I circled the globe in one hour Friday night. The 7 people I met at our International Reception took me from one side of the world to the other and reminded me of how far IDEA's reach has become over the years.
Adeline from France gets the award for most World conferences attended (17! Thank you Adeline!); Ayten Altun is a sports trainer at KOC University in Istanbul, Turkey; Tamer Farag is the CEO of Global Sports in Egypt (he owns and operates fitness franchises there); Matej Bunderla and Teodor Cizl, both personal trainers, came from Slovenia; Cynthia Carrion is the Undersecretary for Sports & Wellness Tourism for the Phillippines (the whole country); and Luke Chen the Secretary General for Fitness China in Beijing (e-mail me a copy of the photo, Luke!). It's always so humbling for me to meet these members and try to understand the amazing commitment they make to plan, do the visa paperwork and travel to our conferences each year. It inspires the IDEA staff to try to do a better job every year. I know it inspires me. We are so grateful for the diversity you lend to our community and the ideas you bring to us from your countries!
Many thanks also to our tireless (and crazy) group of IDEA Assistants. After the International Reception, we headed over to the Assistant party, which is always a great time and the true marker for the IDEA staff to know that we have rounded the corner and are headed for home with the annual convention. Milo Levell, who DJed the Party in Paradise on Thursday night, also mixed for this party, so you can bet it (hip) hopped. Even after an exhausting week of work, there were some pretty slick dance moves going on.
Saturday morning I made it to one session, which I had highlighted as a "must-attend" even before I left the office for Vegas last week. Thank you Jay Blahnik, Chalene Johnson, Michael Tchao and moderator Bob Esquerre for making this 7:30 AM time slot on the conference's last day so worthwhile for us all to attend. The panel's topic was "What's Hot Now! Consumer Trend Watch." Since we are in the business of serving consumers (and in a very uncertain economic climate), the topics discussed here may well have superseded the importance of any other ground that was covered this year. One of the great take-home messages by the experts was to use the many gifts we have as a fitness community to inspire and motivate others toward a lifelong embrace of a whole, healthy lifestyle. "Connection and accountability hold the power," observed Blahnik. "It's not a lack of information it's a lack of motivation. As fitness professionals we have 10 times more energy on our worst days than most bears do on their best days. What can we do with this energy--these considerable gifts--to motivate others? How can we use this energy to create?"
Ask yourself those questions and share your ideas with me. What are you doing to create, motivate and inspire your community? Someone in your family? Anyone?
I'm signing off for now and heading home to beautiful San Diego. Thanks for reading my blogs and for giving me the opportunity to share my IDEA World Fitess Convention experience with you. It's been another fantastic week and a privilege to be part of it for another year.
Be well, stay in touch, and keep working your unique brand of magic!
Can I just say that the IDEA Party in Paradise kicked some serious Boombsey last night? And, yes, Kukuwa Nuamah, I saw you up there shakin' your business on the stage when we all learned that new dance. My word, what a great looking crowd of stoked, fun people we had there. The energy in that room was turbo Red Bull.
Speaking of new dances, I actually learned three last night. The other two were courtesy of my new friend from Twist Conditioning USA, Ken Anderson. Not only can this guy dance, he's a tireless choreographer in his spare time (Ken, I think you should reconsider the Twist gig and go live out your dream on Broadway). Five of us were groovin' to "The Makin' Chili Dance" and "The Bowling Dance" in one of the Hilton Lounges after the IDEA party. They both are literally reflective of their names. The recipe for Makin' Chile, for instance: (Do this as a 4-count) First you "chop, and chop, and chop and chop; then you slide the onions in, slide 'em in, slide 'em in, slide 'em in; then you give it a stir x 4; grate some cheese x 4; stir it some more x 4; give it a taste (careful, it's hot!) x 4; mmmm, it's good (as you do the universal happy tummy rub) x 4. Pretty funny. I have video of IDEA membership director Annina Torri practicing with Ken, which I may or may not post, depending on what I think I can extort in exchange for keeping it in the vault. What do you say, Torri?
