The SportsArt Revolution

With offices around the world servicing 80 countries, SportsArt provides superlative technology and equipment that empowers fitness, medical, performance and residential communities to create healthy bodies and a healthy environment. SportsArt stands among the largest single-brand manufacturers in the world, serving as a shining industry example of how to foster positive environmental and social change with products that are inclusive, durable, energy efficient and cost effective.

Ruben Mejia (Executive Vice-President, Americas at SportsArt) stresses that SportsArt has always been ahead of the curve. “We’ve worn our values on our sleeve since the company’s inception,” Mejia says. “Sustainability has always been a guiding principle—it’s part of our DNA. We cherish our values and are thankful that sustainability is now mainstream.” Partly what makes SportsArt so special is its commitment to galvanizing others to join its mission of sustainability. “We maintain that it’s our duty to create a network of like-minded partners. Frankly, I’d love it if our competition would join us in this project.”

SportsArt now offers more than 150 exercise equipment products that have collectively reshaped and elevated current industry standards. Its status as a global industry leader is a consequence of decades of hard work, in addition to the rather simple but perhaps all-too-rare practice of welcoming new ideas. “We listen to our customers’ wants and needs, and our design teams listen to one another,” Mejia explains. “This is why we’re confident in what we do and why we’re so proud of our products.” Mejia is quick to applaud the impact of students in higher education, as well: “Students are driving this movement of sustainability. They care about the environment and want exercise and rehabilitation equipment that aligns with their values. It’s not at all uncommon for students to reach out to us.”

Mejia isn’t exaggerating. Consider the story of Elina Pipa, a junior at Brown University, and her role in coordinating with SportsArt to bring its sustainable, energy-generating equipment to campus at Brown’s Nelson Fitness Center.

Brown University’s Nelson Fitness Center
During her enrollment in a Climate Solutions course at Brown University, Pipa researched and developed a policy brief that identified a specific climate problem and solution. Her goal was to bring the kind of exercise equipment equal to the task of making a tangible and sustainable impact on her campus. Mejia offers a glowing account of Pipa: “She’s a brilliant young woman, and her project was extremely thorough. It was persuasive and set in motion the process of bringing our equipment to Brown.”

Pipa identified Brown University’s Nelson Fitness Center as the ideal setting for the project, and it speaks volumes of SportsArt’s reputation that Pipa identified the company as the ideal equipment provider. Thanks to Pipa’s proposal, the Nelson Fitness Center has been piloting the use of SportsArt’s ECO-POWR™ equipment. SportsArt collaborated with Brown University to determine which equipment best suited its students’ needs and values. “We want students to be able to compare our equipment to what they’re accustomed to, and to show them that not only are the biomechanics similar to what they already have, but that ours save and even generate electricity.” For now, the Center offers six pieces of energy-generating equipment: two G690 Verde Treadmills, two G778 Steppers, the G866 front-drive elliptical, and the E876-16 elliptical, which is equipped with a 16-inch entertainment touchscreen. Mejia is particularly excited to talk about the G778 Stepper: “It harnesses the energy of human movement and converts it to clean, usable electricity,” he explains. In fact, SportsArt’s ECO-POWR™ premium cardio equipment turns any campus recreation center into a green fitness solution. Combining user-friendly controls, reliable durability, and unmatched sustainability, equipment in this line converts up to 74 percent of user-generated energy into clean, renewable electricity.

The pilot at the Nelson Fitness Center is currently underway. Student feedback has proven stellar, and conversations about refreshing the project with additional units is ongoing. “All parties involved agree that Brown should bring in more units. We’re excited to see what happens next.”

Student Outreach at SportsArt
SportsArt welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with more students like Pipa, those who are invested in the same goals of sustainability as the company. “We’re ready to work with students on all kinds of projects,” Mejia stresses, “and we’re doing all we can to get the word out. Student outreach has taught us that students love our products.”

