Rom Machine

History of the ROM machine

Posted on: July 20, 2009

The ROM Machine is the brainchild of John Pitre, hailed by many as America’s leading surrealist and social commentary painter, selling more prints worldwide than any other artist. His paintings addressed the themes of over population, drugs, and ecological deterioration already during the 60s and 70s, well before they became obvious problems of our times. In addition to being a talented artist, John Pitre is often called a modern day DaVinci, holding over thirty patents to his name. Through his scrupulous study of human anatomy in the arts he has also designed the world’s most advanced fitness equipment, the ROM cross trainer which was awarded the Best of What’s new in 1993 by Popular Science Magazine.

The ROM machine was conceived of and designed while Pitre was living in Telluride, CO. In the winters, he would ski to keep in shape, and in the summers hiking provided ample opportunity for fitness training. However, in spring, the snow would melt, but the trails were too treacherous for hiking, so staying in shape became difficult. In John Pitre: The Art and Works of a Visionary, he writes: “This challenged my creativity and passion for invention, so I analyzed what I could put together to prevent us from getting totally out of shape before summer came. Within short order, pulleys, ropes, iron bars and other interesting leftover parts borrowed from the mines around Telluride began to appear in my barn, which I slowly transformed into a gym of sorts. [..] In time, I discovered that if the weight declined at precisely the same rate the user’s muscles lost strength, he or she could continue the exercise well past the point when the muscles normally failed.”

This eventually evolved into what John Pitre called The Time Machine, reflecting the time savings benefit that the ROM cross trainer offered its users. In 1990 John Pitre approached Alf Temme to manufacture the ROM machine. Temme had a long history of working in the health and fitness industry. After undergoing changes in the industrial design of the ROM machine which streamlined it for easier manufacturing, the ROM cross trainer took the shape it has today, and for the most part the design hasn’t changed much in the last 19 years.

The first years of manufacturing and marketing the ROM machine were filled with challenges, including the heavy skepticism on the part of consumers. The ROM cross trainer’s claims of a 4 minute workout were just too hard for many people to swallow. However in 1993 Popular Science Magazine awarded the machine and its makers the prestigious Best of What’s New awarded, which granted the machine more credibility. The company began to sell more and more of the machines, and referral sales became a great source of continued sales. However, the scientific community still remained skeptical of the revolutionary fitness claims of the ROM machine. This was soon to change, though.

In 1996, a Japanese scientist by the name of Nishimura Tabata published a study “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max,” which is now recognized as one of the foundations of the high-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, exercise strategy. The studies of Tabata and other proponents of HIIT have shown that this method of exercise can be more effective at burning fat and maintaining, or building muscle mass than high-volume, lower intensity work-outs. Finally the high-intensity short duration physiology behind the ROM machine was supported by studies in the scientific community. Further studies have proven that HIIT increases the resting metabolic rate for the following 24 hours due to excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, which explains how a user can burn a similar amount of calories after working out 4 minutes on the ROM cross trainer as they would as a result of performing a traditional cardio workout like jogging or cycling.

As a result from the increasing acceptance of the validity of HIIT fitness and growing sales because of word of mouth, demand for the machines increased so much that in 2003, the company had to move its production facility to an 82,000 square foot factory in North Hollywood, CA. The ROM machine’s components are fabricated at this location from raw materials (sheets of metal, bar, tubing, etc) and assembled, the final product being crated in custom wooden crates, waiting to be delivered to their final destination.


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