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Number 2 in the Top-10 Fitness Trends for 2016 is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), as published by ACSM.

How can this trend be hurting your treadmills?

Well, there is another trend peaking within the HIT workouts: the Deadmill Sprint.

The deadmill sprint is running on a treadmill with the unit turned off to gain the benefits of running or pushing with resistance.

Polling four of our current STAK Fitness customers, none had heard of the deadmill sprint.

However, I have personally observed the deadmill workout in 2 different gyms and 1 hotel fitness center over the past few months.

Running on a treadmill to drive the belt with human power, without the use of the drive motor on, is a bad idea mechanically and will cost you money!

So, how do you protect your investment while providing patrons with a top-ten workout solution? Provide a “deadmill” for them to work out on!

Designed to provide the resistance sprints now trending, the Matrix S-Drive Performance Trainer is exactly that. A solution for you and a solution for your clients!

This manual treadmill is designed to provide the benefits of resisted running, both parachute & sled push, in the footprint of a treadmill. The S-Drive benefits also resistance walking, improves sprint biomechanics through its design, and built to also perform reverse, lateral, and rotational movements (not possible on a motorized treadmill in the off mode).

Find out more: How to use the S-Drive and 100+ educational videos of different patterns and workouts possible here.

Join the over 40 Canadian organizations already using the award winning Matrix S-Drive performance Trainer!

Get your more details today! Ask if you qualify for a FREE trial of the S-Drive:
Greg Lawlor is a fitness student, and the Vice President of Sales for STAK Fitness.

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By eLifestyle’s certified fitness instructor & lifestyle expert, Robb Armstrong

Why Connexus is the Perfect Solution to Your Functional Training Craze?

These days, you’re no doubt looking for more diverse ways of exercising and boosting fitness levels. You’re probably looking for better, more unique training methods that will be functional and fun yet challenging enough to keep you focused on your goals. That’s why we guarantee Connexus is the perfect solution to your functional training craze!


Don’t settle for being average – Connexus didn’t!

This isn’t your average fitness fad, booty bootcamp or copy-cat fitness program, but rather a highly evolved approach to functional training for the most complete conditioning possible. Whether you’re a newbie to fitness, looking to gain a competitive edge for sport or even wanting to blast past personal plateaus in your fitness regiment, Connexus matches versatility and easy modifications with any goal for superior results. As a matter of fact, with the hyper-dynamic features incorporated into the Matrix Connexus Functional Training System, your training intensity and exercise selection will continue to evolve just as you do. The bottom line is this: more training, programming, power, performance and flexibility in the space you already have. In other words, prepare yourself to truly be in the best shape of your life!

Diverse, Functional, Flexible

Whether used as a freestanding unit or as multiple interconnected stations, the Matrix Connexus Functional Training System is equipped with multiple anchor points for more change-ups. This allows for maximum versatility with easy, smooth mechanic adjustments for seamless exercise transition. What’s more, a repeatable design option allows you to scale your system to suit your needs; you choose how you want to train and which accessories you want to use – it’s that simple. Now clients, members and trainers alike have the right carefully designed equipment that allows for programs to be tailored on-the-go for big-time fitness results.


Success Is In The Set-Up

Exercise space is personal. You want a look and feel that screams results. So when it comes to the layout of any space, functionality and design, plus a little added style will leave you with the professional look and feel you want to be successful. Connexus’ industry-leading design allows for customizable stations that fit precisely into the layout, turning any underutilized space into a professional and functional training set-up with just a single wall unit. Larger space? No problem! Linking several identical wall units in a row is a great way to create a class setting. Of course, by configuring several unique stations for a small-group training or circuit area you can create an even more dynamic set-up. This is how members and clients will be exposed to the types of programming they need to grow fitter, stronger, and ultimately better.


Boost Your Professional Training Business

As an owner, independent professional fitness trainer or coach you’re always working hard to stay one major step ahead of the competition, and Connexus has you top-of-mind here too; TRX, Band & Ball and Boxing custom modules are designed to produce explosive results with only 2 or 3 workouts per week in just 4 weeks! Easily modified, each finely tuned program is designed around complete full-body conditioning. And if that wasn’t enough, Connexus also provides instructors, trainers and coaches with exclusive access to a complete index of all Connexus exercises. Original classes and training routines can now be built, choreographed and modified, allowing instructors to tailor group training to the specific abilities of the members present at any given class or session. In turn, this saves valuable time, guaranteeing client success and helping to dramatically drive revenue and build loyalty.


