MANIA® Fitness Conventions are returning in 2015. The conferences serve over 10,000 health and wellness professionals and will offer eight professional training conventions this year.

Remaining 2015 MANIA® dates and locations:

California MANIA® - March 27-29, 2015
Midwest MANIA® - Sept. 25-27, 2015
Florida MANIA® - May 1-3, 2015
D.C. MANIA® - Oct. 16-18, 2015
Atlanta MANIA® - July 10-12, 2015
Boston MANIA® - Nov. 13-15, 2015
Dallas MANIA® - Aug. 28-30, 2015

“MANIA® is more than just a fitness convention – it’s the place where the fitness community goes to learn, get inspired and recharged!” says Sara Kooperman, CEO of SCW Fitness. “MANIA® is affordable and is perfectly suited for everyone from budding exercise professional to seasoned fitness veteran.”

MANIA® is a three-day fitness professional conference offering 15 different sessions every hour at each location. The convention features world-renowned fitness educators leading over 200 sessions and 25 certifications on topics such as personal training, group exercise, HIIT / Tabata, ballet barre, nutrition, kettle weights, yoga / Pilates, cycle, aqua / WATERinMOTION®, dance / Zumba®, small group training, sports conditioning, and business management.

“Rub elbows with your favorite presenters, shop the Expo and celebrate being part of a greater health and wellness community,” adds Kooperman. “It’s a shot of adrenaline to your fitness career that keeps you coming back for more!”

During the convention, participants will also earn continuing education credits though SCW, AFAA, ACE, NASM, ACSM, AEA and others accept MANIA® CECs/CEUs during each session and certification training they attend. For more information about MANIA®, visit

There is no denying it - fitness professionals are facing massive growth in markets belonging to aging populations. Most of the baby boomers have passed the age of 60 already, are typically health conscience and are looking to fitness pros to help them overcome losses in lean mass, flexibility and balance. Understanding these issues and reaching out to this continually growing demographic includes up scaling your training techniques. Learning some fresh aging population training techniques will expand your reach as a personal trainer or group exercise instructor and allow you to make a real difference for those clients who need your services now more than ever.

Aging populations often find themselves more sedentary and unable to complete tasks of daily living with ease. This in turn makes it more challenging for them to find ways to keep their minds, bodies and spirits healthy and vital. Chair-based exercises can be a great starting off point, particularly for those who have neglected regular exercise for a period, or who have limitations that keep them from traditional exercises techniques.

It’s easy to learn to enjoy using a chair to create exercise classes, yoga, even deep breathing and meditation. Many components of fitness can be approached from a chair-based platform. And by no means are those clients restricted from standing while participating in a chair-based fitness classes or programs. Yoga, Pilates, standing balance exercises, strength training and cardio can all be done from a chair. Circuits, intervals and even HIIT programming may be appropriate for certain populations with a chair as a base. Ballet barre programs are an excellent option for chair-based classes and can incorporate gliding disks and small balls for added variety, balance and strength challenges, fun and interest.

Keep in mind that socialization is an important element of exercise for this population, so selecting movements and sequences that incorporate social components is always a good idea. Some chair class students and instructors decorate their chairs with fabric and pictures to make the classes even more personal and fun. Using music that facilitates visiting is important, so use songs without lyrics or just keep the volume low.

Be sure to ask participants to check with a health care provider before embarking on any fitness program. Strength in the body and confidence in the mind are increased for those who participate in two-three day, weekly chair programs and fitness professionals who desire to learn to create effective programming for this population is easy and effective.

Come see Irene @ MANIA in 2015!

The field of sports nutrition continues to grow in popularity, a trend fueled in part by the movement of these products from niche-markets like gyms and supplement stores to mass-market outlets, and due to its growing appeal by the mainstream population that extends far beyond just the avid body builder and athlete. The emerging trends in exercise towards more competitive-type events and shorter, more-vigorous workouts also helps explain the rising popularity of sports nutrition products that help fuel these events. Estimates on sales of sports nutrition and sports beverage products in the U.S. are impressive – approximately $10.2 billion in sales in 2013 versus the entire fitness industry which collectively netted approximately $ 27 billion in 2013 (1, 2).

