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Personal Fitness Training

Back to MELT

Karin’s Conference Overview Comments


It was a grand event. 8000 participants from 57 countries! The expo hall was larger than ever with vendors displaying anything from Pilates reformers to a body-heat activated dog blanket made of bamboo fiber (yes, you are right, I got that for Mr. Darcy).

It seems that the trend goes towards smaller equipment, and ‘core’ is still the thing which will be subjected with many devices in an effort to activate, tone or otherwise get it to comply.


Fascia is another emerging trend but I am ecstatic to say that Sue Hitzmann’s message of soft compression is starting to make an impression in the industry. While some are still advocating to beat that fascia stuff into submission, the gentler MELT approach is gaining traction.


I attended some sessions purportedly designed for seniors (or, in Lawrence Biscontini’s words chronologically-enriched) where he combines easy mental challenges with exercise. In other words, he suggests to teach people to ‘walk and chew gum, and I thought that this was a terrific idea. Watch out for that in my personal training!

Rufus’ Conference Overview Comments


Another outstanding conference. Of course I am a little bit biased. I call Los Angeles home and relish the opportunity to visit. Great conference with LA putting the icing on the cake.

It is always inspiring to mingle with Fitness Professionals from all over the world.


When Karin & I started attending fitness conferences in 1995, we were like kids in a candy shop. Wanting to take every session but realizing the time constraints. Now that we have attended more than 25 conferences, the session selections process has become less daunting. A number of sessions we now take are for review.


My criteria for judging a conference is based on the number of sessions that influence how I change or enhance how I train you. I attended fifteen (15) sessions this conference. Based on that number, my measurement guideline is that at least 5 sessions provide me with new ideas. There were 6 sessions meeting this criterion. Therefore, “A SUCCESSFUL CONFERENCE”.


The Jack Lalanne Lifetime Awards Winner was ZUMBA Creator Alberto Beto Pered. Yes, Elaine LaLanne presented the award and did her pushups.


Another benefit of visiting LA was the opportunity to meet with members of my family living in the LA Basin. The conference concluded at 11:30 and our flight departed at 10PM (the redeye). This gave us ample time for a wonderful family gathering.


Following are the descriptions of the session we attended and our comments. The descriptions of the sessions were taken verbatim from the session selection brochure provided by the conference presenters




SPRI®: Step 360 Core VIIT Workout presented by: Robert Sherman:

Attended by Rufus


Redefine core training. Progressive phases of exercises and increasing demands of intensity will move from foundation to performance. Then, utilize metabolic conditioning cycles that incorporate an effective “3-2-1” format of energy system overload. Using the Step 360 balance trainer, learn how variable-intensity intervals using three planes of motion, six phases of conditioning and zero rest provides an integrated core training challenge. This workout focuses on developing alignment, awareness, athletic efficiency and control, dynamic balance and core power.

Rufus’ comments: This was one of those early morning exercise sessions to get you fired up for the day. But another objective was because we have a SPRI Step 360. I do not use the device very much with you. Therefore, I was hoping to get some new ideas on how I may utilize it more. Maybe I will try to be creative and make better use of it.


HALO®: Foundations to Integrated Body Weight Training Workout presented by: John Garey, MS: Attended by Karin


In this workout, brought to you by the Merrithew Health & Fitness team, instructors are introduced to the essential elements of Halo Training and the Halo Trainer and Stability Ball™. Progressions and regressions of exercises will be covered for functional strength and stability training. Incorporating core-integrated body weight training, this multifunctional and three-dimensional system will empower instructors with valuable tools to help advance any client to their desired fitness. 


Karin’s comments: I had high hopes for this session because the device looked really promising. But after trying it, I found that my hands hurt from the pressure of holding my body up on the handles. I heard other participants make the same comments. So here is another good idea that still needs some work.


