I should have stuck around John Blievernicht’s balance training class a little bit longer yesterday. I could have used some extra agility and proprioception this morning when I tripped over a hose during an early morning run and face planted myself directly in front of the turnstyles at the hallowed gates of the Magic Kingdom. It wasn’t pretty but I wish I had video, because the one guy who witnessed it was probably trying not to crack up. Well, at least I was first in line to see the Mouse! Too bad I couldn’t stay. It was just 5:15 AM so even a sliver of daybreak would have helped, but that was still over an hour away. After I ran out of sidewalk, I slipped into the convention center at Disney’s Contemporary Resort (conference HQ) and methodically moved from ballroom to ballroom using med balls, resistance cords, stability balls, BOSU® Balance Trainers—whatever I could find lying around that I needed to finish an invigorating full-body workout. Ryan (Halvorson, IDEA associate editor and also my personal trainer) would have been so proud of me…I even did the wicked BOSU Burpee Pushups! The maintenance guys finishing the night shift thought I was nuts. As I sweated my way through the workout, I processed the fun of the previous day and knowledge overload to try and clear some space for what I knew would be more of the same today. A highlight of Friday evening for me had to be when I met IDEA member Charles “Charlie” Chege Kinugi at the welcome reception. Turns out Charlie had never been on an airplane in his life and he’d only been out of his home town once in those many years. I was humbled nearly speechless when he told me he had traveled all the way from Nairobi, Kenya (a 20-something hour flight) to join us at our conference. Like the rest of us, he is on a quest for knowledge, but he has to plan a bit more carefully, save financial resources over a longer period and step further out of his comfort zone than any of us just to get here. That’s the kind of story I inevitably find at IDEA conferences. The dedication of fitness professionals to improve themselves and be the best trainers they can be is nothing short of astonishing to me sometimes. Look for Charlie’s photo (and lots of others) in the conference photo blog. Connect, Expand, Solidify There’s something about breaking bread with a group that helps us to relate better to each other. It’s a familiar, comfortable, universal ritual for most of us and I think we relax when we eat together and share. Breakfast today was yet another opportunity (the fourth of five hosted meals at this event) for this newly formed community of PFTs and educators to connect, expand and solidify. It was networking at its finest. Business cards were exchanged all around the room, as were challenges, hopes and dreams for PFT careers and entrepreneurial business models. A balanced breakfast—that even included Mickey Mouse-shaped waffles—fueled everyone up for the activities of the day. Turns out that these calories were seriously needed to propel everyone through intense movement workshops and keep minds alert for absorbing information throughout the morning. I Like to Move It, Move It! Activity blocks included Douglas Brooks’ BOSU Progressions for Personal Trainers (he told me later the class could be 7 days long with all the potential iterations for these exercises); a great study on dynamic warm-ups by Loren Landow; the “Functional Movement Screen” by Lee Burton, PhD; and a sweaty, raucous course with Fraser Quelch on TRX® Suspension Training techniques for functional strength, core conditioning and flexibility (talk about potential exercise permutations! Wow!). Sustenance burned up, attendees emerged ready for another healthy buffet lunch and a little break before the next time block.Industry Issues Afternoon lunch sessions/breakouts touched upon issues that PFTs come up against often.
- Scope of Practice—Where Fitness Ends and Nutrition Begins with Beth Wolfgram, MS, RD, provided some excellent hypothetical case studies to get delegates thinking about whether they’d advise the client or refer them. She walked the class through each scenario asking key questions about what trainers can and cannot do: (a.) Are you the right health pro to be doing nutrition counseling? (b.) Are you within your ethical scope of practice? and (c.) Are you within your expertise and skill level? If there’s ever any doubt, it’s likely you’re over the line. Interestingly the trainers in the room were split on several of the examples, which demonstrates how vast the gray areas are in this arena.
