2009 Fitpro Conference Summary

This past weekend, I attended the annual Fitpro Fitness Convention in Loughborough for the third year in a row. It was amazing. World-class coaches and speakers from all over the world shared a wealth of advice, including: Charles Poliquin, Paul Chek, John Berardi, Bobby Cappucio, Greg Roskopf – and many more. It was an information extravaganza that motivates coaches like myself to get even better at what we’re doing year upon year. After all, the health and fitness industry is one of the quickest-changing – with new information, concepts and ideas coming out all the time. Here is what happened from my viewpoint, and what things we can expect in the future.

First of all, much acreddited author Paul Chek was given the responsibility of the opening address, in which he delivered a poem entitled ‘Life is Movement.’ Although appearing long-winded at first, he opened up ideas and images of both humans and animals living and moving together, and how life began and how it has changed quite dramatically recently. Images on the backdrops formed nuclear power plants and the chemical spraying of fresh produce – identifying that chemicals are now in our soil, so are in much of our vegetables, and therefore in much of our animals (that we consume).

After the poem, Chek went on to talk about how we rely on doctors and medication when much of the time, it is the medicine that we take every day that is making us ill……our food. He went on to talk about the 4 doctors he uses, Dr Movement, Dr Diet, Dr Quiet, and if all these ‘doctors’ are present in our life – Dr Happiness just seems to show up! Chek also pointed out how only 3% of women and 8% of men all over the world do not have a set time period to exercise. This was shocking – although somewhat obvious also – and made me think about how people seem to think that exercising should be ‘going hardcore in the gym’ – when sometimes a little bit of movement, be it a walk or general activity (e.g. wheelbarowing some sand D.I.Y.-style) can provide a little movement – and ultimately improve the quality of someone’s life.

Quality stuff!

Next up we had the truly inspiring and enthusiastic Bobby Cappuccio with his lecture ‘Customer service is Dead!’ I saw Bobby several times last year and he is, hands-down the most enthusiastic speaker I have seen yet. When he tells a story – the whole room listens and there is complete focus. He even cracks some funny jokes here and there.

The lecture began with simple definitions. It is absolutley astounding how he highlighted that many people and businesses don’t know what they are selling, how they sell it, and how they can make it better for their customers. Numbers of why people leave health clubs were shared and it is obvious (and almost cliche) that many health clubs simply sign you up, and make you pay for a service you thought you would get (they sold to you), and then you are unhappy for months until you eventually leave.

Clients leave silently with their feet

Bobby then touched upon personality types and goal-setting, but the simple take home message is that businesses are simply too focused on money and not on what they should be doing – creating a better service. Makes you wonder if you’re getting what you expect, doesn’t it?

Next up, John Berardi’s ‘From the treadmill to the Table lecture. Now, I’ve been a long-time fan of John Berardi and his work for a few years now. His motto at the start summed it up: The information you’re getting:

Is it interesting?


Is it important?

I personally think this absolutely key in today’s world and is a very much under-rated concept.

We live in this society where there is so much ‘noise’ and so much information that contradicts so much more information. People tend to take on more and more, where as it would be better to reject what is useless, or at least weigh up whether there is a better alternative or not. Along the interesting (and important!) discussion topics were carbohydrate, protein and fat intake, cholesterol (I stepped up for this one), supplements, rest/recovery, resistance training and cardio.

All great info.

Poliquins ‘stumbling blocks for fat loss’ lecture was complicated if you don’t know your stuff. Having done Biology at A-level I think I was a bit more clued-up with some of the topics here. Genes, methylation protocols, vitamins, minerals, and hormones were all touched upon – and the various high-end supplements you can use to combat the problems. When you realise that Poliquin has worked with 17 olympic medalists, you soon realise why he needs to know everything in depth as he does.

Aims for perfection in his athletes

Friday’s closing session was all about finding what the customers want, and how to provide that service. Social and economic variables were greatly discussed, and also points such as locations, target markets etc.

Saturdays sessions started with Bobby Cappuccio, entitled 5 habits to ensure failure – and how to avoid them.’ A great lecture which focused on habits an how to stay on track with what you’re doing (again, what is important), and avoiding getting into the trap of ‘being busy for works sake’.

John Berardi was up again for the next lecture. This lecture, although not too over-whelming, touched upon things that are coming out and will be big in the future for example, testing for genes that can help plan a customised diet.

Your DNA could have the answer to what you should or should not be eating

Martin Haines of Mobilis Performance, took part 1 of his series on biomechanical screening, and why we should do it. Simple things such as a squat depth check can unravel flexibility issues, and can also be a clue to why the athlete or client is getting injuries elsewhere. He also instilled the possibility (and maybe probability) that if one joint is in pain – It may not be that joint that is dysfunctional.

‘Stressed overweight and heading for disaster’ sounded like most people today! This lecture contained a lot of the thoughts expressed in Poliquin’s and Berardi’s lectures, but went a bit further into the anatomy and physiology of stress, and what we can do to help reduce it. What baffled me in this lecture (somewhat off-topic) was that some other trainers presents methods were to constantly reduce calories, even at low levels – and I found this a little shocking as it is very stressful on the body and can lead to a ‘rebounding’ of weight gain, and cause much psychological stress too. Just shows that trainers can be really different!

Even though this individual wants to lose fat (as he is over-fat, yet likely underweight) this does not mean he needs to eat like a rabbit

Last for Saturday was Coach Poliquins lecture on body language, differences between clients and how to get the best out of them. If you’ve ever been to any of Poliquins lectures, you soon realise he doesn’t take any crap. If you want to work with him, you have no excuses.

Last day – Sunday. I went to 2 anatomy-based lectures – Jeff Willoughby (Muscle imbalances) and Martin Haines (Biomechanical screening part 2). Both presenters went through various tests to see if there is anything dysfunctional at the hip, and exercises that can be done to improve this. Interestingly, the exercises used and advice for each was conflicting, and I was made to make my own mind up. I think the jury is out on this one.

Bobby Cappuccio went through body language in great detail, and linked this up to his other lectures at how airline hostesses show a fake smile! He highlighted studies that showed people can instinctively tell if something is ‘not quite right.’ This is why I always tell people when they go to a trainer to get a second opinion – because often, you will hear another set of information and it is up to the client themselves to compare and judge themselves – if there is nothing to compare to, then the client usually accepts what is in front of them. Also, with having 2 appointments for different trainers – you will know instinctively which trainer made you feel at ease.

John Hardy finished off my ‘business’ lectures for the day, with his exploration of community-enhancing methods, and the importance of having a target market. He touched upon economic drivers and how small goals can lead to bigger goals. He also recommended a few books I will definitely be checking out!

Very interesting stuff.

All in all, the Fitpro conference was another great one. World-class coaches; World-class advice; A World-class experience. I know I go to this conference every year, but the information is always changing in the health and fitness industry. What I’d like you to think about, is how do you better yourself? And the information ‘facts(?!)’ you’re getting or the exercises your doing . . . are they interesting….. or are they important?







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