Opening Ceremonies Thursday, August 8 • 10:20am


The Opening Ceremonies is a must-attend event, where you’ll discover the power of your personal story as a prime force for success in your life and in your clients’ lives. Enjoy entertainment, moving

presentations and life-changing stories to create the foundation for your extraordinary journey


Keynote Address by Bo Eason: Attended by Karin & Rufus


Karin’s comments: Bo is a very powerful presenter, and it is true that we can only connect with people through personal exchanges. Yet, for all its polish, it did not leave me all gung-ho and ready to go because the focus on ‘cashing-in’ kinda did not quite resonate with me.


Rufus’ comments: I gave BO a little sack. Not only did he play professional football, he played collegiately at UC Davis (One of my brothers was the Athletic Director & Head Football Coach @UC Davis).


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant–Based Nutrition Lecture presented by: Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, Attended by Rufus


This session will include a comprehensive review of the cutting-edge approach to wellness that is taking the world by storm. Learn everything you need to know about the most powerful tool we have to achieve and maintain optimum health and wellness, and how it all begins at the end of your fork


Rufus’ comments: Very good session. I attended several Nutritional Sessions and they all focused on ‘Whole Food’. If you can’t pull it out of the ground, pull it from a vine, stalk, or tree, then you should probably not eat it. But do not be dismayed meat lovers; a little animal protein from time to time is OK. We will spend a lot of time discussing this.


The Fluid Body: Lecture presented by: Sue Hitzmann, MS: Attended by Karin


How does cellular fluid play a role in fitness, sports performance, rest, repair and pain-free living? Far beyond the concepts of how fascia supports muscle, you will learn how the fluid, fascial (connective tissue) system supports every aspect of the body and how it’s linked to the nervous system, with models usable by any fitness professional. Learn how your connective tissue system plays an essential role in stability, function, metabolism, gut protection, and overall good health.


Karin’s comments: I will never get tired of listening to Sue, and while I had heard the essence of this presentation before, I was an excellent review and will help me explain this complex subject of fascia to my students.


Out With the Old and in With the Older!: Fun presented by: Lawrence Biscontini, MA, and Bernadette O'Brien: Attended by Karin


Come and experience this theoretical and practical application of what it means to train seniors today. Teaching to this population–the “chronologically enriched”–involves a new mindset and a new toolbox for today’s group and personal trainers. Lawrence and Bernadette will also share their practical stories of success and inspiration.


Thursday, cont’d


Karin’s comments: I have never walked out of a session with Lawrence Biscontini without new information and inspiration, and this session was no different. I really liked the way he combined mental and physical challenges for a more comprehensive approach to training. You will see evidence of this session in my one-on-one training.


Total–Body Conditioning: Anatomy in Action: Workshop presented by: Leslee Bender: Attended by Rufus


This dynamic session unleashes the power of your anatomy in three dimensions! Textbooks give you only one dimension from which to view the body. When you grasp the power and principles of gravity, you can understand the kinetic chain and how to functionally train the body for flexibility, strength and balance. This is not the anatomy you know, but modern, realistic and based on science. Come and see how the body works when all muscles are working synergistically!


Rufus’ comments: Outstanding session. This was meant to be a review, but it went must farther than that. I already focus on training in all planes of motion and muscle synergism. This session gave me a different perspective. I would put this session in the ‘Enhancing what I already do” category.


TRX®: Training for Active Seniors: Workshop presented by: Fraser Quelch

Attended by Karin


65 is the new 45! Older populations have never been more motivated to stay active and healthy than right now. Learn how to use the TRX Suspension Trainer™ to improve function and keep seniors pursuing the activities they love long into their golden years.


Karin’s comments: I have a confession to make: I walked out of this session. After having used my suspension trainer for y-e-a-r-s with all my clients regardless of age, I quickly realized that there would be nothing new for me, and instead of boring myself to distraction, I want to the Expo Hall and networked.


MELT®: Self–Treatment (Full): Workout presented by: Sue Hitzmann, MS

Attended by Karin


MELT aches and pain away by addressing stuck stress caused by the repetition of daily living. Learn how to identify common areas of stuck stress and imbalance in your body’s autopilot. By using the 4R’s of MELT, you will be guided through a Hands-Off Bodywork® experience that will help you rebalance autonomic regulation, rehydrate the connective tissue system, restore joint space and integrity, and yield immediate, lasting results.


