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Fitness Tips from IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West
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photo by Pamela Hernandez

IDEA Personal Trainer Institute (PTI) West is a weekend of workouts, workshops and lectures designed to keep fitness professionals educated, motivated and dedicated to the best for our clients.

This past weekend was my first time at PTI and I had no idea what to expect from it because it was my first fitness conference. We normally go to tech or business related events like South by Southwest Interactive or Wordcamp. I actually don’t hang out with other personal trainers a lot at home so being in a group of them for three days seemed a bit daunting. Questions raced through my mind the night before, trying to figure out how I would fit into to this “new” environment.

Would I be overwhelmed with new information?

No but I was inspired. There was in fact an interesting divide, almost two fitness philosophies present. First you have the traditionalists whose presentations stuck to accepted standards for physical activity. There is nothing wrong with that approach but I fall more in the second camp: people don’t move enough. How can we make fitness functional and part of everyday life? People like Rodney Corn got me thinking even more outside the box with my training plans and exercise choices. Hayley Hollander’s presentation on exercise and menopause really spoke to me. It affirmed my belief in interval training but gave me some ideas on how to tweak it to make my programs even more effective. Training tip for you: Play more; it’s highly underrated as exercise.

Where is fitness going and I am going with it?

Yes, it appears that functional tools and moving in 3D are the way of the future. There are always going to be people who like the leg press machine and that’s okay. But to help a population where 25% of the populations doesn’t get any physical activity we have to start looking at things differently. Fitness has to become more about movement where people are (like the office), with the tools we have and less about a standard gym setting. It’s no longer our job to count reps and help people get ripped. We need to help people feel better, develop habits of movement and eat for health. Training tip for you: Invest in fitness equipment that helps you move in all dimensions (think free weights and kettlebells).

Would I be the only one tweeting constantly?

Yes. I am always amazed at how few fitness professionals utilize social media. The official hash tag of the event (#ideapti if you want to go back and check it out) was dominated by myself and the awesome ladies at funandfit.org, Kymberly and Alexandra. Otherwise – crickets. In the last (and perhaps favorite) session I attended, presented by the afore mentioned ladies, I learned this was the first year that PTI even allowed pictures and Internet access inside the sessions. What?? How you can you not want people sharing real time all the amazing information being presented? I am sure it is fear that if people can get it online they won’t come but I’ve always experienced the opposite. It was all the tweets from South by Southwest that inspired me to go. If there were more being shared maybe I would have gone to PTI earlier. Training tip for you: Social media can help you find new exercises, a training partner or some much needed motivation. Use it.

You can’t change the past so all I can say is I am glad I went this year. I got to meet my two FitFluential pals Kymberly and Alexandra in person. I learned, I was inspired and I won some new rolling tools and BioFreeze from Theraband. How could you not call it a success? My goal for next year – present a session on blogging for your personal training business.

What do you think – good idea? If you’re a fitness professional what do you want to learn about at a conference like PTI?

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