Interview with our partner Xenios

Xenios is one of the major brands on the market today that produce equipment for CrossFit training. We are more than happy to have the opportunity to work with Xenios. Below is an interview with the director of Xenios Europe where you can read about the history of the brand and the equipment they produce. Below the interview you can find pictures of some CrossFit boxes that have been equiped with Xenios products.

1. Hello Jacopo, we would like to ask you a couple of questions about Xenios. Can you introduce yourself shortly and tell us few words about Xenios.

In a few words: I have been working in the Fitness Industry for about 18 years. I have started with the food supplements and then quickly moved to the equipment. I have been mainly involved either with the international sales and (that is also my passion) with the products R&D and products suppliers management. After having followed several industrial project for several important Fitness brands and after having travelled within several countries, I have decided to start running my own business. Thanks to a cooperation with a group of USA guys, all involved with the Strength and Conditioning items development and all addicted to working out (same as me), in the end of 2009 we have incorporated in the Xenios USA project all the ideas we had. Mainly: to run a new company and a new brand who could own all the knowledge to develop an innovative and full comprehensive range of workout items, all focused on to the new trend of the functional training and Crossfit training. By developing the above idea we worked all along the 2010 in order to set up a whole range of Fitness Products and we gave the birth to the first two catalogues: the Functional Training one and the Fitness one (which concern all group training activities). Since one of the main purposes we had was to let the Xenios USA project be alive, we have never stopped to improve the range and the quality level. Today Xenios USA can count on 4 catalogues and more than 300 references: Crossfit and Functional Training, Freeweights, Fitness and a special one just for Tech Flooring. The 2011 was the first year we really went to business. Xenios USA LLC in the States and we, the Xenios USA European side, on the rest of the international marketplaces.

2. Your motto is “Everything but the machines”, how come?

It is quite simple: when Xenios USA was born, the new “era” of training was about to come (at least in Europe, because my USA partners had already working on it for several years). I am of course herein talking about the functional training, as seen in its wider dress. A kind of workout focused on to the “body” of the athlete, where strength and cardio machines couldn’t play a major role. So, that’s why we wanted to have a motto that could highlight our soul: all of our workout tools must be “used” by the athletes and no one of them can “use” the athletes as gym devices use to do when they drive users’ movements.

3. Tell us something about Xenios Europe.

Xenios USA landed in Europe sonn after its birth, cause it was born from a team of USA and European Fitness Experts. Xenios USA in Europe is made of a team of 10 people all working under the name of the company who represent Xenios USA in Europe: DUKE SRL, that is also the company I am the CEO of. We keep being an important part of the product development project because we keep acting (same as it was when we founded Xenios USA), as product developers and maker managers together with the USA side of the project. Besides, of course, we work on promoting, marketing and selling Xenios USA in Europe and all along the other international markets outside the US. We have several Fitness experts we work with: biomechanical engineers, mechanical engineers, graphic designers etc. What I like to put an accent to is that all of our experts are athletes who are using our products and who give us constant feedback about the products. We listen to our customers and experts and see ourselves as a fast product development and improvement machine, that learns from those who are really involved with the workout needs.

4. You have everything that a CrossFit box can possibly need. Tell us more about your CrossFit equipment.

Stations for CrossFit

The XFIT Range (this is the name we gave to the range of the stations for Crossfit boxes) is made by following two main targets:

1) Stiffness and durability

2) To be as much as possible tailor made and cutomized for the customer on his own needs. We have created a lot of solutions (pre-set configurations), but we have createdt the stations to have as a big range of parts as possible. Eventually, we can put a rack together in as many ways as possible in order to fit almost all needs of our customers.

All XFIT range is made by using 60x60x3mm steel tubes (11 gauges) and all hardware is made of M12 zinc plated bolts. Round tubes (where people perform pull-ups or muscle-ups) are 4 mm-thick. The painting is made with a special kind of powder coating mixed with a really fine texture compound that provides enough grip but it is not too so much and will not hurt your hands.

Our power come also from the fact that we have never bought any XFIT items as it is on the shelves of some maker. We own all the know-how and the drawings and that is also the reason why we can fit the need of our customers anytime. For instance (and it has happened many times) by making special outdoor proof Rigs.