Karin’s comments: Oh the joys of taking a MELT class. Great way to start the day.


Vibram®: Meet the Feet: Workshop presented by: Stacey Lei Krauss: Attended by Rufus


With 33 joints and 28 bones, the foot is the most complex biomechanical structure in the body. We’ll explore the basic anatomy of the foot and lower leg, and apply what we learn to movement so that you will be a more confident foot-fitness practitioner. This easy-to-digest class prepares fitness pros to integrate foot fitness into current programming. Experiment with some of your favorite resistance and cardio exercises, and leave with a new ready-to-use methodology


Rufus’ comments: Not a very good session. Indeed the foot is the most complex biomechanical structure in the body, and the presenter was quite knowledgeable. However, she was sooo boring. I struggled to stay awake. I think I learned something.


Thursday, August 8 7:30pm

That’s right, it’s a party! So get ready to have fun with old and new friends. Meet your fellow travelers on the journey of inspiration you are about to take, and get in the spirit by wearing something RED. Celebrate the occasion with dinner, dancing and a photo booth for keepsakes to remember it all!



LeBARRE by Lebert Fitness: Workout presented by: Jennifer Hall: Attended by Rufus


Taking the hottest trend in dance-inspired conditioning and using a “make-sense progression” to create a format suitable for every level of exerciser, LeBARRE is a session like no other! Using the portable Lebert Equalizer™, this session combines balance, agility, resistance, working recovery and eloquence into a challenging full-body workout. Use the exercises alone or in the unique sequencing patterns provided to create an entire LeBARRE program! No dance experience or pink tights required


Rufus’ comments: another one of those early mornings exercise session and I have the LeBARRE product. It was a very invigorating class but the focus was on group rather than individual training. Since I have no plans to do group training, I did not take-away anything from this session. But it did kick-off my day with a ‘bang’.


The Gluteals and Their Link to Low-Back Pain (Full): Workshop presented by: Christine Romani-Ruby, MPT, ATC: Attended by Karin


Over 95% of adults will experience low-back pain at some time in their life. For many, the length and strength of the gluteal musculature can be a contributing factor and the reason that the back pain persists. In this workshop, we will identify shortness and weakness through Pilates movements and then use those movements to build muscle balance.


Karin’s comments: This was a great session with practical take-home exercises which have counterparts in the MELT Strength curriculum and which I will integrate as appropriate.


Saving the Spaces: Workshop presented by: Sue Hitzmann, MS: Attended by Karin


The two primary spaces, the neck and low back, are constantly compromised, whether you are active or sit most of the day. The result is spinal compression, misalignment and damage. You can restore the integrity of these spaces and eliminate the stuck stress that causes chronic inflammation and pain with MELT®. Learn how to add Hands-Off Bodywork® to prepare you for exercise, improve your performance, and keep you out of the chronic pain cycle.


Karin’s comments: Happy to say that there was nothing new for me. However, I had a chance to experience the difference with the revamped roller which will be available soon and of which I have a prototype at my studio now. What makes this roller different is a slightly softer texture and a smaller diameter of 5 inches rather than 6 of the standard roller. It has advantages to shorter people and for those who are very sensitive or have severe low back and neck issues. After having assessed it, I plan to have both versions of the roller at my studio.


The Physiology of Fat Loss: Lecture presented by: Len Kravitz, PhD:

Attended by Karin


Join Len in one of the most comprehensive lectures ever explaining the detailed physiological and metabolic aspects of fat metabolism, caloric expenditure and fat loss. Several groundbreaking programs that maximize caloric expenditure and fat metabolism will be presented. This lecture is a must for trainers/instructors who truly wish to understand the physiology of fat metabolism.


Karin’s comments: Len Kravitz is ‘the man’ when it comes to research like this. Unfortunately, it still comes down to expending more energy than you take in. However, one area not to be overlooked is NEAT which stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. It describes those activities that we do as part of daily life and which account for a lot of energy expended. It is in that area where the recommendations of ‘park at the end of the parking lot’ and ‘take the stairs instead of the elevator’ come in, and their cumulative effect is not to be underestimated.


