The Greatest Blessing—and Curse—of IDEA World Is That You’ll Learn Too Much

by Sandy Todd Webster on Aug 08, 2013

“Precon” day at IDEA World Fitness Convention is always like old home week for me. I can’t walk 20 feet without seeing someone I need to hug, kiss and reconnect with.

Today as I spent quality time cruising around the 15 preconference sessions, it gave me an excuse to visit the past and recall so many good memories I’ve had under the umbrella of this great event. And while the convention itself is a sublime celebration of learning and connecting, it’s really more about the people, the profession and the positive energy that wallops you in the heart while you’re in the midst of it all.

TRX education gurus Dan McDonogh, Fraser Quelch and I have history. Their first-ever presentation at this event was the same year as my IDEA editorial debut at World--Anaheim 2002, I believe. They were business partners back then (Fit for Play and Core Storm) who brought fitness to kids in schools. Their optimism and enthusiasm were fresh and over the top. And guess what? Their optimism and enthusiasm for teaching others is still brilliant.

These guys authenticate the education they create through their active lifestyles. Dan is an elite road and mountain cyclist (he just finished a trip to France where he completed several stages on the Tour de France for fun). Fraser is an avid rock, alpine and ice climber, as well as skier and mountain biker. They pursued separate interests around 2004, but here they were, partnered and doing what they do best as a team—sprinkling magic in a room full of eager students who couldn’t get enough of their programming in an 8-hour session.

It made me incredibly happy to see them presenting together again. I think my joy stemmed from realizing that we had all “grown up” in this industry together. We’ve provided each other with support and encouragement over the years and now it’s time to pass that tradition on to the next generation of professionals.

As a wrap up to the day-long session, Quelch laid out an ironic observation and, in the spirit of great teaching, he coupled it with a lesson. “The greatest thing about IDEA World is that you’re going to learn too much, he said. “The greatest challenge of IDEA World is also that you’re going to learn too much. More than you can possibly use. My challenge to you is to write down the top three things you learn here each day. By the end of the conference you will have collected 12 big rocks, which is probably nine rocks too many.”

When you return home on Monday, apply those three take-aways, he continued. “Be disciplined. By Friday you will find you’re actually a little worse at using your new skill--because whenever you apply something new you have to take a few steps backward until you can master it. Once you have those 3 things mastered, move onto the next three things you’ve recorded, and then onto the next 3. If you fail to meet this challenge, you're still going to have a lot of fun and a great experience here. But because you haven't applied it, you will really be no better than when you came.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m writing down my top three take-aways from today’s pre-conference sessions now. I don’t’ want anything to "take away" the knowledge I feel is meant to be mine forever.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.