Industry Buzz: IHRSA 2017 Recap and Highlights
This year’s IHRSA Convention and Trade Show was absolutely amazing! Held March 8th through 11th in vibrant, exciting downtown Los Angeles, IHRSA 2017 was a fabulous opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make many beneficial new connections. The L.A. Convention Center and the JW Marriott were the perfect venues for this event featuring numerous networking opportunities, cutting-edge group exercise programming, a huge trade show with over 350 vendors, and four incredible keynote presentations by some of today’s top experts.
The Industry Leadership Council (ILC) Experience this year was truly mind-blowing — VIP treatment in every way. ILC membership is hugely important for anyone in this industry. It really offers a one-of-a-kind chance to get behind the scenes and take full advantage of every aspect of the entire IHRSA Convention. We enjoyed a delicious and healthy complimentary lunch every day, and private receptions just for ILC members. The ILC also sponsors several causes of vital importance, such as the PHIT Act (Personal Health Investment Today) — federal legislation that would enable taxpayers to use pre-tax HSAs and FSAs to pay for qualified fitness expenses, making physical activity more accessible for all Americans. I’m extremely proud to be a member of such a vital part of this industry.
The Fitness Industry Technology Council Roundtable on March 9th was emphatically informative. Joining the Fit-C is critical for keeping your fingertips on the technological pulse of the fitness world. In case you have not heard of the group, Fit-C is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping our community continuously moving forward and staying on top of the latest technology for processing real-time wellness data. The roundtable was packed full with industry thought leaders, with the conversation led by my friend, Brian K. O’Rourke, an expert on helping fitness business leaders navigate the radical tech changes coming up in our world. We had a truly captivating discussion on best practices for implementing new club and customer management software. Often, people turn too quickly to shiny new software systems, expecting this technology to instantly solve all of their problems — but fitness companies need strong business systems already in place and an ongoing commitment to overall excellence to reap the full benefits of new fitness technology.
Another favorite event at this year’s convention was the 80’s themed 12th Annual Bash for Augie’s Quest on Friday, March 10th, in the Diamond Ballroom at the JW Marriott. Augie’s Quest is the ALS research initiative led by Augie and Lynne Nieto, on behalf of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative condition that has devastating effects on millions of Americans. The fitness industry’s fierce commitment to this crucial cause has raised a record-breaking $3.5 million in the last year alone, and more than $35 million total since the inception of Augie’s Quest. Every dollar raised is helping the ALS TDI develop an exciting new drug called AT-1501, which is currently in the early stages of clinical trials. Augie and Lynne looked amazing, and I had a blast dancing and connecting with my colleagues on a deeper level for such a great cause.
IHRSA 2017 was such a fabulously enriching experience all the way around. Amazing keynote presentations, the Women’s Leadership Summit, incredible networking, there were so many valuable ways to really maximize the whole experience. I’m already crazy looking forward to next year’s IHRSA — March 21-24, 2018 in gorgeous San Diego, California — see you there!
Lindsey Rainwater, also known as Lindsey RainH2O, is a sought-after business consultant, leadership coach, writer and presenter to the fitness and wellness industry. For more information about Rainwater, follow her on Twitter @LindseyRainH2O.