For many athletes and fitness-enthusiasts, it is protein supplementation that captures the most attention given our desire to preserve or build muscle tissue. Although the most undervalued and overlooked component within sports nutrition is probably hydration, especially when you consider how as little as 2 % dehydration can negatively impact performance (3), the focus of this article however, will address protein intakes, emphasizing overall daily quantity and timing before exercise on athletic performance.

It is well established and understood that proteins constitute a major portion of muscle tissue and that muscle tissue represents a significant portion of overall body weight, generally comprising approximately 36 – 40 % of a woman’s total body weight and 40 – 45 % of a man’s total body weight (4). This may partly explain why some people believe that eating dietary protein correlates directly to large muscles. This misguided belief is particularly true among strength athletes, who regularly consume an abundance of dietary proteins. The truth is that eating protein does not build muscle. It is the stimulus of exercise, primarily resistance training that ultimately builds muscles. Dietary proteins, however, are the crucial ingredient needed for building or rebuilding during the recovery process.

Overall Protein Quantity:
Although the amount protein that should be consumed by athletic individuals continues to remain hotly debated, the general consensus is that athletic individuals do require greater quantities of protein in their diet than sedentary counterparts in order to support protein synthesis and a greater contribution to the energy needs of the body in athletics (5 – 7). To help provide evidence-based recommendations, various credible organizations have released position statements on protein intake for endurance (defined as >= 10 hours per week of training) and strength-training athletes (aiming to build muscular mass, strength and power) that recommended intakes between 1.2 to 1.7 g per Kg of body weight (0.55 – 0.77 g / lb.), an amount lower than the frequently-cited suggestion used by many body builders of consuming 2.2 g / Kg (1 g / lb.) of body weight. These statements have also established an upper tolerance for protein intakes around 2.0 g per Kg (0.91 / lb.) of body weight (6).

• 1.2 to 1.4 g per Kg of body weight (0.55 – 0.64 g / lb.) for endurance-trained individuals.
• 1.4 to 1.7 g per Kg of body weight (0.64 – 0.77 g / lb.) for strength-trained individuals.

Although individual studies demonstrating safe and effective intakes in well-trained athletes up to 2.8 g / Kg of body weight (1.3 g / lb.) do exist, it is probably more prudent for health-fitness professionals to follow the consensus of these position statements.

Table 1-1 provides an example of protein intakes for two different-sized individuals participating in endurance or resistance-trained exercise programs, as well as their upper tolerance, a level established where research demonstrates little-to-no additional benefits. Furthermore, excess protein intakes have also been associated with health concerns within the liver and kidneys, with overall dehydration, and even with potential calcium losses from the bone, although the research in this area remains controversial.

Table 1-1: Examples of Suggested Protein Intakes for 145 (65.9 Kg) and 185 lb. (84.1 Kg) Individuals. 145 lbs. (65.9 Kg) 185 lbs. (84.1 Kg)

  145 lbs. (65.9 Kg) 185 lbs. (84.1 Kg)
Average Adult (RDA = 0.8 g per Kg) 53 g 67 g
Endurance Athlete 79 – 92 g 101 – 118 g
Resistance-trained Athlete 92 – 112 g 118 – 143 g
Upper Tolerance > 131 g > 168 g

Practice what you Know. Based on the information provided, what basic protein recommendations would be best for:

• Joe, an endurance athlete
• Mark, a resistance-trained athlete

How much protein would Joe, an endurance athlete weighing 175 lbs. (79.5 Kg) and Mark, a body builder weighing 210 lbs. (95.5 Kg) generally need on a daily basis?


• Joe: 79.5 Kg x 1.2 – 1.4 g / Kg = approximately 95 to 111 grams of protein daily.
• Mark: 95.5 Kg x 1.4 – 2.0 g / Kg = approximately 134 to 191 grams of protein daily.

Protein Intake at Once:
Another hotly debated discussion revolves around the quantity of protein that should be consumed within one meal or sitting. Protein absorptive rates vary tremendously between people and between protein sources. Generally, males have a larger gastrointestinal (GI) tract, thus can absorb more protein than women during any meal. The reality however, is that it is very difficult to accurately predict given the variables that can influence digestion and absorption rates of proteins due to various factors that include (7):

• Protein digestibility efficiency of foods (ranges between 78 – 97 % between plants and animal sources).
• Body size and genetics.
• Meal size and composition.
• Protein sources (e.g., whey, casein, egg).