Today was the usual whirlwind of sessions, meetings and interviews. At 10:15, I sat down for an on-camera chat with Darren Jacobson, personal training manager for Virgin Active South Africa (Darren--I actually got it right this time!), which I will post as a video podcast in the near future. He really lit up as he described what he sees as the incredible opportunities waiting to be claimed that the wide range of education and specialty options holds for trainers in North America. Look up his series of articles in IDEA Fitness Manager on how to be a more effective personal training manager. It's been a great column and is loaded with many practical management ideas. Darren, thanks for making the 29-hour trip from Cape Town! You've enriched us all with your perspective and knowledge.
- Liz Applegate, PhD, taught "Sports Nutrition Products--What Works, What Doesn't." With more clients than ever training for and competing in running and multi-sport events, this knowledge is essential to have. A piece of information that I was glad to hear Dr. Applegate discuss revolves around sodium consumption. She believes that athletes are too concered about sodium intake, but shouldn't be, as the body normalizes pretty quickly after consuming it. After re-reading my notes on this, I retrieved my little bag of potato chips out of my boxed lunch and am munching away and getting crumbs all over my keyboard as I write. I'm certain the good professor's message was not to bust out a bag of Ruffles, but I'll take any rationalization I can get to give myself a little bit of guilty pleasure at this point in the week.
- I caught the very end of Chalene Johnson's "From All-Star to Super Star" and stumbled into a great quote as she wound up the lecture (I call those freebies. Sometimes you have to wait a long, long time as a journalist for a good quote). She said, "I'm pretty average in every way. I'm not as tall as you and my abs probably aren't as good as yours...but when it comes to the details, I'm going to beat you every time. The details are going to help you go from being an all-star to a superstar."
- Ilene Bergelson (presenting with Bob Esquerre in "Speak Success, the Language of Leaders") was talking about a fitness manager's communication culture when I came in. She pointed out that "leadership is a collective phenomenon." Managers need to share or disclose to all team members 1) What the problem is; 2) How to deal with it; 3) What their role is; and 4) How to become more empowered to play a larger role.
- Alexandra covers this in her blog, but I think the world of Len Kravitz and wanted to point out that I, too, thought the King of Mitochondria's lecture this morning was fascinating. I walked in to a SRO situation and camped myself in a corner just as he had finished taking the class through 4 weeks of bioenergetics in an hour. Len stopped suddenly and turned around to ask everyone, "Are you okay? That's a lot of information I just gave you." He's a superb teacher and has a knack for making complicated information not only make sense, but really stick.
- Group Exercise Committee shout out: Thank you for your brain power and passion for what you do! You gave us some great ideas today.
Signing off now with just enough time to wash my hair, put on a fresh face and practice Makin' Chili before the International Reception and Assistant Party tonight. Wow! (there's that word again) can't believe we wrap this up tomorrow!
The night goes too fast. The morning comes too early. And these are Vegas nights and mornings, so I think you know how that goes. The in-between part when you're supposed to cool your heels with Mr. Sand Man somehow evaporates into the desert night.
Big Yawn. Stretch. Neck roll. Crack the knuckles and poise fingers over keyboard. Shaking my head with that familiar Day 3 feeling. Where in the blue blazes is my Visine?
Today is generally the day of the conference when I start to feel pent up and frustrated because I haven't been able to exercise for a couple of days. I'm a hopeless junkie for a good daily workout of some sort--I don't care if it's 6 hours in my garden spreading compost--I just need to move and sweat or I get cranky. Spectating here is a form of torture for me. I mean, yeah, it's great to see all the attendees having such fun...after all, that's the end goal for the IDEA staff. I'm really just completely envious that everyone gets to do 5 workouts a day if they choose to. It's a tradition for me to say this every year, so I'll say it now: Some day I will return to this convention as a spectator and overdose on movement. Those will be fine days, indeed.
