Editor’s note:

In the Question of the Month section of our September Mind-Body-Spirit News column, we asked readers how they were incorporating self myofascial release (SMR) into programming. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Last fall I ran a “How to Use Your Foam Roller” workshop. After we finished, everyone asked when the next class would be. As a result, I added a foam roller class twice a week, and it is very popular! We warm up, practice balance and upper-body strength training and do some abs and lower-body stretching. We perform SMR and end the class with cool-down stretching, which allows participants to compare how tight they felt when they started with how stretched they felt when they finished. I have my clients purchase or bring their own foam rollers because of space and hygiene considerations in my studio.

I integrate Pilates principles of posture, breathing, alignment, oppositional stretching and core concentration into the classes. We use light hand weights, and I play fun music. My typical clients are middle-aged women, but I have had men participate regularly. One of my clients brings her 14-year-old daughter. We have a lot of laughs and have built a nice little community.

Deborah Lavinsky, PMA-CPT

Owner, BellaBody Pilates


I have been using SMR techniques in many different ways. I use the foam roller and other SMR tools (e.g., “The Stick” and tennis balls) in my personal training sessions as a part of the warm-up. SMR is almost always included in clients’ restorative program, which they are required to do on their own at home two or three times per week.

I have also used SMR in Pilates and yoga group settings. We start the class with about 15 minutes of SMR and then move on to Pilates- or yoga-based exercises.

For a few months, I incorporated a 45-minute class called “Foam Roll and Stretch.” I had a wonderful response. We worked on a specific part of the body using different SMR tools and then stretched that same body part/area. Some weeks, we focused on specific ailments such as tennis elbow or plantar fasciitis (depending on what questions came up during the previous class).

Finally, as a way to earn income during our slow season, I offered hour-long SMR workshops. I lectured for the first 5–10 minutes and then we worked with foam rollers. I continued to “inform” participants about SMR while we worked on different areas of the body.

Heather Simpson

Heather Simpson Fitness

Fort Myers, Florida

Holding Doors Open for the Future of Fitness

It has been about a month since the IDEA World Fitness Convention™, and I am still high on the motivation and inspiration I drew from the event. I’m not “new to the dance,” but I am amazed at how many people are attracted and recruited into our industry solely in the name of passion and purpose.

I sat in several rooms where presenters asked who was a rookie to the fitness industry and who was a veteran. The draw was evenly split. That means we have about a one-to-one ratio of enthusiasm to experience—what an amazing gift.

This year IDEA World was a mentoring journey for me. I invited a recent exercise science graduate and a graduate assistant in fitness (both from my university) to take my sessions. I saw the sparkle in their eyes and the wheels turning in their heads as they listened and then later told me all about what they had learned. Thank you for offering the student discount registration, which made it easier for them to be there. You gained two eager fitness disciples for sure.

I encourage all veteran IDEA members to “host” a newcomer to our industry and help this person find his or her way. We all have kindness to “pay forward” and doors to hold open for the next generation of fitness professionals.

Congratulations on another successful IDEA World event!

Tatiana Kolovou, MBA

Faculty, Indiana University

Bloomingon, Indiana

IDEA Authors

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