Five big takeaways from the 2019 IDEA World Fitness Convention and SHINE event

Hi, friends! I’m here with some of the big things I took away from last week’s IDEA World Fitness Convention and SHINE 2019. In case you’re not familiar, the IDEA World Fitness Convention is the largest convention of the year for fitness professionals and fitness brands, and this was my fourth time attending it. The event took place at the Anaheim Convention Center, and it will be there next year as well in July 2020.

Ashley jumping outside Anaheim Convention Center by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

Before we get to everything that I learned, I have to tell you that this was perhaps my favorite time ever attending the conference, and I came away completely inspired to be in this field. I had an amazing time with my fitness and blogging friends from far and wide, and I loved every minute of it. It went by way too quickly, and I can’t wait for next year.

In the past, I’ve always attended the BlogFest portion as well, but BlogFest was not held this year and an entirely new event called SHINE was created for influencers. It was really good, with a lot of amazing content. Let’s do the big takeaways …

Five big takeaways from the 2019 IDEA World Fitness Convention and SHINE event

Five big takeaways from the 2019 IDEA World Fitness Convention and SHINE event by A Lady Goes West

There is no one-sized-fits-all or ideal diet out there.

I get a lot of questions from people about which diet I think is the best and which diet I do. I feel like people are disappointed to hear that I don’t do any of the diets, and I don’t think any of them is the single best one out there either. I also can’t give out prescriptive nutrition advice as a personal trainer, because that’s against the rules. But I do think that eating mostly whole foods is ideal, and I don’t think you have to call how you eat a particular diet at all.

Well, I’m glad to know that some of the experts in the field of nutrition feel the same way that I do about food. On the second day of IDEA, I attended a lunch and learn with Precision Nutrition’s co-founder, John Berardi, and he may have been one of the most intelligent people I’ve heard from in a long time. Berardi said that he thinks a number of diets and eating styles can work for people, as long as they fit well with their particular lifestyles. He thinks that intermittent fasting has its place for some people, as long as their training and lifestyle works with it too. He also thinks that eating more small meals throughout the day can work. The biggest thing that Berardi mentioned was that you have to get your sleep and stress under control, in order to make positive changes with your nutrition, and you have to exercise — it’s a total package effort. Why? Because when you don’t sleep well or are stressed, your body actually processes the food that you eat differently.

And when it comes to keto, paleo, gluten-free, vegan, etc. Berardi says that all these “diets” have something in common, because they force you to look at the ingredients of the food you are eating and mostly encourage you to eat more whole foods. That’s something we can all strive for, whether we track our macros, time our meals, label our eating styles or not. Moral of the story: Work with a nutritionist or registered dietitian to try out some different eating patterns as well as address any nutritional deficiencies you may have and then look at the whole picture of your health.

Precision Nutrition lunch by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

For fitness professionals: We have to be able to support clients more on their nutrition, and that means sending them elsewhere when necessary or leveling up our own credentials by getting a nutrition certificate for more knowledge. Makes a lot of sense, and it’s something I want to consider moving forward.

Fitness influencers have a big responsibility, and they need to inspire, rather than show off.

As someone who is actually a credentialed fitness professional, it’s always a little hard for me to see some of the information that “influencers” are putting out there — even though I know it gets them a lot of attention. They make it all about appearance. Bikini body. Six-pack abs. Tight booties. Sure, these things are nice. But fitness is about feeling strong and having energy and moving your body in a way that brings you joy. I don’t see too many influencers talking about these things as often as they should. Rather than posting photos of their perfect bodies, fitness influencers need to spend more time helping other people understand the true benefits of wellness, in a realistic way.

Friends at the IDEA Mega Circuit at Anaheim Convention Center by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

I sometimes struggle with my place on social media, because I know I have so much info to share, but I don’t want to ever put it out in a way that makes others feel bad about themselves — and I think that’s what a lot of current media does. I was soooo happy to hear this topic addressed in one of my SHINE sessions, because when influencers are chasing a following, they may let some of their integrity slide. So let’s remember: Fitness professionals need to model a healthy and realistic lifestyle (which does NOT mean a perfect diet and perfect body), and fitness influencers need to remember that building people up is a lot more important than making them feel inferior.

We need to invest in our recovery, and there’s plenty of vibrating technology to support it.

This one is definitely preaching to the choir with me, because you guys know I’ve been foam rolling since before foam rolling was cool, but this IDEA event really showed me that companies are putting more effort into creating more technology and tools for avid exercisers and athletes to recover — and many of the tools include vibration. Why? Recovery is essential, and as workouts get harder, we need more recovery.