- Nicki Anderson, Darren Jacobson and Tony Tamules formed a lively panel for discussion on pricing training services. It’s no secret that many PFTs struggle with how much to charge and often give themselves the short end of the stick. They wonder about giving away free sessions in packages and, if they’re in management and have trainer employees, how much the split between the house and the trainer should be—or if a flat rate is the better solution. The questions were looked at from the vantage points of the panelists’ vast experience and different business models, and provided a well-rounded base for attendees to take home and help them make sound decisions. The final word on this topic was to base your pricing on not only what your particular market will bear, but on your customer’s perceived value of what she is paying for. If you’re priced right and deliver what your clients want (or exceed that consistently), she will gladly pay without expecting anything for free. What’s more, you’ll get the referrals that satisfied customers send your way.
- Greg Mack, whose business model in Columbus, Ohio, is based on physician referral, guided delegates on how to approach, establish and nurture excellent relationships with physicians, physical therapists and other allied health pros. Earlier in the day, Greg and I chatted about how well his business was performing and he commented that a new physician relationship he’d been cultivating for some time recently panned out. In a very short time span, she had sent him at least a dozen new clients. Proof that it works!
Final Notes and Anecdotes
- Darren Jacobsen flew in on Thursday from Cape Town, South Africa, as faculty for the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute. Not surprisingly, his body clock was a little out of whack. He woke up raring to go at about 3 AM on Friday morning. Bored, he turned on the television. Ironically, he said there was nothing to watch except Tom Purvis doing the Bowflex infomercial! I told him he could chuck the all-day Purvis lecture off his Friday list since he’d already spent quality time with him that day!
- For those of you who attended, if you didn’t meet presenter Todd Durkin’s Mom, it was most definitely your loss. The following was a classic, funny moment and another fine example of irony. Todd was just settling into “the zone” on his 3-hour “Great Trainer—Great Business?” lecture when the annoying scream of a cell phone started sounding off. Everyone looked around and Todd stopped just long enough to observe his dear 75-year-old mother diving for her bag and high tailing it out of the room as fast as her legs would carry her. “That old lady is in trouble!” he yelled after her goodheartedly as she scrambled out the door. You can just imagine the laughter that ensued. A light, fun moment. See a picture of Todd and his Mom in the photo blog.
- Every time I ran into presenter Chuck Wolf in the hallway, he was carrying around a nasty-looking flesh-colored fake foot. The way he cradled it in the nook of his arm reminded me of Paris Hilton and one of her Chihuahuas—they never seemed to be apart. He uses the foot for demonstration purposes of pronation and supination in his various function workshops. For some reason (maybe lack of sleep or something got jarred loose in my head when I wiped out on the run this morning) I thought this thing was hysterical. We started goofing around with it, and before we knew it, a bunch of us had all practically started crying from laughing so hard. It starred in its own special photo shoot, which you can see in the photo blog as well.
You see? These events are all about learning, sharing…and best of all…LAUGHING with your new and old friends. Cheers and talk to you tomorrow.
For the past few years there’s been a lot of conversation in the personal training industry about considering the “whole” client in program design. From the person’s feet to the top of his head physically; to what goes into his body for nutrition; to how his psyche is fed, nurtured and motivated all combine for a potent equation of holistic wellness. Throw in corrective exercise concepts, wellness coaching and excellent management skills, and that, my friends, is a tall order of skills for any personal trainer to amass—all while doing our best to Inspire the World to Fitness™. Yet, it’s happening before our eyes. The profession is maturing, gathering momentum and gaining credibility. Proof of this is materializing in the body of IDEA’s retooled PFT event, IDEA Personal Trainer Institute™, which is unfolding today through Sunday here in Orlando, Florida. Approximately 350 attendees, faculty and assistants made the trek to the balmy shores of Lake Buena Vista on the vast Disney property to participate in this three-day conference of carefully planned, indepth, provocative education. Reveille!The day kicked off with a 7 AM hosted breakfast. A