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2013 Fitness Expo: Move More, Cut Sugar, Stoke Your Chakras

by Marilynn Preston

The IDEA World Fitness and Nutrition Expo is to health and wellness what the Grand Canyon is to geology. A three-day educational extravaganza and trade show for more than 8,000 fitness fans and experts from 58 countries, the 2013 convention rocked Los Angeles. It included 360 teaching sessions, 15 in-depth conferences and enough spandex to fling you to the outer rings of Jupiter and home again.

I couldn’t go and had to wait patiently to read Sandy Todd Webster, Joy Keller and Ryan Halvorson’s inspiring report on the latest trends, newest dances and hottest classes in the IDEA Fitness Journal.

Indoor cycling is still in demand, extreme dance routines like Step Dance Fusion continue to be popular, and high-intensity training and Turbo Tabata interval classes are all the rage because they really do get you fitter – faster than most other ways of working out.

More expo news you can use: ALIGNMENT ISN’T EVERYTHING.

While yoga and Pilates teachers still teach proper alignment – bravo! – they are focusing less on what looks good and more on how postures feel from the inside out.

“Alignment is just the gift wrap,” says mind-body expert Kelly McGonical. “It’s what’s happening on the inside that offers true beauty.”

Do You Feed Your Pain?

We all know that sitting for long periods of time – at the computer, in front of the TV – can lead to aches and pains in our lower back, shoulders and neck.

But what you eat can also contribute to “movement dysfunction,” reported fitness expert Michol Dalcourt. Nutrient intake affects your fascia – thin connective tissue – and if your fascia is damaged, the movement along your spine and throughout your body will feel restricted and painful.

So what damages your fascia? Inflammatory foods like vegetable oils and sugar, which is the biggie! Cut out inflammatory foods that trigger your pain, and your body will thank you every day.

Fitness Redefined

“What is fitness?” Rodney Corn, co-founder of PTA Global, asked the assembled experts. The room was silent. “Fitness is gardening; it’s walking; it’s anything that involves movement.”

Corn was critical of the fitness industry. “The fitness industry is designed for the already fit, not the fat,” he said. “The fit get fitter, while the fat get fatter.”

Why? “People are afraid,” Corn continued. They fear if they’re not getting in their 30-60 minutes of vigorous or moderate activity five times per week, they might as well forget it. Not true! You can experience tremendous health benefits going from a sedentary lifestyle to one that is more active. Do whatever moves you, as long as you stick with it.

Chakra Nutrition

Eating healthy, pure and real food was celebrated constantly at the 2013 expo, just as it is in your kitchen, I hope. The number of nutrition exhibitors at the convention nearly doubled since 2012. There was greater emphasis on food choices, because what you eat is tightly linked to how you feel and the diseases you get.

“Food goes way beyond calories … it is information,” explained exercise physiologist Teri Mosley in her out-of-mainstream presentation on chakra nutrition. Foods have specific energy vibrations that interact with our energy centers, called chakras in the Eastern tradition. “Food communicates with the protein and DNA in our bodies,” said Mosley, who wants us to use food to harmonize body, mind and soul.

Positive Psychology

Having a positive outlook continues to be a big plus when it comes to living a happier, healthier lifestyle. Fitness leaders are convinced “energy flows where attention grows.” It’s a paradigm shift, and it’s one you can use in your everyday life. When you choose to focus on your strengths instead of your weaknesses, you get better results – at work, at home and in the gym.

Live Extraordinarily

Fitness pro Jay Blahnik exclaimed “live extraordinarily” in one of the more popular closing sessions. Even the most ordinary person can live an extraordinary life, if they follow his advice: Get real. Get busy. Get over it. (Make amends and forgive, he advised.) Also, be yourself. Be brave. Don’t be afraid to do things that scare you a little. And finally, be generous to yourself and others.

Marilynn Preston — healthy lifestyle expert and Emmy-winning producer – is the creator of Energy Express, the longest-running syndicated fitness column in the country. She has a website,, and welcomes reader questions, which can be sent to



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