Not only is there the Theragun, a percussive gun that can be used all over the body and feels amazing, which I got to experience both last year and this year, but there’s also another company with a vibrating gun, the Hypervolt, and all sorts of vibrating recovery toys, like a ball and a belt. Trigger Point also has a vibrating foam roller (which I need to get my hands on). And of course, there’s the Power Plate, a huge vibrating machine that fancy gyms have (and I was lucky enough to be trained to use as an Equinox personal trainer back in the day). There’s definitely science behind why vibration helps with recovery — it makes your muscles recover quicker and perhaps can even improve soreness and increase range of motion as well. 

I tried a few of these recovery tools during the expo, and I also attended an entire education session held by Rumble Roller all about technique and science behind foam rolling in stretching and how it relates to the nervous system. During that session, I learned how to roll the muscles from side to side, why it’s beneficial to roll both before and after a workout (I always roll before), how your muscle memory takes over when you exercise and much more. No matter how you do it, you can’t ignore your recovery efforts — stretching, rolling, vibrating, taking a rest day, cryotherapy, massage and Epsom salt baths all work, so get on it.

You must figure out a very clear vision and purpose for yourself to be successful. 

During IDEA this year, I heard from so many smart, successful and inspiring thought leaders. There was Mastin Kipp, an author and entrepreneur, who gave the keynote at the opening ceremonies; there was Vito La Fata, a business coach, who talked about how to make a million dollars in very specific steps during a session on business building; there was Emma Barry, a fitness industry leader, who talked about finding your why and working to your strengths during the opening session for SHINE; and there were all the elite fitness professionals at the top of their games, who spoke during their various award acceptance speeches. Some things that they all mentioned were having a vision and having a purpose.

They touched on hard work and on finding mentors and surrounding yourself with great people, of course. But they all said that you have to figure out your WHY, your PURPOSE, your VALUES and your VISION for your life and what you want to do. Based off that information, you can move forward and pursue anything, as long as you always stay true to your vision and values. If these things are the core of your being, then they will guide you and also help you to say no to any projects or commitments that don’t fit for you.

Ashley outside the Anaheim Convention Center at Shine IDEA by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

Emma Barry (who also happens to be an old school Les Mills international presenter whom I remember from BODYPUMP releases of years past and was seriously excited to see in person), posed an interesting question to all of us in the SHINE session. She said, “What did people tell you about yourself when you were 7 or 8 years old”? Because that’s probably your strength that you could be using and you should be using more. For me, people always told me I was bossy. In fact, I even got in trouble in elementary school for being too bossy. What does that mean for me now? Being a leader is in my blood, and perhaps that’s why I’ve been so fond of teaching group fitness. Food for thought.

Fitness should be fun, and a good coach and good music can get you there.

I did a lot of workouts at IDEA this year, and for the first time ever, I can say I liked them all — I actually loved them all. In the past, there have been workouts that have been not so good.

This year, we were able to take a Nike Training Club session from Brian Nunez, right after he was officially named Trainer of the Year. Wow. He was so present in our session, he had so much energy, he started the session by making us high five each other and get so pumped. Then, he delivered a very simple workout, that was incredibly effective. He coached us with energy and precise words, he timed our movements, and we worked hard. I love a workout with simple moves that suddenly turn intense when done properly. It was a lot of partner work too, and we always felt supported. A good coach can get you there, that’s for sure.

Post Nike Training Club workout by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

One of my other favorite workouts was trying POUND Fit, which is a music-based program, in which you use drum sticks and rock out to the beat, while getting a great sweat and having a ton of fun. The co-founder of the program, Kirsten Potenza, taught us the class, and I was in awe of both her and the vibe. She didn’t use a microphone and did all of her cueing visually — which is such a hard thing to do as an instructor. This workout may have only been 45 minutes, but it was fun and challenging at the same time, and I was very impressed. Once again, coaching and music made the difference. I also did a great power yoga flow, and a Bootybarre session, and the excellent instruction made every single workout beneficial and enjoyable — and educational.

Nike Training Club workout by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

Pound workout by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

For fitness professionals: Keep it simple and safe, use good music and coach well and with lots of energy. And always be working on your craft to make sure people have fun. That will keep them coming back!

