Saturday, 10 April 2010

Friday Fit Pro (FitPro Part 1)

Well typing up retrospectively is never an easy task. Lucky for you all that Gym Ninja took notes as she went through the two day convention at Fit Pro Spring Convention.
Now for all of those unaware as to what Fit Pro is, it’s a ‘Fitness industry’ convention designed to offer all manner of things to the fitness professional.  Run over 3 days, you can attend anything from one or up to 3 days of it, paying a hefty fee, and then you select what lectures/practicals etc you attend. Gym Ninja chose 2 days, and  predominantly lectures aimed at Personal Training and how to grow the business, with a few nutrition lectures thrown in on the Saturday too. There is also a very strong 'fitness class' sector, whereby new advanced aerobic instructor techniques are taught/launched, so usually 'never the twain shall meet' when it comes to Group Exercise Instructors and PTs! 
Now GN had heard good things about this and was looking forward to attending. Surely being full of fitness professionals there would be a contageous atmosphere and lots of new friends to be made?

Gym Ninja arrived at a nearby hotel the night before. As she waited at reception of the Premier Inn, the main bar area was busy. The receptionist smiled at Gym Ninja.

"Oooh, I feel fat tonight!" Confessed the Receptionist as she brought up GN's room details.
"There's a load of Personal Trainers staying here!"
She did a big-eyed look at Gym Ninja.

"I'm a Personal Trainer too." Said Gym Ninja. The receptionist's eyes went even bigger.
"Oh great! Now I feel even FATTER, AND I need to get into my wedding dress as Im getting married in 12 weeks and..."
Whoa! Who unleashed the Receptionist's confessional side?  Gym Ninja smiled politely and took her MANY bags up to her room...

Next morning Gym Ninja awoke shattered! Usually Premier Inn's have fantastically comfortable beds, but the pillows had been changed & now instead of feather, they offered some sort of rubberised concrete. GN is something of a Gym Ninja Princess and the Pea type person so her sleep had been sporadic due to the uncomfortable pillow. So, with Panda eyes, GN headed off to Loughborough University where the Convention was to be held....
Once enrolled (and a goodie bag of Lucozade nonsense was received) everything 'began' with an Opening Address: this year done by Life Coach and fitness expert Pete Cohen. However, before Pete Cohen began the opening address, Gym Ninja was already perusing the trade show exhibition side of things. Not as big as she’d expected (maybe due to the recession?) but all the same, GN had managed to buy some fab red bootleg pants (with side poppers-not as horrid as they sound) for only £15 within the first hour! 
Once the opening address had occurred Gym Ninja then had to find the lecture theatres for her first session. She followed a group of people and luckily ended up in the right place!

Advanced Sales Strategies for Personal Trainers. 

GN had booked into this lecture to maximise her future business. The one hour lecture held by a Geordie 'Sarah Beanie' look-alike. 
Now it was during this lecture that GN realised that although she had a purple wrist band on her wrist..there were mostly green or blue bands. Hmmm, why is Gym Ninja purple? Gym Ninja doesn’t suit purple of all colours! Oh and yes it took a few hours for GN to figure out the colour indicated how many days you’d booked to attend. Duh!
Was the lecture useful? It was pretty basic but maybe because GN has worked in sales for 6 years now so knows a fair bit. However there were a few techniques to do with pricing that were useful. Gym Ninja made notes! After an hour it was time for a 30 minute break. 
During the break, GN headed back to the trade fair. There she stocked up on some fairly affordable basics for her PT bag. Namely some varying lengths of jump ropes (well, GN won’t just train mini people-she may also train giants!), some beanbags (useful for marking areas in circuits), & some small rubber resistance bands in 4 different ‘strengths’ (3 of each strength). 
The next workshop was entitled..

