It Was So Good, I Stopped Doing It

     Two conferences down and one to go. This past weekend, I attended the International Dance & Exercise Association (IDEA) World Conference. This was an easy one for me, it was in my hometown of Las Vegas. It was the 2nd week in a row that I’ve attended a fitness related conference. I have a personal connection with IDEA, because it was the first conference I attended, over 20 years ago. Throughout the years, I personally feel they have gravitated more towards the appeal of the “Big box” gyms and group fitness, but nonetheless, I like to stay current with all the trends in the fitness industry. There wasn’t anything new or revolutionary discussed in the lecture halls or on the trade show floor. 

     Twelve years ago, when TRX debuted at this show, it was revolutionary. No one had heard of suspension training before. Now they’ve become a main staple in the fitness world, with many people knocking them off and putting their spin on suspension training. Five years ago I came across sandbag training. It has since become a huge part of our programming at the studio and 2 of my coaches along with myself are certified sandbag instructors. I frequently credit Josh Henkin, creator of the DVRT system, with being very innovative in how he uses sandbags to improve the quality of movement and strength. New training modalities are rare and I frequently find myself going back to basic exercises for steady improvements.

     In this era of “what’s the newest thing”, we all have a tendency to get caught up in the new shiny toy. One of the reasons I review the workouts at the studio on a weekly basis is because it allows me to question myself. Are these the best programs for my members? Can I justify everything that we’re doing? Is there a better way? I will also go back to old workouts. This is when I find the “old gems” of exercises. An old gem is a great movement/exercise that generates results and has been proven to work. Like everyone else, I sometimes get distracted and move on to other exercises. If it works, why did I stop using it? I think many people look to exercise for entertainment. They get bored. Here’s an example. One of the objectives at the studio is to improve everyone’s upper back mobility. The area of the upper spine is called the thoracic spine or T-spine, as it’s frequently referred to. In the best case scenario, you want a stable & strong core, and a mobile T-spine. To see 3 exercises that can improve upper back mobility, watch the video below.

3 Quick exercises to improve upper back mobility 

     One of the 3 exercises in the video is part of our warm up at the studio. That means every time someone walks in the door, they should be doing this before they begin their workout. Now most of my members will agree that they need to move better. Movement quality is the foundation of my programming. You need to move well first, then you can get stronger. And, if we work at the right intensity, we can burn body-fat. It all starts with movement. After a few months, it’s common for our members to get a little lazy with their warm-up. That’s when we, as coaches, have to reel them in and explain how important these exercises are. They aren’t the most exciting things we do, but they are effective. Like many things with big outcomes, it’s the little things that we do that can add up and make a big change. 
See you at the studio.

47 Years Old and Still in School

 I’m back from a great vacation with the family and ready to get after it in the studio. Mid-June to August is typically the slowest time of the year in the gym business. I use this time to take a vacation, get some extra reading in, and attend workshops, conferences and clinics. Some consider this type of thing a bore. I personally can’t get enough. If you follow my writing, you are aware that I shunned attending conferences my first 5 years of being a trainer. It was due to my own immaturity; I thought I knew it all. Thomas Plummer, nationally recognized fitness consultant, refers to this naïve mindset of the rookie trainer as their “rite of passage”. Everyone goes through it. It was after I listened to strength coach/trainer legend Juan “JC” Carlos Santana speak at an IDEA conference in Maryland, I quickly realized how little I knew. That was in 1996. I’ve been addicted to learning and honing my craft every since and haven’t stopped trying to improve.

   Over the next 6 weeks, I will attend 3 separate conferences. This week the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) host their national show in Las Vegas. This will be a busy week for me, because I also wear the hat of state director for Nevada. One of my direct roles is to organize our annual state clinic. Trainers, doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors use these opportunities to earn continuing education credits. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy having input in bringing education to our state. The NSCA is celebrating 40 years in existence and they always provide some of the top speakers and research in strength and conditioning.

   Next week, I’ll attend the Personal Trainer conference promoted by the International Dance & Exercise Association (IDEA). I intend on spending my time listening to lectures on running a gym/ studio. One of the fastest growing trends in the fitness world is the small studios. Just take a drive around your town and you can find a personal training, spinning, Pilates, or yoga studio in every shopping center. IDEA observed this growing trend and dedicated an entire weekend of classes and presentations on the business side of fitness. This should be a lot of fun. One of my biggest takeaways from weekends like this are the conversations I have with fellow studio owners in the hallways outside the lecture halls. Nothing is better than exchanging ideas with others who are in the trenches every day, like myself, trying to change people’s lives.

   Finally, in August, I will take my entire training staff to Long Beach, California for the Perform Better Training Summit. This is the mother-ship of all training workshops. They will have 25-30 speakers present over 3 days. I’m friendly with a few employees of the company and know that they receive over 300 applications from people interested in speaking. This is where the “Best of the Best” will be. I’ve listened to Olympic coaches and interacted with the industries elite and most successful trainers at this event. It never lets me down. It’s an extra honor that one of the speakers has asked my team to help with his hands-on demonstration. Josh Henkin is the creator of the Ultimate Sandbag, a tool we use at the studio. I make it a requirement that all of my team members attend and I pay for their entrance. Everyone that works with me knows that I highly value education. The fitness industry is a living thing. I have changed and evolved my philosophy on training and protocols throughout the years. I have accepted that there is always a better way. For the sake of the people I work with everyday, I’m always on the lookout for the best way. My attitude is that if you’re not improving, you’re getting worse.

   I hope you had a great 4th, didn’t eat too many hotdogs and aren’t missing your workouts. Temperatures are breaking records, so stay cool and hydrated.

I’ll see you at the studio.


J & D Fitness
4180 South Fort Apache Rd,
Las Vegas, NV 89147