The 2013 IDEA World Fitness Convention™ (August 7–11, in Los Angeles) was a thrilling, information-packed ride of an event for attendees, volunteers, faculty, exhibitors and staff.
As 2013 IDEA Fitness Inspiration Award recipient Peter Twist, MSc, said during his moving acceptance speech at the Opening Ceremonies, the 8,000 fitness pros in attendance lived their World experience “from the front seat of the roller coaster” on a continuous loop of excitement that kept everyone on their toes. And while the Los Angeles convention itself was a sublime celebration of learning, it was even more about connecting people, the profession and the positive current that walloped you in the heart while you were in the midst of it all.
For many, it was a pilgrimage. Delegates came from nearly 60 countries this year, including places as far away as Kenya, Vietnam and Russia. Attendees went home profoundly altered and inspired by the experience—transformed so they could transform others.
What’s Your Learning Style?
Whether you were a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner, your appetite was sure to be sated. This massive event—with 360 educational sessions, 15 in-depth preconference sessions and a 3-day trade show—served up a big, tasty slice of health, fitness and nutrition pie for all.
Visual. There was a ton of equipment, apparel and nutritional eye candy to feast on in the IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo. The best part was that you could do more than simply look; touching, tasting and trying were all encouraged. Product knowledge is the key to innovation and variety, and this hall did not disappoint. Especially noteworthy was the expansion of the IDEA World Healthy Cooking Stage with its constant churn of cooking demos, food samples and lectures filling the space. Nutrition is a gathering force in the fitness equation, and it's here to stay.
Kinesthetic. With a plethora of sessions ranging from loaded movement, body leverage training and parkour to self myofascial release, dance, yoga, Pilates and barre to mixed martial arts, high-intensity interval training, cycling and much more, you simply couldn't miss. Attendees who learned best by doing reaped the benefits of what may have been the richest physical program IDEA has ever put together.
Auditory. Delegates rounded out their education diet by absorbing lectures on exercise science, nutrition, business, communication skills and obesity. Getting your sweat on is great, but the pages of notes taken at this event outweighed the wet fitness gear in the backpack. Attendees could earn up to 22 CECs over the course of the week from a top-notch faculty of almost 200 presenters.
Management: Being the Best Brass
As the fitness industry grows, so does the need for capable managers, owners and directors. The leadership buzz was appreciable this year, with some notable paradigm shifts:
- Positive psychology has moved from the executive self-help branch to the larger management pool. Fitness leaders are jumping on the idea that “energy flows where attention goes” and are taking steps to focus more on what they want from employees instead of what they don’t want.
- Corporate fitness and wellness strategies are the rage as fitness professionals prepare for new national healthcare policies that may open worksite doors to unprecedented opportunities. Many presenters pointed out that the American Medical Association’s classification of obesity as a disease—announced in June—could be a boon for facilities with solid programs in place for the overweight population.
Personal Training Goes Deep
Personal training has based its foundation on sound, individualized program design. But with the industry continuing to swell—seemingly in step with the world’s waistlines—many IDEA World Fitness presenters challenged participants to go deeper. Is there more to personal training than well-executed exercises?
Going inward. Focusing on the connection between stress and chronic pain, Justin Price, MA, cocreator of the BioMechanics Method, departed from the physical and focused instead on the mental and emotional aspects of chronic stress. Toward the end of the session, he invited attendees to partner up and asked one person in each pair to assess the other’s legs for a difference in length. He then requested a repeat assessment, but this time the person being assessed was to think of something that provided “immense joy.” Gasps of disbelief floated through the room. As though by magic, every person receiving the assessment experienced change.
Freedom to move. Dan Edwardes, founding member and director of Parkour Generations in the United Kingdom, suggests it’s time to think out of the gym box. In both of his parkour training sessions, giggles and laughs abounded as participants unsteadily performed lunges on balance beams and launched into tuck rolls. It was apparent that attendees were enjoying themselves, despite the wobbly limbs. Enjoyment leads to consistent engagement, Edwardes said.
The Best of Inner IDEA®: Movement Magic
Wholeness, awareness, mindful mastery—these are just a few hallmarks of the Inner IDEA Conference, which is known for its transformative programming. This year, attendees got a taste of Inner IDEA with select offerings, including tai chi, Feldenkrais®, chakra nutrition and meditation. This in itself would have been an amazing mind-body-spirit track, but the overall program offered even more.
While teaching proper alignment is still high on instructors’ checklists, many yoga, Pilates and fusion teachers are encouraging people to focus less on “perfect” alignment and more on how postures feel from the inside out. “Alignment is just the gift-wrap, and while that may be gorgeous, it’s what’s happening on the inside that offers true beauty,” said Kelly McGonigal, PhD, in her session “Breathe Life Into Your Poses.”
For more information on what happened at the 2013 IDEA World Fitness Convention™, see the article in the upcoming October issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
Photography by Len Spoden.