IDEA World 2013 Conference Recap: the sessions

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Me and sash

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in an event I’ve longed to attend since I became a fitness instructor: the IDEA World convention. IDEA has a reputation for being the “best of the best” as far as fitness educational conferences are concerned, and many of my world colleagues have attended and presented at IDEA. Before I get started with my recap, I wanted to thank my two sponsors for giving me the opportunity to attend: IDEA and Reebok. I’ve been working with IDEA as an Inspired Advisor so my conference pass was complimentary, and through my partnership with Reebok, they provided my hotel, expenses and transportation. Throughout the weekend, I rocked my Reebok gear and also attended a few meetings with fellow Inspired Advisors, including these lovely ladies:

Inspired advisors

(with Debbie, Alyce, Tiffany and Kasey)

Something that I was looking forward to the most throughout the weekend was the chance to take classes and learn from powerhouse instructors, including some of my favorites: Chalene Johnson, Shaun T., Tory Horton and Jay Blahnik. I also learned from new-to-me instructors and had an amazing time.

Here are some of the conference session highlights:

(warning: super long and photo bomb post ahead)

Grit 1 of 1 2

Les Mills GRIT

As you guys know, I’ve been dying to try one of the new Les Mills’ GRIT classes, which combines strength, plyometrics and high-intensity interval training. We don’t have any classes yet in Tucson, but I was able to take a class at IDEA. Julie and I ended up missing the first half (strength) because we were doing another event with Reebok at the Expo, but ended up being glad because the cardio portion alone killed us. We were sweaty beasts afterwards! The drills consisted of powerful movements, including sprints (where you had to weave and dodge around your neighbors, who were also sprinting), squat jumps, pushups and jumping lunges. I loved that the moves were basic but got your heart rate up extremely fast. Also, the time for the drills decreased for each round, which made it easier to trick your body into finishing strong, even if you were tired. (And man, I was spent after a full day of classes already!)

Grit 1 of 1

Equinox presents: Animal Flow 

This class was something I’ve never heard of, but had explored the idea of animal-based movement classes with my boss at work. It was a “flow,” so after learning the core moves (static beast, loaded beast, crab, foot under, knee kick-throughs and lunges), the instructor would call out each move and you’d flow from one to the next. I especially loved the fact that they encouraged animal sounds during the session… always a recipe for a good time πŸ˜‰ The movements were dynamic and required core stabilization– an awesome strength and core workout.


Reebok Fitness Fusion

This was my first session of the conference, and the best possible way to start things. The instructor was from Spain, and an absolute fireball of talent and energy. She taught us a complex step combo, building onto the moves and stylizing them with dance movements (like flamenco hands). As you can imagine, I was in heaven. The only bummer was that we were in a carpeted room so I almost fell and broke my face a few times, but got in a great workout. The funny thing is that I could have called the active portion good after that -I was drenched in sweat- but nope, we were just getting started.

Chalene 1 of 1

Chalene Johnson’s TurboKick

This is one of the sessions I was looking forward to the most. As you all know, I’m a HUGE TurboFire and Chalene fan, and was so stoked to finally be able to take a class from her in person. It totally exceeded my high expectations. The session was packed -the line wrapped around the room to get in- and Chalene herself was at the door to greet everyone (“Hi! Thanks for being here! So happy to see you”) and hand us each a glowing star wand to use during the Turbo session. She had a little “fitness rave” as she called it, and the room was dark, the music was blasting as we all kicked, punched, and “whoop”-ed with our glowsticks. Amazeballs.

Chalene 1 of 1 3

We did a few combos, a few fire drills (similar to those in TurboFire) and the energy in the room was out of control. She’s a huge inspiration, a very talented instructor, and absolutely gorgeous. She’s SUPER petite, too. I’m 5’5 and she came up to my shoulders. I have to say this was my favorite session.

Tony Horton’s Speed, Balance and Range of Motion

I was familiar with Tony Horton from his P90x series, but had never done one of his workouts. I was missing out! Not only is he a sexy beast, but he’s a nut. His jokes made the class a lot more fun, and we were all being tortured from the exercises. I loved the format of this class, because it alternated between speed, balance and range of motion.