Other big things to note from IDEA World …

  • People are everything. Surround yourself with good ones! I get SO much joy from connecting with new inspiring people and spending time with those I already know — it fills me up so much. I ran into old friends in the expo hall and walking around the convention center, I met a few blog readers, I went to dinners and had a million laughs with my dear friends Heather and Giselle, and I also connected in person with some of the people who work for companies I love, like Les Mills (we talked about so much, including the amazingness of Les Mills On Demand, which I am making it my mission to ensure more people try with my link for a free trial for 21 days). My favorite part about IDEA this year was the people. Hands down. Healthy living and fitness is so much better when you have others in it with you. So find your tribe, even if they don’t live where you live. You need them and they need you.
  • So many CBD products have hit the market. There were a ton of CBD creams, supplements and potions showcased at the expo. I have a few CBD samples at home and have never tried them, but probably should, just so I can speak on it more. CBD is an active ingredient in cannabis, but it does not get you high, and it’s totally legal. It is supposed to relieve anxiety and even help with inflammation. Perhaps another recovery tool?
  • There are endless types of fitness equipment out there. Walking the expo, you get a chance to see and try a ton of different pieces of equipment or tools to use to get fit — and I was able to experience many of them during the IDEA Mega Circuit Workout, which is such an awesome circuit training opportunity done on the floor of the expo hall. I think it’s great there are so many new pieces of equipment. The more tools, the better. Bars with resistance straps on them. Indoor cycling bikes that lean from side to side. Tubes with unsteady weight inside. Water-filled balls. Elastic battle ropes with wristbands. The list goes on and on. Every expo has more and more technology. And do I think we need all these tools? No. But I do think that if something inspires just one more person to get active, then that is a good thing.

Friends at the expo at Anaheim Convention Center by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

Ashley and Heather at Shine by A Lady Goes West - June 2019

There is so much more I can say, but I think we’ll end it here. By the way, I definitely plan to attend IDEA again next year, and if you are a fitness professional, I encourage you to consider it as well. You get continuing education credits to stay certified, you meet amazing people, you learn, you have fun and hopefully you walk away a better coach with a plan to keep growing.

Also, thank you to SHINE for accepting me into the program so I could attend this year and have such an amazing experience. We haven’t heard if SHINE will be happening again next year, but here’s hoping it does. I will be there with bells on.

Have a great day!

P.S. If you want to see videos and behind-the-scenes shots from the convention, head to my Instagram and find the story highlights from IDEA 2019.

Questions of the day

Do you surround yourself with great people or have a tribe? Who’s in it?

When was the last time you were inspired and why?

Any other questions about IDEA?

Have you tried a cool piece of fitness equipment recently?

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    1. Hi Marielle — you should totally plan for next year in Anaheim! I would love to see you there. If they do SHINE again and you apply for it, the convention is free. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Megan. I didn’t hear about it until Heather told me, actually, either — no emails, and didn’t go out to the Sweat Pink list. It was separate from BlogFest and put on by different people — so totally different, but technically, because BlogFest was done and SHINE started, you could say it was in place of it hehe. I don’t know the backstory, but I know that SHINE was awesome, and I really hope they do it again. You had to apply on the IDEA site to get in.

    2. Nope. BlogFest was replaced by Sweat Pink’s summer camp. SHINE was an event put on by IDEA, no relation to Sweat Pink (which created BlogFest).

      I’m surprised you didn’t get an email from IDEA; I received several invitations to apply for SHINE, but unfortunately I had a conflict that weekend.

      1. I don’t know why I didn’t get emails about it either — yes, it was totally different, but so good. I want to go again. Hope you both can go!

  1. IDEA looks so awesome! I was considering going to the World Barre Summit this October in Fort Lauderdale, but I think instead I’ll save up to go to IDEA next year! (coming from Connecticut) Barre and HIIT are the only formats I teach right now and I think IDEA would be an awesome way to see what else I might be interested in next. Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I didn’t know there was a World Barre Summit — have you gone to that before?? Sounds interesting! And I would highly recommend making it to IDEA World one day, because it’s worth the investment. Mark your calendar for July 8-12 in Anaheim, lady!

      1. I haven’t gone before but know people who have and love it! I was highly considering it, but I think I’m interested in a more high-impact format! I’ll be at IDEA next year for sure – see you there! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Are your pictures representative of the male to female ratio of attendees and/or target audience of the conference? I am just curious, as your pictures look female-centric. Building off that to a broader question, what are your thoughts on society’s trends for having male workouts versus female workouts look quite different? My opinion is that the two sexes do have meaningful differences that may lead to different recommended programming in terms of necessary volume and recovery, particularly when timing around the menstrual cycle, but I personally don’t understand why so often women are marketed less strength training options than men. I mean, BodyPump is strength training, of a sort, to be sure, but it’s more, in my opinion, muscular endurance than strength training per se, which I associate more with traditional power and olympic lifting. I share your view that whatever people enjoy and stick with is the best (meaning there is no best because it’s best for each individual) but at the same time think that women are often still not training in an optimal way for their goals because of lack of knowledge or intimidation or a variety of other factors. Thanks, Ashley!

