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5 Fitness Trends from IDEA Convention

What are exercise leaders doing, saying, and learning when you’re not looking?

Alexandra Goes on a Whirl at IDEA World

Combine 6000 fitness professionals from around the world with 3 days of expert lectures, workshops, workouts, panels, and trade show and what pops out? To start, 5 fitness trends that you get to see here first! Take a look at the latest in exercise, nutrition, and fitness based on our recent participation in the IDEA World Fitness Convention.

1. Runaway Train of Obesity

Our nation (and others) is getting heavier and heavier with no slowdown in obesity rates on the horizon. In fact, 42% of the US adult population is predicted to be overweight or obese within the next two decades, with a third already so. The word to the fitness industry – we have not yet succeeded in getting our neighbors, relatives, friends, or community healthy, moving, or eating well. As a nation, we are speeding on a track to a major health crisis. At least we have not yet jumped the track. We can still apply brakes. And it’s going to take a multi-pronged, complex approach; not any simple, easy solutions.

2. Focus on Food

Fruit, yogurt, chocolate dessertConsumers (most of you reading this) are going to be looking more and more to exercise leaders for nutrition advice. So we fit pros are getting the word to get more education in this area so that we can stay within our scope of practice while meeting your needs.

  • Dieting vs. Diet Management  Diets based on calorie restriction or excluding nutrient categories (such as no sugar, no carbs) ultimately don’t work for weight maintenance. People with a weight loss goal need to clearly distinguish between their weight loss phase and weight maintenance phase. Based on where they are in the process, diet plays a different role.
  • Diets DO work for weight loss.  Yet, a clear trend was the emphasis on INDIVIDUALIZED diet plans. What works perfectly for one person (Paleo, or raw vegan, or low carbs, for example), might produce limited results in another. No “one right diet” exists. Apparently much of the confusion over what is “good,” “bad,” or “the newest secret” is far more person to person than thought before.
  • Trade Show  Even the trade show evidenced the focus on food. For the first time in 30 years of IDEA events, an entire section was devoted to ingestibles: food, drink, supplements, powders. IDEA even offered a cooking stage with presentations, demos, and lectures. Next year we hope the trend includes lunch!

3. Dance Choreography That Repeats


The Key to QiDancing is the Fun Factor and Repetition

Dance-based group classes are rising up, up, up with an emphasis on keeping complexity down, down, down. Whaddya know — people (you? For sure, we!) love to dance, just not when too much thinking, jumping, or choreography are involved. New programs such as QiDANCE, Big Dance, and LA Blast are taking popular, easy-to-follow styles such as ballroom, and creating fun, reinvigorating, no-apologies-for-pointed-toes dance cardio routines. Impact on the joints is low; the repetition of the dance moves is high. Key quote heard a lot: “ I love to dance when I work out, even if I can’t dance except like a dork.”  Everyone can succeed while shaking it!

4. Inside/ Outside Body Experiences

  • Internal Focus Presenters devoted time and attention to what’s going on INSIDE our active bodies and brains. How do we feel? What aches, pains, limitations are we bringing into our exercise routines? What is the role between the brain and the body that is changing our concept of mind/body interconnectedness? How is our posture affecting us? Bottom line: our thoughts are shaping our bodies to a degree still unknown, but expected to be significant.
  • External Focus Another trend is the push to make workouts shorter and more intense. The word to experienced exercisers is to emphasize intensity over frequency and duration to achieve visible (and invisible) results. Want a lean body? Trying to burn fat?  Willing to work hard for faster results? Go as hard as you can at least 20% of your workout time. Use intervals within your regular cardio workouts. Or devote one day a week to a short, intense burst of all-out effort.

5. Never Mind Ideal; Start With What’s Real

Trendspotters or Trainspotters? Kymberly, Alexandra, Alison, and Luly

Yes, there were a lot of workshops, workouts and lectures about High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), TRX® and CrossFit, yet there were even more courses emphasizing the need to meet people where they are. The people who are already hooked on exercise love the intense workouts, but as an industry we need to do a much better job of reaching the people who are overweight or obese and don’t (yet) enjoy exercise. Presenters proffered words such as “realistic,” “small steps” and “increments.”  One key phrase we have used before here at Fun and Fit and heard highlighted as helpful for fitpros to ask new clients and class members: “What is the least you can/ will do?”  When you are tempted to stay on the couch, try this question on for size. “What is the least you are willing to do today to improve your fitness?” Now get out there and be a trendsetter!

And the absolute HOTTEST trend? Subscribing to our YouTube channel. Or our blog. Follow us on Twitter: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Please also follow us on Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. We put all sorts of handy icons in the right sidebar for you to click on.