Setting a New Fitness Industry Standard

The Matrix Connexus Functional Training System is quite simply the most professionally versatile, highly customizable, high I.Q approach to functional training. We know you won’t settle for mediocrity, so we didn’t!


About the author:Robb Armstrong (Equilibrium Lifestyle Management) With a true passion for all things “fitness,” for the past 16 years Robb Armstrong has been offering his expertise as a certified personal trainer, a health and wellness specialist, a competitive athlete for over 25 years, a fitness writer, and as Director of Fitness and Marketing with eLifestyle since 2008.

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With 2016 just starting out, I am sure you have seen the list of trends throughout the fitness industry. The top ten for 2016 to include: HIIT Training, wearable technology, bodyweight training, strength training, functional fitness, personal training, growth of certified fitness professionals, yoga and fitness for older adults. (source American College of Sportsmedicine)

STAK Fitness, a division of Johnson Health Tech (JHT) , as the distinct privilege of having worked with over 1500 organizations that offer fitness in 2015, and over 5000 since 2010. We also are part of the worldwide JHT network of equipment suppliers and educators. When we compare the trends for 2016 to the experiences we see every day in the field, we can come up with some “educated predictions” for the Canadian fitness industry.

  1. Growth of US based providers and large chains. The large chains such as Planet Fitness, Anytime Fitness, LA Fitness will continue to expand their footprint in different parts of the country.

  2. Battle of the low cost clubs. There seems to be a viable business model for the low cost club sector. This model is based on low price and accommodating high volume of patrons. Fit for Less/Econo Fit, World Gym , and Planet Fitness are all examples in this sector, and if you don’t have one of these close to you – it is only a matter of time before they start popping up.

  3. Rise of the niche clubs. Almost at the same time as the above 2 happenings, the growth of the niche club is also going to continue to evolve. Small personal training studios, athletic conditioning centers, different forms of yoga (many of whom also offer a fitness component), group exercise studios that offer indoor cycling and other group are also growing.

  4. Growth of small, group, versatile training. In line with the niche clubs, but not limited to them, small group training is also going to keep evolving. Many will get smarter with more standardized assessment and focus on the individual within the programming, as opposed to offering 1 size fits all.

  5. Integration of technology. In line with the growth of wearable technology, organizations will continue to look at integrating technology into their fitness offering as the costs come down. Following a similar pattern to the integration of entertainment over the last 15 years, having a technology offering will become more standardized in fitness centers.


There you have it, have we missed any? Give us your thoughts.

In our next blog, we will explore how smart suppliers are investing in these growth areas, specifically items 3, 4 and 5.

Greg Lawlor is Vice President of Sales and Customer Experience for STAK Fitness, a division of Johnson Health Tech. Greg and their national team work personally with each organization across the country in supporting their fitness offering.

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STAK 3.0 is the next phase of commercial supply and support for the Canadian fitness market, officially launched for our customers September 21st.

STAK 3.0 is positioned to be the pre-eminent resource for all Canadian organizations offering fitness services. I will explain in a minute.

First a little background information:

STAK 1.0 took place from founding in 2004 to 2010. STAK 1.0 served almost 700 organizations, mostly in Quebec.

STAK 2.0 took place from June 2010 to September17, 2015. STAK 2.0 grew its customer base from 700 to over 4000 organizations across the country. Not exactly billions served like the popular fast food restaurant, however we are proud of this accomplishment. In fact, if you think of the people served in each organization, 4000 x 100 people for example – that means 400 000 Canadians have access to equipment supplied by STAK Fitness. Wow! Never thought of that until just now. That is way more positive that billions on fast food anyway!

That brings us to STAK 3.0.

STAK 3.0 is poised to raise the level of support for organizations like yours. This not only includes a much wider range of equipment than STAK 2.0, but also a level of support that Canadian organizations have not experienced at any time before.

We look forward to connecting and sharing examples of what that means exactly. (by the way, it does not change the level of support on equipment you already have – in fact, it enhances it).

Our team of 12 field representatives is growing. We have expansion plans and coverage plans that will not only impress, but change the playing field on your expectations for quality, reliability, variety, service and support. These variables must be on your checklist for providing a unique experience for your patrons – one that helps your organization get to the next level.

Did you see the press release? Click here to read the complete PRESS RELEASE

Let’s connect soon.

Greg Lawlor

Vice President, Sales

STAK Fitness, A division of Johnson Health Tech.

