If you think there is nothing left in this great big world that can light a fire under your cross trainers, you obviously didn’t attend the IDEA World Fitness & Personal Trainer Convention this year in Anaheim. More than 3,000 attendees soaked up 324 progressive sessions in between trips to the water cooler and the electrifying Health & Fitness Expo.

If you did attend this year’s show, here are glimpses of what you likely saw during a typical day: delegates from Japan videotaping fresh choreography in the hallways; people wearing Inspire the World to Fitness T-shirts running to their next sessions; IDEA assistants passing out evaluation forms; and creative product demonstrations in the expo hall. And just when you thought your body had taken a hiatus from all the new stimuli, there you were in a personal training session, learning five new ways to use a medicine ball. When it was time to come down, you rested your body while feeding your mind with some of the most insightful, modern and thought-provoking lectures available today.

This year you took a step back and saw your overweight clients in a new light. This year you decided to make your classes more accessible. This year you reminded yourself that you’re a fitness professional for all the right reasons.

Leadership at Its Best

By Sandy Todd Webster

Traditionally wrapped into a single-day format known as Focus on Management, this year’s business offerings were spread throughout the convention to give more attendees a chance to benefit from valuable management philosophies and best practices.

Here are some memorable verbal
snapshots:

  • “We have to somehow engage new people to come into our industry, because talented, competent staff are aging.” —Krista Popowych, “Happy Staff = Program Success”
  • “If we can’t fulfill someone’s needs, perhaps referring them to our competitor is the best solution. Make the effort to provide a solution and then leave it in the customer’s hands.” —Gayle Ochwat, “The Best in Customer Service”
  • “Most of you probably have clients who have run companies and are strong managers. Use these people and learn from their business experiences. One of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever got from a client was to hire slowly and fire quickly.” —Everett Aaberg, “Five Tools for Managing a Professional Training Staff”

Personal Training

By Sandy Todd Webster

Ballroom C in the Anaheim Convention Center looked like a spoiled personal fitness trainer’s (PFT) toybox had exploded. Who would have thought the aftermath of a balance workshop could be such a mess?

In fact it wasn’t just this room that contained such controlled chaos; it was every space that held a training-related workshop. Presenters shared innovative moves and multi-use equipment concepts with delegates and unleashed a swarm of “Monday-morning-ready” notions.

Beginning with preconference offerings on sports conditioning and Pilates, this year’s program gave trainers a broad spectrum of classes. Training-specific topics spanned program design, training techniques, sports performance, postrehabilitation, business, coaching and psychology. Some of the more adventurous PFTs even ventured into group and water fitness classes hoping to freshen up clients’ old routines.

The take-home message? Personal training is moving rapidly to keep up with its clientele, which continues to expand—with kids, athletes, postrehab clients and special populations all joining the traditional adult ranks. Variety and ingenuity balanced by safety and sound program design are keys to capturing and retaining this burgeoning client base. You might have to pick up a few toys after your seniors finish their balance training sessions or scoop up the cones after the kids have finished their sports performance workouts—this is a good sign that you’re successfully reaching diverse demographics and melding fitness with fun.

Group
Exercise:
A Movement
Anthology

By Joy Keller

Group exercise is diversifying to a point where instructors might want to think about specializing. There are so many options to choose from: salsa, martial-arts-based programs, water, yoga, Pilates, hip-hop, indoor cycling, group strength training, high-low and the universal step class, among many others. All this to absorb, in addition to keeping up-to-date with education, technique and music styles. Here are some of the trends spotted at World:

  • Mind-body elements continue to melt into the very fabric of almost every class. This is seen most often in warm-ups and cool-downs, but also in cuing and choreography, where participants are asked to link perception and physicality.
  • Traditional mainstays like step and high-low have spawned edgy offspring (“Step Evolution” and “Hi-Lo Innovations”).
  • Choreography fundamentals are being revisited and revised for improved function.
  • Indoor cycling is expanding to offer
    an array of entertaining and effective workouts.
  • Water classes are becoming more sophisticated and all-inclusive.
  • More class time is being allotted for flexibility and balance exercises.
  • Interest in core strength and training continues to grow as instructors learn new ways to use equipment such as stability balls, foam rollers and the BOSU balance trainer.
  • Pilates principles occupy a space in almost every class. >

IDEA Health & Fitness Expo

The IDEA Health & Fitness Expo has always attracted the industry’s best products and services, and Anaheim was no exception. Shoppers arrived early, armed with coupons and credit cards, ready to take advantage of the deep discounts. The expo hall offers a win-win situation for shoppers and vendors. “Personal trainers and group fitness instructors are natural mavens, [and] if they like a product, they are certain to spread the word,” says four-time vendor Josie Kletter, president of KINeSYS Performance Bodycare. “We are happy to offer our products at a discount.”

Downward
Dog Days

By Kate Watson

For yoga enthusiasts thirsty for a chance to deepen their practice and sharpen their teaching skills, the IDEA West Coast Yoga Conference, held in Anaheim, California, July 15 and 16, was just the ticket. In two days packed with classes, attendees enjoyed

  • the dazzling agility and strength of Ashtanga yogi and martial artist Duncan Wong (“Eventually you learn it’s the nerves you want to stretch.”)
  • detailed technical coaching on how to modify poses and prevent yoga-related injuries
  • specialized workshops on teaching yoga to children, seniors and pre/ postnatal women
  • dynamic workouts to challenge the core muscles and build strength
  • meditative yoga and breath work
  • a heartfelt closing address by Mariel Hemingway, whose own yoga practice has transformed her life (“Yoga is so rich. If you ladle into it, there is no end to where you can go with it.”)

Celebration California-Style

The lights dimmed, a pause, and suddenly an explosion of rhythmic drumbeats. As the fanfare following the Black Knights Drum Corps (1, 2) faded, the spotlights turned to Kathie and Peter Davis announcing IDEA’s mission to Inspire the World to Fitness. It was the start of a memorable IDEA Health & Fitness Awards Ceremony.

“IDEA members play critical roles in encouraging active people to reach their goals and achieve more than they ever thought possible,” proclaimed Marie Devlin, director of marketing for Propel® Fitness Water, and the videotape began to roll with the stories of people whose lives have been changed by exercise.

The poignancy of these stories and IDEA members’ contributions followed the footsteps of award presenters and winners as they strode across the stage. Interspersed among the presentations was the folk wisdom and humor (“Talk about change; I turned 40, went to bed perfectly healthy and woke up injured”) of master of ceremonies Dan Clark (3). A rapt audience swayed between tears and laughter as each person spoke.

Boom! went the drums, and attendees marched behind to the reception of food, games and dancing sponsored by Anheuser Bush. A favorite was the beer keg race (4), but the surfing game and chance to make your own music video proved as alluring to delegates in between their talking, laughing and meeting new friends.