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Elevate Your Career and Live Your Passion

Find all the tools and education you need to get ahead at IDEA® Personal Trainer Institute SOUTH in Dallas, March 7-10, and IDEA® Personal Trainer Institute EAST in Alexandria, Virginia, April 4-7.

Your purpose as an impassioned personal trainer, manager and owner is to deliver life-changing fitness experiences for your clients. It is also up to you to invest in yourself so that you can become the fitness leader your community deserves. The best way to do that is to surround yourself with people who have already succeeded and can show the way. That’s the opportunity you have at the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute—the only major educational event that teaches pros from all corners of the industry how to turn their jobs into fulfilling and financially rewarding careers.

Just ask past attendee Jill McKay, owner of Narrow Road Fitness in Port Deposit, Maryland: “I have benefited from the conference mostly because I have been encouraged to pursue what I love and [now] have the resources of other people to connect with and discuss everything from functional movement to business models,” she says. “I feel confident and have the tools and knowledge to help many people with different likes, dislikes and needs.”

Michael Piercy, MS, 2017 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year and founder of The LAB in Fairfield, New Jersey, says this event is a must for anyone wanting a career that thrives. “Attending this event can be a game changer for anyone looking to find direction in their career,” he says. “In an ultra-competitive industry that is not regulated, the auspice to stay educated and one step ahead of the curve is the responsibility of the trainer. The best investment will always be the investment in your own self-improvement.”

Are you ready to make the best investment of your professional life?

Revolutionize Your Career With Top-Level Insights From the Industry’s Best

There’s a reason why the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute received a 100% approval rating from last year’s attendees. This is the only conference that brings together the highest caliber of change agents and thought leaders whose primary purpose is to help you succeed. Here’s a small taste of the knowledge you can expect to gain:

  • Recovery is critical. Recovery has become a hot topic of late as trainers and coaches realize that what happens outside the workout is at least as important as what happens in it. If your clients are constantly sore, unmotivated and drained of energy, how can you expect them to reach their goals?“Unfortunately, our clients do not have battery life icons hovering above their heads,” says Michael Cummings, global senior director of performance, fitness and wellness at SKLZ, based in Carlsbad, California. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could see how many bars our clients had left so we could know how to adjust the volume and intensity of work and recovery in their upcoming session?”

    His session, “The Art of Recovery,” will provide valuable insights on recognizing fatigue, knowing its root causes and helping clients develop a thoughtful regeneration protocol.

  • Professionals need recuperation, too. It’s not just clients who need recovery and energy management strategies. They’re also necessary for personal trainers, business owners and managers who are interested in career longevity, says Ashley Selman, MA, owner of Evolution Trainers in California’s Silicon Valley.Selman adds, “Burnout is a big problem in our industry, and many fitness professionals stay stuck on the hamster wheel of being busy because their revenue relies on the hours they work. I developed my [PTI EAST] session, ‘Creating Your Ideal Week,’ after years of coaching studio owners and realizing there is a huge need for fitness professionals to gain control of their schedules.”
  • It pays to get nutrition facts straight. Every year there seems to be a popular new dietary protocol. This time it’s all about the keto diet, which promises fast fat loss, energy boosts and mental clarity. In his lecture on “Energy Pathways, Ketones and Nutrient Timing,” Fabio Comana, MA, MS, faculty instructor at San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego, will cut to the chase about the diet du jour.“I believe many trainers and coaches face questions on ketones, their benefits and drawbacks, and their impact on weight loss and exercise, yet [they are often] unable to provide answers derived from a thorough understanding of the science,” says Comana. “My goal is to provide the science in a simplified but applicable way and discuss the pros and cons (bias-neutral) so that practitioners can address this topic in a credible manner.”
  • Clients need more than sets and reps. Creating thoughtful, effective training sessions is one thing. How you deliver those sessions is another, and this aspect is too often overlooked, according to presenter Travis Barnes, CEO and personal coach at Journey Fitness, which boasts several studios throughout New York.“As a business owner of five locations, I have learned that the best way to differentiate yourself is through customer service,” says Barnes. “I realized that it’s not about the equipment or the standard session that most people offer; it’s about how you go above and beyond.”

    In “Stop Coaching and Start Delivering a Coaching Experience,” offered at PTI EAST, he will show attendees how to create unforgettable training experiences like those that helped grow Journey Fitness into a multimillion-dollar business.

  • You’re still not offering small-group training? You may be missing out on big money and member retention opportunities.“Surveys have shown that customers are interested in and willing to choose group training more than training in one-on-one settings,” says Mary Edwards, MS, fitness director at the Cooper Fitness Center in Dallas. “To negate considering this option in a facility limits potential revenue lines and enhanced member retention and engagement.”

    Her session, “Capitalize on Group Training: Learn the Key Components for Developing a Successful In-Club Program,” co-presented by Erica Tillinghast, MS, will explore the nitty-gritty of developing a profitable and effective group training program.

