Let's Get This Party Started!

by Mary Monroe on May 01, 2007

You'll find everything you need to know at this year's one-of-a-kind, fun-packed fitness celebration.

It’s going to be the most exciting, cutting-edge, thought-provoking convention in the history of the fitness industry—and one party you don’t want to miss, according to the team that is planning the 2007 IDEA World Fitness Convention. “We had two primary goals with this event,” says Aprile Peishel, MA, director of event programming for IDEA. “One was to have the strongest education curriculum in the industry, to give fitness pros what they need to succeed; and the other was to make this the most fun, unforgettable celebration our members have ever seen.”

The focus on fun stems from the fact that this year’s convention is doing double duty as the international festival marking IDEA’s 25-year anniversary. IDEA was born in 1982 to introduce industry education and professional standards as the fitness revolution got underway (think calisthenics, leotards, big hair and Jane Fonda).

“Over the past 25 years, fitness has proved to have serious staying power. Instead of fading, the fitness revolution just kept growing, and evolved into the wellness revolution that we’re experiencing now,” says Kathie Davis, IDEA co-founder. “The hard work and dedication of fitness professionals have brought the industry to where it is today—and we want to give them a chance to celebrate themselves and their accomplishments. We also want to give them all the tools and information they need to continue to thrive and excel in the future.”

This year’s event features more than 300 fitness sessions, with 145 of them premiering at IDEA World Fitness. “What’s really unique this year is that we looked for the newest, most fun, most exciting programs we could find—in fact, nearly one-half of our sessions this year are brand-new. We wanted this to be different from any event we’ve ever had. For example, we’re offering “Laugh Your Abs Off!”—a session that blends abs training with comedy. “Cycle Karaoke” combines singing and biking. We’re presenting “Stiletto Strength by Crunch®,” where you bring your own heels and get to strut your stuff on a catwalk. It’s all about having fun and finding new ways to bring health and fitness to clients.”

Coming Together to Celebrate the Past, Inspire the Future

At 2007 IDEA World Fitness, the industry’s top experts, presenters, performers and success stories will be on hand to celebrate how far fitness has come. “When I first started teaching classes in the late ’70s, it was more about having fun with friends and getting in shape than worrying about whether the workouts were safe or efficient. In 1978, I came out with my first exercise album. It was actually a vinyl LP!” recalls Kathy Smith, leading fitness and wellness expert and 2003 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, who has sold more than 16 million videos worldwide. “We’ve come a long way from those days of leg warmers and high-impact workouts to a disco soundtrack. These days, you can download workouts to your iPod or purchase a DVD on any movement style, from kickboxing to Latin dancing. The 25-year time span has taken us through different fitness styles, music styles and advancements in technology. What a journey, and what fun it’s been!”

Smith will lead the world’s top presenters for the special “It’s a Wrap!” 2-hour workout and choreography extravaganza, complete with prizes. Other 25th-anniversary-inspired sessions include “Dance Totally ’80s” (Culture Club, anyone?), “Step Celebration!” (with 25 eight-count step combos) and “Bringing It Back!” (featuring classic high-low impact).

The celebration will kick off on Friday morning at the opening ceremonies with industry leaders of the past 25 years, presentation of the IDEA 2007 Health & Fitness Awards, exciting performances and a multimedia presentation to take you down memory lane. On Friday night, you can join IDEA friends and legends for the 25th anniversary party: “Celebrate in Silver.” There will be entertainment, dancing, a light buffet—and some surprises. (Don’t forget to pack something silver to wear!)

All the Right (New) Moves

This year’s event will introduce groundbreaking programs, equipment and trends that are creating new directions for the industry. For example, Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® equipment and training will be offered for the first time at IDEA World Fitness. Dance classes will include everything from Zumba® to hip-hop, boogie to funk and everything in between. “Pogo Boot Camp by Crunch®,” is a new high-intensity, high-flying ride on “ultra pogo sticks.” Another first is the “BOSU® Block Party Workout!”—a one-of-a-kind circuit packed with drills, skills and block party–style energy.

Dance fitness in all forms appears to be enjoying a resurgence. “Dance is such an expressive form of fitness,” says Angie Bunch, inspiring professional dancer, Nike-sponsored dance athlete, and founder and executive director of Culture Shock Dance Troupes Inc. “I’m really excited to share that with IDEA attendees this year and to celebrate 25 years of dance evolution.”

