An Inside Look at the Future of Fitness

Is your workout functional? Is your workout fun?

More than 4,000 health and fitness professionals came together to discuss, debate and display these questions and the latest in fitness at the three-day IDEA World Fitness Convention in Anaheim, Calif. attended the first day of the convention to explore its offerings.

Some of the industry's top experts hosted a diverse range of workshops, including "Are You Hungry or Stressed?," "A New Approach to Strength Training for Runners and Triathletes," and "Improving Balance in the Baby Boomer."

There were also a number of hands-on IDEA California Experiences sessions that allowed convention-goers to surf offsite at nearby Huntington Beach or participate in a mind-body triathlon, a three-part total wellness seminar.

The real fun was in the Anaheim Convention Center Expo Hall, where more than 150 exhibitors gave a first look at some of the most innovative and exciting gear and equipment on the market today.

A wall of Fitness Anywhere TRX Suspension trainers was set up near the entry to the hall, while indoor cycling bikes packed a corner of the floor ready for people to take a spin. Brand reps and inventors showed off their products to curious personal trainers and physical therapists seeking innovative new solutions for their clients.   

In the middle of the convention floor, spectators crowded around Robert De La Riva, CEO of Kangoo Club USA. Enthusiastic and energized, De La Riva was bouncing here, there and everywhere on Kangoo Jumps. The 2.5-pound, self-proclaimed "lowest impact running shoes" resembled space boots and had the outer appearance of a rollerblade. Instead of wheels, the boots had an impact protection system, a spring-like bottom that made wearers hop up and down as if on pogo sticks.

De La Riva said the shoes are great for running, particularly for people with knee and ankle problems as well as interval training and general aerobic activity.

"About 80 percent of the impact is absorbed in the boot, so you don't feel it in your knee joints," De La Riva said. "It helps flush out your lymphatic system and you also burn 20 percent more calories (working out in the boots). Most importantly, they're fun."

All across the hall, music blasted and blared as fitness pros were Kranking and Zumba-ing their way fit. Meanwhile, in one corner of the showroom, Keaton Koechli was busy spinning her hips round and round using one of the oldest fitness tools: a hula hoop.

Koechli, the co-founder and VP of Operations for Hoopnotica, demonstrated how the Hoopnotica hula hoop--not the standard hula hoop you buy at a toy store--can target isolated areas for a total body workout. Working the hula hoop traditionally around your waist burns 300 calories an hour, Koechli said.

"When you're working on your waist, you're gonna be working on all the muscles in your abs and obliques," Koechli said. "When you move (the hula hoop) down to your hips, you're gonna work on your lower abs and lower back to get those nice lower back dimples. Bye-bye muffin tops!"

From tried and true fitness equipment such as a hula hoop to the out-of-this-world gear of Kangoo Jumps, attendees had their hands full of fitness gear to test, tighten and tone up.

"At the end of the day, it's about having fun," Koechli said. "You want to find something you can do and wake up in the morning and want to do again and again."

What's the Big IDEA?

The IDEA Health and Fitness Association is the world's largest membership organization committed to improving the health and fitness of all people. The association has more than 23,000 members who range from business owners, program directors, personal trainers, mind-body members, group fitness members, health professionals and students. Founded in 1982, IDEA's mission is to focus on delivering compelling member value by imparting knowledge, credibility, inspiration, marketability, and personal and professional growth opportunities.

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