Review: IHRSA 2013

March 29, 2013

Every year I attend the International Health, Racquet and Sports Association (IHRSA). It’s the biggest annual fitness industry convention where new products are unveiled and ‘who’s who’ in the fitness business world come to network and take educational courses. The first time I went to IHRSA was in 2004 when I was a Fitness Manager for a high-end fitness gym and spa. I convinced the owner that if he was interested in the growth of his company, then he would invest in my education. So, after some persuading, he paid for my trip to Las Vegas where I endured 3 days of back-to-back classes in management, fitness and marketing. In-between classes, I would peruse around the Expo where they showcased new group exercise classes and the latest high tech fitness equipment.

I’ve watched the Arc Trainer, Zumba, Bosu and TRX training rise to stardom. It’s an exciting growth industry and I’ve been looking forward to this ‘break’ from my busy daily routine for months. When my husband and I entered the large exhibition hall at Mandalay bay the first thing I saw was the large Zumba booth. The founder, Beto Perez, leading a group of energetic women (and some men) in a dance. I love Zumba! I was hooked when it first came out and since you often have to sign up an hour before class time, I usually can’t make any classes anymore. I wanted to join the group of Zumba participants but was too shy!

So, we moved onto the next eye-catching booth: Surfset Fitness! It had a large background and a few surfboards with models demonstrating how to use it. I initially thought it was a board that would electronically move and I would work my core trying to maintain balance. When I IG’d (instagram’d) my photo on their board, I was surprised to hear that it was featured on the show Shark Tank – and actually did very well.

Next stop was Torq-King. I was drawn to this piece of equipment because it looked like a dumb bell but didn’t have any limitations as to which direction it rolled on the ground. This product allows you to perform body weight exercises with a 360 degree range of motion. It challenged my central nervous system, my core and my strength! I enjoyed its ingenuity.

I always love chatting with founders! Awesome man!

I don’t often like to take classes while walking the floor, but I couldn’t resist the Queenax booth. There I stood, amazed at these participants hanging upside down utilizing just a sheet for stability. Queenax focuses on suspension workouts and anti-gravity training. I loved it! If my group exercise room at the gym had various suspension training classes that also incorporated trx bands, bars (for body weight exercises) and these sheets, I would be in!

After that workout I stopped by Honey Stinger, a company based out of Steamboat, Colorado. They produce honey-based energy bars, gels, waffles and chews. Since my husband is really into honey right now (he’s planning on raising bees in our backyard) I was very interested in this natural product. I thought it was tasty and gave me the quick satiation I needed after my suspension workout. I will vouch for their waffles – they are good!

I walked by the Under Armour booth and didn’t see much going on – except for this cool looking heart rate monitor, the Armour 39, that caught my eye. As I was reading up on its info, a heard a loud voice yell, “Are we ready to workout?” There was a workout beginning and while I wasn’t interested in participating, I was interested in this new device and the instructor seemed very charismatic.  I strapped the heart rate monitor on and was given an ‘ipod-looking’ device that allowed me to see how hard I was working.  We began a 30-minute workout complete with burpees, lunges, glute raises and planks. It was fun and I really enjoyed the energetic and enthusiastic energy of the instructor and the participants.  I discovered the name of my instructor was the female face of all the new Under Armor Ads and a popular instructor in the New  York area, Natalie Uhling! At the end the heart rate monitor graded me to see how much work I put in based on my maximum heart rate. According to the device I was at a 2 and didn’t work hard enough! Loved it and am now considering finally using a performance heart rate monitor!

Not everything at the Expo was fun, innovative and exciting – there are always those booths that make you go “wow?” I stood on a machine, in which a woman insisted would tone my butt (by just standing on this vibrating machine).

My husband entertained me playing with the Hula Hoops – which were very heavy and gave me a bruise on my ankle.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chobani booth where they showcased a few new flavors! They served people ‘pinkberry style’ and let us choose our toppings. It was delicious.

Check out this pink bosu they were raffling for charity!

I also stopped by the StarTrac booth because Kristen told me to! David made me take this funny picture!

Before we left, I couldn’t resist but join the Zumba party. I knew I would regret it if I didn’t break out of my shell and dance! So I did. And I got to meet the founder at the end!

Check me out performing Zumba!!!!

Thank you always to my partner in crime, my husband, who also enjoys these events as much as me!

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