I’d venture to say that this past Saturday, April 25th, was the biggest day of my fitness career. No hyperbole.
On Saturday, MFF held our first Motivation & Movement LAB, which happens to be our first education event for fitness professionals. Over 70 fitness professionals joined us in the heart of New York City for an event that I believe will change the way we approach continuing education. Let’s chat about it, shall we?
Our inaugural LAB was designed to share a wide breadth of information that’s important to fitness professionals, from the business side to the training side. Mark Fisher, Kyle Young, and I were joined by Adjunct Faculty Tony Gentilcore who a) You should already know and b) was a perfect person to have on the team:
The event was held at The TAI Group, just blocks from Penn Station and the Empire State Building, and the creative space allowed us to use format that’s radically different from other events. Most conferences are what I call ‘sit-and-stares,’ where we quietly sit, take copious notes, and hope to remember as many things as possible before the day is over. It works really well for some types, myself included, but fails to connect with all learning styles.
At MFF we pride ourselves on community, and I’ve been driven for a while now to do an education event… and to do it better. Our format at the M/M LAB was simple: 30-minute lectures to share pertinent information, followed by 45 minute break-out sessions during which that information was directly applied to attendees personal lives or business.
Mark started the day off by talking about keys to MFF’s success. It was both analytical and full of big-picture ideas. For example:
Next up, MFF’s COO Kyle Young shared his expertise in social media, after sharing the irony that he first heard about MFF while using Facebook. Kyle shared over 100 examples of the use of social media, and reminded us of one major thing: Content is content, and you have to share it to get started.
During my Coaching Science 101 talk, I addressed two keys to great coaching: Using self-determination theory as a framework, and allowing instruction & feedback methods to drive client success. The single biggest takeaway shared with the class was simple and sweet:
When we moved on to the hands-on session, we delved into personal practice with several introspective questions, then moved on to a group activity of making “Exercise Webs.” Writing out our own lists of exercise progressions or regressions is easy, but quickly making exercise decisions inspired by someone else’s ideas? That takes a mastery of movement and communication skills that’s important for so many fitness professionals.
Tony delved into the world of performance marketing to female clients, which tends to be tough. For example, just this morning I saw a tweet from Women’s Health that I think contributes to the issues:
Tony shared his love for the pull-up, being that it’s a bodyweight exercise, it’s far more friendly to those who are adamant about not lifting weights. Yes, friends, I too appreciate that a “bodyweight” chin-up means that you’re actually moving your bodyweight, but often that’s less intimidating than much lighter “weights.”
Each presenter followed their particular presentation with a related hands-on activity, meaning that not only was important information shared, but it was also practiced, which I see as far more effective. See, we don’t learn best by gathering increasing layers of information than stopping to use it. We learn best by sharing while we learn, allowing us to refine systems and evolve ideas while we can appreciate each small step.
At the end of the day, we planned out a full 90-minutes for a presenter panel. Seems like a lot, right? We went over on time.
The most successful aspect of the M/M LAB was far and away the atmosphere created by attendees. Many of them visited MFF for tours on Friday, and a similar number took the time to attend our Pants Optional Party on Saturday night to see the Ninja Army alive and in action. Hell, Tony and RogLaw even joined us for the MFF Family photo! Can you spot them?
I have to say a massive thanks to Mark Fisher and Michael Keeler for believing in and supporting this idea, as well to the entire MFF team that helped out. Coach Fury shared with his RKC/DVRT friends, Nikki Switzer helped out with some pre-Lab errands, and Liz Messina was a bad-ass helping us with the event itself. Finally, thanks to Katie for being so supportive and keeping me on track from idea to action. Love you guys!
Head over to motivateandmove.com to learn more about the M/M LAB, and join our mailing list for information about the next event.