Meantime, I did cover quite a bit of ground today. I got up and checked the website for the most recent posts, uploaded some more video and then jammed over to catch a few sessions in the 8:05 timeblock. Here's a quick slice of my day.
- Shannon Fable was showing off some great moves with the kettlebell in her "Core off the Floor" session. IDEA taped this session and has it posted as recorded streaming video, so if you couldn't make it to the conference, the session or just want to review what you learned, check it out. I'll also be posting video of the kettlebells stuff. Note that we also have Nicki Anderson's session "Helping Clients Move Beyond Diets and Into Health" from today posted as a bonus session as well.
- Pete Twist was "on" as usual. His dry witted delivery turns every session he does into pure "edutainment." I was videoing some great explosive plyo progressions for the blog and pretty much ruined the footage because I was laughing into the camera as he improvised and riffed away. (Okay, I actually managed to salvage some video, if you want to see it). Sometimes I wonder if he even knows how funny he is. Laugh while you learn. Is there any better way?
- Chuck Wolf wouldn't be Chuck Wolf without the infamously creepy rubber foam foot model he carries everywhere. I think that foot has more frequent flyer miles than I do. (I find it ironic that the foot either flies or gets carried everywhere it goes. Why doesn't it walk?). Of course, it was the perfect teaching prop for his "Assessment and Reaction-Foot Function" session. Note to self: Take up a collection to buy Chuck a new foot, as he is currently using a toothpick to hold the big toe in place. Looks painful.
- IDEA Personal Trainer Committee meeting was stimulating and rich with ideas, as usual. Shout out to all committee members: You guys are brilliant! Thanks for everything!
- Imagine my surprise when I walked into the "Dynamic Sport Warm-Up for Strength and Power" session this afternoon expecting to see Mr. Manic himself--Douglas Brooks--hopping around and rapping out tempos only to see Candice Brooks filling in for Douglas as he crutched around the stage. Motocross accident, I heard. I think he was feeling the frustration I described above of not being able to move with the rest of the group.
- IDEA author and first-time presenter Tom Terwilliger amped up a room of personal trainers into dreaming big dreams and taught them techniques for attaining those dreams and goals in "Keys to an Achieveable Outcome." "You can have all the tools on the outside, but if you don't have the inner game--any leak in that tool box--you're going to struggle," he said.
- Another first-time presenter, Jonathan Ross (2008 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year finalist) was torturing delegates in "Off Center Ball Training" using a Ballast Ball. I'll post video on this soon so you can see a sampling of the plank progression he demonstrated. Good luck--it looks pretty demanding.
Speaking of planks...I think I'll hit the rack for a power nap before the Welcome Party tonight. Then again, I could do a Chalene DVD in my room to shake the Ms. Cranky Pants persona I have going on. Hmmm. Oh, the irony! Chalene is here teaching live, yet I have to resort to DVD to fit her in my schedule!
Drums Alive Instructor Training Precon at the 2008 IDEA World Fitness Convention.
I'm not usually a name dropper, but today's blog requires that I drop a lot of them. This morning's Opening Ceremonies alone had more big names than most red carpet reports.
The Barry Manilow Theater in the Hilton Hotel is famously the last remaining historic showroom in Las Vegas and the one-time stage home-away-from-home to the King himself, Elvis Presley. IDEA's sizzling opener proved worthy of such hallowed ground.
After a percussive wake up call by Carrie Ekins and the Drums Alive™ crew, the morning glided into the prestigous IDEA Health & Fitness Awards (congrats to Nicki Anderson, PJ O'Clair and Shirley Archer for their respective honors as Personal Trainer, Program Director and Group Exercise Instructor of the year). Former President Bill Clinton taped a substantial spot recognizing and personally thanking IDEA members for their volunteer role in IDEA's partnership with the Clinton Foundation's and American Heart Association's Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Next, KABA Modern, a fly hip hop group that was featured as a finalist on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew and won the 2007 Hip Hop International Dance Competition, cranked up the energy even higher with a seriously phat dance groove.
