Come Monday March 21, IHRSA, one of the largest fitness trade shows in the world, lands in the Sunshine state for its 35th edition.

SGB has your primer for the show, including not-to-miss events and the top trends we’ll be watching.

The weather forecast calls for temps to start the week with highs in the 70s, climbing to the mid 80s by the end of the show on Thursday, March 24, with little to no chance of rain.

IHRSA officially kicks off Monday evening, March 21, at the official Opening Reception from 7:30-9:30pm, but there are plenty of education sessions that dot the morning and afternoon. Sessions will touch on topics from sales management secrets, how to makeover your social media presence, marketing help instead of hype, the impact of staff behavior on profit and loss, attracting new members online, the power of boutique studios, and so much more.

SGB recommends the Seventh Annual Women’s Leadership Conference (1-3pm), sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE). The topic up for discussion is “Well-being in Work and Life.” Author and Ph.D. Beth Cabrera explains strategies that allow us to stop trying to find balance and focus instead on increasing our well-being. An interactive workshop follows the talk.

Don’t have too much fun at the Opening Reception on Monday night, or you’ll miss the Tuesday morning, (6:30 a.m. – Convention Center – RoomS310-E) Rope Burn Exercise Class – a killer way to get energized for the next couple days. Secret Tip: There’s a little leeway for the late risers, with three other exercise sessions at 7:30 a.m. – The Circuit Blast (Room S310-E), Piloxing core work (Room S330-E), and Stott Pilates (S330-A).

Be on the show floor by 10 a.m., when IHRSA 2016 opens.

Through the aisles of cardio equipment, wearable tech and fitness big-names, try to duck out for one (or all) of these sessions:

  • 10:45am – Understanding the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Impact on the Fitness Industry, exploring the ever-growing role of technology and how gym owners can leverage data to attract and attain members.
  • 2pm – Understanding the Basic Needs of Today’s Consumer, looking at trends (which SGB is all about). After all, trends both reflect consumer wants, and work to propel the industry.
  • 7pm – Planet IHRSA: The International Attendee Reception, our go-to wind down for the day. Drinks and chit chat about what rocked the show floor. Held at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom “T”.

Wednesday offers an entirely different lineup of morning fitness classes, from Total Body Workout to HIIT and Bootybarre. There really is no better way to bond with gym employees, brand reps and top-level executives than sharing some sweat. If you missed an event from Tuesday, many are held once again on Wednesday, so second time’s your charm. Top off the end of Day 2 with the 11th Annual BASH for Augie’s Quest at the Regency Ballroom. The fundraiser features a performance by 80s rock star Eddie Money. “Take Me Home Tonight!”

Closing day is short and sweet, with a couple education sessions held in the morning. If you’ve got a while until your flight leaves, opt out of the Universal crowds and sit in on the talk about Consumer Behaviors: Creating Habit-Forming Products. Ever wonder why some products flop while others thrive (see: the shake weight versus TRX bands)? Nir Eyal explains the “hook cycles” that dictate success.

SGB Editors Jahla Seppanen and David Clucas will be at the show Tuesday and Wednesday.  A peek at our schedule includes one-on-ones with executives from Nautilus, Orangetheory Fitness and Precor, among others, so stay tuned later this week for trends and industry commentary from these star players.

The trends we’re watching include the flood of fitness trackers (and whether brands can promote better connectivity with equipment), a resurgence in strength (led by CrossFit and HIIT), and how cardio can continue to innovate and infiltrate the growing outdoor running scene.

See you at the show!

Photo courtesy Cybex IHRSA 2015