Last week’s IDEA Health & Fitness Association's World Fitness Convention wasn’t just any old event, it was more of a celebration.
That’s because it was the 30th anniversary of Peter and Kathie Davis starting a newsletter in their San Diego bedroom for like-minded health professionals. That newsletter grew to an organization that reaches more than 250,000 people annually.
“I just don’t think Peter and I had any idea where we were headed or where the industry was headed,” said Davis, IDEA’s executive director. “We were just naïve 26-year-olds who had recently graduated college.”
But the couple, who both had played college tennis and continued on in the fitness industry as instructors, knew they both wanted to do something health and fitness related.
As in prior years, the IDEA Health & Fitness Conference was filled with fitness professionals looking for the next big fitness and health craze. This year, those crazes seemed to come in the form of an increased focus on nutrition, dance and a new ballet barre workout.
One of the biggest reasons specialty fitness retailers attend IDEA, Davis said, is to catch up on the latest and greatest trends in the fitness industry.
“I think that anybody who wants to be informed and educated as to what all the latest trends are in fitness would benefit from attending the convention, whether to come for a day or for three days,” Davis said. “Our industry changes so quickly; it’s important to stay up on it.”
At this year’s conference, attended by more than 6,000 people from 50 different countries, TRX continued to dominate but other takes on body weight leverage training gained steam, such as Power Rope training and barre training.
One of the big stories was the increased focus on nutrition, with 30 percent of the 300 educational sessions being nutrition-focused, Davis said.
There were many highlights at the show, but Davis noted a few favorite moments. For example, the IDEA fitness community matched the $10,000 raised by the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which helps people get the prosthetic limbs they need to remain active after tragedy strikes.
“We were able to buy a new prosthetic running leg for a 9-year-old boy from Uzbekistan,” Davis said, noting the youngster attended opening ceremonies.
Also, Davis got to see Jane Fonda again. The two last met in 1987, when Fonda spoke at an IDEA conference. She attended this year’s event as the recipient of the Jack LaLanne Award for her work in fitness. The latest fitness DVDs released by Fonda, now 75, are targeted to seniors who want to stay fit.
Davis said she was happy with the turnout at the conference, and all the 300 educational sessions that were offered, many of which had a 30-year theme — such as "Four Top Guns: 30 Game-Changing Moves to Boost Your Training," a boot camp workout held on the U.S.S. Midway. She’s proud of what the organization has become and one of her favorite aspects of it is that people can hop on the website and search for personal trainers or fitness class instructors
If Kathie and Peter Davis had it all over to do again, they wrote, in an article titled “30 Best Lessons in 30 Years”, they wouldn’t change a thing. Plus, they said, they’re going to be at IDEA until they can’t do it any more.
If you missed out on the fun this year, keep August 2013 open, which is when the next conference will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Davis said she hasn’t pinned down exact dates yet, but will officially kick off planning for the 2013 event next week. Stay tuned to IDEA’s website for updated information.
“The key is bigger and better,” Davis said. “We’ll be bringing in all of the top trends, bringing in top keynotes, but we’re just starting our planning.”