Next, 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon Dan O'Brien appeared from backstage (and, ladies don't forget his invitation to visit his booth in the Expo for hugs) to introduce 2008 IDEA Inspiration Award winner 22-year old Brian Boyle. This is a young man I have a feeling we'll be hearing much more about in the future. His is a miracle story: Four years ago a speeding dump truck slammed into the driver's side of his car as he drove home from swim practice. He was rushed to the hospital, basically dead on arrival. He was taken into surgery, where his heart stopped and was restarted EIGHT TIMES. He woke up very slowly after a chemically induced coma and made his way back to the land of the living. His dream before the accident was to go to college and make the swim team (both of which he did), and one day compete in an Ironman triathlon. Some said he'd be lucky to even walk again. To prove the naysayers wrong, he walked across the finish line last October at the Ironman tri in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii--after he swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles (minus the couple of steps at the end tape, for emphasis). And guess what? He became a personal trainer because he wants to help people realize the joy of movement. He promised the IDEA crowd this morning he'd make us all proud. Okay. Goosebumps. After such a courageous journey back, I'll believe anything this kid tells me.
Finally, best selling relationship author John Gray, PhD, (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus and 15 other books), capped off the morning with his dry witted and often hilarious insights.
All those names in one session that ended by 10:15 AM. What a fantastic running start to the convention! In case you missed it or would like to see some of the names and news dropped here, access the recorded streaming video link of the opening ceremonies on the IDEA home page.
Always one of the most insightful and enlightening sessions at IDEA World is the trends panel with the three IDEA Award winners. Look for indepth coverage of Nicki's, PJ's and Shirley's perspectives on their speciaty areas--and analysis of what those views could mean for your future in the industry-- in the September issue of IDEA Fit TIps & News, our free monthly e-newsletter, and in the October issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.
Mingling at the presenter reception is in my immediate future along with some more video capture (holy point and shoot, Batman! Having loads of fun with my [er, I mean, IDEA's] new little camera!) and the tedious upload that goes with it. I'm off into the Vegas evening...talk to you tomorrow.
Amy Boone Thompson, COO of Stroller Strides®, nailed it for me today when she told attendees of the “Focus on Fitness Management” precon the following: “The thing I love most about the IDEA World Conference is the networking. While you’re here this week, don’t be shy. Get out of your bubble and meet as many people as you can. You’ll see these people year after year. They’ll become your family…”
For me this couldn’t be more true. This is the seventh IDEA World I’ve covered in as many years. Although the majority of attendees were not yet onsite, I still couldn’t walk into a room or down a hallway without seeing familiar faces, exchanging hugs or hearing my name called from afar. How great is that? It sets me up right for the week and puts energy in my reserve tank (which I will need desperately by Saturday!).
Today’s slate of precons was as varied as it was interesting:
• In addition to her part of the “Focus on Fitness Management” precon, Amy spent much of the day teaching the Fit4Mom (presented by Stroller Strides) session along with colleague Farel Hruska. Farel brought 20 life sized infant dolls with her to make the exercise more practical for attendees. What a great touch! One mom had the benefit of having her real baby there for practice. Check out the IDEA video blog for some great footage. Missing was CEO and founder Lisa Druxman, who reportedly picked up a nasty case of food poisoning yesterday. Trouper that she is, Lisa was on a plane this morning bound for Vegas, according to Farel.
• Carrie Ekins, MA, and her Drums Alive™ crew were sparking the energy over in the Barron Ballroom with an instructor training program that looked like loads of fun. Saw contributing editor Alexandra Williams in there enjoying the session, so I’m sure you’ll read more about it in her blog. Again, there’s video to check out, in case you want to see how devilish those polyrhythms can be!
