Personal Training Institute

by Mary Monroe on Jul 01, 2007

Welcome to a brand-new kind of educational forum for success-minded trainers' with more in-depth education, extended sessions, smaller classes, fewer distractions and a personalized environment for highly focused, hands-on learning.

Assessment. Coaching. Functional training. Peak performance training. RTS® exercise mechanics. Postrehabilitation. Core conditioning. Muscle activation. Women’s health. Obesity treatment. Corrective exercise.

Ask today’s top trainers what the future holds, and the list of skills in demand is long. “Training is a hot career area because, more than ever, people see the value to their health and quality of life,” says Aprile Peishel, MA, IDEA director of event programming. “That’s the good news. The challenging part of the picture is that people want and expect more from trainers—and that has raised the bar for the whole industry.”

The IDEA Personal Trainer Institute was developed to meet the challenge, with more concentrated, intensive education for trainers who want a powerful knowledge base, advanced skills and a competitive edge. The new event will offer the most extensive educational opportunities available for personal trainers.

The IDEA Personal Trainer Institute debuts this year, October 11–14, with 71 sessions, 37 presenters, 35 all-new programs, more than 20 CEC hours and an intimate forum limited to 500 attendees. Early sign-up is essential, as some sessions will have as few as 20 participants, and none will have more than 100. (Note: Real-time session selection is now available, eliminating waiting time to find out what sessions you will be able to attend.)

“Our members said they wanted more hands-on training, more opportunity to focus on specialty areas and more time to network, ask questions and train on equipment,” explains Peishel. As a result, the 2007 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute will introduce a number of new focused learning formats, including the following:

  • 4 Extended Education sessions, included in the registration fee, that offer intensive 4- and 8-hour training courses, each with a certificate of completion
  • many sessions extended from 2 to 3 hours to provide more extensive training
  • 5 hosted meals (breakfasts and lunches for 2 days, plus an evening reception with hors d’oeuvres) included in the registration fee, each offering unique opportunities for specialized learning and networking with other trainers and industry leaders
  • The IDEA Marketplace, which replaces the bustle of the expo hall and allows attendees to meet one-on-one with influential equipment and education providers who represent the latest and best products in the industry
  • special workouts and activities offered for the first time for trainers’ own fitness regimens during the event, including power yoga, GPS adventure training and TRX® suspension training
  • new Midday Breakout sessions that allow participants to take a long or short lunch break and also to attend midday sessions if they choose

Work Hard, Play Hard at the Magic Kingdom®
The inaugural IDEA Personal Trainer Institute will take place at one of the world’s most innovative and entertaining locations: The Walt Disney World® Resort at Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Attendees will stay at the modern architectural landmark, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, set against the backdrop of the Magic Kingdom Park and complete with monorail transportation. Spacious rooms feature theme park views, and the lakeside hotel offers white-sand beaches and a marina with water-skiing, parasailing and rental watercraft, including pontoons, canopy boats and Jet Skis. There’s a 1.1-mile running track around the resort and video arcade games, in addition to a fitness center. Golf courses, spas, shopping and shows abound. Two heated pools, a hot tub and a waterslide are also available for fun. Dining options at the hotel range from Chef Mickey’s casual buffet to fine dining in a 90-foot-high atrium, where you can watch the monorail whisk by. In the evenings you can enjoy fireworks from the viewing deck on the fourth floor.

There’s easy access to the area’s four theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot®, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park.

One special feature this year at the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute is an action-packed, just-for-fun preconference session presented by the Disney Institute. Disney’s The Incredible Race will allow you to test your team’s ability to perform in a new environment as you explore Epcot and the Epcot Resort area, progressing through a series of challenging puzzles that take you from point to point.

Getting Down to Business

How will you grow your personal training business or career in today’s demanding and competitive environment? You’ll get plenty of ideas at the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute, where you’ll find a greatly expanded business and career skills curriculum.

“What we keep hearing from successful trainers is that personal training as a viable career path is only possible if trainers build strong business skills,” says Peishel. “You can be a fabulous trainer, but if you don’t know how to run your business, you may not have the opportunity to share your expertise with clients.”