Bars

We have a wide range of bars but the ones thought for severe workouts, like the Crossfit ones, belong to the Competition and Professional ranges. Besides the Aluminum Technique bars, all of our steel bars are made by using just 60Mn and 65Mn bare steel bars that are the only spring steel bars that can be heat treated in order to feature up to 200.000 PSI tensile strength.

We use three different kinds of finishing for bars and sleeves: hard chrome (that is almost forever lasting), Nikel-Phosphor plated (provides a strong coating to the steel but with a greater maintenance-need than the hard chroming) and the Black Oxide treatment, used on our entry level bar.

All of our sleeves are fixed at the bar by using a double safety system: a steel fork inside the sleeve and two snap-rings outside of the same: we care about safety and we really want to avoid any chance of sleeves’ snap offs.

High-end bars carry a combination of needle and ball bearings. All made by FAG or SKF, while lower-end bars carry a bronze bushing sleeves’ revolving system: not so smooth as the bearings one but durable and ok for any kind of Crossfit workout. Our bronze bushings are all overused to last longer.

All Crossfit bars are made without the central knurling, the shaft is 28 mm diameter and the knurling has our own reverse-diamond proprietary design. All Crossfit bars carry either the Power Lifting and the Olympic Weightlifting marks.

Crossfit Bars shafts are all lifetime warranted, if used on to proper flooring.

Bumper Plates

We have three series of Bumper Plates: the Competition one, made according to all IWF rules and specs, the XFIT one, colored and made by using up to 80% of virgin rubber and the TRAINING one, made by using up to the 50% of virgin rubber.

What’s most important to say about the bumpers:

1) Our inner ring are bonded with the rubber by using a proprietary mean and so the steel ring can’t really be detached by the rubber plate. It is easier to break the plate than to detach the ring.

2) We have fixed the blend of the rubber for all plates after having test dozens of receipts and we are the only one on the market to warrant our plates up to 2 year (according to the range of the plate and the flooring where they are used on. Anyway, the minimum warranty time is 6 months and it is also by far longer than the one provided by most of our competitors).

3) The 5kg bumper plates we provide with the XFIT and TRAINING ranges are the same ones. We stopped to market a “standard” black training bumper plate since we found our the bumpers haven’t any chance of really long-lasting with the standard rubber blend used by most of makers. Our grey color 5kg plate is made by mixing rubber with PE and it makes it stiff enough to bear up to 10.000 continuosly drops from 2 meters height (continuosly drops job is rated three to four times severer than touch and go one !) either by following a straight line of drop and by going down being 30° inclined.

Racks

Here we can go to the answer I gave for RIGS. What’s more? We have recently developed a special kit for those who want to switch their tradition racks in to power cages….more about that very soon on our web site and in the Suprfit Blog.

Kettlebells

We have either the steel competition KBs and the RKC-style cast iron KBs. From the next mass production on we will make the steel KBs buy using a special and expensive “gravity casting” mold so to give the KBs a really perfect surface. We will also use a special kind of steel to forge the 32 mm. diameter handle and it will be (one of the first on the market) a full rust-proof feature. Notice: our steel competition KBs are one of the few to carry the handle designed asked by the Gyrevoy Kettlebell Federation !

Regarding the cast iron KBs, we are proud about our latest issue: the EVO range: it is made by using lost-wax molds that can dramatically improve the surface quality (compare with traditional sand-casting molds). Moreover we have moved to a special e-coating treatment of the KBs surface so to give them a really long lasting painting, even in case of KBs hits.

Dumbells

We decided to be different from all others, by using our own design: octagonal rather than hexagonal, then we developed the DBs by trying to fix the most important issues on such kind of product:

1) To have a no-smell rubber blend

2) To have a special weight ends retention mean on the handle in order to keep users safe in case of hidden inner breakages of welding lines (common when DBs are drop on the floor) that can result in to a DBs’ weight edges suddenly detachment.

5. Then you have everything someone can possibly ask for in order to start a new CrossFit box. Tell us something about the quality of your products and about the production process.

Quality is our must. We keep working to offer our customers a professional-use product and it involves all the steps of a product development process: from the drawings up to the mass production and the QC after any mass production batch. When we think about quality we think about the “total” quality so even the after sales service is a must that can be involved in to the quality target. What many brands haven’t yet understood of this new market is the way workout tools are used. Since when the Crossfit and the Functional Training were not so popular, bars, weight plates, dumbbells and so on, were mainly stored on to beautiful racks and just lifted up to perform some biceps curl. Crossfit and Functional Training need the workout tools to be abused, dropped on the floor, slammed against the wall and so on. So, from our point of view, the concept of the word “quality” got changed to match the next step of quality meaning for workout tools. Any workout tool must be thought in a completely different way than it was before. Let’s say that we like to think of our items as a 4wheels-drive Jeep among many traditional road cars. I hope this helps you understand what I mean.

