Does your career or business need a boost to meet the daunting challenges in today’s market? Do you personally need a lift—an inspirational attitude shift—to rejuvenate your creativity, optimism and motivational powers? Then you need to be at the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention, where the theme is “Inspire: Be the Change,” and the focus will be on creating success and positive change for you and your clients.

“A great example of how this convention can help you reach more clients is the selection of technology sessions on how you can use tools such as blogs, social media and exergaming (video game exercise programs) to help clients change their lives,” says Aprile Peishel, MA, IDEA director of event programming.

“As an industry, we are having to adapt quickly to the demands of the digital age. The opportunities to merge technology with our professional efforts are becoming more prevalent. This year, IDEA is offering fresh approaches to these new challenges,” says Biray Alsac, MS, whose own sessions will include “Blogging Basics,” “Marketing Your Blog in All the Right Places” and “Exergaming: Program Outside the Xbox®.” All three sessions are being presented for the first time at the IDEA World Fitness Convention. >>

“I see the emergence of new technologies as an opportunity to sustain our fitness businesses during an economically trying time,” says Alsac. “Most of the topics I discuss in my sessions on blogging and exergaming offer cost-effective (and usually free) alternatives that complement our professional efforts in an innovative way.”

Other sessions at the convention that directly address new success strategies for a challenging economy are “Mindset and Miracles” and “Personal Training: Prosperity in a Troubled Economy,” presented by Phil Kaplan. “More millionaires than ever in prior history grew out of the Great Depression. More fitness professional successes can come out of this period in history than ever before,” says Kaplan. He describes his sessions this way: “In this media-driven society, we are sensitive to the fears our population harbors related to financial shortages, economic distress and monetary decline. If you buy into the alarm, you may have to figure out how to live on less. There is an alternative, however, and that is to prosper. With a renewed marketing message you can find yourself managing a full client calendar and maximizing the financial return on your investment.”

The IDEA World Fitness Convention is the largest and longest-running event in the industry and showcases the world’s most comprehensive educational program for fitness and wellness professionals. This year you’ll find more than 300 educational sessions, 135 of the world’s best-known presenters, nine preconference workshops and the chance to earn over 23 CECs. With more than 65 countries participating, IDEA World Fitness is the leading multicultural fitness event held in the United States.

Peishel notes that in the face of economic challenge, many fitness professionals are taking advantage of every opportunity to expand their education. “This year’s IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™ was a sold-out event as trainers sought to increase their skills and grow their businesses. I think people are looking at now as a good time to invest in themselves and reassess their goals and vision for the future.”

The Industry’s Best and Newest
Programs, Equipment and Education

The IDEA World Fitness Convention program is remarkably comprehensive and varied, reflecting the diverse styles, needs and interests of today’s personal trainers, group exercise and mind-body instructors, program directors and business owners. The event’s 300-plus sessions cover everything from choreography to exercise science, strength training to mind-body programming, physiology to motivation, and research to career and business development. “There are more sessions with more variety and in-depth training than we’ve ever provided before,” says Peishel. “I can’t imagine anyone in fitness not being able to find something that’s for them.”

The event is also internationally known for making news through its annual introduction of brand-new programs, presenters, research and equipment. Programs that are debuting new equipment at the event include Beaming by Beamfit, Indo-Row® by Fitness Quest Inc., Keiser® Striding and Cycling by Keiser, and Kranking® by Krankcycle®.

This year a novel feature of the event will be Club Spotlight, which will give attendees the opportunity to try three of the hottest new club programs:

  • Climb-Max Strength from Equinox®, a new cardio/strength circuit group workout featuring the SPRI® Slanted Riserin two different positions, creating both a 17-degree and a
    25-degree incline to add variety and intensity.
  • Hot Hula by 24 Hour Fitness®, a workout done either barefoot or in shoes, designed to take you to the islands of the South Pacific with the traditional sounds of Polynesian drums.
  • FAME, the Class, presented by Crunch®, a program inspired by the original film, TV series and soon-to-be-released
    motion picture, with the unforgettable music and foot-stomping fun of the pop culture phenomenon.

“These clubs are innovators, and we told them we were looking for fresh ideas and fresh new faces,” says Peishel. Equinox
developed Climb-Max Strength to breathe new life into body-conditioning classes, says Lisa Wheeler, national creative manager of group fitness for Equinox. “The program was originally developed exclusively for Equinox by Rob Glick and myself. Utilizing the unique configurations of the Spri Slanted Riser, the class offers a variety of strength exercises and power moves that can be more effective than traditional toning using the flat Step. And we have chosen to highlight the best of our East Coast and West Coast instructors by featuring Mark Hendricks and Paul Katami.” 

Says Linda McHugh, corporate manager of group exercise programs for 24 Hour Fitness, “We introduced Hot Hula as another dance option to attract three different types of members: those who are looking for something new, the members who are passionate about dance and totally engaged in the media dance shows, and finally, the member who doesn’t enjoy working out unless it looks really fun. We use Hot Hula as a way to entice this member into the group exercise room. Dance generally makes people happy and smile. In this tough economic year, this is a great thing!”