Training and Injury Prevention: Shoulder and Spine (Full): Workshop presented by: Michol Dalcourt: Attended by Rufus


The shoulder and spine are inseparable. What affects one will surely affect the other. In everything that we do, the shoulders and spine have a significant role. Only recently has a new understanding emerged regarding these two important areas of the body. Michol will take you through the newest research in this fundamental and practical workshop. Do you ever wonder why individuals have so many back and shoulder injuries? This interactive workshop will elucidate the reasons why.


Rufus’ comments: another outstanding session –definitely some ‘take-aways’. Some new techniques I will implement. Don’t expect to see anything dramatic, the new techniques are very subtle, but very effective


NASM®: Dysfunctional Functional Training: Are “Fun” New Trends Leading to More Injuries? (Full): Workshop presented by: Fabio Comana, MA, MS:

Attended by Karin


Variety and progression are critical to any fitness or performance enhancement program. The popularity of nontraditional exercise modalities and philosophies has given rise to a new wave of programming options along with a rise in over-training and repetitive strain injuries. Come learn how to safely integrate new tools, techniques and toys into a fun, safe, effective and progressive integrated training program.


Karin’s comments: Fabio has hit on a really sore point in the fitness industry. Functional fitness has become a real buzzword of the last years, and every self-respecting fitness professional does it. What could be wrong with using your whole body to get you ready for what life throws at you? Well, it depends where the trainer starts in this continuum, and in some cases, basic functionality has to be restored and mastered before it is safe to move on to the next level. Unfortunately, some of those entry level exercises are – let’s face it – rather boring and stand little chance against the excitement of a ZUMBA® class or a mud race.  


BOSU®: Mobility and Stability for Active Aging: Workshop presented by: Lawrence Biscontini, MA, and Bernadette O'Brien: Attended by Karin

Learn exercises, sequences, drills and skills perfect for the gentle exerciser and active aging market. Moving through the body’s functional positions for activities of daily life, this workshop will explore how the BOSU Balance Trainer can provide assistance, resistance, cushioning and stimulus to amplify the impact for this important and growing market of exercisers. Help your clients build functional strength and move more efficiently through the entire kinetic chain, making all their daily movements easier to do!


Karin’s comments: This was the second session with Lawrence, and much of the same comments from before apply. I got a lot of inspiration of additional uses of our Bosus which I have already used for years with my ‘chronologically-enriched’ clients. I even got the DVD


Nutrition and Exercise for Longevity: Lecture presented by: Teri Mosey:

Attended by Rufus

Most people would agree that prolonged health is the key to successful aging. This session takes a holistic approach to graceful aging and challenges mainstream thought by empowering you and your clients to take a more proactive role in your collective health and well-being. We’ll discuss the physiology of the aging process and how it affects the body’s main functional systems, and learn what factors, environmental influences and genetic tendencies can be modified by exercise and nutrition.

Friday, cont’d


Rufus’ comments: Very good session. The message; exercise, good nutritional and lifestyle habits. We will discuss this a lot.


C.H.E.K. Institute: Effective Flexibility Training—You Don’t Have to Tie Yourself in Knots!: Workshop presented by: Dan Hellman, MPT: Attended by Rufus


Stretching is an integral part of any exercise program, yet commonly practiced methods produce tremendously inconsistent results. In this workshop, you will learn the most common problems that cause tight muscles and how to assess which areas of the body require improved flexibility–and which do not! We’ll explore different stretching techniques and when to use them for optimal results. You’ll leave with specific assessments and stretches you can use immediately with your clients.



Rufus’ comments: Good session, but nothing new. There is always a balancing act between ‘flexibility vs ‘stability. Some joints require more flexibility & some more stability.


656: Brain Fitness and Mental Health Update Lecture presented by: Kelly McGonigal, PhD:  Attended by Karin & Rufus


In a fun lecture, packed with practical tips and surprising findings, learn the latest research about how exercise improves brain health and mental health. What kind of workout has the biggest impact on mood? How hard do you have to challenge the body to train the brain? How long does it take to see training effects? From running to yoga, find out what works, why, and how to offer evidence-based recommendations to your clients.