community of trainers from all over North America—and 42 delegates from countries outside the United States—assembled and began a weekend full of education, networking and fun as they listened to executive director Kathie Davis’ welcoming remarks and to the expert panel of Nicki Anderson, Todd Durkin and Chuck Wolf, who discussed their perspectives on the future of our industry. These three energetic veterans heaped on an extra serving (for the mind) for attendees to consider as hotel staff served up parfaits of fresh fruit, a savory spinach frittata, sausage, juice and strong coffee. The three shared their perspectives on growth areas for trainers to watch (further personalization for the 1-1 client; partner and small group training; Boomer-influenced postrehab and prehab multidisciplinary approaches; boot camps and “success” coaching, to name a few areas), and on challenge areas as well (responding well to growth opportunities or forcing yourself out of your business comfort zone in order to grow; maintaining a culture of a small facility and great service in the face of growth; learning to be more of a strategist than an opportunist; enhancing business skills; delegating; dealing with competition; and creating systems that are scalable.) The discussion and ensuing questions from the audience set the tone for the cornucopia of opportunity and challenge that lie ahead for PFTs and for the conference’s varied educational program that was designed with practical strategies and tactics for these issues in mind. Classes did not disappoint. A useful balance of hard core corrective exercise, biomechanics, special populations, marketing, management, functional assessment, coaching, myofascial release and Pilates offerings—among many others—gave trainers a healthy dose of the menu that’s needed to attain the well-rounded mantle of the professional in this day and age. There were some light, memorable moments as well (many thanks to Todd Durkin and his collection of 80 sweaty boot campers for their rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday” in my honor. I’ve never had that many people sing to me at once!). Now it’s off to network and have some fun at the opening reception. It will give everyone a chance to strengthen the bonds forged with colleagues and presenters during sessions today and give this community of professionals a place to gather and download some of the great knowledge they collected over the past several hours.
I just figured out why Rip Van Winkle slept those 20 years. I heard he was at an IDEA World Fitness Convention and went home to take a little nap, but he was so physically and mentally spent that he slept right through the alarm (for a couple of decades). I reckon I’m in for a pretty lengthy nap just as soon as I proof this bad boy and send it over to Billy Pease and Gus Aguirre, the IDEA IT whizzes who made this phenomenal convention editorial-photo-video blog possible. Thanks so much, guys. Fantastic job. Hats off, likewise, to all IDEA staff, assistants, presenter faculty and exhibitors who pulled every last stop to make this event "a real barn burner," as they say back around Illinois-way, where I grew up. A 25-year celebration that put more than 7,500 people through the doors never came off so well. Not counting our volunteer crew of 300 assistants, this event is planned over the course of a year by a mere 30-plus souls. Of course, they are 30 of the most exceptional and talented people I’ve ever worked with, but still, it’s not that many bodies to pull off something as seamless as this monster event. We work hard and play harder. Way to go IDEA team! To our cherished members: We would not be here without you! Each of you gives us a strong purpose. You give our work meaning and focus. We are in this Inspire the World to Fitness™ mission with you, to support you. Let us know what we can do to help you in your quest for excellence. And last here, but always first on my list, I wanted to recognize the IDEA editors and contributing editor Alexandra Williams, who all stepped up without question (and on very short notice) to take on this blog—adding a considerable amount of extra work and pressure to the framework of what are already jam-packed coverage assignments. Kate, Joy, Margie, Ryan and Alexandra…you are amazing observers and writers. You’ve brought this fine, fine celebration of the industry to life for the rest of the world to experience through your eyes, thoughts and feelings.I may be weary now, but for those of you who know my normal energy level, look out! I banked the spirit and energy I absorbed from the experience of the last 5 days for future use. We’re 26 next year and that means it only gets better, friends. If you missed this one, start planning to attend in 2008, because we always try to top the previous year, silver anniversary or not. Be well. Be happy. Be in touch, okay?
