30 Cheers for 30 Years


Today is Monday, the day following 4 days of the most rich and fun IDEA World Fitness Convention I’ve ever attended. I am both exhausted and elated.

This morning I woke up with flecks of glittery eye makeup still clinging to my face, reminders of the great parties I attended during the weekend. The makeup will wash off, but the inner sparkle I gained over four days of pure atomic energy from 6,000 attendees hailing from more than 80 countries is permanently engraved inside me. What a wild and fun ride this one was!

With IDEA marking its 30th anniversary, the cache of the event was already special, but there was more to this than the simple marking of time and cutting of a birthday cake. It was a milestone for the whole industry. We are so young, but we have come so far from the days of spandex and high impact aerobics. Fitness professionals are exploring, discovering and inventing new ways to move people (both physically and psychologically). We are the catalysts who make transformation happen. 

The sheer size, depth and breadth of the education were astonishing. Over 300 sessions that blended the most recent science-based material with fully practical implementation burst with ideas that had people madly scribbling notes to get every ounce of information. The expert faculty of 180 presenters delivered everything from a massive (and massively fun) boot camp on the aircraft carrier Midway to a dance off (IDEA Supreme Dance Battle) to see which group exercise choreography brand would walk away with bragging rights (Zumba by 1% of a text vote over LaBlast). And then there were the deeply intellectual, science-based but practical sessions that IDEA is known for. There was 30% more nutrition programming than we’ve ever planned to address one of the biggest challenges clients have: food and diet issues. I’m trying to “use my words” but I can’t do justice to the programming by talking about it here because it was simply too vast and rich to describe in a blog post.

The IDEA Fitness & Wellness Expo was our biggest ever and was pretty much a fitness professional’s fantasy come true. You could try all of the latest equipment and be filled with product knowledge from more than 200 exhibitors in 420 booth spaces (it took me two days to get through the Expo this year). You could eat and hydrate in the brand new Nutrition Pavilion, be entertained by eye-popping choreography on the Exertainment Stage or learn (and taste) healthy recipes from chefs at the BE: Fueled Cooking Stage. Heck, I even bought a hydroponic tower garden from Juice Plus so I can grow organic veggies on my patio in the heart of San Diego’s urban core. Imagine that—buying a hydroponic garden at a fitness convention! It’s a sign of the times. We have turned onto a different trajectory.

Our final coverage in IDEA Fitness Journal (October issue) will include many more details than I can offer here; it also will bring the story to life visually with photos and video so you can better understand what this IDEA World experience was like. Stay tuned to get a taste.

To everyone who came and made the event so special—attendees, presenter faculty, exhibitors, press, Assistants and VIPs (Jane Fonda! Elaine LaLanne! Dr. Pam Peeke! Tara Costa!)—the whole IDEA tribe thanks you. We are charged up to top ourselves with next year’s event so we can keep redefining fitness for the future.

I’m off to scrub off the rest of this glitter. When I’m done I will look like my normal self, but know that I am forever transformed on the inside because of the last four days.

For all you do to Inspire the World to Fitness, IDEA salutes you!