    With 50% of the 100+ sessions brand-new, this year’s program has plenty of options for everyone. You can’t afford to miss out on the newest advancements in the subjects that matter most.

Conference Highlights

At the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute, there’s more to soak up than the stellar educational content. Here are some of the many other reasons to attend:

  • Satisfy your CEC requirements in one exhilarating weekend! Earn up to 20 CECs, plus an additional 6–8 CECs with preconference sessions.
  • Meet and mingle with fellow attendees, presenters and sponsors at the Networking Coffees and Friday Night Happy Hour.
  • Kick-start your experience with the passion-packed Opening General Session featuring Martin Rooney, MHS, in Texas and Peter Twist, MSc, in Virginia.
  • Visit the Sponsor Marketplace to discover the newest, must-have tools in the industry. Enjoy deep discounts on equipment, tech and more from leading brands.

Event at a Glance


Dallas, March 7–10


March 7

Advance registration deadline:

January 25—Save $50!

Event Location: Westin Dallas Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr., Dallas, Texas 75251; 972-385-3000, westin.marriott.com.

Special IDEA room rate: Single/double: $165, plus applicable state and local taxes. Subject to change. This rate is based on availability and is valid until February 13 (cutoff date). The rate can apply up to 3 days prior and 3 days after the event, depending on availability. Be sure to mention the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute to get the special rate.


Alexandria, Virginia, April 4–7


April 4

Advance registration deadline:

March 1—Save $50!

Event Location: Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, 5000 N. Seminary Rd., Alexandria, Virginia 22311; 703-845-1010, 800-HILTONS, hilton.com

Special IDEA room rate: Single/double: $159, plus applicable state and local taxes. Subject to change. This rate is based on availability and is valid until March 15 (cutoff date). The rate can apply up to 3 days prior and 3 days after the event, depending on availability. Be sure to mention the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute to get the special rate.


Business and premium access member discount:

IDEA business and premium access members receive the discounted member price on an unlimited number of registrations for the full conference and preconference sessions.

Budget-friendly payment plans:

Sign up for IDEA’s budget-friendly payment plans, and get instant access to select your sessions today.

2 Ways to Register:

  1. GO ONLINE to register and select your sessions today at ideafit.com/conferences.
  2. CALL 800-999-4332, ext. 7. Outside the U.S. and Canada: 858-535-8979, ext. 7.

Early registration is strongly advised: This conference has consistently sold out, and event and session attendance are limited to assure top-quality instruction.

Pack More Power Into Your Experience With Extended Learning

Attend an in-depth preconference session to enjoy maximum educational bang for your buck.


Functional Aging Specialist ertification with Cody Sipe, PhD

The rapid growth of the aging population (aged 50+) presents unprecedented opportunities for a fitness professional who understands how to train these clients effectively. This interactive workshop will give you the tools and teach you the skills you need to implement functional training techniques, strategies and movements that are important to your aging clientele.

NASM: Practical Applications for Corrective Exercise With Rick Richey, MS (East) and Kyle Stull, DHSc (South)

Corrective exercise is a valuable tool to help clients improve movement patterns, perform better and reduce noncontact injuries. Despite its importance, corrective exercise can often feel clinical, which may cause trainers to avoid maximizing its benefits during sessions. Learn how to appropriately and seamlessly integrate corrective exercise strategies into a training program so clients register them as moves that will help them reach their goals.

Run Your Business and Life Like a Boss: The Savvy Trainer’s Guide to Success with Trina Gray (East only)

Spend a hands-on day with 2018 IDEA Fitness Leader of the Year Trina Gray to learn proven business strategies and life lessons that will lead to greater job satisfaction and better work-life balance. You’ll work on your personal growth; your leadership and time management skills; and your business, branding, revenue streams and goals.


Please note: Not all sessions are offered at both locations. Check the complete schedule for each of our locations at ideafit.com/conferences.

>> Movement and Physiology

  • The Metabolic Effects of Resistance Training
  • Examining and Solving Lower Cross Syndrome
  • Exercise and Immune System Health

>> Specific Populations

  • Active Aging: Eating for Energy and Positive Performance
  • Biomechanics of Motherhood
  • Training the Client With Osteoporosis

>> Business and Marketing

  • How to Rock Your Social Media
  • Corporate Wellness Made Easy
  • From Prospect to Client: Sales Made Simple

>> Nutrition

  • Promises and Pitfalls of Sports Supplements
  • A Trainer Talks Nutrition: What Works?
  • For Better Results, Every Body Needs Better Digestive Health

>> Program Design

  • No-Equipment Outdoor Workouts
  • True Performance Training
  • Crazy Core Combos
Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor, and IDEA's director of event programming.

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November-December 2020 IDEA Fitness Journal

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