How do you define passion in your life? Is your work your passion? Take a step back and gauge it. If it’s AWOL, it’s time to find it again. And if, by Day 3 of the IDEA World Fitness Convention®, yours has not been renewed, it’s probably time for a bit of soul searching. I’m pleased to say that mine is in overdrive today. After talking to members, presenters and Fitness and Wellness Expo exhibitors over the past few days, my creative tank is overflowing and I have a million ideas for content to share with you in the coming year. It’s been an excellent week. Perhaps Blondes Do Have More Fun This discussion of passion was sparked by the session I just came from: Lessons Learned From Fitness Celebrities. A triple cocktail of fitness legends (each one part blonde bombshell, one part brains and one part pure drive)—including Judi Sheppard Missett, Kathy Smith and Tamilee Webb—shared the most important lessons learned on each of their respective rises to fame and fortune. They presented with so much heart and humor that I didn’t think the room could hold any more of their amazing energy. Here’s a nugget from each, but note that these women could easily finish each other’s sentences. In fact, during Q & A, one delegate asked whether they had ever considered collaborating on a project, because their messages were so synergistic. Judi answered with a quick laugh saying "You know, I was just thinking the same thing…" From Judi: "Passion and family have been integral to my success. Jazzercize is how I weave my passion for dance together with the support, inspiration and motivation I get from my family."From Kathy: "Passion is what drove me in the beginning when I first discovered running and it’s what has continued to drive me to this day. If you have a dream you’re pursuing, think about the elements of your dream and the skills you may need to make it happen. Take a look at yourself and figure out what areas need work. Take classes and workshops to improve those areas. Don’t be afraid to fail. You can be afraid but still do it. From Tamilee: "You never know who is going to be that sixth degree of separation in your life. We are all connected. It’s not about keeping it all to yourself. It’s about opening up and giving it out. Share your information and your experience."What are the favorite lessons learned in your career? What are your secrets to success? I invite you to share your thoughts on this by posting a comment on this blog. Cardio Training for Clients With Multiple ConditionsTraining special populations requires special trainers with elevated knowledge on chronic conditions and the fallout that affects disease sufferers. One of these conditions that seems to be surfacing more often and that PFTs need to be aware of is fibromyalgia. Of several conditions covered by faculty member Cody Sipe, PhD, this one stirred up a lot of questions. Sipe offered these standards for training clients who have been diagnosed with it:
- Low-intensity cardio (NuStep, bike, walking)
- Warm water exercise
- Aerobic classes might not work well
- Avoid exercise or go low on days with flare-ups
- Stretching and self-myofascial release may ease trigger points
- Add newer exercises methodically
- Avoid high-impact movements
International Flavor Yikes! Another evening; another party (actually two—the IDEA Assistant party is tonight, too). Heading down to the pool shortly to greet each of our international members who impress me every year with their dedication to continuing education. This week I’ve met people from Russia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Peru, Guatemala, Australia, Canada and Mexico, to name a few countries. Tonight I will thank them for their ongoing belief in what we do. Anyone who travels half way around the world for a fitness conference is special in my book. Same goes for the hundreds of assistants Dana Rucci assembles each year. We absolutely could not put on our events without them. Can’t wait to shake some hands and thank these wonderful members. They are the rocket fuel for the passion I call my work.
Here is an example of classic irony: I’m at the world’s premier fitness conference and going crazy because I haven’t had any proper exercise since Wednesday. It’s like being thirsty in a rowboat in the middle of the ocean. Alas, I am surrounded by what would be paradise for me to participate in and I can only observe. This, my friends, is the life of an IDEA editor. My girlfriends Brandy and Kim are here taking classes left and right. I bump into them every so often and they’re usually all sweaty and glowing with endorphin high and talking a mile a minute about what Jay said; how awesome Chalene is; the moves they learned in Strip Bar by Crunch® (I think their significant others will be reaping benefits from that one). Point is, I’m at the vortex of the excitement and haven’t cracked a sweat yet—except for dancing at the "Celebrate in Silver" party last night. Someday I’m coming to this conference as an attendee! I