For example, whey, being a water soluble milk protein is absorbed far more rapidly than casein, an insoluble milk protein that forms curd in the stomach, which can retard its gastric emptying and absorption for hours. An egg on the other hand contains six to seven grams of protein, yet the body only absorbs about 3 grams of cooked egg each hour.

• Diet experience (individuals consuming higher protein intakes can adapt to digest proteins more efficiently, but initially the body may actually slow protein absorption with high protein intakes).

A study by Symons, et al (8) compared a 30 g protein dose against a 90 g dose on muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly groups. Their research demonstrated that ingestion of more than 30 g protein in a single meal did not further enhance the stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in both populations examined. This value appears to echo the sentiment of other researchers who estimate that 30 g represents the largest quantity that can be efficiently absorbed in one sitting (7). Considering what is commonly consumed by fitness enthusiasts and athletes, and what is recommended by many sport supplement manufacturers, it does raise the question to the fate of excess proteins in one meal or throughout the day.

Casein and Whey:
Many forms of protein sources exist ranging from milk, soy and egg-based powders to individual amino acids that can be confusing. Given the breadth of scientific information on each protein that exists, we will limit discussion to briefly reviewing the milk proteins casein and whey. Collectively they constitute the primary proteins found in milk with casein accounting for approximately 70 – 80 % of protein in cow’s milk whereas whey accounts for approximately 20 % of protein in cows’ milk (9). In practical terms, when milk spoils or coagulates, the whey represents the translucent-white liquid while the casein represents the semi-solid curd.

The attractive property of casein lies with the fact that it is insoluble and therefore forms a gel (clot) in the stomach when it mixes with gastric acid in the stomach. This retards gastric emptying rates which in turn provides a sustained ‘slow’ release of amino acids into the blood stream, sometimes lasting for several hours (10 – 11). This improves utilization by the body over longer periods of time, especially several hours after exercise when the body can revert back to a catabolic or breaking down state. Casein is also a rich source of glutamine which is important during periods of physiological stress (e.g., endurance events, intense training and lack of recovery) as it can be easily utilized by immune cells to help maintain immune function (10).

Whey offers a more nutrient-dense source of essential amino acids and is known as a ‘fast-acting’ protein given its solubility in water and ability to be absorbed rapidly. Whey is a richer source of the essential, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which fuel working muscles and stimulate protein synthesis (12). Leucine (a BCAA) serves an important role important in initiating transcription pathways to start protein synthesis by accelerating recovery and stimulating the post-exercise adaptive response to exercise. Additionally, whey also contains high levels of cysteine, a non-essential amino acid that helps manufacture glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body defend against free radical damage. Whey is sold in various following forms presented in table 1-2 (9, 11).

Table 1-2: Compositional Differences between Different Whey Products

Component Whey Powder Whey Concentrate Whey Isolate
  Food additive Removal of water, some lactose, ash & mineral. Further removal of lactose & fat = fastest gastric emptying and absorption. More expensive.
Protein % 11 – 14.5 % 25 – 89 % > 90 %
Lactose % 63 – 75 % 10 – 55 % < 1 %
Milk Fat % 1 – 1.5 % 2 – 10 % < 1 %

Although whey delivers essential amino acids (e.g., BCAA) more rapidly than casein to initiate greater amounts of protein synthesis initially, casein’s significance lies in its ability to sustain positive nitrogen balance and reduce muscle breakdown that occurs several hours following exercise (7, 9). This offers some explanation why casein sources (e.g., non-fat cottage cheese) are considered beneficial several hours after exercise or as a late-night snack for those who either exercise early in the morning or for those striving to avoid possibilities of developing negative nitrogen balances (protein breakdown or catabolism) associated with overnight fasting. For example, a half cup of non-fat cottage cheese provides 14 grams of casein-rich protein that can reduce the likelihood of becoming catabolic in the hours immediately preceding the time at which one awakens.