Crunch will be offering its new FAME program at clubs in all six of its markets: New York, Los Angeles, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta. “Crunch leads the industry in fusing fitness and entertainment by creating one-of-a-kind group programming,” says Donna Cyrus, senior vice president of programming for Crunch. “There is no better venue for launching this program than the IDEA World Fitness Convention. Crunch hopes to Inspire the World to Fitness® with this fun and innovative dance fitness program.”

Pilates Extravaganza

Pilates continues to be one of the most in-demand programs for both personal trainers and group fitness instructors, and a wide variety of new and favorite Pilates sessions will be featured at the convention. A panel presentation, “The Future of Pilates,” will
include panelists PJ O’Clair, Nora St. John and Zoey Trap, MSc, and will report on growth in the Pilates industry, leading Pilates trends, the fusion of Pilates and the fitness world, and challenges involved in retaining qualified teachers. Other Pilates sessions will cover both mat work and equipment training, exercise technique and business development, working in group and personal training environments, and appealing to special populations that include men, teenage athletes, older adults, and pregnant and postnatal clients.

First-time Pilates presenter Erika Quest will be teaching “Progressive Reformer Flow With Props,” “Group Reformer Harmony” and “Are You Cheating on Your Reformer?” She was introduced to IDEA through one of her Pilates clients, former IDEA Instructor of the Year Jay Blahnik. “I’m thrilled and humbled at the same time to present at IDEA World Fitness,” says Quest. “I’ll be talking about areas that I have found to be successful in getting new Pilates clients and keeping your existing ones.

“For example, Pilates teachers are adding more group classes so their clients can save money, and they’re developing more mat work classes because sometimes it’s easier to get clients to pay $15 an hour for a group floor class than $60 for an individual equipment session. You can also package rates differently by adding inexpensive introductory packages or including private, semiprivate and group classes together. You also need to celebrate your current clients and business. I have an annual client appreciation night. It doesn’t have to be expensive or hoity-toity—just an open house with a little wine and snacks. It builds wonderful camaraderie and brings in new clients.”

Another great programming feature is the array of classes planned around Pilates for specific populations. STOTT
PILATES® will present sessions specifically for men, postnatal clients, teenage athletes, older adults and teens. STOTT PILATES also has two half-day preconference sessions on the program: “Athletic Conditioning on the V2Max Plus Reformer” with John Garey, MS, and “Intermediate Reformer on the V2Max Plus: Angle Advantage” with PJ O’Clair. Precons will be described in more detail in the June issue.

A Packed Schedule for Personal Trainers

The IDEA World Fitness Convention has more programs
designed for personal trainers than ever before. “It isn’t just that the field of personal training is growing,” says Peishel. “We also know there’s an ongoing trend of fitness professionals crossing over between fields. Most people who want to stay in the industry are always increasing their skills, and most fitness businesses are offering a variety of programs.”

These areas of special interest to personal trainers will be
offered at the convention.

Technology Track. Eight special sessions will help you learn to fuse video games with exercise, start a blog, make digital
music mixes, improve your Web marketing and design an
“exergaming” program.

Nutrition and Metabolism. You’ll get up-to-the-minute information on metabolism, weight loss, behavior change and other aspects of nutrition management. Sessions cover hunger and stress, tactics for athletes, diet pitfalls, eating for energy, myths about energy substrates, kids’ nutrition, vegetarian strategies and how to set new nutrition habits. A nutrition preconference workshop is being offered for the first time.

Small-Group and Partner Training. This is a timely and growing area for both group exercise instructors and personal trainers. Topics include innovative drills, creating a personalized experience, partner tubing, aquatic group training, games and contests, equipment options, and marketing and business development strategies.

Using Existing Equipment in New Ways. Presenters will offer creative new options for tubing exercises, stability ball circuits, interval training, 4-day rotations, body weight–only techniques, boot camp sessions, and step and weighted-bar drills.

Mind-Body Training. More than 70 remarkably diverse sessions will present the latest skills and developments in yoga, Pilates, Nia®, fusion, Beaming and other groundbreaking areas of exercise for wellness.

Business, Management and Career Skills for a Challenging Economy. The program will cover new strategies for increasing efficiency, cutting costs, reaching out to new markets, adding value to stay competitive, updating your marketing, using new technology, improving management techniques and changing your programming to increase profitability.

Innovative Sports Conditioning. If you watched the swimming portion of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, you probably saw 41-year-old mom Dara Torres seal her place in Olympic history by beating “kids” half her age to win three silver medals. She credits resistance stretching as the “secret weapon” that got her to the podium. Torres’ trainers Anne Tierney, MS, and Steven Sierra, who both stretched her up to five times per day in Beijing, will teach Premiere Session #491, “Resistance Flexibility and Strength Training.”

Reinventing Yourself

“If I’m bored as an instructor, then my clients are bored with me,” says Quest. “That’s why investing in education is crucial.
No matter how much we enjoy our craft, we still need to get
re-energized with new ideas and new directions.”

Adds Peishel, “At any time in any industry, you need to stay updated, but I think right now it goes beyond that. This is a time for people to take a step back and ask what they really want from their career or business, where they want to go, what they want out of life. We may see a lot of changes in our industry as a result of all this. Although there are challenges, there’s also a lot of opportunity for innovation, creativity, reinvention. That’s what this year’s convention is all about.”

For detailed session descriptions, a full schedule and other
information on the 2009 IDEA World Fitness Convention, see