Find Your Success Factor

by Mary Monroe on Jan 26, 2010

Watch for this year’s hottest programs, top trends and most effective success strategies coming soon to the 2010 IDEA Fitness Fusion Conference™.

In today’s challenging market, with savvy consumers demanding more than ever, do you have what it takes to stand out from the crowd? You can find out how to attract new clients and keep current ones coming back for more at this year’s 2010 Fitness Fusion Conference, April 22–25 in Rosemont, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

Fusion brings together the industry’s most in-depth education and the latest new moves, equipment and training techniques for personal trainers, group instructors, program directors and fitness business owners. This year’s conference will feature 131 sessions, more than 40 presenters and the opportunity to earn up to 25 continuing education credits. Over 50% of the program will consist of brand-new sessions—in other words, a lot of fresh thinking and bold solutions to help fitness professionals excel in spite of a challenging economy.

“Learning is the wellspring to success for fitness professionals,” says Fusion conference presenter Christi Taylor, district director of group fitness for Pure Fitness health clubs in Arizona. “If you ever get to a point where you believe you have nothing else to learn, you’re in big trouble. When education stops, you’ve hit your peak performance—and it’s all downhill from there!”

Another Fusion conference presenter, Shannon Fable of Boulder, Colorado, is founder and chief executive officer of Sunshine Fitness Resources, LLC, and owner of Balletone®. Fable agrees that taking advantage of educational opportunities is mandatory for success in the current fitness market: “When we operate in a vacuum day after day, week after week, year after year, we run the risk of getting stale and complacent. Our customers deserve more! The success of any fitness program relies heavily on keeping up with the times.”

This year the Fusion conference is focusing on IDEA members’ most-requested topics, including food and metabolism research; “hybrid” programming that addresses both personal training and group instruction; small-group and partner training; dance trends; indoor cycling programs; skills for working with older adults; sports conditioning; TRX® Suspension Training®; and more.

The Fusion event will also have more personal training programming than ever before, with in-depth education in areas like core and balance training, biomechanics, assessment and correction, program design, training techniques and business and career strategies.

Other highlights of the 2010 IDEA Fitness Fusion Conference include the following:

  • the Midwest’s largest selection of indoor cycling education programs, featuring both Schwinn and Keiser, with exciting equipment debuts of the new Schwinn® Authentic Cycling Performance Bike with MPower™ Console, and the Keiser® M3 Indoor Cycle.
  • 4 groundbreaking preconference workshops: Schwinn Indoor Cycling Instructor Training Course, Group TRX Suspension Training, the Twist Sport Conditioning Summit and STOTT PILATES® Foam Roller Plus
  • 3 new 4-hour Intensive courses: Crucial Components for Training Older Adults; Play, Passion and Profit: The Winning Formula for Designing Youth Athletic Programs; and Abs Lab, the A–Z Course in Core Training
  • more opportunities for fun with friends and networking with industry leaders during the Fusion Fun Happy Hour & Product Showcase Giveaway on Friday afternoon (Enjoy a drink on us, as well as surprises and special giveaways from exhibitors, at the Fusion Product Showcase.)
  • Indo-Row®, the hit rowing workout launched at the 2009 IDEA Fitness Fusion Conference
  • over 30 select companies at the Fusion Product Showcase, where exhibitors provide attendees the chance to preview the latest in fitness and training gear, equipment and programs
Find Your Winning Moves for 2010

“Every trainer, group instructor, director and owner is unique—so the tools and ideas that will bring success for their careers or businesses are a little different,” says Aprile Peishel, MA, IDEA director of event programming. “That’s why we include such a wide range of programs, presenters and topics at the Fusion conference. There’s something for everyone. You go home with new training and techniques you can use the next day—that’s really important in a competitive market where clients expect you to offer a lot of value. Just as often, attendees go home with ideas and inspiration that take their work in exciting new directions they had not considered before.”

The 2010 Fitness Fusion Conference will address a variety of strategic topics to help fitness professionals increase career opportunities, clients and revenue. We asked Fusion presenters to tell us more about the benefits of exploring these subjects.

#1: Hybrid Fitness Professional Techniques and Programming. One of the hottest new directions in fitness is the “hybrid” fitness pro. Hybrid professionals develop skills and provide services that are applicable to personal training and/or group instruction. “Combining group fitness and personal training is a great way to get clients. It gives you incredible exposure, and people get to test out your training style so they want more,” says Keli Roberts, fitness personality and personal trainer for Equinox in Pasadena, California. “There are only so many classes you can teach in a day. Personal training saves your body, while group instruction keeps you fit. It’s a perfect complement.”

Carol Murphy, team leader for Flexi-Sports USA and educational director for Drums Alive® USA and Canada, says, “The hybrid fitness professional is far more than a trend—it is the future direction of our industry. We will see a big increase in the numbers of group instructors and personal trainers crossing over to learn each other’s skills. The concept is a win from all perspectives—member, trainer, instructor and club.”

#2: Small-Group and Partner Personal Training. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Peter Twist, MSc, president and chief executive officer of Twist Conditioning Inc., also believes the industry will shift to more partner and small-group training. “Small-group personal training can be used with sport teams, corporate groups, individuals interested in a common theme or goal, or training clients who are simply bundled into teams or groups. Education is important, though, because it’s much more difficult to coordinate groups than one-on-one training. You have to learn classroom management skills, [ways to integrate] participants of varying abilities, and active coaching to keep clients safe and give everyone due attention.”