A couple of examples:

Punches to burpees (speed), warrior 3 to half moon (balance), low side lunge and shoot the basket (range of motion)

Sprints (speed), side plank with knee raise (balance), donkey kicks with a kick through (range of motion)

We did each speed round 3 times: very slowly (to get a feel for the move and warm up), slightly faster, and then as fast as we could go. Each portion was 1 minute.

This style of training is something I’m going to implement in my own classes and workouts.

Beachbody 1 of 1 2

During the BeachBody showcase, we also got to do a live Insanity workout with Shaun T. It rocked my world. He has a way of pushing you to work your very hardest, and loved how genuine he was in the Q&A session.

Plant based 1 of 1

Plant-based Nutrition

To be totally honest, I didn’t learn a ton from this lecture, but I really enjoyed it. It always makes me excited to hear fitness professionals giving a sage and balanced approach to nutrition, which is exactly what the presenter did. Julieanna Heaver is a registered diectician, a vegan, and gave tons of meal ideas and strategies for getting in a healthy vegan diet. Even tough she obviously loves and believes in the vegan lifestyle, there wasn’t a single part of her talk that said, “Everyone should be a vegan.” Instead, she said that different things work for different people, but “there’s one thing we can all agree on: we should all eat more fruits and veggies.” She was a joy to listen to- super fun and animated- and I’m excited to check out some of her recipes, since they’re all whole ingredient meals with gluten-free options.

Shockwave 1 of 1 2

Equinox presents: SHOCKWAVE

Jay Blahnik (one of my faves) was one of the trainers for this circuit-style workout. You work with a team and alternate between upper body, core, lower body and carido, which is indoor rowing (aka it kills me). The coolest thing about this workout is the friendly competitive spirit: You can’t rotate to the next round until ALL the rowers have completed their set distance. This means that everyone is cheering for each other, especially because you want to switch to the next exercise station. For each round, the meters required for the rowing portion decreases, which makes you work faster to row. The rounds become shorter, but even more intense. I’d love to take this class if it was offered in Tucson.

Shockwave 1 of 1

ZUMBA: Mexican Fiesta

As you can imagine, this was kind of my dream class. I’m Mexican, I’m obsessed with Zumba, and this session was a Zumba class set to traditional Mexican music. The icing on the tres leeches cake: when they asked me onstage to join them for a quebradita. So fun!

Zumba stage

NASM: Fast Fat Loss

I signed up for this lecture because the term “fast” caught my attention. It seems that so many people are looking for a quick solution (a healthy one doesn’t exist) to lose body fat/weight. For this lecture, “fast” was defined as a 3-month time period. Music to my ears πŸ™‚ The presenter was from NASM, which is the organization I’ve been studying with for my new PT certification, and gave a lot of helpful info regarding roadblocks we all face with body fat or weight loss, how to overcome these obstacles, and a 3-month cardio/strength plan for losing fat. He also emphasized foods to focus on (all whole foods, lots of protein, minimal sugar, salt and unhealthy fats).

Here are the tips for the 3-month plan he included:

(of course, check with a doc before making any fitness or nutrition changes)

Cardio: minimum 3 hours up to 10 hours per week

Month 1: Zone 1 (can hold conversation)

Month 2: Zone 1 and Zone 2 (hard sustainable cardio)

Month 3: Zone 1, Zone 2 and Zone 3 (breathless)

ONLY use Zone 3 cardio maximum 2 times per week. Be sure to take at least one full rest day each week.

Resistance training:

Month 1: Focus on stabilization, slow tempo reps, higher reps (12-20), 1-3 sets, short rest periods

Month 2: Focus on strength, 2-4 supersets, 30-60 second rest periods, take out metabolic exercises

Month 3: Focus on Power, 3-5 supersets, make sure to use good technique and form as always

Some smart fat loss tips:

-Use a normal-sized dinner plate. Restaurant plates are 12 inches in diameter– 8 inches is normal

-Eat slowly

-Don’t drink calories

-Focus on whole foods

-Protein with every meal

Dinner 1 of 1 7

I feel like I could recap everything because I enjoyed it all so much, but those were the highlights πŸ™‚ My next recap post will feature to Expo and some more fun stuff from the conference.

