In many ways, the IDEA® World Convention is the ultimate group exercise experience—it’s just you and 10,000 of your workout buddies powering through electric combinations of movement and motivation.
My big confession? As a first-time World attendee, the thought of all the sessions—from big groups to boot camps to cycling—was a bit intimidating. What could this group experience offer to me as an individual? Would I get lost in the crowd?
Turns out, being an IDEA groupie is really pretty fun. And educational. And inspirational.
As Grace De Simone pointed out in her amazing “The Back Row” session, groups offer our clients both a social experience and anonymity (think camaraderie and camouflage). There will always be superstars, but some of our most valuable clients are those who took their biggest step forward by just summoning the strength to walk through the door.
I use the word “just,” but Peter Twist, MSc, wouldn’t. After asking his group to “just do 10 reps,” he caught himself, reminding everyone in his “Purposeful Program Design to Layer Results” session never to minimize the effort that it takes for clients to complete each movement. He finds magic in “a body that works . . . living a more active life and starting to expand your world.”
Lynne Skilton-Hayes creates that magic for her groups, drawing on how important the group experience was for her in turning her life around and finding her way to fitness. “I love group fitness,” she says. “It’s a lot of hard work, but that’s where the magic happens.” Skilton-Hayes’ session, “Group Exercise Applications for Training the Posterior Chain,” was, in fact, magical for attendee Audrey Mak from Vancouver, Canada. “One day I would love to be a master trainer,” says Mak. “When I heard that Lynne once had that same goal and is now there, I’m so inspired.”
Mak left the class with both inspiration and the Inspiration Medal. “Never doubt yourself,” she says. “Reach for your dreams.”
Those dreams are limitless, and there is still so much to explore. There are bands and barres and boot camps and BOSU® balls. From Bollywood (so much joy!) to the pool (could there be a better way than to start your day with Lawrence Biscontini, MA?), Group Ex is filled with innovation, inspiration and, yes, perspiration.
And then you go to the Expo.
It’s like a group class with 350 different segments. It’s a chance to try new equipment from companies like Hedstrom and TRX®, work out in the new Mega Circuit arena, try new nutritional options and, wait“what’s that other thing? Oh, yes. Shop. And shop. And shop.
Turns out, going to World is just like a group class. You thrive as an individual, but you’re a part of something bigger, embracing the synergy that only comes when people work together for a common, life-changing goal. And I must confess that there’s no place I’d rather be.