Key Takeaways From 2018 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute East - Erin's Inside Job

Key Takeaways From 2018 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute East

I had the opportunity to attend the 2018 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute East conference over the weekend and I wanted to share with you some of the information I took away concerning fitness and nutrition.

Some of the highlights in fitness trends and key takeaways from the 2018 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute East conference!

To be honest, this year’s conference was a little underwhelming. I felt like there weren’t as many options and at least two of the sessions I signed up for were verbatim the same as the ones I did last year. Same slides, same exercises, etc. It was a disappointment to pay to attend a conference and not have new material presented.

That being said, I was still able to learn some things or have some information reiterated to me which always helps when going back to develop plans for clients.


Much of the fitness information presented (at least in the sessions I attend) is focused on a small-scale. That means we are going over biological and physical concepts that may not be of as much interested to your everyday person walking into the gym.

To spare you all of that, I’m sharing the information that stuck out the most to me because it often came up in multiple sessions.

  • The abductor/adductor machines found in most gyms are almost entirely useless. They work those muscles the opposite way of how they function in everyday life. Don’t use them.
  • There are several more effective core training movements than crunches, which are also not as effective as once thought. If you’re going to choose a core exercise, start with a plank!
  • The entire body is connected and even having a bad ankle can affect the opposite shoulder. Training individual body parts is fine, but you get much more functional fitness by training the body as a whole. Work the body as a unit with compound movements that work different muscle groups.
  • As much as I hate stretching, it’s beneficial. Every year there is a demo of some kind where we move to the end of our range of motion, then do simple stretches, then do the range of motion test again and can move so much further. I know it’s important, but I often don’t make time for it. These sessions always remind my why it’s a good idea.


Although I like exercise and learning about movement systems, I LOVE food and nutrition. These are often my favorite sessions at a conference, which is why I was disappointed that the first one I attended was exactly the same as last year. It was a great session, but I’m not going to write it up here. To read about what I took away from that one, you can read last year’s recap.

Here are some of the things I took away from this year’s lectures:

  • This is something I’ve been practicing for a couple years now, and I’m glad that it was emphasized in this lecture. Americans often have the meal size timing reversed when it comes to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We often opt for a small (if any) breakfast and a large dinner, but it should be the other way around. Breakfast should be your largest meal of the day so you have more time to burn calories throughout the day. Dinner should be small.
  • Eating carbs by themselves will lead to a spike in blood sugar and corresponding crash that will leave you searching for more food. By pairing a carb and protein together, you’ll stay full longer and have a more gradual increase and decrease in blood sugar.
  • If you’re doing a strenuous or strength-focused workout, you should really eat something before. If you’re doing something less strenuous like a walk or jog, then it may not matter as much. This one stood out to me because I often do Crossfit workouts at 6 am on an empty stomach and eat after I’m done. According to this presenter, these types of strenuous workouts should be done on at least a little food in your stomach so you have energy and don’t risk injuring yourself.
  • Specialty diets such as Whole30, intermittent fasting, and ketogenic are just that — diets. They’re usually not sustainable in the long term, but if it’s something that you want to try, there’s really no harm in it. Just realize that it may be difficult to maintain for a longer length of time.


Overall, I did leave with more information, but it didn’t quite have the same feel as last year. Let me know if you have any questions about the above items; I’m happy to discuss!

2 comments on “Key Takeaways From 2018 IDEA Personal Trainer Institute East

  1. I wholeheartedly agree with your point about diets, and I think if you try and sustain them for a long time, you’ll drive yourself nuts! Though, they might help someone get started. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing what you learned, Erin!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog recently posted…The Poor Traveller’s Trick to Staying in a Boutique Design HotelMy Profile

  2. I like the hanging core workouts, and I often just use a pull-up bar. The core exercises where you lift and rotate your lower body to hit all the different areas of your core.

    I am somewhat into compound movements, and I am also working on building muscle mass.

    I usually avoid working on separate sides of my body while lifting. I think my left side is a little lazy because I’m right-handed. If I don’t push both sides at the same time, I feel like I end up working on the left side less than the right.

    So you hate stretching? I hate stretching too, and I feel like such a hypocrite telling people to stretch and warm up when I’m handing out workout routines, but the workouts that hurt the most were the ones where I didn’t stretch.

    As far as nutrition goes, eating something before your workout was a real game changer for me. Not only was I able to perform better during my workouts, I saw better results concerning muscle gains.

    I wasn’t doing anything too strenuous, so a pre-breakfast snack and some BCAA’s were all I needed.

    Protein timing isn’t a big deal for most of us, but if you’re going to do some resistance training, then you might as well get the most of it and have some healthy protein and carb-rich food, say an hour before and maybe a couple of hours after your workout.

    I try to keep it as simple as possible, not only because I often overcomplicate things, but also because I’m starting to realize that in health and life, consistency is the key.
    Daniel Fresquez recently posted…Fix the Problem of Constantly Eating and Not Feeling FullMy Profile

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