It is by the way really important to say that we keep learning from CrossFiters needs that can always bring to us new surprises: you can’t believe how many times we have started over to think about a products that seemed perfect when drawn and tested in to the lab. It may mean that some of our products had their own problems once abused by the customers and it is true, but, as I wrote here above, we keep the after sales service as one of the mile-stones of our Quality concept and, meanwhile, we keep developing the products right on the base of the feed-back of the customers who are the ones that need to “dress” themselves with our stuff.

6. What is the advantage of Xenios compared to other major brands?

We listen to the market and we act in order to follow the market needs. Our market is made by athletes!

We keep looking for better solutions and we keep developing them into new workout tools. Many of our products were born thanks to a feed-back of one of our customers. We do not aim to provide ever-lasting training tools cause it would be almost impossible but we want at least to provide the tools that really fit the trainers’ needs.

We aim to provide customer a consistent after sales service so to let him feel us together with him, not just at the time he is about to place an order !

We can provide on most of our items a tailor made service (for instance: the XFIT RIG and RACK range for Crossfit). And we can do that cause we own the know-how and the mass production for most of our stuff

7. What is your relation to functional training and CrossFit ?

I am not a Coach and I am not an L1 certified. I am just a manager who has been playing hard lots of sports for a lot of year, including Crossfit and Functional Training. Sports for me are the cure for most of our century diseases, including the stress brought by the more and more competitive society we are living in. So, I am a manager who believe in to the benefit of the sports!

I like to get in to WODs any time I workout in to the Crossfit boxes we have close to our HQ.

I personally envy the Crossfiters cause I think they build a really ready-to-all body.

8. Why do you produce and distribute equipment for CrossFit?

Cause I personally felt in love with this kind of sport and I really believe it is the future of the Fitness. I believe it can be what all people really need, either they are looking for a weight loss activity or they are looking for a way to increase their life performances. It is a cost-less sport and it can really be fitted to all kind of people: from the professional Firefighter up to my Granma. I do hope most of the traditional gyms will soon start to think Crossfit and to set up a corner for their members, where to teach them this wonderful brand new way to workout. I do hope trainers will start to seriously think about their university studies of biomechanic : our body was not invented to move itself on a single plane and on a single direction; our body wasn’t thought to involve one only muscle district on each movement: it will mean to finally discover the limits of all the strength machines we get use to see in to gyms. I thank strength machines producer cause they moved in to gyms people who wouldn’t have thought to training ever, but now it’s time to look ahead.

9. How do you see the future of Xenios in Europe and its relation with CrossFit affiliates and athletes?

We all here at Xenios USA – Europe are working to set up a reliable network of specialist dealers who are meanwhile ready to get marry with Xenios USA. We have already started to do business in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, UK, Croatia and Switzerland and we aim to reach more and more countries. Besides the sales, I want to see Xenios USA as a partner brand for Crossfit box’s owners and athletes. I want to be able to support contest and to support athletes but I really want to be also a business opportunity for box’s owners (most of the times are also athletes). I want them to find a reliable partner in Xenios USA and to count on us to let their business and their passion to grow up.

End of this year will equip either the Promofit Games in Portugal and the Italian Throw Down in Italy and I do hope it will help Crossfiter to know us more.

On next year we will keep being present at the most important Fitness Trade Shows and, meanwhile we are also going to have one or two more athletes in to our team of Crossfiters. Right now, Mattia from Italy and Gregor from Germany gave us really good feed back and I believe athletes sponsorships could be the right way to set a win-win cooperation: we have more and more info to develop the products and they find a support for their workouts and contests attempting.

Thank you very much, Jacopo!

Pictures of CrossFit boxes with Xenios equipmetn (all rights of the pictures belong to Xenios)

CrossFit 6P - Germany
CrossFit 6P – Germany
CrossFit 6P - Germany
CrossFit 6P – Germany
CrossFit 6P - Germany
CrossFit 6P – Germany
CrossFit 6P - Germany
CrossFit 6P – Germany

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