Supplier of sports equipment for six Olympics and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Nerio Alessandri with digital innovation and the sophisticated Wellness design has revolutionized the approach to sport and workout

Nerio Alessandri

Nerio Alessandri

His mantra is wellness. In stark contrast to the more muscle-based brand of fitness that originates from the Usa. Nerio Alessandri, 54 years old, a self-made man from Cesena, Italy, and owner of Technogym, has revolutionised - in little more than 30 years - the approach ta-ken to sports, which includes physical exercise, but also a healthy diet and a positive mental attitude. «It is an intensely Italian way of life, which is rooted in the Roman saying of “mens sana in corpore sano”, meaning a healthy mind in a healthy body», the entrepreneur tells Capital. «It is 100% Made in Italy wellness».

Just like the sports equipment with which he has conquered the world is 100% Made in Italy. Research, planning and production are concentrated in and around the Romagna area, in the Technogym Village in Cesena. Opened in 2012, it extends over 150,000 square metres and is the first example of a wellness campus in the world. «Yet it is a global brand», says the head of the company, who manages 2,000 employees, 1,000 of which are based in Italy the rest spread throughout the 14 commercial subsidiaries in Europe, the United States, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and South America. «We export 90% of our production to 100 countries».

It is estimated that every day more than 35 million people use Technogym products, which are installed in 200,000 private homes and more than 65,000 wellness centres the world over, including those of Google and Facebook in Silicon Valley. Technogym has also been chosen as the official supplier for six editions of the Olympic Games: Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Turin 2006, Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016.

What’s more, it will be the exclusive supplier for the Rio Olympic Games, providing a total of around 1,000 pieces of equipment installed across 16 centres and 50 professional trainers for all the athletes. Its digital platform, Mywellness, rounds out its product offer. It is the first and only wellness cloud which allows everyone to access their training program wherever they are and at any time - at the gym using Technogym equipment and in their daily life via an app on their smartphone or tablet.

Digital development is also guiding the corporate strategy on the consumer front. Technogym has just launched MyRun, the interactive at-home treadmill with a personal tablet that allows customers to access their personalised content and programs from their homes. «Technology and innovation have always been a fundamental part of Technogym», says Alessandri, who, just like Steve Jobs, came up with the initial pieces of equipment in his home’s garage. It was 1983: «Technogym grew out of a combination of my passions, technology and design, so Techno, and sport, therefore Gym».

Yet it is not just a question of business. What matters to Alessandri is ensuring that future generations have sustainable social development: «We have to restart the world», he states, returning to the concept of wellness as a unique opportunity for everyone. Governments, first and foremost: «We need to educate people to take care of themselves. It will help the state coffers that are already overburdened by unsustainable healthcare costs and, ultimately, the entire economy».

The data backs him up: a 10% reduction in cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death, which is greatly alleviated by physical activity and healthy eating, corresponds to a growth in Gdp of around 1%. It is no coincidence that Technogym launched an international campaign in 2014, entitled Let’s move for a better world, with the aim of promoting physical activity for everyone all over the world. We can all actively take part. All we have to do is go to the gym and donate our workout to one or more social causes (to find out more: