But you know what? The people who attend IDEA World Fitness Convention are trying. They are motivated, energized, compassionate and smart enough to know what they don't know.
I just love how passionate you all are. You move me so. After a session I co-presented yesterday on 30 ways to make residual income, an attendee came up on stage and offered several more ways to make more money in passive ways. But what really struck me is how authentic, personable and humble she was. She just wanted to share what worked for her and her clients. I'm sure she's a local hero. People and her passion for serving them come first. The money flows in afterwards.
I managed to take a class late today from Gregg Cook called "Schwinn Cycling: Ride One, Get One Free." This was a treat to myself, but I also need to learn new coaching and motivation techniques for the indoor cycling classes I teach. I'm not the type to think I know it all -- not by any stretch of the imagination. However, after having Gregg hop off his bike, come face to face with me and connect with my inner cycling goddess, I came to realize there is quite a gap between my current teaching skills and the high standard of coaching I should be providing my students.
It woke me up.
I hope you had some "wake up" moments this weekend. Thank you for all you do to Inspire the World to Fitness. I can't wait to see you next year.
After a pretty gloomy July 4th here in San Diego (which I was fine with, actually), the show of all shows -- the one we've been working on all year with much determination and thrill -- opened its doors wide for the preconference and expo preview.
I have to tell you; it's already rocking here. The vibe is incredible. Thirty years of health and fitness education, camaraderie and lasting friendships have culminated in an event that is sure to create real fireworks, which is more than the city of San Diego can say for its lackluster fireworks display last night (Google it).
Okay, so, yeah, I am paid to be excited about the IDEA World Fitness Convention. I am staff. Even if I wasn't on the payroll I'd be out in the Gaslamp here in downtown San Diego trying to recruit people. The energy here is that addictive. Happy people breed happiness.
What am I happy about? I have a lot to choose from, but let's focus on the preconference experiences. I happily got wrapped up in the Inspirational Leadership track for personal training and group fitness managers and directors. I am so glad this track is back! It's quite easy for managers and directors to get sucked into a wormhole of mediocrity. Afternoon investments like this one kick you out of your "okay" zone right into independence from all the cliche policies and procedures that just don't work.
Here are some highlights:
* Helen Vanderburg talked about what it means to be an extraordinary person, which translates to an extraordinary manager. It was an inspirational pep rally that set up the rest of the afternoon. She shared a great quote from her swimming coach, Debbie Muir: "By mastering the power of thought, you have a greater chance to access your full potential." Sounds like a no-brainer? Keep track of your thoughts and then tell me you have it all mastered.
* Shannon Fable absolutely owned her time slot with uber practical tips on how to create group fitness MVPs. She offered more helpful tips than I can note here, but suffice to say she advocates going above and beyond what you've been doing to not only streamline your program, but elevate it.
* Vito Lafata shared his passion: upgrading the status of the personal trainer from fitness professional to health professional. He showed us the hard numbers involved in shifting from a one-on-one training focus to a semi-private and small group business model. It didn't take too many slides to become a convert.
As we roll into the best fitness convention we've ever produced, I am looking forward to meeting you (you are here, right?) and learning more about how to create a better experience for you as an IDEA member (you are a member, right?).
I love fitness. I always have. The most frustrating thing for me as an obese child growing up in an obese family was lack of physical activity. I felt trapped inside my body. I couldn’t understand why my body didn’t bend, twist and maneuver the way other kids’ bodies did. Why couldn’t I tumble, use the monkey bars and dodge the ball quicker? I felt like an athlete and I succeeded at some sports; but I never felt as if I lived up to my true potential. I’ve made it a mission to find that lost athlete inside me in my adult years.
I’ve done pretty well--with quite a few injuries and setbacks. I’ve even taken my passion a step further and become a certified personal trainer, registered yoga teacher and an indoor cycling instructor. I am an editor and writer for the most respected magazine for fitness professionals in the industry, IDEA Fitness Journal. I have learned a lot about the body and I am constantly learning more. I’m very happy with my progress and yet, something has always bothered me: Pilates.
It’s not that I don’t like Pilates; I just never felt that drawn to it. I’ve been researching, writing and creating content for Pilates professionals for more than 10 years now. I’m also senior editor for IDEA Pilates Today, a publication solely dedicated to the topic of Pilates. When it comes to exercise physiology, biomechanics, group fitness trends and techniques and anything related to yoga, I feel quite confident. Not so with Pilates. Honestly, I’ve felt like a bit of a fake. I don’t think it’s necessary to be a Pilates professional or enthusiast to be the lead editor of a publication; however, I do feel it’s important to have a visceral understanding of your content. I’ve always felt as if I’ve been scratching the surface. And so, I decided to roll up my yoga mat for a spell and take some Pilates classes. This is something I have never done. I’ve been to plenty of conference sessions and I’ve edited many Pilates articles. But I have never experienced it firsthand.
My goal in this endeavor is to embody the method and hopefully find a deeper understanding of why so many people are so passionate about it. I had my first private session today with Jennifer Curry Wingrove, owner of Pilates On Park in San Diego, a renowned ballerina of the California Ballet Company, and a STOTT PILATES ® certified instructor.
What was it like? It was like relearning how to move. I have great body awareness, but this is a whole new level of neuromuscular integration. The breathing techniques are different from what we do in yoga and I had to constantly remind myself to switch gears. When on the closed chain environment of the reformer my body immediately let me know where and how I’ve been cheating—especially with my right shoulder, which I injured years ago. The prepatory moves were both familiar and distinctly distant. Learning the compound movements, matching my breath and staying centered throughout was a mental workout. I quickly learned this is not something you do mindlessly. If you are doing Pilates mindlessly, you’re not doing Pilates.
Curry did an excellent job of seamlessly moving me through my first session and pulled me back when I needed to regroup. Afterwards I felt intensely invigorated and my right shoulder, which has a hard time staying back and down, had somehow shifted in its socket. I felt more stable, upright and confident. My mood had lifted. I guess I had the Pilates glow I keep reading and writing about but never had firsthand knowledge of.
This is what I hope to share with you, the Pilates professional. I want to not only deepen my understanding of what you do so I can deliver the best content possible, I want to remind you what it’s like to approach Pilates from a beginner’s mind. While the repertoire may be simple and flowing for you now, can you remember what it was like to bottom out the carriage or not know which strap to pull? Try on a beginner’s mind again and reach new clients like me in myriad new ways through your cuing, knowledge and presence.
I am leaving IDEA Personal Trainer Institute today--hopefully a step ahead of the "wintry mix"--in a better body that houses a better mind and spirit. I personally believe that a healthy body is the gateway to a healthy mind, but then again I also believe the whole kit and kaboodle is intertwined to a point that we don't really know the main influencer.
I do know this: I feel better when I take care of my vehicle. This seems to also be the case with the folks who trust me to train them. My clients come in wearing a mask of stress and they leave more relaxed, happy, calm and ready to tackle their lives.
That's why I do what I do. How about you?
I met a good cross section of personal trainers this weekend of all shapes, sizes and ages. Some are old school and some are just feeling out the bubble to test its boundaries and see how far it floats. Some never satiate their hunger for information and research and others just want you to hand them a template so they can automate their practices. In any case, no matter what your judgment is about what a personal trainer should or shouldn't be, is it still true that we all have a chance to make a difference in someone's life? That's a pretty big deal.
Don't waste it.
This morning was tough. I'm still on California time and for some reason the third day of getting up at 4 a.m. on my body clock's time felt excruciatingly difficult. But I dragged my SoCal butt out of bed and made the rounds. My brain lit up like a Lite Brite at all the drive, passion, fun and intelligent design in the sessions. I was inspired by Rodney Corn's plea to meet your client inside their comfort zone, not yours. I was intrigued by unstable surface research that made me think. Brett Klika's session on training weekend warriors opened my eyes to new possibilities and profit centers.
I want to give the world a chance to happy, healthy and productive. What do you want to give the world, when can you start and how are you going to make it happen?
Why aren't you at this event? Do you already know it all?
In her session, One of the Top 10 Biggest Mistakes Trainers Make and How to Avoid Them, Nicki Anderson listed the know-it-all mentality as one trap personal trainers fall into. "I have a degree and 7 years of experience. I don't need to go to a conference to learn anything new. There's nothing new. I know it all." How can that be possible? I really want to know.