Protein Timing before Exercise
Timing of protein feeding is critical to enhancing muscle recovery and growth. Pre- and post- exercise protein feeding demonstrates significantly increased rates of muscle growth and strength in comparison to morning- and evening-feeding (13). Pre- and post-exercise feeding also reduces muscle soreness, illness, injury, while accelerating muscle recovery and building. However, when active individuals were fed an amino-acid-carbohydrate beverage consisting of six grams of essential amino acids (EAA) and 35 grams of a high-glycemic carbohydrates (EAA-CHO) within 60 minutes of exercise versus individuals who consumed the EAA-CHO beverage within 30 – 45 minutes following resistance-training exercise (training at 80% 1 Repetition Max), it was the dosage consumed before exercise the proved to be more effective in promoting muscle protein synthesis after exercise (14). Furthermore, this same dosage was compared against whole foods with equivalent amounts of EAA, and also when it was ingested without the carbohydrates, and both comparisons were determined to be less effective (15). The researchers concluded that a primary reason why the EAA-CHO worked more effectively was that the insulin release associated with carbohydrates allowed for more, and more rapid uptake of EAAs into the cells, and it also reduced muscle catabolism rates under insulin’s anabolic effect.

It appears therefore that the scientific evidence supports the combination of carbohydrates with essential amino acids to enhance muscle building following resistance training to a greater extent than when protein is consumed alone (16 – 17). Six grams of essential amino acids can be obtained through natural foods as illustrated in table 1-3 below, but when one considers the volume of food required, plus the potential calories, a commercially prepared sports drink or powder may prove more feasible (18).

Table 1-3: Quantity of Common Protein Sources Providing 6 Grams of EAA

Protein Source Quantity
Hard-boiled eggs 2
Egg whites Equivalent to 3½  large eggs
Roasted chicken 2½ – 3 oz. (1 small chicken breast )
Grilled white fish (Cod, Halibut) 2 oz. (cooked)
Canned Tuna  (packed in water, drained) 1½ – 2 oz.  canned
Cooked lean ground beef, steak or pork chops 1½ – 2 oz.
Luncheon meet 2½ oz.
Regular, low-fat or skim milk 12 oz.
Plain or fruit-flavored yogurt (with non-fat dry milk) 8 oz.
Cheddar cheese 2 oz.
Cooked white pasta 2½ cups
Cooked white rice 3 cups
Plain bagels Two x 3½” bagels
Wheat bread 2½ oz.
Peanut butter 5 tbsp.
Soybeans (raw) ¾ - 1 cup

As an application summary, Table 1-4 provides a sample strategy to follow before exercise for a resistance-trained individual seeking to optimize muscle growth.
Table 1-4: Strategies for protein intake before exercise

Evening Prior Pre-exercise (45 – 60 min Before Exercise)
Small amount of a casein-based protein 6 g EAA with 35 g high-glycemic carbohydrates.
(e.g., ¼ - ½ cup of non-fat cottage cheese = 7 – 14 g protein) 15 – 20 g of whey isolate provides an equivalent amount of EAA)

Although post-exercise protein ingestion remains a standard practice in most exercising circles, it is pre-event protein intake that is now well documented through research to be more effective and gaining popularity amongst practitioners. However, as with all nutritional strategies, although timing, type and quantity are critical to successful outcomes, they should always consider convenience, preferences and individual differences in digestion, absorption and utilization.

"References 1. Packaged Facts (2103). The Sports Nutritionals Market in the U.S.: Sports Drinks and Nutrition Bars. Retrieved April, 2014.
2. IBISWorld (Feb, 2014). Gym, Health & Fitness Clubs in the US: Market Research Report, NAICS 71394. Retrieved April;, 2014.
3. Casa, D.J., Armstrong, L.E., Hillman, S.K., Montain, S.J., Reiff, R.V., Rich, B.S.E., Roberts, W.O. & Stone, J., (2000). National Athletic Trainers’ Association: Position statement: Fluid replacement for athletes. Journal of Athletic Training, 35, 212 – 224.
4. Fink, H.H., Mikesky, A.E., & Burgoon, L.A. (2012). Practical Applications in Sports Nutrition (3rd Ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
5. Skolnik, H., & Chernus, A. (2010). Nutrient Timing and Peak Performance. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 6. American Dietetic Association (ADA), Dietitians of Canada (DC), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), (2009). Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109 (3): 509 – 527.
7. Antonio, J. & Stout, J.R. (Eds.) (2001). Sports Supplements. Philadelphia, PA. Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.
8. Symons, T.B., Sheffield-Moore, M, Wolfe, R.R., & Paddon-Jones, D (2009). A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 109(9): 1582 – 1586.
9. Lusignan, M.F., Bergeron, A., Lafleur, M., & Manjunath, P. (2011). The major proteins of bovine seminal plasma interact with caseins and whey proteins of milk extender. Biology of Reproduction, Published on May 18, 2011 as DOI:10.1095/biolreprod.110.089961.
10. Dunford, M., & Doyle, J.A. (2008) Nutrition for Sport and Exercise. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.
11. Roy, B.D. (2008). Milk the new sports drink? A Review. Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition 5(15): doi:10.1186/1550-2783-5-15.
12. Thomas, D.T., Wideman, L., & Lovelady, C.A. (2011). Effects of a dairy supplement and resistance training on lean mass and insulin-like growth factor in women. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 21(3): 181 – 188.
13. Cribb, P.J. & Hayes, A. (2006). Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38:1918 – 1925.
14. Tipton, K.D., Rasmussen, B.B., Miller, S.L., Wolf, S.E., Owens-Stovall, S.K, Petrini, B.E., & Wolfe, R.R. (2001). Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. American Journal of Physiology Endocrinology and Metabolism, 281:E197 – E206.

