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Group X: Attending a Fitness Convention – Part Two



As leaders in the fitness industry, people with new products and programs touting the notion that their idea is “all the rage” constantly approach us. I am sure each program’s creator feels strongly about their idea and believes in its potential popularity. However, until you see that idea in action and see the collective reaction of the attendees at a convention, you really don’t have any evidence that this new program or equipment will have any traction with your members. At the end of the day, our members are the same as the people who attend these conventions; they will gravitate to what’s popular, what drives results, what is fun to do and what is truly something we have never seen before.


It’s important not to be lured in by knock-offs. The “me-too” presenters typically have seen a great idea, realized it’s potential and then tried to manufacture something similar, taking a few short cuts along the way. In most cases, these copycat products won’t have the sustainability and cache with the general public that the original product built from the ground up has. If you consider TRX as an example, an incredible team of innovators who are constantly improving their product developed this product and expanded their offerings. There is no reason to consider anyone else who has jumped on the suspension training bandwagon. It’s their idea and they are and will continue to be the best in class.


IHRSA – Most equipment from the leading manufacturers and all of the newest and latest equipment is on display. Trends can easily be spotted here, but it’s a pretty massive convention so look at a map, see who is presenting where and have a clear game plan as to what and whom you want to see.

IDEA World – Offers the most diverse, international and national exposure for group fitness programs. It’s a great place to find new class content and exciting new instructors from across the globe.

ECA World Fitness – Also great for exploring new group fitness programming, often these programs are a little less mainstream and a bit edgier. This show is a place to find hidden gems — especially in the world of dance fitness.

Sara’s City Workouts – If you don’t develop unique programming in-house, and instead are looking for more turnkey solutions like Zumba and Les Mills, this is a great convention. These conventions are also easy to find, as they occur often throughout the year in a variety of major cities.


Be creative in presenting what you experienced when you return. Remember, your members and employees didn’t experience it live and in action, so you have to do your best to translate what it was that excited you when you saw it. Have fun, be social and meet as many people as you can. This will help make the next convention you attend even more productive as you will have a base of contacts to connect with. And finally, don’t forget that conventions are a great place for instructors to keep up with their accreditations; most conventions serve as a one-stop shop to get re-certified.


Donna Cyrus is the senior vice president of programming for Crunch Fitness.

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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