PS Yes, there will be official STAK 3.0 Launch Party Promo – get connected to us on FACEBOOK for details coming soon. If you are not on Facebook – email me to get on the notification list!

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We run into this statement a lot.

Whether you operate a small hotel fitness studio, student residence, condominium fitness room, university or municipal fitness center, private personal training studio to a large gym, a corporate fitness space or a school based fitness center …the challenge is often the same.

How can we attract more people and keep the current exercisers coming back?

After working with over 4000 facilities since 2004, STAK Fitness can say that we have some solutions.

We have worked with many organizations, seen what has worked and what has not. We have also partnered with groups that have their own experiences in assisting operators solve this challenge.

We have found it has come down to 3-4 areas to solve the problem

  1. Create an experience that is unlike any other. The more pieces of the puzzle that are unique, the more you can differentiate and create value for those who are paying/attending.
  2. Have a method to promoting what goes on inside your 4 walls. Your staff, the program, the environment, the experience. Unless you get the word out, your services will be painted with the same brush as all others in your category….the same and bland!
  3. Have a refresh button and a plan. Similar to your computer, or smartphone – refresh is a good thing. You cannot throw some training tools into a space and expect it to keep breathing on its own. Your instructors, your exercisers, your programming needs a refresh regularly to keep it thriving. New training methods can get stale in a hurry.
  4. Build an ROI plan. How will your group evaluate return on investment? The days of sticking equipment into a room and hoping for the best are gone, if you want to solve the challenge of differentiating and thriving.

The good news is that this is not wheel re-invention. Not splitting the atom. Does not require months of trial and error.

There are templates, success stories, case studies, best practices that you can tap into. There is a group that will work with you to help shorten the learning curve and maximize the return.

From STAK’s perspective, that is the role of the equipment supplier. To assist and support you through any aspect of your journey.

Have a look at some examples, and let’s connect to solve your challenge.

The information is free, the cost to inactivity or trial and error is not.

Here is where you can see examples of what we mean…


ESCAPE Fitness Case Studies

For more information and a free consultation contact via or call 1 877 782 5002.

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Recently, a customer of STAK’s referred to us the below article from the U.S. based National Parks and Recreation Association website.

Although many things U.S. based don’t always apply to the Canadian trends, many of the points discussed are right on what the STAK Fitness team has found in the field in recent years.

The article was bang on from our perspective and applies to what we are seeing in any large organization that offers recreation – this includes Universities, Municipalities, Colleges, YMCA, etc.

The form and function of municipal recreation, and in particular offering fitness, has changed and evolved over the last number of years. STAK Fitness has found that many recreation centers, and large organizations that offer fitness are being shaped in function by considerations that were not in existence years ago.


University of Manitoba supplied by STAK Fitness, April 2015

Here are the 7 factors that are shaping the future of operations in large recreation centers (this would include any organization that traditionally has not offered recreation or fitness as its primary business).

  1. Financial self-sufficiency – operational costs are replacing “community demand” as the
    primary drivers to decisions in how recreation centers are created. This changes the mindset of implementation strategies, staffing and all aspects of operations to areas not formerly a priority
  2. Holistic planning – data driven decision making process is a different process than the one used in the past. The focus today is not just to address current needs (primary focus in the past) but also how recreation centers can evolve with the needs of the community.
  3. Use of Technology – infrastructure requirements and use of technology to better serve the community. This is also an area that opens to door to addressing the financial question, as technology provides an opportunity to drive secondary revenue.
  4. Generational Changes – how to appeal to wide variety of age groups.
  5. Health Care – the role of community in preventative health for the people being served has changed.
  6. Overlapping programs – the ability for centers to be flexible in hosting and offering different programs.
  7. Ethnicity – many regions now are have populations from a wide variety of cultures that need to be considered.

For expansion on each of these points, see the original article here: Parks & Recreation magazine

A big thanks to Greg Simmons of Health Systems Group for sharing

Tell us what you think here on the blog, or connect with STAK and the article on Facebook

STAK Fitness provides fitness equipment solutions that address the challenges and obstacles of fitness operators across Canada. Since 2010, we have worked with over 3000 such organizations and continue to do with a priority of making sure your organization can serve more people better – and that means having equipment address most of the above points

For more information and a free consultation contact via or STAK Fitness

We have a number of specialized programs specifically for the type organizations referred to above.

Look forward to connecting.

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This broken medicine ball is constructed of a 2 piece foam core and rubber shell. This is an air filled ball. You can see the two foam pieces are breaking the rubber shell along the seam.