will sneak out early tomorrow morning for a run along the Embarcadero and get a full dose of Pacific Ocean.Looking Forward: What’s Next in Personal Training?Great session! If you’re a trainer and can’t see the tremendous opportunities out there just waiting for you to reach out and grab, then you’re really not trying very hard. Talk about low-hanging fruit. You’re in the right place at the right time in history. Your path to success will take a lot of work and creativity, but the demand for the services of well-educated, exceptional personal trainers has never been greater. All I can say is get out there and get after it.This panel-style format boiled down to a 2-hour semi-private consultation with three of IDEA’s recent past Personal Trainer of the Year Award winners: Todd Durkin, Sherri McMillan and Greg Mack. Moderated by 2007 award finalist Ingrid Knight-Cohee, discussion topics included opportunities in corporate fitness (Can you say rising health care costs? This fruit is spoiling on the ground, people!); developing and implementing systems for your business; motivating your staff trainers; whether to hire staff as contractors or employees; philosophies on how to pay trainers; national education standards and accreditation; mentoring programs; and recruitment and retention, among others. These are all topics that I consistently hear from IDEA members to be their pain. What areas of your business need salve? Feel free to post a comment on this blog and start a discussion. Panelists very generously shared their tricks of the trade. Some of the gems revealed today could easily save an entrepreneur a year of work and a lot of money and frustration. Quick piece of advice: Find yourself a mentor, LISTEN and LEARN! The information was worth its weight in gold and generated some serious article potential for future issues of all of IDEA’s publications. Can’t go into detail here, but you’ll reap the benefits in the content we’ll roll out in coming issues. Sales Strategies for the Non-SalespersonEducator Casey Conrad, JD, is a firecracker. Not only is she smart; she’s funny and knows how to take charge of an audience. She warned us all at the beginning of class to put our cell phones on vibrate or face the consequences (25 push-ups); and we almost made it through. But with a scant 10 minutes to go, there was a ring tone. Mortified, the woman dove for her bag, but it was too late. Casey had her in laser sights and called her out. The attendee begged for mercy, as she had been to Ryan Halvorson’s boot camp on the Midway earlier today and her arms were toasted, but her pleading fell on deaf ears. Casey was rubbing her hands together gleefully as she deadpanned, "You knew the rule ahead of time. Drop and give me 25." It was all in fun as we counted out the set and then applauded. It punctuated a point Casey had just made: "This industry does not pay enough to not have fun doing what you’re doing." That’s partly why polishing your sales skills is so darned important. Best takeaway line from Casey’s curriculum while I was in the room related to tracking sales metrics. If you do this and only this, it can take you and your company to the next level: "You must inspect what you expect," she said. "This is where the rubber meets the road for your business. You need to track the numbers every day and make every single person on your team accountable. This will help you create and maintain consistent focus."I won’t even tell you about the ration she gave the guy in the front row who was dozing off…now that was really funny!Alas, no dozing for this kid. Quick shower, change of clothes and off to Stingaree for the reunion party.
Last night I went to sleep with illusions that I had become an IDEA World Fitness Pro. After 6 years of covering this event, I thought I had it wired. I eased into precons yesterday, stayed hydrated and fueled and got to bed (reasonably) early. How very grown up of me! I thought for certain I would wake refreshed and prepared to receive the wall of energy that usually hits me between the eyes and overwhelms me as I begin circulating on the first day of convention. Man, was I ever wrong. I was a choked-up, sniveling mess (in a totally good way) by 9:15 AM. Starting the Day off RightOpening ceremonies blew me away, especially seeing people who I know well—with whom I’ve worked many times on articles for IDEA publications—receiving major industry honors. Many congrats to Lisa Druxman, Fred Hoffman, and Bill Sonnemaker as the 2007 IDEA Awards recipients.Then, of course, there was Augie Nieto, a man who I’ve been reading about ever since the Augie’s Quest fundraiser at IHRSA last year, and whom I had the privilege and honor to meet today. Augie is living with ALS, or Lou Gerhig’s disease, and was named the 2007 IDEA Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. All of the other editors wrote about him in their blogs, too, so I won’t go into too much detail. To sum up: Augie’s positive attitude, sense of humor and