No crystal ball? No problem. The best insider information comes from experienced professionals who are in the field on a daily basis. The 2006 IDEA Health & Fitness Award recipients formed a general-session panel on Wednesday, July 26, at the IDEA World Fitness Convention® in Las Vegas. They transformed a series of questions from IDEA executive director Kathie Davis into a thought-provoking hour of discussion for a standing-room-only audience. Food for thought included the following trends forecast.
- 2006 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year Justin Price, co-owner of The BioMechanics in San Diego, observed that major advances in technology over the last two decades have decreased people’s activity levels and increased their stress. “We’re already seeing an increase in mind-body activities and boot camps to help remove people from the effects of these stressors,” he said. Price also forecast “a massive increase” in corrective exercise, functional training and life coaching to assist with these real-life challenges.
- 2006 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year Maureen “Mo” Hagan, vice president of operations for GoodLife Fitness and VitaVie Clubs and a resident of London, Ontario, said that like fashion, fitness cycles around. Everything old is new again. To invigorate group exercise, she suggested strong orientation programs both for new exercisers and for veterans who have been lost along the way. “I encourage all instructors to teach programs to beginners, as it nourishes you as a teacher,” she said. Other emerging trends, according to Hagan, include the continued growth of small-group training; the building of relationships and accountability between staff and members; the continued importance of fusion programs like yoga plus Pilates, and yoga plus strength work; and mindful movement “across the board to bring life balance into the class to help soothe the spirit and soul.”
- 2006 IDEA Program Directors of the Year Alex McMillan and Sherri McMillan, MSc, co-owners of Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver, Washington, used the growth they’ve seen in their own business to explain why they think the personal training segment of the industry will continue to be robust. Personal training is the top growth profit center in many clubs, with group personal training having generated significant expansion in recent years, they observed. At Northwest Personal Training, outdoor activities (team triathlon training and whitewater rafting, for example) are becoming a tremendous area for revenue and client retention because of the positive relationships they forge among members and between members and staff, said Sherri. But “our number-one program is called ‘Circle of Life,’” explained Alex. “We foster an environment of love among our personal trainers and revolve it all around, from our staff to our members to our cleaning crews. We play constantly. We have fun and joke around. We ascribe daily to ‘making that person’s day.’ Simply put, we choose our best attitude.”