Karin’s comments: This was a fascinating session in more than one way. The content was very interesting, but the presenter was no less so. I was compelled to discard my notion that somebody with a PhD in psychology and involved in research is an interesting, albeit somber and studious person.


The presentation had two parts, one focus on mental health and the other on brain fitness. There are now enough studies that demonstrate that exercise is as good as – if not better than - pharmacological interference when dealing with depression. What surprised me was that brain fitness is also directly related to physical activity. It had often been assumed that stimulating the brain with any kind of mental challenges is the way to maintain our ‘little gray cells’ but this has been dispelled. It is physical activity that does it!


Rufus’ comments: I concur with Karin’s comments. Outstanding session. I felt the presenter was preaching to the choir.


Changing Body Composition—It’s Not All About Calories!: Lecture presented by: Jenna Bell, PhD, RD, LD, and John Ivy: Attended by Rufus


What effect does nutrition and exercise have on influencing changes in body composition in youth and aging clients? Jenna and John will review the basics of energy metabolism and the effects dietary carbohydrate, protein and fat have on influencing changes in fat and lean mass. They’ll also discuss the assessment and interpretation of body composition data and its relevance to health, as well as the effect that timing of ingesting meals has on changing body composition and the impact this may have on quality of life.


Rufus’ comments: One of the best sessions I attended. Pre & Pro Workout Nutrition is so important, and its not just the calories. I am a little behind on my commitment to provide you with recommendations in this area. It is now #1 on my priority list.  


Sight and Insight: Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement: Workshop presented by: Elizabeth Larkam: Attended by Karin


Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais created hundreds of Awareness Through Movement (ATM) lessons that facilitate learning in motion and bring about a state of graceful action, delightful discoveries and unexpected surprises. Experience a lesson that focuses on sight and visualization, refining the ability to form mental images in your mind’s eye.


Karin’s comments: It was a real privilege to have Elizabeth Larkam as a presenter who is very well-known in the industry. I have been so fortunate to have attended some ATM classes here in Raleigh led by Mary Cochran, and thus I was already a little familiar with Feldenkrais®. Of course, for me the parallels to MELT are of interest even though the modalities are different.  I intend to pass on some of the information in my classes to raise awareness to this very unique modality.




ACE®: New Developments and Perspectives on Obesity—Looking at the Big Picture and Winning the Battle: Lecture presented by: Mark Kelly, PhD:

Attended by Karin

Why is the U.S. and most of the civilized world battling the bulge, and why is the obesity rate growing in epidemic proportions? What are we missing? Do trainers really know how to relate to and engage an obese client? Obese clients have special concerns and issues that must be handled appropriately. This presentation takes a very holistic and synergistic approach to providing practical, science-based methods to help trainers help clients escape the prison of excess weight.


Karin’s comments: I liked this lecture to a point. What struck me was how circular our thinking is on this subject. I have seen most of the graphics and charts for years, and what was a prediction 10 years ago has now become a reality. We are still bemoaning the

Saturday & Karin’s comments cont’d


fact that, by 2030, two thirds of Americans will have developed type 2 diabetes and that we need to get the obesity epidemic under control unless we will drown in the healthcare cost which is associated with it.


Yet, for all the talk over the years, nothing much has happened, and we are still bouncing (rather inflating) in the opposite direction. Political will appears to be lacking to provide infrastructure in which physical activity is encouraged, and attempts at containing the food industry is met by millions spent in lobbying. I only need to look at the pathetic battle of getting healthy food into schools and getting rid of the soda machines yet politicians of every persuasion will not miss an opportunity to proclaim that children are the future, and no baby is safe from being hugged for the photo-op. In case, you have missed it: this really gets my hackles up.