absolute dignity were inspiring. His demonstration of strength was a joy to witness. Thank you, Augie!The announcement of IDEA’s partnership with the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for a Healthier Generation put another layer of excitement onto the morning. Dr. Pam Peeke really knows how to get a crowd riled up ("This is a call to arms and legs," she boomed!). Look for the press release on the IDEA website to find out how you can get involved to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic. Not Business As Usual Douglas Brooks is a seasoned and humble pro who has no problem admitting that business was not always his forte. His success over the years makes it clear that it’s a whole different story for him today. He is an exercise physiologist who first took the academic route in his career and then realized that maybe it would be a good idea to try and make some money while he was at it. He taught a course today called "How to Financially Leverage your PFT Business: Beyond Hour to Hour" and shared a wealth of experience with attendees. The point he kept returning to that separates his philosophy from the "Make $200,000 per year as a trainer" mentality is that sure, you can make a good living as a trainer, but do it with 100% integrity. "What does your business success stand upon?" he asked. "Trust. Integrity. Results-oriented progressive programs. Recommendations you make must be in the best interests of your clients. Never walk away from that foundation."Trends in the Industry PanelIf you missed this session, be sure to tune into the October issue of IDEA Fitness Journal, when it will be given more substantial coverage. Where else can you get feedback on what’s coming down the pike in the industry from three people who have just been voted best-of-class by a group of peer judges? Lisa, Bill and Fred all answered in-depth questions on industry trends from IDEA Executive Director Kathie Davis and then fielded a few more from the audience. Of course, we all know this already, but it never hurts to repeat it…their top piece of collective advice was to never assume you’ve learned it all. Because the moment you do that is the moment your career may as well be over. Education is paramount in the quest for excellence. Speaking of excellence, tonight is the "Celebration in Silver 25th Anniversary Party." We will be decked out and ready to dance the night away! Talk to you more tomorrow!
Okay, here we go! After a year of hard work and planning, the IDEA staff descended on the San Diego Convention Center earlier this week to get things set up for a fitness and wellness extravaganza of international proportions. We are expecting more than 5,000 delegates, assistants, faculty, staff and Fitness and Wellness Expo guests over the next 5 days to help us celebrate IDEA's 25th anniversary…no small feat to pull off with just 30 or so regular staff! Fourth of July PrimerI arrived onsite early this morning with presenter Nicki Anderson. She came into town July 3 and we were able to spend a couple of days together pre-convention to relax and have a few laughs. To celebrate the 4th of July yesterday, we got up early and joined a group of friends and co-worker Jonathan Withers to run the annual Coronado 5K and 15K. Today I discovered that there were also a group of IDEA assistants from Salt Lake City who had the same idea. Way to Inspire the World to Fitness™ gang! Nicki turned in a fleet-footed time of 24 minutes plus in the 5K and I hobbled across the finish in the 15K at 1:27 plus. My knees are thrashed—and I will literally walk miles and miles by the time IDEA World is over (should have thought that one through more carefully!). Is there a kinesiologist or massage therapist in the house who can help me?Afterward, we went to a 4th of July celebration and then came back to the Marriott—convention hotel HQ—to take advantage of the spacious pool and amazing San Diego weather. A few hours later as we were leaving, we ran into presenter Sherri McMillan, co-owner of Northwest Personal Training in Vancouver, who was at the pool with her two darling kids. Sherri was waaaaay pregnant last year at world, and her little guy is already 10 months old! She and husband Alex presented today as part of a day-long precon session called Critical Skills for Personal Training and Group Exercise Directors—Inspirational Leadership and Motivating Management. Excellent Business Direction for Directors and OwnersWhat a great business-oriented line-up this proved to be! From 9 AM to 5:20 PM, delegates learned from a talented faculty about outrageous customer service (Nicki Anderson); secrets for successful staffing for program directors (Shannon [Griffiths] Fable); recruiting, training and keeping good trainers for PFT directors (Sherri McMillan); marketing group and PFT programs (Sherri); compensation, evaluation and standards for group ex directors (Linda Freeman); the true cost of a personal training session (Tony Tamules); and managing