News and Updates by Rachel Holmes
International Fitness Showcase Round Up – IFS Reborn
Out of the all the years I have been doing the Blackpool Convention, this year really did top them all. There is a definite change in the air with Group Exercise and IFS reflected that to a T with the brilliant sessions, timetabling, event management, venue and organisation. To start with, the Winter Gardens has had a face lift, it’s bright, clean and the venues are huge so you have plenty of room. All the sessions are in one place so it’s really easy to walk around and see everything that’s going on, which certainly makes a big difference . IFS is run by Top Presenters and Industry Moguls Steve Watson and Ceri Hannon. Steve and Ceri have presented at all the major European events and as this is their 7th year the boys and the Chrysalis Team have nailed the organisation down to a fine art.
IFS is a very friendly convention. Every year 20 of my regular class participants attend from my local Nottingham and Derby classes and they feel right at home mixing with Instructors and Presenters. The atmosphere is very positive, everyone is smiling and throwing themselves into the classes. I taught Body Shock, which is a killer workout, on the last session on Saturday. Usually people are shattered by this time but the whole group excelled and worked out like it was their first class. The energy and enthusiasm is massive here.
I arrived on the Wednesday ready to present Thursday to Fitness First Pre Convention. The Get Fit with Mel B Workout was well received, I think, because the class concept is moving into a new genre of group x class. It’s a metabolic, body weight class containing strength training, agility, endurance, aerobic and anaerobic with super simple choreography that matches the music, it’s very much results driven and is a hard core workout.
On the FF pre convention was also Zumba…..Zumba!!! What can I say Zumba was HUGE at IFS. The Zumba team had taken over the Spanish Hall with a one day training course with over 190 Instructors taking part to get qualified, The Zumba stand was selling Zumba wear faster than the Next Boxing Day Sale. I have NEVER seen anything like it, even before the event opened people were trying to buy Zumba clothing. Naomi, Caroline and Donna rocked all weekend presenting Zumbatronic, Zumba Gold & Zumba Toning every session was rammed. It was awesome to see the bright colours everywhere, smiling instructors and the happy vibe that Zumba brings. Watching the sessions was mesmerising. As well as Zumba, Freestyle was rocking, the classes held in the Empress Ballroom had between 300 – 600 in every hour, it was like being at a pop concert. I taught a team teach with Jo Parry and Steve Watson and we had so much fun. Kelly Reed blasted out her It’s a Girl thing masterclass and Kelly, Claire Tams and Rachel Tunstall all team taught a fabulous Latin class. Jo’s The Jo Show was a brilliant tribute to Cabaret the movie and Jo also closed the event with a cool Street Dance session. There literally were so many awesome sessions: The Live Strong Indoor Cycling room was breath taking, with 10 foot video screens which took you on a round the world journey and the Dri Tri workout. Spinning was huge as was the YMCA Fit room. The Chek sessions packed out, Drummond Education featured Body Combat and Body Attack and Steve Jack held 3 days of business building lectures and motivational talks. Everything was covered from Kettlebelles to Kick Boxing to Dance to Conditioning.
The International presenters were also legendary… Claudio, Tony Stone, Daniel Gonzalez, Sava & Moris, David Van der Velde, Lars all taught impeccable classes, bursting with choreography, personality and innovation.
And that’s what sums up IFS….. it’s a convention with personality, charisma, style and charm, where presenters sit eating, drinking and socialising with delegates. It’s everyone together sharing a common love for music, movement and group x. At IFS it doesn’t matter if you teach Freestyle, Zumba, Les Mill, Pilates or anything else, it’s the love of teaching group exercise that bonds everybody together in Blackpool There’s no hierarchy or snobbery everyone is welcome with open arms. Roll on 2012 I can’t wait!
Well done to the Chrysalis Team for pulling off such an amazing weekend!