On the first day of 2024, SportsArt used its website to introduce a brand-awareness campaign called Campus Challenge. The goal is not simply to market to college students but to empower them as decision makers. “Students have strong opinions about what they want in fitness and rehabilitation equipment. They should play a role in determining which equipment meets their standards of quality, sustainability, and durability.” SportsArt’s Campus Challenge invites students from across the country to accept the challenge of making their campus more sustainable. Students are asked to post a simple video on TikTok on behalf of their university and to explain what they’ll do to motivate others on campus to step up to the planet’s environmental challenges. Such is SportsArt’s commitment to influencing positive change on campuses across the country that three entries will be selected to win prizes totaling $140,000 in SportsArt’s ECO-POWR™ sustainable fitness equipment for their campus rec centers.

SportsArt’s consumer-oriented educational model is consistent with its commitment to building campus communities that value fitness and sustainability. SportsArt provides on its website a variety of educational resources, all of which inform students and others about green fitness; similarly, the resources work to demonstrate how the equipment makes an ecological and economic impact, whether in a single facility or, more broadly, across campus. Among the resources is “The Ultimate Sustainable Gym Checklist,” which includes a list of items in multiple categories that users can follow to upgrade their fitness spaces into the greenest gyms possible. SportsArt understands that a green planet can’t be built overnight but must instead be managed by gradual change, one workout at a time.

SportsArt and Student Recruitment
Common practice among prospective students is a tour of the campus, which invariably includes a look at its campus recreation and fitness facilities. These facilities have widespread, often instant appeal, serving not simply as hubs for exercise and fun but as spaces to socialize and relax. When students see they have a green component as well, they take note. “Campus-rec professionals recognize that students come to college ready to make a change,” Mejia says. “They want to play a role in something bigger. Facilities that invest in our equipment are aware of its value. Imagine you’re a student. You’re seeing a gym for the first time, and the tour guide says, ‘Okay, we have equipment that helps to offset carbon footprint. We have equipment that generates power as you use it.’ This is when the name of SportsArt comes up. The role we play in student recruitment and retention is one we’re proud of.” Because SportsArt offers equipment that can generate electricity as it’s being used, the need to buy electricity is reduced, so the number of fossil fuels burned is also reduced. It is precisely this kind of information that allows students to see how they can make a difference in their community while also contributing to the larger effort of creating a healthier planet.

Inclusivity and Accessibility at SportsArt
As an industry leader in the green fitness, SportsArt’s ECO-POWR™ technology has revolutionized how students and other users think about cardio workouts. The built-in technology embraces the connection between our individual actions and their impact on the environment, and it does so by turning workouts into clean, renewable energy. Just as the technology allows for better workouts, it also motivates users with meaningful impact metrics such as watts generated, as much as 220 wH of electricity per workout hour. For students, such a metric is a visible reminder how they can improve their fitness while serving environmental needs.

Mejia is especially proud of SportsArt’s success in creating brand inclusivity. This is a core philosophy of the company—to embrace inclusivity and accessibility with its technology. “We need to rethink the traditional gym, and it doesn’t take much to bring in others who want to exercise. Let’s get everybody working out. Let’s have a space for everyone.” Several SportsArt products offer motorized ride assistance, and SportsArt trainers set facilities apart by offering distinctive moving paths and multiple workout options within the footprint of single machines. Users who require technology for rehabilitative purposes enjoy SportsArt’s ICARE technology—intelligent control providing movement that is neither always assistive nor always resistive. It is designed with an “assist as needed” approach in mind, not unlike what a therapist provides physically and intuitively while gait training a patient. Students in need of rehabilitation benefit immensely from ICARE, and the technology frees clinicians from hours of strenuous manual lifting while also improving the users’ access to assistive technology.

The values of SportsArt align with that of a generation of students who demand more. They are deeply invested in inclusivity and accessibility, and they have grown up with an elevated consciousness about the needs of our planet. They are not satisfied with the status quo in their lives or on their college campuses. SportsArt is proud to be a part of helping them to break barriers and improve the planet through innovation that doesn’t require compromise, and SportsArt’s revolutionary equipment plays an important role in that.

About the Author
David Vinson, PUPN staff writer, has a PhD in English with specializations in transatlantic literature and cultural studies. He is a committed scholar, teacher, husband, and dad. If you ever meet David, avoid the subject of soccer. His fandom borders on the truly obnoxious.