Readers: Have you seen any of these trends in action? What trends have you noted that are not listed above?


About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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19 Responses to 5 Fitness Trends from IDEA Convention

  1. Shanti (antishay) July 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I loved this post! Yessss, people who are sedentary are DYING for realistic exercise routines. They want to have fun, and they want to feel like it’s not too hard. Even I, when I was a highly athletic person, looked at p90x and thought to myself, “woha, no way.” I think millions would benefit from programs more geared to having fun and just getting your HR up :) There ARE some incredible, progressive things coming out, such as I recently started Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012 on the xbox kinect and it is SO FUN! It’s a full-body interactive weight-loss game. I completely exhausted all my muscles, just from pumping up balloons with my arms and flapping my arms to make a wind storm, hula-hooping and lunging/squatting… totally fun, and totally exhausting! :P I bet you had a blast at IDEA – thank you for sharing this info with us, especially for us healthy living bloggers!
    Shanti (antishay) recently posted..Antishay 18 – Body Progress! Feeling the weight loss :)My Profile

  2. Tara burner July 14, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Love it, maybe next year ill be at IDEA
    Tara burner recently posted..Writing your life story…what are you writing?My Profile

  3. Amanda @RunToTheFinish July 14, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    sooo jealous that you were at IDEA, i love being surrounded by like minded people and getting crazy inspired!! :)

    The obesity numbers just terrify me really…so many weight loss products and so many overweight people. If we could just all go back to basics!
    Amanda @RunToTheFinish recently posted..Running Club ApMy Profile

  4. Calla Gold July 14, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    I’m especially excited about the dancing exercise trend. I love dancing and if it was simple steps I know I’d love it.
    The shorter high intensity exercise also seems to be a great trend!
    Thanks for the news Fun and Fit!

  5. Tamara July 14, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Sounds like a fabulous conference! When do we get to hear about Alexandra’s Klout workout???

  6. Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness July 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    Love this post!!!! So much interesting information! I am a dancer so I’m very excited to see that dance classes are on the rise! I love the nutrition advice too! I think diet makes such a huge difference but you have to like what you are doing and make it a lifestyle otherwise it’s not going to work for you! It’s all about the individual!

  7. Heather@Just a Colorado Gal July 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Oh jeez, those obesity stats are SCARY! Reading about the dancing trend makes me want to start teaching again! I used to teach studio dance, but I bet I could transition to a gym hip hop “fun” class. That would be great to get back into it again….thanks for the idea! :)
    Heather@Just a Colorado Gal recently posted..I’m ObsessedMy Profile

  8. LisaB July 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    I’m jealous. I have wanted to dive into IDEA but it seemed too big and too “industry.” I’m already out here on the far borders of the fitness world, working at getting obese people up off the couch.
    After meeting you two ladies at FHBC, I would totally go to IDEA to hang out some more!
    LisaB recently posted..Your Path Personal Training is Remodeling!My Profile

    • KymberlyFunFit July 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Hi Lisa: So glad you stopped by to comment as we have a cute photo with you we wanted to send your way but we lacked your contact info. Would you email us and we’ll get that out. Next year IDEA is in LA and you would find a lot for your clients. The convention, attendees, presenters, and industry are very welcoming to all people helping others get healthier.
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..3 Excuses You Can Use When Mountain HikingMy Profile

  9. Elle July 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    Dance based classes hey? That sounds so 80s to me but I guess all good things come back into style at some point.

    At least they are fun!
    Elle recently posted..Summer Setbacks and Getting the Workout DoneMy Profile

    • KymberlyFunFit July 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

      Hey, we loved the 80s workouts. Well, aside from the fact that they were all workouts for the fit to get more fit. We loved the outfits too. There we said it!
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Lose 2 Pounds in 2 DaysMy Profile

  10. Julie (@ROJRunning) July 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

    Nice trends. I am a big fan of the dace type work outs. Although I have NO RHYTHM or business going to a club on a weekend, I can get my music and wiggle fix at the gym. win-win.
    Julie (@ROJRunning) recently posted..Friday Food : Cowboy StewMy Profile

  11. Mary @ Fit and Fed July 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Hmm, “What’s the least you can do this week for your fitness?” I’m trying out how that would sound to someone, would it sound encouraging and friendly or more like, “Hey, you couch potato, can you at least do something?” All in how you say it I’m sure.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Tropical Oils: Healthy? Sustainable?My Profile

  12. Big Vanilla Athletic Club July 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    Sounds like a great convention! When will it be held next year?


  1. 5 Fitness Trends from IDEA Convention | Fun and Fit: Laugh, Learn … | Fitness - July 13, 2012

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