Says new presenter Jeff McMullen, “I think one of the reasons dance is popular is because the music is so great right now. There are so many styles to choose from, and dance is a universal language. There is no right or wrong way to move and set your spirit free. It’s contagious!”

Juliane Arney, dance fitness specialist and lead master trainer for Schwinn® Cycling professional education, believes that one of the best ways to share the joy of dance as a fitness form is to keep it simple. “My passion as an educator is to create and share simple formulas for all types of group exercise class design, leaving instructors more time to do what they love—teach! When it’s simple for the professional, we see more instructors reaching more people every day.”

How to Succeed in the Next 25 Years

Preparing for success in the future as the industry grows and changes is perhaps the most important theme of this year’s convention. “We’ve expanded our programming in so many areas—in body-mind training and coaching, personal training, dance, water fitness, fitness for women, career planning, management and business,” says Peishel. “If you want to understand what’s coming in this industry and what you can do to make the most of it for your career or business, you’re going to find it at this event.”

The focus on the future will begin with entertaining and insightful keynote presenter Paul Zane Pilzer, author of The New Wellness Revolution (Wiley 2007), who will look at future trends and describe creative tools and techniques that can give fitness professionals a competitive edge.

That’s just the beginning. In several special panel sessions, industry leaders will generate candid and even controversial discussion of future trends and hot topics. “Lessons Learned From Fitness Celebrities” will feature industry legends Judi Sheppard-Missett, Kathy Smith and Tamilee Webb, MA, discusssing how they’ve stayed successful and revealing what worked—and what didn’t.

“Every experience is a lesson that prepares you for the next experience, and what you think is the best thing ever is going to be old news in the future,” says Webb, who has a master’s degree in exercise science and is chief executive officer of Webb International Inc. “What works in the professional fitness arena doesn’t always translate into the consumer market. I’ve learned that you have to know your market and then create a need.”

Other panels include “Looking Forward: What’s Next in Personal Training,” “Looking Forward: What’s Next in Group Exercise,” “Looking Forward: Technology and Fitness” and “21st Century Youth Fitness.”

Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming for Crunch and a member of the panel on the future of group exercise, believes that the three keys to going from a beginning instructor to a “star” with packed classes are mentoring, diversity and professionalism. “Instructors who begin by having a mentor go a lot further. Diversity is the real key to financial success—one modality just isn’t enough. And professionalism is often overlooked, but that’s what helps you keep your success once you get it.”

Fred Hoffman, MEd, director of international services for The Club & Spa Synergy Group and a member of the group exercise panel, says, “There are many areas of concern that need to be addressed in group exercise, and problems that need to be tackled, including setting standards for the education and training of qualified instructors, which certifications will and should be recognized, hiring practices and staff retention, and programming.”

Sherri McMillan, MSc, 2006 IDEA Program Director of the Year (along with her husband and business partner Alex McMillan) and 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, has this to say about the ongoing evolution of personal training: “Twenty-five years ago, personal training in its current form didn’t even exist. IDEA didn’t even offer a personal trainer membership. Now look at how far we’ve come. It’s estimated that there are over 150,000 personal trainers in the U.S. alone, and personal trainers make up the greatest percentage of IDEA members. At the IDEA World Fitness Convention, we will talk about a multitude of proven recommendations for marketing, leadership, sales, customer service and more. We look forward to sharing the business secrets that have helped us generate over a million dollars annually in both of our personal training studios.”

Greg Mack, recipient of the 2003 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year award and current chairperson of the IDEA personal trainer committee, notes that trainers today face complex challenges. “The fitness professional’s role continues to expand in the healthcare continuum. The growing number of postcertification ‘certifications’ that qualify trainers to work with individuals diagnosed, and undiagnosed, with any number of pathologies place the fitness professional in a very challenging professional position of responsibility and accountability. It requires a new level of ethical and legal skills. Interfacing with the medical community is no longer a matter of ‘Why bother?’ Now it’s a mandate. Fitness professionals have to learn the language and style of medical communication to effectively serve their clients.”

To prepare yourself for the future, and to celebrate your successes past and present with friends and colleagues, make plans now to experience the one-of-a-kind blend of education, entertainment, special guests, surprises, prizes and parties awaiting you at this year’s IDEA World Fitness Convention.

The 2007 IDEA World Fitness Convention & 25th Anniversary Celebration is too big to profile in one issue! Watch for more information on preconference sessions, IDEA InTensives, adventure programming, the IDEA Fitness & Wellness Expo and much more in the next issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.

Fitness Journal, Volume 4, Issue 5

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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.