These balls are not made for continual slams

Have you had the unfortunate experience of breaking your medicine ball right in the middle of a great workout?

How many medicine balls have your purchased over time?

If you have added medicine balls to your facility in the last couple of years, chances are there have been a problem with their durability!

How valuable is my time? What’s the cost of my frustration?

Has this happened to your organization?

See if this scenario sounds familiar?

  • New medicine ball arrives
  • Within 6 weeks one of the med balls breaks
  • Complaints start to come in, broken med ball goes to that room that hides broken equipment and you have to replace it or do without it.
  • When you investigate you find out that the broken medicine ball was subjected only to general med ball tosses and some slams on the ground. But nothing extreme like continuous slams, big air drops, standing on the balls or shooting them out of cannons against a solid wall.

It seems like, just general wear and tear is breaking these air filled rubber medicine balls.

When your vendor is approached, there is nothing they can do – as the med balls are not warrantied for this type of usage!

All this running around might be ok for somebody with very little to do.

Your organization has people that are too busy to deal with this kind of issue, they wear many hats and fill many roles.

The costs of the wrong choice start to add up.

Adding Up The Costs To Replace A Broken Medicine Ball

Let’s add up what it costs to buy a product that will continually break. Let’s account for 3 trips to the local store to replace:

  • Initial medicine ball purchase
  • Gas to drive to stores
  • Wear and tear on car. (or shipping costs to return old ball to replace with new).
  • Time to drive to the store, wait in line, speak with a manager, wait for a refund receipt, grab a new product off the shelf and then drive back to work. Let’s account your staff losing productivity at the fitness center.
  • Frustration: this not a good use of their/your time.
  • Priceless: Emotional toll of thinking about how broken products disrupt your work flow, eats up any extra time and prevents you from running your business.

So what does it really cost to purchase these products?

Total Cost $Frustration, $Your Precious Time and Patience… and counting …

Medicine Ball Graveyard

There are 3 types of med balls:

  1. For slamming on the floor as hard as possible. These are soft med balls that don’t bounce at all when you slam them. They are used exclusively for slamming hard on the floor. Mega slam ball below (good – no colour, best with coloured numbering)
  2. For target and partner toss – these are bigger and softer – leather – used for target toss (Wall Ball), partner toss, wall throw and some slamming. If slamming more than 10% of the time, get slam balls. Dynamax (good) or Vertball (best) picture below
  3. For standard weighted work – the hard ones that will break if used for use 1 and 2 above. Coloured med balls below
The right med balls are the ones chosen for the type of usage they will get!

To slam- either SLAMBALL (best) or Mega Slam Balls (great value)?


For targets and partner work (softer texture – will not lose form over time)?


For standard work, weighted work, rotational – no trajectory?


Which ones are the best for your setting?

  • Slamming?
  • Partner toss or wall target?
  • Traditional weighted air filled?

Information courtesy of STAK Fitness. As of 2015, STAK has worked with over 3000 organizations across Canada in supplying equipment and education

All equipment is back by our STAK Performance Guarantee! (find out details today!)


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Over the last 5 years, we have seen a growth not only in functional training, but also unique tools that can help us prepare us for the demands of competition and/or day to day life.

There are some pieces of equipment that on the surface look like they are all the same. Kettlebells, weight plates, Olympic bars, suspension trainers, rings, medicine balls etc etc. (They are not all the same but that is a topic for another time)

Then there are other pieces of gear, that , well are unconventional. One of them is tractor tires! (a fitness tire!) Get a 300 lb or 400 lb tractor tire and flip it. Yahoo! Actually, they are fun, challenging, and a great total body challenge.

They should be very inexpensive, right? Go to an old place that services tractors or trucks.


Most of these organizations would gladly help out with you taking 1 or 3, because they are difficult to dispose of, correct?

In fact, disposal of old tires has become a topic of environmental debate in the last number of years.

Tire derived fuels (TDL) have become a hot topic when looking for proper way of disposal. In BC, in 2007 they created Tire Stewardship BC which is a non profit organization that focuses on proper disposal of the 37000 tonnes of tires that need to be recycled annually in the province (that is 1 car tire per person in BC per year to dispose of. Reference


They are also messy. They smell of toxic fumes, are dirty and laced with chemicals!

The good news is that industries like flooring and artificial turf have found a home for some of these tires, with many organizations going through an extensive cleansing process to remove toxins and chemicals from the tires. They have broken them down and created a solution out of recycling tires!