Continuing our study of “group fitness” – in this month’s column we look at comparative Fitness Business Council survey results for year-end 2014 vs. year-end 2013. At best, we recognize group fitness in clubs as losing little ground over the course of a year…but also gaining scant turf in the same time period.

Surveys comparing Small Group Training (SGT) and Group Exercise classes’ participation (GEX) showed the following results:
In 2013, 54% of reporting witnessed increases in training revenues. In 2014, that number decreased slightly to 51%.
2013 results evidenced 47% of clubs having grown class participation. That number increased in 2014 to 51%.

While increases in neither category approached the near-60% level of 2012 – the best reported year of the past half-decade – the numbers indicate a steadying of group fitness in clubs.
Interestingly, in 2014 “fitness-only clubs” led the way in growth in SGT revenues. These are clubs that do not offer GEX classes and are generally budget-priced. Just two years ago, SGT growth was dominated by large “athletic clubs.” Then in 2013, best-SGT-growth was equally shared by 20,000-to-34,999ft2 clubs and less-than-5,000ft2 studios.
The slowest SGT growth sector in 2014 was in 10,000-to-19,999ft2 facilities. A year before, fitness-with-classes but with limited “other services” showed the least SGT growth.

• SGT is growing slowly across the national health club scene.
• Clearly, “budget” or “value-priced” clubs are exhibiting the ability to sell SGT as either separate programs or as an up-sell in membership dues.

GEX participation of just a few years back nearly made it into the “definite industry uptrend” category, as more than 60% of clubs reported increases in class attendances. Accompanying this was a documented surge in number of members participating in classes…and the norm now stands at a successful club enjoying more than 2 in every 10 members taking part regularly in GEX. However, that near-trend reversed in 2013 and has yet to return to anywhere near its previous levels.

Best GEX growth in 2014 was among the 10,000-to-19,999ft2 and 20,000-to-34,999ft2 facilities. In 2013, large athletic clubs had dominated GEX growth.

Slowest 2014 GEX growth was overwhelmingly (and not surprisingly) in the under-5,000ft2 studio sector. In 2013, slowest GEX growth had been shared by 5,000-to-9,999ft2 and 10,000-to-19,999ft2 clubs. A perhaps-significant 2014 sidebar is that while 10-19.9K clubs reversed their previous years’ position in GEX participations, they did not sustain growth in SGT.

• GEX enjoyed tremendous participation growth in 2010, 2011 and 2012 – but did not sustain that growth in the following two years.
• Mom-and-pop clubs and mid-sized “near-athletic-club” facilities have at least temporarily captured GEX growth.

We’d love to hear from you about your recent experience with SGT and GEX growth. Contact Michael at his email address (below).

"(Michael Scott Scudder is Founder and CEO of Fitness Business Council, the network for independent health clubs. Michael presents business subjects at SCW MANIAs throughout the year. He can be contacted at and 575-613-1004.)

There were 87 women, 60 years and older, assigned to water-based exercise, land-based resistance training or a control group. After 12 weeks, women in the water-based program improved in dynamic strength similar to those in the resistance training group. People in the water group improved in isometric peak torque (force that causes rotation) around the hip and ankle joints, and those in resistance training increased isometric peak torque around the knee joint. The authors concluded that “water-based programs constitute an attractive alternative to promote relevant strength gains using moderate loads and fast speed movements.”

Source: Geriatrics & Gerontology International, early view (December 11, 2014)