Practical Ways to Train Multiple Clients. I

Now this was  taken by an American Guy called Alex McMillan ( Typically he had the American enthusiasm for fitness that Gym Ninja loves, & this guy certainly knows what he’s talking about.  Gym Ninja watched as he used some volunteers to create mini group circuits & explained about adapting your technique to appeal to the client. He even suggested making a video or two showing your training style to post on YouTube!  Bless him, for he even used the word ‘quid’ in an attempt to communicate with the British market! Gym Ninja again made plenty of notes, although the same wasn’t to be said for most attendees. Why pay so much to go to something and then not even bring a notebook? There was some valuable stuff said in this lecture theatre.  Actually, as GN looked around, there were predominantly men in ALL the PT lectures throughout the day, so perhaps it is still a male-dominated field? Maybe true to stereotypes, the girls were all at the aerobic practical sessions instead? 
Next stop, the lunch break. Now Gym Ninja had started to feel a bit ‘left out’. There were a lot of people on their own, but apart from the occasional two word interchange (at a clothing rack for instance!), nobody spoke to anyone else. Bizarre! Good job GN was heading back to the trade show (yay) to buy a must-have piece of kit, the BOSU. 

“I also need medicine balls please” Said Gym Ninja to the guy at the Physical Company stand. 

“Er, we didn’t bring any. People never ask for medicine balls at this convention”, He replied.

Er....what? Yes they do. Gym Ninja is asking! Grrr! However GN forgot her annoyance once he’d given GN a free mic belt!! She then struggled with the huge box back to her Mini Cooper to stash it on the back seat. Well, there’s NO WAY GN would drag that around this afternoon!

The afternoon session began with another PT lecture: This time called ‘Network your Fitness Business’, hosted by a Canadian woman called Maureen Hagan. She was very charismatic, mostly discussing how to listen to people and build a reciprocal referral business..although GN did have issues with concentration thanks to a troll-like guy behind her eating something from a bag that rustled the moment he put his hand in it! GRRRR! We are NOT at the cinema Troll Man!
By now GN was starting to realise something...that either the titles of these lectures WAY oversold the actual content, or that Gym Ninja’s hopes/expectations were WAY higher than they should have been? This is exactly why GN doesn’t go to the cinema and watch films...same issue of over-expectation/under-deliverance (along with the bag rustling too!).
2 more lectures to go, & GN was flagging. There had only been a handful of decent fitness guys to perv at, plus it was now a tad nippy and GN hates being cold. Next stop...yet another pair of American Presenters. Husband and wife team Bob & Jolyn Esquerre who did a 90 minute presentation on all manner of technical ‘tricks of the business trade’ under the banner Get it right: Business Solutions for Fitness Profesionals. Now this was pretty much aimed at PTs who work out of health clubs and blamed health clubs for not caring about growing the business and client retention. Again the American enthusiasm was refreshing to hear and see. Why can’t the British be more like that? 
By now GN was half asleep. It was 5.00pm and her final lecture with Pete Cohen was due to start entitled Using Your Brain for a change: The Secret to Weight Loss.
Now Pete is a fantastic UK presenter. Knows his stuff yes he does! But this was SO far removed from GNs expectations it almost disappointed her. He duplicated stuff he’d said in the opening address that morning, and just talked basically about giving people a new slant on looking at eating, before ending the lecture MOST disappointingly, by plugging his online weight loss programme. A sales pitch? Really? Shame on you Pete! Maybe GN wasn’t happy because a really irritating girl had sat right next to her, and due to her also being left handed (there were a lot of Lefties on the Convention GN noticed-GN is a Rightie btw) had stashed everything in GN’s desk space. Did she REALLY need to unscrew the water bottle and drink every 5 mins, before dumping it back in front of GN for an hour? Did she have to rustle for some snacks half way through? Did she also have to write emails on her BlackBerry throughout? NO! STOP IT! 
Now GNs brain has officially turned to mush being oversaturated by info. Saturday kicks off with an 8am lecture! Holy cow! But there should be a good mix (assuming GN doesn’t over hype them)....tune back in for Saturday’s update.. meanwhile GN finished off Friday with an early night & an annoying purple tag that couldn’t be removed from her wrist (ahhhr, like a Pigeon!) in bed with her. Is it just GN’s imagination or is it slowly cutting off her circulation....?

Gym Ninja x