    1. Hi Julia, great question! My pictures are not representative of IDEA World as a whole. I was hanging out with all females, but the convention itself, I would imagine, is 50 percent male, if not a bit more — my fitness sessions had a ton of men. The SHINE portion for influencers was mostly women as well, but not the broader fitness professional population. As far as workouts for women — they should be different, like you said, depending on cycle and goals. I do think that BODYPUMP counts are resistance training, so even though it’s more endurance, it is resistance, which is really the goal to get that in a few times a week. I feel like this is worthy of a larger discussion, and truly appreciate you bringing up such an interesting topic. I think women are starting to catch on that they need resistance, and if the only time they get that is through light weights in a barre class, that is certainly better than nothing. The best kind of workouts are the ones you will do and enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Such a great write up and recap of our time at the conference! Loved rooming with you and having a partner in crime to navigate through it all. Thanks so much for going with me and can’t wait to do it again! xo

    1. It’s not always easy to get away for something like this, especially with kids and husbands and travel — but I’m so glad we all made the effort — totally WORTH it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. SUPER jealous you had lunch with John Berardi! (I’m Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified. BEST nutrition course out there–all science, zero science fiction.) I wasn’t able to attend this year as I had a conflict. Sounds like the content was spot-on–and I really wish more people would LEAD instead of showing-off. I’m done with “look at my abs!” in the name of #fitspo because while it might be #fit it’s not inspiration or leadership. Too many of those pictures on Insta are followed by woo-woo BS lies about shakes, pills, sauna wraps, creams, etc. TIME TO GET REAL and share TRUTH, not woo.

    1. Bain — yes, yes, yes! I’m actually quite interested in the Precision Nutrition cert now that I heard from him in person. How was the process?? Wish you had been there!

      1. So first, here’s my bias: (1) I only want science-based information. If I am making a statement about something to a client, it has to be backed by something reliable, like appropriate peer-reviewed studies or research. I have absolutely ZERO tolerance for woo, goop, anything promoted by a celebrity, or anecdotal evidence (and the plural of “anecdote” is NOT “data”). While I am perfectly happy to apply coaching principles rooted in psychology, and to talk about the developing evidence that emotions and moods affect eating habits, it galls me to no end when I hear people say “Oh, it’s just like in ‘The Secret,’ you are thinking of yourself as fat and so you are attracting yourself to being overweight,” or similar rot. (Yes, I have strong opinions.) You can’t vision-board your way to proper nutrition! (2) I do extremely well with self-paced study. While I sometimes like video lectures and such, I can learn very well from reading, writing, and repeating. (I actually took extensive notes in my workbook.)

        I found the process very easy. I received my textbook and workbook promptly, and had access to the online forums and materials quickly. (These have changed name and format since I started.) As a book nerd and visual learner, I appreciated the detail and clarity in the textbook. It starts with a review of the biology of digestion, which is something I review periodically because so few “influencers” seem to understand it at all. (No Virginia, there really isn’t any evidence that gum/wheat/whatever take five years to digest. No MLM shake salesperson, there isn’t a random five pounds of waste hanging out in my intestines that needs to be “cleansed.” No teatox salesperson, I do not need a detox because my kidneys and liver work just fine, thanks.)

        The PN team answered any question I submitted by email within 48 hours. Other students and graduates responded to my questions on the forum. The exam was difficult but fair–there were zero questions that fell outside of the scope of the material presented. (I think there was one where the wording was poorly done–in my least humble opinion–but since I passed with flying colors, I didn’t take the time to complain.)

        The recertification process is also very simple. You receive an email notice that you need to re-take the exam. Again, it is difficult but fair; if you don’t know your stuff, taking the time to study isn’t a bad idea.

        While I am a little bummed that PN Level 1 training doesn’t qualify for the NBHWC, I understand why. (NBHWC requires a certain number of “live” hours with a teacher, either via webinar, teleseminar, or in person.) Perhaps at some point in the future the Level 2 training–which I have not (yet) taken–will qualify. I haven’t asked about future plans.

        I have a fistful of credentials, certifications, and licenses, and I am required to attend continuing ed for my day job. Based on my personal experience, I find the Precision Nutrition cert to be of excellent quality and a good value for the tuition. (I have no idea what I paid–I’ve been certified for a few years now.) If you have questions, feel free to reach out directly ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. Well this is an amazing comment — thank you SO much for your detailed and thoughtful reply — I’m going to look into doing the Level 1!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hi Ashley. During my teaching career I also coached at the high school. I liked attending conferences in my teaching field. But conferences in my coaching field were so much more exciting to attend. I got to meet new coaches and also share fellowship with coaches I competed against. Maybe I shouldn’t admit this but the subject matter from coaching conferences was more interesting.

    1. I think I can totally understand why coaching conferences were better!! ๐Ÿ™‚ It feels SO good to connect with like-minded people who are just trying to help others.

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