A unseasonally overcast Sunday in Emilia Romagna was a good day to look in on some choreographed energy courtesy of the Rimini Wellness Festival.
‘Wellness’ is a bastardisation of ‘wellbeing’ conjured up as part a world domination package by Technogym, a ubiquitous high flying fitness company in these parts. The company began marketing their home and professional gym products in 1983 and 25 years on the business of ‘looking good-feeling great’ is obviously still a major money spinner.
The Technogym stand at in the exhibition hall oozes success but it’s patently clear that they now have a lot of noisy rivals looking to steal their potential customers. Pumped up personal trainers push willing souls through their paces who copy their every move in scenes which made me think of Queen’s ‘Radio Ga-Ga’ video. These slaves to the rhythm tap into the peer pressure that tells us that the body beautiful must be both slim and muscular. An army survival course proved popular where young woman were taken through their paces. This included crawling through a muddy tunnel after which they were unceremoniously hosed down:
I found the experience quite overwhelming and looked in vain for a Zen meditation space – the healthy body is one thing and the weary soul is quite another.
I was also struck by the lack of convincing nutrition stands. There were few good non-meat alternatives – one stand sold wholemeal pasta which looked like dog food. Young Italians are clearly hell bent on looking good but the logical link to vegetarianism is still not a connection which is being made.