Twist notes that small-group training can include factors such as functional and sports conditioning drills that require two or more people, elements of team building, and training that leverages competition and camaraderie for the best results. “It’s important to have a strong workout roadmap. Small-group training is like organizing a practice for a sports team, so you need to learn those skills.”

#3: Food, Metabolism & Behavior. Fabio Comana, MA, MS, exercise physiologist and faculty member at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego, will be presenting a conference session on metabolic training. “Cardio programming has traditionally been based on the use of mathematical formulas that are inherently flawed because they’re not individualized to a person’s unique metabolism and metabolic responses to exercise. Recent research has allowed us to shift away from these antiquated formulas and introduce new models that identify the client’s unique metabolic markers. This ushers in a new era of cardio programming for weight management and performance, where results in some cases can be virtually guaranteed.”

Conference presenter Jenna A. Bell-Wilson, PhD, RD, of Chicago, is a registered dietitian and board-certified specialist in sports dietetics with a doctorate in exercise science. “It’s important for fitness professionals to be aware of the latest information because we are asked questions about what consumers are seeing,” she explains. “It’s a balance between debunking and educating. For example, when high-protein diets were hot, it provided an educational opportunity to correct misconceptions about protein and carbohydrates.”

Just a few of the current hot trends in food and nutrition, says Bell-Wilson, are back-to-basics foods with minimal ingredients, locally grown and sustainable foods, more in-depth labeling on food packages and in grocery marketing, and an emphasis on postexercise intake for optimal recovery.

#4: Focus on Older Adults. You can expand your market reach by learning a wide range of creative new techniques that focus on the growing demographic of older adults. Annette Lang, MS, owns a successful personal training business in New York City and will be presenting a 4-hour intensive session on “Crucial Components for Training Older Adults.” She will discuss reactive drills to improve gait and balance, assessment for joint restriction and strategies to promote pain-free range of motion.

Lang says, “I never consciously said to myself, ‘Annette, start learning about working with seniors.’ Several of my training clients got to the age where they are considered seniors. It was a natural evolution as I saw changes such as challenges with balance and quick changes of directions, fatiguing quicker, needing more cues, joint issues. One client needs an extra confirmation when we change the appointment time! As trainers, we need to be aware of how our training sessions might change as our clients age. We [must] be prepared for what our clients will need from us as they get older.”

#5: Effective Program Direction. Attendees at the IDEA Fitness Fusion Conference can find out how to bring in new clients and increase client retention through an in-depth Program Director Mini-Track.

Fable believes program directors can benefit from programming that uses measurement to fuel motivation. “For example, the new Schwinn MPower bike and the Indo-Row program help participants take real data and make it work for them. The most important factor when reviewing programs or products with data output is to make sure the education behind the programming is user-friendly both for the instructor and the customer. Students shouldn’t feel like they need PhDs to use the information. But the more members can see and learn about what they’re doing, with measurable progress, the more likely they are to stay put.”

 #6: New Dance Moves. Christi Taylor believes the biggest comeback for 2010 is dance fitness, and Fusion will offer an eclectic selection of fun, user-friendly choreography. “There are new styles of dance hitting the studios around the country with tremendous success—Zumba®, hip-hop and belly dancing, to name a few, as well as the return of old-school moves like step and high-low.”

Conference presenter and dance fitness expert Juliane “Julz” Arney of Costa Mesa, California, has created class formats for club chains like Crunch® and 24 Hour Fitness®. “I love all the freedom and flexibility out there now to get people moving to music in so many forms.” She notes that big chains are having success with branded, prechoreographed, high-energy dance formats that do not require previous dance training for instructors. At boutique, high-end urban clubs, dance class popularity is more reliant on the personality of the instructor. “Perhaps most inspiring are the young instructors at university recreation centers and community colleges who are teaching dance workouts and completely redefining what it means to teach fitness,” she says. “Just as texting replaced passing notes in class, this generation is coming up with their own way to communicate movement, and they have stripped off a lot of what can make teaching dance seem complicated. I’m looking forward to how this will change the next wave of dance fitness classes across the board.”

Arney advises dance fitness instructors to be persistent in finding the right location to teach at and the students who want to be there. “You’ve got to find your crew. I can go to two facilities in the same city, and in one it can seem, sadly, that, ‘dance is dead,’ while in the other, I’m doing back flips over how many people were in the dance classes. The first (or second, or third) place you teach may not have a dance crowd, but keep looking and you’ll find your people—sometimes in the most unexpected venues.”

Los Angeles-based conference presenter Patrick Goudeau, choreographer of the recent “Butt Blasting Cardio Step” workout with Kim Kardashian, emphasizes that the key to dance’s staying power is fun. “Dancing makes people feel good. The best thing for me about teaching dance is when that one person comes up after class and says, ‘I haven’t moved like that in years!’”

Goudeau cautions dance fitness instructors to challenge students without overwhelming them. “You have to remember it’s not about you. Save the performing for the stage. Give students challenging choreography so they can feel successful and leave class with a sense of fulfillment, rather than a sense of failure. Mix it up! Your class should be as diverse as your students. As long as it’s fun and a workout, dance will never go out of style.”

Fitness Journal, Volume 7, Issue 2

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About the Author

Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe IDEA Author/Presenter

Mary Monroe is a freelance writer in the Los Angeles area.