change and coaching adaptability (Amy Boone Thompson). Nicki Anderson and Mary Brachter facilitated a wonderful "Meet ’n Munch" luncheon for these precon attendees. After a casual boxed lunch, everyone split into groups that were determined by colored dots Mary and Nicki had hidden beneath each lunch box. The purpose was to force people out of their comfort and peer zones and put them into a true networking situation. Delegates were led through various networking exercises, which made things very lively…there were a lot of laughs and the volume in the hall rose substantially as trainers and program directors shared their backgrounds and common areas of challenge. Several prizes were given away and many business cards were exchanged! I met Rena Sered, a fitness director from the Jerusalem Spa in Israel; Terry Howard from Merritt Athletic Clubs in Eldersburg, MD, who is experiencing the sensory overload we call IDEA World for the very first time (Terry, I want a full report when you get back! My advice: Pace yourself, woman!); and Danette Allen, owner of Action Personal Training in Salt Lake City. Danette brought out 10 of her staff for continuing education. They all volunteered as assistants this year—thank you for your help and enthusiasm!Walking the TalkOther great precon sessions I attended today included Fit4Mom, which was put on by Lisa Druxman, CEO of Strollerstrides® and her incredible crew of Moms: Farel Hruska, Hannah Sansone, Amy Boone Thompson and Jen Weck. These women totally walk their talk. Hannah had adorable 5-1/2 week old Gabriella there with her (in a Strollerstrides carriage, of course). And Jen Weck, who just delivered beautiful daughter Page just 10-plus weeks ago, was doing a movement portion of the program using the BOSU® Balance Trainer called "Mama Wants Her Abs Back," along with Hannah. Both women look (and told me they feel) awesome. Amy’s daughter Nia is 5 months old. They are a true testament of what exercise and common sense nutrition can do for the health of both mom and baby pre- and post-partum. There was a constant flow of excellent questions from the audience. The keen interest underscored for me the growing popularity of working with this special population. You really can’t underestimate the targeted knowledge you need to be successful with the pre- and postpartum client. Next, I popped into Chuck Wolf’s 11 AM-5PM session called "Function Litmus Test and the Science of Tweakology." Chuck is one of our faculty who always reminds me why I love this industry so much. His passion for anatomy and kinesiology just oozes off him and onto everyone in the room. So many of us have gotten wrapped up in tossing around the word "functional," perhaps without really understanding what that means. Chuck’s course dug deep into the true characteristics of human motion and very clearly and elegantly addressed the criteria that make an activity or movement pattern fuctional. His teaching style is playful, friendly and inclusive—everyone gets picked on. You can’t hide from him! It was very neat to look around the room and see fitness professionals having those "Aha!" moments as he simplified triplanar movement. Some great quick tips from Chuck:
- "Let the ‘beacon of light’ (your bellybutton) shine: Where the pelvis goes, the lower back follows."
- Preload before you unload: Let gravity and eccentric loading occur first—it’s given to us for free.
- Rotational before linear.
- Ask 3 questions of your clients before you start working with them: WHAT caused the problem? WHY is it happening? HOW are we going to fix it?
Early in the day, I went into A World of Water—Water Intensified. Leading attendees through a full day of lecture and practical sessions in the pool were Bethany Diamond, Ken Baldwin (Aussie Ken, not Indiana Ken, for those of you who know both), Yoko Holcombe and Katherine McLarty. When I came in, Bethany was leading a discussion about how important stabilization in the water is for all clients, but especially for large bodied or obese participants. Mary Sanders, PhD, just happened to be in the audience and lent some additional expertise to the discussion. What a wealth of knowledge we have here! I hope delegates use this opportunity to network with presenters and ask tough questions, because they certainly are up to the task!I’m heading down soon to check out the Expo—huge as ever this year. As is my custom, I will spend some time in the IDEA booth greeting old and new friends and catching up. Can’t wait to check out all the new gear and equipment! The numbers will be fried on my credit card by the time I leave there tonight!Meeting some friends and colleagues for a healthy seafood dinner tonight in the Gaslamp Quarter and then will stop by the TRX party over at Dick’s Last Resort, a short walk from the restaurant. Then it’s a quick stroll across the street back to the Marriott and sweet dreams until morning, when the 25th Anniversary Celebration begins. Tune in tomorrow for more play-by-play action!