I had the pleasure of spending three days in sun-drenched Orlando, Florida for the SCW Fitness Conference called Florida MANIA. I am pleased to report that not only did it outperform my expectations, but it actually gave me a reason not to be sad that I was unable to attend the concurrent WSSC Convention in Miami. Gas prices what they are, I had to stay closer to home this year, and I am glad that I did. I received a wide-variety of information that will not only satify my CEU requirements for most of my certifications, I learned new things in each of the areas that I went to study.
In order to provide you with the best possible review of the conference, I am going to share with you my responses to the convention survey and fill in every detail that I possibly can!
Overall Quality of the Convention
I rate the quality as being “Good” — it was better than “Average” and not quite “Excellent.” While the reasons for my choice will be touched upon in the rest of the review, my top reasons why this convention was better than average include:
- An outstanding venue. The International Resort and Spa, located near Sea World in Orlando was gorgeous, well-kept, had excellent staff, and gave an overall upscale feeling to the conference.
- Excellent SCW Fitness Staff. From pre-registration to follow-up, the folks at SCW Fitness are top-notch. The folks who helped prepare my registration were helpful and friendly. At the convention, they were available to assist with any number of issues. They are available post-convention to assist with completing CEU requirements and obtaining award receipts.
- Unbeatable price. I registered in advance and paid less that $200 for the entire weekend. This is about $100-$200 less than other big name conventions charge, so I felt I got a great deal.
What I would have preferred, which prevented me from rating it “Excellent”:
- Better variety in the classes, especially in the Indoor Cycling Rides. Maybe it is because I was looking for ways to do what I already do better instead of learning why I should try to convince my owners to invest in some new style of equipment, but I found that I wanted a little more flavor in the classes. The Yoga and Personal Training tracks, in my opinion, had the best options, while the indoor cycling and group fitness left me a little unsatisfied.
- Spinning rather than Schwinn tracks. There isn’t much that could be done about this one — it is a matter of personal preference and SCW Fitness is affiliated with Schwinn, so what can you do?
What did I like best about MANIA?
I personally liked the location and the personalities of the presenters the best. Not all presentations were outstanding, but the fact that the presenters were approachable, very interested in us and the topic, as well as being knowledgable made the difference between a ho-hum experience and one that was worth the time, money and effort. Like I said above, even though I didn’t stay at the hotel, it was beautiful. Since there is quite a bit to discuss that I enjoyed, especially with regard to the presentations I attended, I will be going into more detail about the “Good Stuff” in future posts.
What did I like least about MANIA?
I’m going to go with the EXPO on this one. Of course, I am not much of a shopper, but I didn’t find a single thing that I felt like I had to have or was even piqued into considering. There were only a couple of clothing vendors and they all had the same merchandise. The music selection was pretty good, but since I teach mostly Radio Play, that didn’t really apply to me. I was glad to see Operation Boot Camp recruiting folks to spread their chain around, but other than that, I didn’t find much that was useful. I purchased DVDs by two Instructors I really enjoyed and two others that I thought could teach me something I didn’t learn in the workshops. I think I might have liked to have seen more technology: I had hoped to be able to try one of Polar’s new Cycling Computers. The availablity of some high-tech tests that aren’t readily available in a club would have been cool: hydrostatic weighing or a body bug test of body fat would have been worth paying for; I would also pay for a VO2 max test at a convention, or to get a foot profile to help me get the right shoes for the class styles I teach…
What Topics would you like to see more of at our next MANIA convention?
This one is tough, because it is hard to speculate on what I would have wanted without knowing what I missed out on. I did put on my evaluation that I would prefer Spinning classes, but again, what can you do? I also thought they could bring in more folks to address the Sales and Entrepreneurship sides of the fitness industry. I’m not a fan of fancy, over-priced toys, so I felt that they were lacking in just basic class styles, especially in the Pilates realm. I was disappointed to see that none of the Pilates sessions were just about Pilates — they were all about devices I wasn’t interested in purchasing. Plus, a large number of attendees haven’t been teaching all that long. I think it would be great to offer more workshops that simply address how to teach, as opposed to how to amaze your class with your spectacular ability to outdo them. Group Fitness outgrew that long ago, in my opinion.
So that’s my general critique of the SCW Fitness MANIA held in Orlando, FL this year (May 31- Jun 2). All in all, a great weekend, lots of fun and an excellent value. I highly recommend that you check them out for your own continuing education: http://www.scwfitness.com.