But what about the problem with introducing used tires to your fitness offering and their toxicity?

Every tire flip incorporate core, your major muscles from fingertip to toes. Do a few in a row and you have an awesome high intensity workout. Drag them, push them and now you have variety that allows you to work on speed, balance, power and more.

What about deadlifts in them? Or plyometric push-ups? How about a safer alternative?

Offering fitness today is all about providing workouts that are safe, customizable, attractive and keep people coming back.

So STAK Fitness is pleased to bring the TIyR© by Escape Fitness to Canada!


The awesome Escape Fitness TIyR© maintains the rawness of regular tire flipping as seen on Strongman videos, but has been adapted to suit the rigours of any functional training zone. Manufactured to Escape’s high standards it also looks great and stops you from having to drag an ugly, dirty tractor tyre into your facility. It also comes with straps and as such provides far more uses than a regular tractor tyre. Soft but heavy, simple but innovative and still super tough like the real thing, they are a must for every functional zone.

  • REDUCED DIAMETER BUT INCREASED MASS means that not only is it challenging to lift but it will also land flat when pushed over for added safety.
  • UNIQUELY MANUFACTURED by combining polymer foam and steel shot, the weight is evenly distributed. The centre and internal edges are smooth giving you a new, safe platform to jump on, off and in to which multiplies the exercise possibilities.
  • ENGINEERED DOUBLE STITCHES NYLON GRAB HANDLES continue over the sidewall providing dead-lifts and Farmer’s Walks exercise option.


See more HERE

Contact us at to get these to your facility as soon as possible!

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New research shows a strong correlation between participation in campus recreation and the recruitment, retention, and overall health & wellness of students.

Have a look at these statistics:

  • 68% of students report that campus recreation facilities influenced their decision of which college / university to attend.
  • 62% of students report that campus recreation programs influenced their decision of which college/ university to attend
  • 74% of students report that campus recreation facilities influenced their decisions to continue attending their chose college/university
  • 67% of students report that campus recreation programs influenced their decisions to continue attending their chose college/university

NIRSA outcome chart

See the entire results and document here: 2014 Report

STAK Fitness has recent installations at UBC Okanagan, Simon Fraser University, Mount Royal University, University of Winnipeg , University of Alberta, University of Manitoba, University of Calgary, Georgian College, McGill University, University of Waterloo, University of Toronto (to name a few) in support of fitness facility upgrades.

Our focus is premium equipment as tools for better engagement with students and the community. At the University of Alberta, our equipment tracked a 28% increase in participation with our networked fitness solution.

For a free assessment of your fitness facility and solutions, contact us at STAK Fitness has a team of representatives ready to support your offering.

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Ever been to a local pub in England or Ireland? From that old television show, where everyone knows your name? That can be found in many towns in Canada as well, where you feel at home and comfortable when out for a pint and sandwich.

There is a sport conditioning (And STAK Fitness customer) studio in Guelph, Ontario called SHIFT, with the same feeling. That is where my son trains and he is always greeted with a hello, by name, and his surrounded by like-minded peers from different sports, self-motivated and there to get better, stronger, faster. They support each other and the trainers are really coaches and teachers, and they make the young athletes feel comfortable.

One could even argue that coffee shops across Canada have developed that same feeling. Ever go into the small town coffee shop in different parts of the country? You will find a feel of community – even if a big name brand.

These places feel like home, you feel like you belong, and surrounded by folks who have lots in common with you.

From dictionary: a community is a group “who share common interests or common heritage”.

The benefits of community are significant when it comes to offering fitness.

It is one of the most powerful magnets your fitness center can have.

So your patrons have that feel when they walk in?

At STAK Fitness, we specialize in helping those whom offer fitness create an atmosphere of community. Where patrons look forward to going and belong. We recommend commercial fitness equipment as a means to an end, surrounded by programs that include sales, marketing, education and revenue generation opportunities.

Since 2010, STAK Fitness has worked with over 3000 facilities across Canada. From condominium fitness centers, Personal training studios, hotel fitness, to sport conditioning, municipal fitness centers, university fitness, college fitness and high school fitness offerings. Corporate fitness centers, national defence – you name it, if you offer fitness , we can help.

We do more than provide equipment, we provide tools for a better fitness offering.

For a FREE customized assessment, send an email to, and one of our of regional experts will help asap.

Imagine: a fitness center where everyone knows your name!

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