Hope you have a wonderful night!



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  1. Running Hutch on August 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    First of all, IT WAS GREAT TO MEET YOU!
    Second of all, this was so nice to read as I missed ALL of the active workout sessions and I SO BADLY wanted to go. I was tempted to do the Fiesta class and just kinda watch/half participate. I’m going to link to this on Friday, k? πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      loved meeting you, too! of course πŸ™‚
      wish you would have been in there shaking your booty with us!

  2. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on August 12, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    I just saw that Les Mills GRIT was going to be offered and the gym I am currently going to and was going to look up some reviews. This sounds like something I should definitely add into my workout routine! This conference sounds amazing – glad you had a great time!

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm

      it was SO GOOD πŸ™‚

  3. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on August 12, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    Conference envy!!!
    The Chalene seminar looks like it would be so much fun. Is Turbokick more of a dance inspiration than Turbofire?

    • Kelly on August 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      TurboKick is the fitness club version of TurboFire. Certified instructors purchase new releases with new choreography, new music, etc. I’ve been teaching it for over 5 years. My fave format to teach!

      • Fitnessista on August 12, 2013 at 11:33 pm

        taking that class made me want to teach it!

  4. Ali @ Peaches and Football on August 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Wow – what an awesome experience to get to meet and take a class with Chalene and Shaun T! I have P90X but haven’t tried Insanity – I am sure it would kick my butt!!! But I bet taking a live class is a totally different experience than doing it at home too and the energy is probably incredible!

  5. Dominique @ That's What Domi Said on August 12, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Oh man, taking TurboKick with Chalene herself sounds incredible! You’re so lucky. I’ve been wanting to invest in her full DVD set for awhile now, and this might just be have convinced me! Perhaps along with a SoliBeat pre-order?? πŸ™‚

    Also, the NASM presentation sounds very interesting (I’m studying NASM for my PT cert right now, too). My question with their guidelines is how would you apply that to a client who already had a decent background in fitness/cardio/resistance training? Do they have a way to scale the recommendations?

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm

      they didn’t. i think it was just a very general plan (but a good one) that beginners could implement. i think i’d take the ideas (lower resistance cardio, higher sets for month one) and adjust from there according to the suggestions

  6. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on August 12, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Oh this sounds like sooo much fun!!! I am so jealous you took TurboKick with Chalene. I started doing her TurboJam DVDs in law school and I loved them! I just started TurboFire and am loving that too!

  7. Cady on August 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    I absolutely LOVE Turbokick! And we don’t even have a “rave” style class, although that sounds amazing! Looks like you had a great time!! πŸ™‚

  8. Lauren on August 12, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    It looks like you had a great time! I’ve never tried Turbokick but it looks like fun!

  9. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on August 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    I AM SO JEALOUS, I wish my days were not so chaotic so I could have been there! Hopefully next year πŸ™‚ NASM rocks! I love holding certifications from them, there customer service team is the BOMB! Hope your enjoyed your time in LA πŸ™‚ Love + shine CourtStar

  10. Jess on August 12, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    Wow what a blast and a workout! Bet you were exhausted by the end of each day!!

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      i was TOAST, but loved every second

  11. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta on August 12, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Gina! It was a pleasure to meet you at IDEA! I am so excited for you with the release of your dvd! You sure kept a good secret over the weekend :-).

    • Fitnessista on August 12, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      loved meeting you, too! haha i wanted to tell everyone!!

  12. Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves on August 12, 2013 at 11:54 pm

    Sounds like an absolutely amazing experience! You are so lucky to have met such great fitness instructors. Les Mills GRIT sounds awesome, and Animal Flow sounds really interesting! You must be wiped.

  13. Jillienne @ ChasingRaspberries on August 13, 2013 at 12:00 am

    It was an amazing convention! It was nice meeting you there too!

