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Fitness Innovation

When I think about fitness innovation, I am reminded of a quote from what I consider to be the greatest locker room speeches of all time to come out of Hollywood. It’s from the 2004 movie Miracle, a true story about the 1980 U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Hockey Team. The main character, Coach Herb Brooks, is played by Kurt Russell. In the locker room scene, Coach Brooks opens his speech with the statement, “Great moments are born from great opportunity.”

Opportunity happens when people think really hard to solve problems. It is the mindset of “never quit” thinking until you are convinced that a solution to your problem has been discovered that wins the day. The power of thought is immense. When enough focus goes into to thinking it through, that’s when innovation flourishes.

HOTWORX continues to bring new fitness innovations to the marketplace and each of them began with a problem that needed to be solved. Enter critical thinking. I don’t know of anything that I enjoy more in business than a good brainstorming session with colleagues or just with myself.

Got a problem…think it through!

We had a problem with our patented Thunder Row machine experiencing small leaks from the water tanks. This problem generated three ideas to increase the operational efficiency and improve the workout experience of the rower. We developed a drip pan and a backsplash engineered to fit with the function and design of the water tanks. And then, I was approached by our Director of Project Management, Victoria Price, with a solution that seemed to have really come out of left field. She wanted to test something different than water to provide resistance in the tanks. The first idea was to use sand, which worked but it wasn’t the right feel for the rower. It was to much of a grind and the sound of the rowing was off. But that did not stop her from thinking of a better way forward. A few weeks later, Victoria brought up an idea to use water absorbing orbs. I had never even heard of such a thing. After months of testing and tweaking, Thunder Orbs were born out of the critical thinking process.

The University of Louisville has a very precise definition for critical thinking. Here it is: “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.”

Another way to think of it is to remember the old adage, if you can conceive it and believe it you can achieve it!


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Stephen P. Smith, MA
CEO and Creator of HOTWORX, Author, Former National Collegiate Bodybuilding Champion and Arena Football Player, Certified Professional Trainer


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