Hardly anyone was talking about fascial lines 10 years ago. As the conversation has expanded, now we've moved beyond foam rolling and basic self-myofascial release techniques to deeper understandings of other integrated systems that tie into and synergize with fascia. A lot of the programming I've seen at this event focuses on preparing the entire organism for movement. Pre-stress, pre-generate, pre-think the system clean before the system has a chance to clog. I'm not talking about warm-ups, either. I'm talking about the prequel to warming up.
If you were here, you'd know what I'm talking about. I know, I know...you are here in spirit. Many of you are. A lot of personal trainers, however, are missing the mark in their assessments and foundations, and this includes business acumen. But when it comes to the body--understanding it and training it--you really need to light a match in your brain and let that fire build.
In his session Walking Tall--What Your Client's Gait Can Tell You Before They Even Speak, Dan Hellman, PT, talked about how important a properly functioning pelvis is. If you think you already know this, then can you explain the myofascial slings in detail? Can you speak to how organ function might inhibit the inner unit? Are you smart and conscientious enough to not allow your clients to run before they can walk? "The pelvis is your foundation for the spine, your dream home," Hellman said. "You must be able to properly assess this when looking at gait."
Have you built your career on a weak foundation? Are you running when you can't even walk properly? There are plenty of personal trainers here who struggle to do a squat, can't name primary movers and who ignore their own body's plea for regeneration. I'm not knocking them--I give them lots of credit for being here. My question is: if we're not strengthening the foundation of our own bodies, minds and spirits, then how can we train and coach others to do the same effectively?
Check in with your dream home, whatever that means to you. Are you burned out from working too much? Is your body crying out for some TLC? Is your client base currently all doing the same workout? Now take a look at your foundation--your health, your education, your sense of purpose. Don't be afraid to tear something down and start over. That's how muscles get strong, after all.
I start looking forward to IDEA Personal Trainer Institute around November when all the holiday hub bub starts. I am not a fan of the holidays, but this event is like Christmas to me and it's one gift after another--continuing education, networking, a break from routine and play. After enjoying a nice, full day of the conference I can definitely say I am like a kid who got exactly what she wanted for "Christmas."
The key must have been unlocking the power of my psoas first thing this morning in Sue Hitzmann's session by the same name. Hitzmann's passion for the neurofascial system and her commitment to sharing details about tensegrity in smart and entertaining ways speaks to the trapped inner athlete in me. The one who enjoys pain-free function, that is. Whatever you think you know about the psoas, you owe it to yourself to revisit your understanding and check it against your own body's intelligence. There's a lot more going on than a guide wire from your lumbar spine to your leg (to oversimplify it).
This is where I start getting philosophical about life. Consider yourself forewarned.
With a freshly decompressed lower back, it seemed a little easier to weave through the rest of the day. I was feeling less stressed, less tired, and I enjoyed the company of others a lot more. It also seemed easier to concentrate on the material being presented in the sessions. In fact, although I am more of a kinesthetic learner, I think I might have actually embodied a few concepts from the TRX Rip Training Workout simply from watching. However, it was from a place of action that I think I learned the most important piece of information today.
I am thinking about buying a heavy rope for my personal training practice (I can hear Sandy Todd Webster and Ryan Halvorson chuckling because I am known for collecting toys). I stepped in on Power Systems: Fit on a Rope session led by Don Bahneman and Shannon Fable to watch and determine whether or not I really needed to add this to my toolbox. What I didn't count on was joining in for a few Tabata drills.
I'm not new to this training tool, or much of the programming, but I definitely learned something new today. Maybe it's because I've been thinking too much about personal matters or not thinking enough about others around me. Whatever the reason, working with the ropes and a perfect stranger (new friend) became a metaphor for life. This is what I walked away with:
* Ropes are heavy; life is heavy. You have to grip it with both hands and not let go.
* Like life, heavy rope training encourages sustained output. You need periods of rest and recovery, however, to make real progress.
* You can't train with heavy ropes without some sort of anchor, whether it is a stationary object, a heavy kettlebell or another person. Likewise, it's important to have some sort of anchor in your life to keep you grounded.
* You can't just use your arms to create the movement; you have to use your entire body, from nose to toes. When challenged by life, you have to dig deep to meet it head-on.
* Finally, and most importantly, if you're not playing and having fun, what's the point? It's just a big, fat rope.
So the next time a client irks you, your practice isn't up to par or things just simply aren't going your way, take it to the ropes and see if your mindset shifts with your metabolism.