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IDEA World Fitness Convention 2003
Saturday, July 19 - Oh, My Aching Everything!

Want to Buy a Stability Ball?

7 a.m. Actually I'm surprised I'm not more sore than I am today. In fact, achy as I am, I feel pretty energetic. I'm looking forward to Marcelo Levin's workout, but he warns us right away it's not going to be a carbon copy of yesterday's Broadway turn. Instead the sound guy plays on some tunes that sound like they from the 1980s and Marcelo puts us through a retro style aerobic workout. I have a blast with this blast from the past (especially since 1980s style aerobic clothes are not required). My only difficulty is that I'm way in the back and can't always see Marcelo all that clearly. I try relying on the moves of the girl in front of me, but it turns out she has more enthusiasm than coordination. Not to worry - someone else two rows up is nailing all the moves pretty well, and so do I. Once again I'm dripping with sweat. Convention hair be damned!

(Article continued below.)

8:20 a.m. This back care Stott Pilates workshop is taught by the master herself - Moira Stott Merrithew. I've really been looking forward to this particular workshop and Moira does not disappoint. Her instruction is wise and dead-on precise. She reminds us that Pilates is not necessarily a prescription for an injured back and that, in fact, you can further injure a back by doing the wrong Pilates exercises. We go over moves that reveal how much the transverse abdominis is working (this is the muscle underneath your six pack - it's a crucial muscle that many people don't think about enough). We go over neutral position, shoulder stabilization and lumbar spine support in depth. I look around at my fellow attendees, a good portion of whom are Pilates teachers. Much as I love having my Pilates videos handy, this class is a reminder that nothing beats having a teacher really scrutinizing your core and offering you advice and specialized exercises.

Keli Roberts Teaches Lower Body Bodybar Exercises

10:20 a.m. "Below the Belt" with Keli Roberts is the one workshop I'm attending that's not focused on mind-body in one way or another. It's about using the Bodybar to work out the lower body in unique ways. Unfortunately Keli's class comes on a day when the muscle fibers of my lower body are already shredded. Nevertheless, I gamely grab my 12-pound Bodybar and get moving to the music. Five minutes into the session I realize I have two choices - I can completely kill my legs and probably not be able to work out for a week, or I can do enough of the moves so that I learn them, but take frequent breaks. I do the smart thing and opt for the latter - besides, this gives me a chance to snap a couple photos of the class (I say to make myself feel better and not like such a wimp). As I suspected, Keli has a few surprises (I never thought of using the Bodybar to do hamstring curls standing up!), and I have some new exercises to take home. I find out later at the exhibition hall that Bodybar has a whole series of videos and DVDs starring Keli and several other fitness experts.

Exercise Machines - Pump Iron!

Delicious but Dangerous! 12:00 p.m. As I head for the Convention Center's escalators, I notice a bunch of lights and cameras being rolled into one of the huge, huge rooms. I'm starving so I don't immediately ask anyone what's happening. Instead I find a sunny spot to eat the sandwich I brought from home and then head for the exhibition hall. Even if I spent all my time in the exhibition hall it would be impossible to take everything in. You can find everything fitness here, from reformers to heart monitors to body lotion. Oh yeah, and stability balls. In one corner there's a stage with a group of hip-hop dancers. A few yards away is a group of exercisers trying out some new exercise device that looks like a pair of wings. There are rows of booths with clothes (I get a couple pairs of pants). One booth features a beverage that contains glucosamine. Gleaming exercise machines are on display. Right across from the machines is a concession stand selling rich cookies and gooey baklava. "Anyone buying goodies like these is gonna need one of those machines," I think.

Will Wings Be the New Cardio Fad?

I go by Gin Miller's area - she's promoting a new exercise device called the Ramp. Gin isn't there - she's getting ready to lead a group of attendees through a demonstration upstairs. I go in search of the demo and discover that it's the reason for the lights and camera I saw earlier (Gin's providing the action). The class is being filmed. The Ramp™ is pretty much what its name implies - a small, half-circle ramp that's color-coded (all the better for easy footwork). It's geared toward beginning exercisers - those who skulk around the door to the aerobics room at the gym but never enter (you know who you are). Ramping doesn't require fancy footwork - it's a fun, basic way to work up a sweat. Gin made step aerobics famous over a decade ago and it looks like she has another winner with the Ramp. The couple hundred Ramps in the room quickly fill up with attendees, ready to give the workout a try. I don't want to set my camera's flash off while filming is going on, so I just snap a quick picture while Gin is giving her introduction. Still self-conscious about my Convention Hair, I refuse to get on a Ramp once the filming commences.

Ramping - Gin Miller's Great New Project

2:00 p.m. I've decided that not only has this convention been a little ball-heavy for me, it's also been a little Pilates heavy. I have yet another Pilates workshop scheduled for tomorrow, so I decide to ditch this afternoon's Pilates in favor of NIA. I've taken exactly one NIA class in my life and I didn't quite understand its blend of form and freedom. Maybe this workshop will solve the puzzle, I figure. I'm in luck - the instructors are Carlos and Debbie Rosas, who created NIA some 20 years ago, and if anyone can make sense of this unusual, healing cardio activity, it's them. They make quite an entertaining pair - she's blonde and very stylish; he's wild, playful and very Latin. Looking at it from the outside, a NIA class looks like anarchy, but in reality it's a happy mix of dance styles (from jazz to Duncan), Martial Arts (from Tai Chi to Tai Kwon Do), Yoga, Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique. And more. You do NIA barefoot and you have to shed your inhibitions or you just won't be able to do it at all. Carlos and Debbie have us rolling around on the ground, creating shapes and attitudes, aligning ourselves in all sorts of unusual ways, taking up fighting stances and skipping and playing. Somehow, in Carlos and Debbie's capable hands, this mish-mosh of influences do take on form and continuity, and the result is almost cathartic. Now I can really say I've done NIA.

4:10 p.m. After NIA, the exhibition hall, Keli Robert's Bodybar workout, Moira Stott Merrithew and Marcelo Levin, I'm burned out. I drag myself to the last workout, which I signed up for just because of the name: "Yo'! Lates: The Yoga-Pilates Challenge." Frankly, by now I'm less than thrilled at the aspect of taking any class with the word "challenge" in it. I grab a mat, a block, a strap and a Dynaband and stare at them mutely. My body does not want to move. My body doesn't care that Lizbeth Garcia said that instructor Cathleen Murakami was excellent. I'm amused when Cathleen admits to us all that she once tried to adjust a student's head in class and nearly pulled off her wig instead. But my body shows no enthusiasm. So I sneak out. I never do find out what Yo'! Lates is.

Next page >> 7/20/03 - Navigating Fat Traps >> Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

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