• Jay Blahnik and Juliane Arney coached the Schwinn® Instructor Training Course—a combination of theory and practical. While I sat in, Julz was emphasizing the “triple link” of coaching your class on goal, time and feeling. “A good coach always has a plan,” she said. “We’re good coaches as fitness pros, we just forget to tell the class the play sometimes.” She advised that instructors build trust with students by telling them the overall goal of the class (and the micro goals within sets/interval work); the duration of the work; and how the work should feel. I caught the tail end of the class on video, but Jay and Julz “mood light” their classes, so it was too dark to post. Jay was so “in the moment” with the class he forgot to turn the lights up for me! Ah, but that’s the way it should be. Note to Jay: you owe me 5 minutes of light and showbiz!
• They were having a lot of fun learning new moves and nuances to old ones over in the STOTT PILATES® Essential Reformer on the V2 Max Plus™ session. John Garey, MS, infuses a lot of spirit into the work, in turn igniting lively conversation in the room. John playfully “shushed” the class more than once so he could move the curriculum along.
• Fraser Quelch publicly chided me for not picking up a med ball to try the "lunge matrix" (tip of the cap to Gary Gray) in tri-planar movement, but I was busy taking video and making him a star. Check out the video blog footage of these challenging exercises, which had even uber-athlete FQ breathing hard. Two to three minutes of these moves and your clients will be feeling it—no matter how strong or fit they are.
• Shannon Fable has some major league ideas for group fitness managers/program directors. She was part of a powerhouse batting order for the focus on management curriculum. If you ever get a chance to sit in as she shares her management acumen, don’t miss it. Her movement classes are fantastic, but her business ideas are where she really shines. Look for a series of upcoming articles in IDEA Fitness Manager in 2009 that will cover much of the ground she laid today. There’s also a great DVD of Shannon filmed at 2008 Fitness Fusion in the IDEA store that covers today’s topic.
That’s it for today. I’m off to dinner with colleagues and friends and looking forward to the official kick off of the conference with tomorrow’s opening ceremonies. Todd Durkin threw the gauntlet down for me to show up at his boot camp at 7 AM, so I’ll probably rise to the bait and be there. If I make it, I’ll be the sweaty editor in the front row of the Barry Manilow theater for the keynote!
The wind-up of IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™ today marked the end of the 2007 IDEA event “season.” It started in April in Chicago with IDEA Fitness Fusion™; in July we celebrated our 25th anniversary in San Diego at IDEA World; last month the Inner IDEA® Conference in Palm Springs helped center us for the home stretch here in Orlando. Over the course of these four events, we’ve had the joy and honor of meeting so many of our new and old members; and we are grateful for the opportunity you give us through your support to create and roll out strong and relevant programming at each event. Your enthusiasm drives us to keep searching for and creating content that will inspire you and give you the tools to propel your career to new heights. Most importantly, the end result is the difference you are making in the lives of your clients. You are the catalysts that make the IDEA mission happen! Without you there is no Inspire the World to Fitness™!As the final sessions of this event come to a close we are already looking forward to 2008. We not only hope you join us at one or more of our conferences next year, we hope you will help us to spread the community feeling you have been part of here in Orlando. Follow up on the business cards you collected and stay in touch with the new colleagues and friends you got to know here. It’s not always easy to connect with people in your industry who are as concerned with quality and as invested in their continuing education as much as you are. By keeping the dialogue going with each other, you are strengthening the industry and the credibility of the PFT profession.With that, I’m off for a few days of R & R, but my mind will be buzzing with ideas for new content to bring you in the publications and on the web as we move forward. I invite you to comment here or contact me via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your ideas. What are your challenges? What about your career or your business keeps you awake at night? Where are you in your career path; where do you want to be? How can IDEA help you get there? I will look forward to hearing from you and hope you have a safe journey home. Cheers and gratitude! Keep the Conversation Going!