Take a brief walk into the past with us to gather perspective.
It was 1982. Ronald Reagan was president. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was around 795 points. M*A*S*H, Hill Street Blues and Magnum P.I. were the hot prime-time television shows; Late Night With David Letterman aired for the first time. John & Yoko topped the charts with their Double Fantasy album; Michael Jackson unseated them later in the year with Thriller. These were the days of suits with shoulder pads and BIG hair for women, and of thick mustaches and bad sport coats for men. Maybe a few geniuses in Palo Alto, California, knew what the Internet was; the iPod wasn’t even on the drawing board . . . and IDEA was launched from a spare bedroom in our house.
Today, 25 years later, the Dow hovers around 12,000. So much pop culture has come and gone it’s hard to keep track of it. One thing we know for certain is that IDEA Health & Fitness Association is more vibrant than ever, and we’re energized and excited about the future. Thanks to you, our cherished members, we’ve grown from our 300 charter members to a current total of more than 20,000 in over 85 countries.
In researching some of the anniversary-themed articles and events we’re planning for 2007 to celebrate this happy occasion, we recently had reason to visit our editorial archives. As we combed through the succession of our early newsletters and magazines, we were reminded of all the individuals who have contributed their time, sweat and considerable creativity to make IDEA what it is today. We humbly thank each and every one of you—from all past and present members and staff to our authors, presenters, advisors and volunteers. It is clear to us that the body of work you’ve inspired and helped us build over the past 21/2 decades is a legacy that needs to be shepherded onward for future generations of fitness professionals. We are proud to be the stewards of this legacy—your legacy!
The IDEA staff has planned many fun and interesting ways to mark our 25th. The editors have something special brewing for every issue of IDEA Fitness Journal this year. Starting next issue, look for a column called “Icons and Innovators” that will feature a one-page interview with each of nine leaders in the industry about their hopes and dreams for fitness and wellness over the next 25 years. Other special editorial features we have planned include “25 Things to Watch For,” which will cover what’s expected in the realms of research, equipment, apparel, fusion concepts and program design; “The Fitness Facility of the Future”; and “25 Deliverables for Future Wellness Consumers.”
On the education programming front, if there’s one fitness education event you attend this year, make sure it’s the 2007 IDEA World Fitness Convention® (July 5–9) in San Diego, IDEA’s global headquarters. In addition to first-class education and networking opportunities, get ready for receptions, parties and extracurricular activities that will deliver an experience you won’t soon forget.
In the early days, IDEA’s goal was to help fitness instructors gain access to reliable professional information. We started by sending the first IDEA newsletter to a membership of 300, and later we created the not-for-profit IDEA Foundation (now the American Council on Exercise, or ACE) to offer the industry’s first certification. In addition, IDEA introduced the industry’s first Code of Ethics and the first awards to recognize professional excellence in the fitness field. In 1989 the organization hosted the first conference for personal trainers, and the following year a trainer newsletter was created that later turned into IDEA Personal Trainer magazine. Personal trainers now make up our largest membership category, with approximately 10,000 members. We are also committed to providing relevant data to the industry at large through our annual IDEA Fitness Programs & Equipment Survey (now in its 12th year) and our biennial IDEA Fitness Industry Compensation Survey. Managers and program directors have told us repeatedly that this research helps them plan programming, staffing and employee raises with confidence.
For 25 years, IDEA has provided health and fitness professionals with unbiased data, pertinent information, educational resources, career development tools and industry leadership. In addition to personal trainers, those calling IDEA home include body-mind-spirit professionals, program and fitness directors, business owners and managers, and group fitness instructors. True to the educational vision of our earliest days, our focus remains steadfast on providing practical resources based on science and written by industry experts. A long succession of publications has led us to our current three: the award-winning IDEA Fitness Journal; IDEA Fitness Manager (now 19 years old!); and IDEA Trainer Success, a publication that focuses on the business and entrepreneurial aspects of starting, owning or directing a personal training studio or program. To make member access to educational material even more simple and convenient, last year we rolled out the online IDEA Article Archive. By going to www.ideafit.com and clicking through to the archive, you can search the database of articles published in the past 5 years and open and print any that you need.
Also in the spirit of providing access to information through 21st century technology, we’ve added two monthly e-newsletters in the past couple of years to further service the growing fitness and wellness professional communities. IDEA Fit Tips & News is a digital digest of excellent fitness information. Inner IDEA Body-Mind-Spirit Review specifically covers emerging research and significant trends in the holistic wellness arena. Both are free, so if you’re not currently subscribing, go to www.ideafit.com and select the Fit Tips link; or go to www.inneridea.com and click through the Body-Mind-Spirit Review link.
Attendance at IDEA’s annual World Fitness Convention has grown from the original 600 to over 5,000, making it the world’s largest educational event for health and fitness professionals. Another 2,100 professionals attend our IDEA Fitness Fusion—Chicago® (April 19–22) and personal trainer education conferences. This year, look for a major change in our conference format for our personal trainer event, which will now be called the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute® (October 11–14, in Orlando, Florida). In order to provide a more intense, intimate, hands-on learning experience, we are capping attendance at 500 and adding exciting new elements to the programming. Stay tuned for more details on all of these great events.
Last year we introduced Inner IDEA®, a new extension of IDEA that aims to “Inspire the World to Wellness Through Body, Mind and Spirit” as its purpose. This new division has its own website (www.inneridea.com), conference, newsletter, educational-products line and community. The Inner IDEA Conference (September 7–9, in Palm Springs, California) is devoted to body-mind-spirit fitness and wellness practitioners who are looking to broaden their scope of understanding and experience within disciplines such as yoga, Pilates, Gyrotonic®, integrated fitness and many other specialties. The Inner IDEA community has grown vigorously over the past year, and we expect it to continue to thrive over the next decade.
Motivated by the severity of the obesity epidemic, in 2002 we challenged ourselves and our members with a new mission: to Inspire the World to Fitness®, reaching sedentary populations with education and resources. As we enter the 5th year of this mandate, we feel confident that IDEA members are making a meaningful difference by educating communities around the world and leading by example. All you need to do is read the Inspire the World to Fitness column every issue to see the good work you and your colleagues are accomplishing. Keep those stories coming—there’s nothing more rewarding to us than hearing about your successes.
In addition to the anniversary celebration this year, look for major overhauls of both the www.ideafit.com and www.inner idea.com websites. Our commitment to improving our Internet technology infrastructure and Web designs will translate to a more intuitive, user-friendly online experience for you. This will include shopping, real-time session selection, search and find tools, online learning functions and enhanced opportunities to connect with the global fitness and wellness community. Note also that we are continuously fine-tuning our line of educational products; it is growing by leaps and bounds to offer you a rich and varied selection of learning resources. Look for our latest educational-products catalog in your next issue.
Reflecting on the past has given us cause to look forward with clear optimism and high expectations. Many married couples renew their vows on their 25th. On this, IDEA’s silver anniversary, we renew our commitment to provide our members with the industry’s most credible education and resources. We pledge to continue as a nonpartisan leader in the industry and provide you with the tools you need to make your career all you dream it can be.
Join us in toasting the next 25 years. This celebration is as much yours as it is IDEA’s!
Yours in health,
Kathie and Peter Davis