  14. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance on August 13, 2013 at 1:54 am

    HOW FUN!! I would love to go to the IDEA conference just to be around so many like-minded people with valuable information πŸ™‚

  15. Lauren on August 13, 2013 at 2:53 am

    Hi Gina! It looks like you had an awesome time at the conference. I hope it breathes new life into your lifestyle πŸ™‚ I have a question, I’d like to know what’s your opinion on food combining. I recently found out that it’s best not to have concentrated protein and concentrated starch at the same meal, since different enzymes are required in the digestion process. I’ve been implementing this and I feel really good, I have a lot more energy. And when I do combine foods badly, I feel like sleeping for 8 hours. Thanks for sharing your opinion πŸ™‚ xo

  16. Lucie on August 13, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Wow, what a great recap!! I love that you tried GRIT! It’s offered in our gym and I go regularly, I love it!
    And the class with Chalene sounds like a blast. What a great idea to keep the room dark!

  17. STUFT Mama on August 13, 2013 at 3:58 am

    I can’t believe we weren’t in any of the same sessions. Silly. You got some good ones. Hope you’re getting lots and lots of hugs at home friend! Glad you made it safely. It was so great meeting you. Wish we could have spent more time together.

  18. Mollie K on August 13, 2013 at 5:35 am

    I go to Equinox in CT. I LOVEEEEE shockwave. such a fun class! love the competitive, teamwork approach to it. So fun! Glad you got to experience it!

  19. Danielle on August 13, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Love all the recaps! I always love trying out new fitness classes so this would be my dream conference to attend! Thank you so much for sharing your experience πŸ™‚

  20. Jackie on August 13, 2013 at 8:58 am

    I like the idea of a 3-month “fast” fat loss. To me, I know that if I lose weight too quickly the likelihood of gaining back is so much greater. I lost 15lbs rather slowly and though I have fallen off the wagon the past 2 months, I have managed to maintain the weight loss, which makes me extremely happy!

  21. Emily @ The Good Era on August 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Seems like you were really busy and it was a great conference!

  22. Tom T. on August 13, 2013 at 10:18 am

    This looks like a great conference. Sometimes you need to take a break from being the motivator and be motivated by others. Seems like you really got a lot out of this, I’m jealous. Great recap.

  23. Ashlee@HisnHers on August 13, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Lots of fun new fitness classes! I’m a little confused on the animal one…it looks like yoga for manely men πŸ˜‰

  24. Jacquelyn @justjacq on August 13, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Ummm I will totally do that animal movement stuff in the guy in the video is my teacher! Holy crap hotty!

  25. Annette @ FitnessPerks on August 13, 2013 at 11:33 am


    I totes want to do a class with Shaun T.

    Oh, and I am a coach for GRIT–isn’t it so fun & hard?!? hah. love it.

  26. Cassie on August 13, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I was going to go this year, but work travel got in the way πŸ™ I’m dying to take a Turbo class from Chalene some day!!! And you met Josef (from Les Mills) – he was the trainer that certified me in BodyPump and he’s awesome (and very nice to look at ;)).

    I’ve been teaching TurboKick for 4 years and LOVE it and just started TurboFire as well and Chalene is my favorite!

    Hope to make it to the conference next year πŸ™‚

  27. Tracy on August 13, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Hey Gina! They have GRIT at Zona Fitness, I have a friend who used to teach Les Mills classes in Tucson before she moved to Gilbert! πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on August 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      awesome- i’ll check it out!

  28. Amelia on August 14, 2013 at 12:27 am

    Thanks for the summary! I am interested in the “fast” fat loss and love that it’s not a 20 day fix (pet peeve of mine and have been seeing this everywhere lately)! Three months is a perfect amount of time I think.

    • Fitnessista on August 14, 2013 at 10:22 am

      i totally agree!

  29. Anna @ Fitness Γ  la Anna on August 19, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    OMG. Chalene. I would love love LOVE to do a live session with her. This reminds me that I haven’t done a turbofire dvd in a while…gotta get on that!! Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

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