Nothing succeeds, like success has always been Pete's motto
As fitness pioneers go, they don't come better than Pete Landon, a veteran of the health and fitness world, always at the cutting edge. One of the great innovators responsible for many of the modern facilities and techniques now common to all health and fitness centres. Starting out in the mid 60's with Olympic Health Studios, the first British chain of private Health Clubs, he rapidly established a reputation as Managing Director of his own Fitness Company. For more than 30 years his Fitness & Leisure Group Ltd. pioneered many of the major innovations seen in the UK. The Group was the first to introduce Sun Beds into Health Clubs, first to introduce Aerobic classes and first to see the potential of Toning Tables.
During the seventies, Fitness & Leisure opened Unicorn Medical Screening Centre, the first facility of its kind outside of London he also developed 'Curves & Co.' Fitness Centres into the Countries leading group of ladies Health & Fitness clubs. It comes as no surprise therefore, to discover Pete Landon is behind the arrival of MotorMotion, potentially the UK's most exciting exercise development of our time.
As in all other conventional health clubs Peter Landon knew that it had always proved difficult to attract older (40+) users to his centres as most of his clients belonged to the 18 - 30 age group. Despite many attempts to attract this older age group with the introduction of special classes, designated time slots, special open days etc, it was not until the arrival of Toning Tables in 1987 - 88 that the situation was resolved.
To trace the conception and subsequent development of MotorMotion it is necessary to go back to the start of the Toning Table revolution. It was in 1987 that Pete Landon first saw Toning Tables during a visit to America. Fascinated by the way people were flocking to use them, he came back to the UK and immediately imported a set of Tables for use in his own Centres.
Unhappy with the quality of workmanship and feeling that he could himself design a better Toning Table for his centres, he was soon helping to set up a company to manufacture Tables. The Company went on to become Europe's leading manufacturer by the time the company was in full production however, Pete, restless as ever, had already turned his concentration to Health Club expansion.
Although no longer involved with their manufacture, Toning Tables quickly became a prominent facility in the Curves & Co Health Clubs and soon became obvious that they were attracting a large following among the over 50's. De-conditioned and overweight clients of all ages were equally enthusiastic. For a while all went well.
In 1990, whilst attending an industry seminar (IRSA) in America, Peter Landon was inspired by a speech given by fitness and health author, Ken Dychtwald, based on his book "The Age Wave". Dychtwarld's theme was that the fitness industry should be providing facilities for the older population who were proving to be much more active and fitness conscious than previous generations. Peter Landon realised that here was an exiting new niche market and, if linked to a 'Ladies Only' concept, would become a niche within a niche. On returning to the UK he conceived the idea of centres aimed at the older population having already identified that this age group was not properly catered for in any of the exercise centres at the time. His research showed that older people wanted a different kind of facility from younger people, without the loud pop music and high intensity exercise programmes usually associated with conventional health clubs, including his own.
Older people, he discovered, felt that their facility should provide a more relaxed and social environment. They wanted more privacy in their shower and changing area, plus close attention from staff. Above all they thought that exercise should be fun and safe. Peter Landon resolved to provide this for them having realised that conventional gym equipment was not appropriate for older people and that something new was required. Curves & Co Health Clubs were attracting a greater number of older users than most but the toning tables had many shortcomings, i.e., they were horizontal machines which create an inappropriate and uncomfortable exercise position; the number of exercise options is very limited and users quickly became bored. Moreover, toning tables were designed exclusively for passive use, which eliminated any possibility of strength and cardiovascular benefits during the workout.
Using the toning table principal of motorised exercise Peter Landon conceived the idea of machines that mimicked the movements of conventional exercise equipment. He sketched out his design for a range of machines. This equipment served to combine many upper and lower movements to make each machine multi-functional, creating exercise combinations unique to this range of equipment.
In 1995 Peter Landon had firmed up his ideas and decided that, for simplicity of use, his machines would operate at two speeds only and would provide exercise in a seated position, later to be called Armchair Exercise.
Pete Landon soon realised that what was needed was a system that linked the undoubted advantages of motorised equipment with a variety and positive features of Isotonic (resistance) and cardio vascular (aerobic) exercise. If a machine could do this, and, at the same time increase throughput, he knew that he would be on to a winning formula.
To achieve this goal, MotorMotion was invented and within twelve months Pete had designed and developed the world's first motorised resistance machines. Here was something that could halve the amount of workout time by exercising two or more body parts simultaneously. What's more, the motor made it possible to combine both resistance and cardio vascular work, whilst at the same time avoiding the high intensity usually involved in these activities. Here uniquely, were machines that even non-exercisers could enjoy!
The prototype was developed in a tiny engineering workshop in Birmingham and thoroughly tested throughout the development stage in the Curves & Co. Centres.
The first machine was an instant success and others soon followed. Design experts from the aircraft industry were brought in to develop the ergonomics with the help of a leading University. A team of expert consultants were recruited including exercise physiologists, Doctors, Physiotherapists and Trainers. Within eighteen months there were ten MotorMotion machines, each one working a different combination of body parts. Using each machine for just three minutes, it was now possible to complete a total body workout in half an hour - exactly half the time of a Toning Table session.
In the months that followed, each machine was tested in a Curves & Co centre. None received less than three and a half thousand hours of test time. More than one hundred modifications were made to each machine as they made their way backwards and forwards between the centres and the factory.
With meticulous attention to detail, each machine has been ergonomically designed to ensure total biomechanical efficiency. Comfort and ease of use, postural correctness, muscle isolation and functional range of movements, have had to meet the exacting demands of some of the countries foremost Physiotherapists and sports coaches.
MotorMotion has been greeted with universal acclaim. Experts quickly realised that motorised exercise technology has something completely different to offer, providing a totally new exercise science.
Fitness providers see MotorMotion as an exercise revolution - a unique activity for the de-conditioned population that can produce results without the pain associated with traditional exercise. Never before has it been possible to combine different exercise methodologies. Almost unbelievably, MotorMotion machines integrate passive, isotonic, isokinetic and cardio-vascular exercise. For the end users themselves, MotorMotion is praised for making exercise fun, and achieving rapid results.
Not surprisingly, there is now worldwide interest in MotorMotion. Throughout the World, The MotorMotion Easy Exercise Centres are being set up under licence to ensure the highest possible standards of customer care. Exercise it seems will never be the same again.