integrates Fisikal with HubSpot to drive business efficiencies and grow revenue
As Surge expands its offer with the launch of a third dedicated Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) studio this summer – this time in Fleet Street, London – the brand reflects on the vital role of its estate wide digital ecosystem, created in partnership with Fisikal, designed to drive business efficiencies and commercial success.
Featured supplier: EMS personal training: shockingly simple
People's fitness goals are extremely diverse – ranging from an elite athlete focused on the next goal to someone who dislikes all activity due to chronic back pain.
Company profile: Rocca Creative Thinking Limited
Rocca. is a tech organisation specialising in sport and physical activity. It works with NGBs ...
Company profile: EGYM UK Ltd
EGYM empowers gym operators to deliver a workout experience that supports their members' lifelong fitness ...
PENDEX | Simply Ingenious
Pendex
It trains humans better than humans train humans. Read more
Get Fit Tech
Sign up for the free digital edition of Fit Tech magazine and the free weekly Fit Tech ezine
Sign up
Flooring
Total Vibration Solutions / TVS Sports Surfaces: Flooring
Management software
Premier Software Solutions: Management software
Lockers/interior design
Safe Space Lockers Ltd: Lockers/interior design
Fitness equipment
Precor: Fitness equipment
Spa software
ResortSuite: Spa software

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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

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
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
people

Adam Zeitsiff

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

Mathieu Letombe

We’re ultimately bringing health monitoring technologies from the doctor’s office into the home, to help patients and their physicians make life-saving changes

Refining augmented reality

London boutique The Refinery has created an avatar-led digital fitness offering called ALFI, which utilises augmented reality (AR) to demonstrate movements. Zoe Bertali, one of the co-founders of the gym, tells us more

Jessica Ennis-Hill: founder of Jennis

Jessica Ennis-Hill is on a mission to close the gender data gap in health research. Her app, Jennis CycleMapping, is designed to help women understand their cycles and how to train during each different phase. Steph Eaves speaks to Ennis-Hill to find out exactly how it works

How usable is your product?

Your fit tech product might be a game changer, solving problems or creating new possibilities for clients, but none of this will matter if it’s not easy and enjoyable to use. Industrial designer Nick Chubb explains why usability is key, and the factors to consider when designing your new product

Put on your red light

Red light therapy promises a variety of benefits, including better recovery, skin rejuvenation and increased energy, but is it all too good to be true? Fit Tech spoke to Bryan Gohl and James Strong of Red Light Rising, and Wes Pfiffner of Joovv to find out more
interview

Kilian Saekel

With ROX Home, we’re now targeting families who want to work out at home but who are bored with traditional ways of home training

Adrian Hon

Zombies, Run! is one of the most enduring fitness apps, with half a million users getting active while engaging in ‘missions’ against the zombie apocalypse. Its co-creator spoke to Steph Eaves about the power of story

Digital community

Matt Stebbings of SLT Group talks about the creation of their Community Portal, a new platform that aims to help anyone to get active, whether that’s inside or outside of SLT’s facilities

Funxtion: A vital connection

NonStop Gym, Switzerland’s no frills gym chain, has appointed FunXtion to create its member training app

Monitoring mental health

New technology uses advanced machine learning to monitor patients’ mental health between visits to their medical providers
people

Devi Mahadevia

Facebook director of sports and fitness partnerships
With Facebook paid online events, publishers can charge viewers to attend a video livestream on their Facebook pages or a third party video service
people

Andy Etches

Founder and sports director, Rezzil
Rezzil was able to have an injured player learning his new manager's philosophy, positioning and playing style – all from a seated position
interview

Preston Lewis, Black Box VR

Game designers have figured out how to keep people unhealthily addicted to games. If only you could be the hero in a game that levelled up your life
More features
Les Mills International
Les Mills International