Movement3: Integrating Movement, Fascia and Function with the CoreFitnessRoller® : Attended by Rufus


Vibrant long-term health is achieved through a myriad of conscientious actions that engage both mind and body. In this workshop, you will learn how to blend a variety of functional movements, balance challenges, self-myofascial release and trigger point techniques together to create a workout for optimal health. Walk away with a heightened awareness of how you can empower your clients to reach higher levels of wellness and vitality.


Rufus’ comments: Good session. I actually purchased the CoreFitnessRoller. I must admit, Karin was not as enamored with the device as I was. It is on backorder and should arrive late September. I think you will enjoy it.


Spinal Stabilization Versus Pelvic Stabilization (Full): Workshop presented by: Brian Richey: Attended by Rufus


Participants will examine the differences between spinal and pelvic stabilization techniques. We will discuss the most common dysfunctions students will encounter and identify the most beneficial technique for the client. Participants will see how modifying the client’s intention in the exercise can shift a traditional exercise from focusing on stability of the spine to the pelvis and vice versa.


Rufus’ comments: Outstanding session. I will perfect the new techniques presented, and incorporate them into your routines. Once again, they will be subtle, but effective.




Balancing Hormones for Optimal Weight Loss: Lecture presented by: Marc Bubbs ND:  Attended by Karin


You often hear that achieving your ideal weight is a matter of calories consumed and exercise. Unfortunately, that isn’t the whole story. Your body’s hormones control metabolism, muscle building, fat metabolism and appetite. Whether you are a very active athlete, exercise enthusiast or are seeking to shed a few pounds, achieving hormonal balance may be the missing link you need to lose weight, improve your health and perform better in the gym or on the playing field!


Karin’s comments: This was an interesting session directed to the wrong audience. The presenter made some very compelling points that hormonal imbalances are the root cause for some problems with weight gain and the difficulty with weight loss. He also had all kinds of recommendation for herbal supplements to address some of those problems.


I know enough about supplements to know that you don’t mess with them, even less so when the client is on medication. My general recommendation remains for just a multi-vitamin. However, I have contacted Dr. Bubbs and asked for referral options for those who want to further investigate this further.



Designing Effective Balance and Mobility Programs—A Multidimensional Approach

Workshop presented by: Debbie Rose, PhD: Attended by Rufus


The purpose of this hands-on workshop is to provide instructors with the screening tools and curriculum materials needed to implement a targeted balance and mobility program for older adults experiencing balance and gait problems that have elevated risk for falls. Attendees will learn how to quickly screen and assess older adults for balance and mobility problems, and then develop a set of exercise progressions and culminating activities across multiple dimensions of balance that can be easily modified to raise or lower the challenge of each exercise..


Rufus’ comments: Good session, nothing new.


Extraordinary Living for Ordinary People: Lecture presented by: Jay Blahnik

People who live extraordinary lives often share similar behavior traits, even though their personalities and interests may be very different. What are these traits, and why are they so powerful? More importantly, how can you use these traits to improve YOUR life and enjoy greater success in everything you do? There is no magic and nothing complicated to learn...just simple, powerful insights that you can use every day to make positive differences in your life.


Karin’s comments:  I must confess, I chose this session as the probably least boring of many options, and little did I know that this was going to be one of the highlights of my session selection. This happened to be Jay Blahnik’s last presentation with IDEA, and it was a summary of his observations over the years. Jay has been a fitness guru for the last 20 years and has earned every award in the industry. In all that, he is an awfully nice and approachable guy. I left this session truly inspired to renew my commitment to be the best I can be and to help make the world a better place in my little neck of the woods.


Back to Basics With Anatomy:  Workshop presented by: Beverly Hosford

Attended by Rufus


Knowledge of anatomy is essential for all fitness professionals. Take a brief break from your search for the hottest new technique and let’s see how firm your anatomy skills are as we reconnect with this incredible system. With deeper anatomy understanding, you can more effectively and confidently help your clients and yourself! This class will provide you with a better foundation for everything that you do! Take a step backward so you can more freely move forward!


Rufus’ comments: This was the last session of the conference and I was exhausted. This was supposed to be a review to brush up on my Anatomy. I used so much energy trying to stay awake, not sure if I got anything out of the session.