The business component of the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute will include topics such as these:

  • Managing With Intention
  • Training 24-7? How to Increase Your Profit Potential!
  • Journey to Success: How to Sell Without Selling!
  • TOMA—Marketing Magic for Your Small Business!
  • Scope of Practice . . . Where Fitness Ends and Nutrition Begins
  • Pricing Your Services (Panel)
  • Fitness and Medicine—Keys to Successful Relationships
  • Great Trainer—Great Business?
  • Breaking Away . . . From Club Trainer to Entrepreneur
  • Going for Greatness!

“If you want to be successful, surround yourself with successful people,” says Todd Durkin, MA, who is presenting “Going for Greatness!” Durkin owns Fitness Quest 10 and Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego and was the 2004 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year. He explains that “Going for Greatness!” will be a roundtable mastermind group made up of forward-thinking fitness entrepreneurs looking to improve their businesses, their marketing knowledge and themselves. “Through strategic facilitation and coaching, trainers will leave with action steps and a game plan for improving their ‘time freedom,’ ‘money freedom’ and, ultimately, their overall success.”

Visions of the Future

Trainers who attend the 2007 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute will get a glimpse into the future of the industry, with a variety of opportunities to familiarize themselves with upcoming trends, new equipment and programs, and new business and career directions. The Welcome Breakfast will feature a panel of experts exploring “Visions of the Future” and what trainers can expect in the years ahead.

We asked a few of the presenters to give us their picks for top industry trends that will be featured at the conference. Here’s what they told IDEA Fitness Journal:

Youth Athletics

“Youth-athlete performance training is a fast-growing business and a wonderful opportunity for personal trainers to make a difference in young people’s lives.” —Todd Durkin, MA


“The most important component of any personal trainer relationship with a client is the connection. Your clients have many complicated aspects concerning why they do or do not succeed. Knowing exercise physiology is crucial, but not if you can’t listen and speak to someone.” —Annette Lang, MS

Medical and Rehab Alliances

“The fitness industry has never been in a better position to nurture the relationships with the medical and rehabilitation alliances. But lack of documentation, communication and follow-up to the referring physician or therapist can negatively impact professionalism, outcomes and [continuation of the] referral network with the medical community. In order to gain trust, trainers need to have sound principles and concepts through a solid understanding of human movement, physiology and effective communication skills.” —Chuck Wolf, MS

Boot Camp

“Boot camp, along with large-group outdoor exercise classes, is a growing trend in the industry. At the Personal Trainer Institute, I will provide a blueprint program that covers . . . organizing, marketing and running a boot camp program that can bring in more than $5,000 per month.” —Todd Durkin, MA

Merging Trainer and Group Exercise Skills

“As trainers, we have to professionally evolve and reinvent ourselves as ‘hybrid’ fitness professionals who combine the skill sets of group exercise instructors with the technical expertise of a personal trainer. For example, an exceptional group exercise instructor has relationship-building and coaching skill sets that are critical for personal trainers as they branch out into training special populations and small-group classes.” —Bob Esquerre, MA

Training for Chronic Pain and Injury

“In the future, trainers will need to understand the significance of the muscular system and how it relates to chronic pain and injury. As Baby Boomers continue to age, and their health status begins to suffer, they will be looking for trainers that can provide them with more than a basic exercise routine.”—Greg Roskopf, MA

Women’s Health, and Weight Management

“Women need more awareness of their own physiology, and we can help them. For example, women are often trying to manage their weight but have little awareness of even the internal organs that are responsible for digestion. My experience shows many do not know where the stomach is or even how big it is. As for weight management, women continue to berate themselves and override their bodies’ natural cycles. When a client’s day is wrecked by falling 4 ounces short of her ‘weight loss goal,’ we have to ask ourselves, ‘What we are doing wrong?’ We need to help clients measure success in terms of activities of daily living and quality of life for long-lasting transformation.” —Rochelle Rice, MA

Compliance Coaching

“Traditional personal training can create an unbalanced dependency for clients on their trainers, resulting in low client compliance (10%–25%). Blame is often put on clients because they are not doing what they need to do on the 4–5 nontrainer days each week. The integration of compliance coaching skills shifts the balance by effectively identifying where clients are in their change process and teaching appropriate self-management skills that lead to much higher client exercise compliance (75%–90%) and long-term sustainable change.” —Susan Block Vézina

Fitness Journal, Volume 4, Issue 7

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© 2007 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe IDEA Author/Presenter

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