My Day at the Fitness Conference

canfitpro-logoEvery August, I go to the CanFitPro conference – the largest fitness conference in Canada held by their major certifying body.  This year I chose to save my time and money and just went to the trade show.  I don’t think I made a poor choice.

Fitness conferences and trade shows are interesting.  I enjoy them because I get to sample products and talk to people who are similarly minded.  And I get a bunch of free stuff.  This year, I could do whatever I wanted, drop in on any mini-sessions that seemed interesting at the trade show, and walk away if they weren’t.

Attending only the trade show let me be leisurely about looking at products, since I had no rooms to run off to.  Here were my major take-aways:

Toys are fun, but they’re not the whole story.

Fitness is always looking for the next best product to “revolutionize” your workout.  Some of them are good ideas and some are a great way to say goodbye to your hard-earned cash.  If the toys get you in the door – fantastic.  But they probably won’t see the long-term use that the tried and true tools will.  I got to climb on a spinning climbing wall  – it was novel, but won’t be replacing my lifting program. For me, the basics are best.  Master your body weight, learn your major lifts, learn to swing a bell.  The most powerful changes to your fitness will come from the changes you make to your lifestyle, not the changes you make to your equipment.

Fitness pros like to tell you to eat whole food, then sell you supplements

I tested about a million protein bars today.  And the nutritional sessions I sat in on were all about how we all need more whole foods in our diet.  Don’t get me wrong, I take a few supplements on a regular basis, but there’s this huge disconnect between what fitness folks tell you to do, and the products they offer you.  How about this, instead of selling you protein bars, let’s go to your kitchen and whip up some easy protein snacks that you can take with you when you’re on the move.  Consistent message, whole foods, skill sharing.  Perhaps there’s less profit (FOR SURE there’s less profit), but I think it moves us in the right direction.  Know what my favourite protein snack was at the conference?  Hard boiled eggs.  They were awesome, and after a day of supplement samples, were an incredibly refreshing change.

I can’t live in a big city again because people standing still on escalators will make me lose my bananas

I used to live in Toronto.  We moved for a cheaper housing market and a slower pace of life.  When I lived there, the escalator etiquette was alright – standers on the right, walkers on the left.  Today, at the fitness conference – ALL STANDING.  ESCALATORS ARE MEANT TO MAKE YOU GO FASTER.  We are fitness professionals – let’s use the escalators like stairs.  Thanks.

By Snowmanradio, via Wikimedia Commons

By Snowmanradio, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ll go back to the trade show next year to get my rations of free stuff, and check in on the state of the industry, but I’ll save my continuing education dollars for those courses and conferences that really get my motor running.

Also, on a totally different note, Merry Khaos of Charm City, wrote a comprehensive piece about training for derby, and the need to change our mindset when it comes to training plans.  I agree with a lot of what she has to say, and the article is absolutely worth a read.  More than what she says about personal training regimens, I dig what she says about season planning;

“Roller derby athletes do not have the benefit of the pre-season/season/post-season/off-season structure that other sports have firmly in place, that determine their intensity and type of training. Derby is forced to ignore the season and mash all of their training, as best as possible, into each week of the year.”

Amen.  No other sports operate that way, and our bodies take the toll.  Let’s really look at how we can change things so that our sport and our bodies can hold up over time.

Read the whole piece here.

Happy Weekend!  Go eat some eggs and take the stairs.

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