NEW YORK — Fitness professionals strengthened their abs during an early-morning Pilates class and then browsed three floors of exhibits at the Club Industry East show from June 8-11 at the Hilton New York. The event attracted more than 3,200 club executives, personal trainers and owners, operators and fitness facility managers from for-profit and non-profit operations throughout the entire Northeast region.

Herbert Greenebaum, marketing manager of exhibitions for Club Industry East, said the exhibit hall was sold out for the first time since 1999, and the traffic was heavy throughout the three days of the trade show. Cuoco Black, owner of Negative Space, a New York-based conceptual interior architecture firm, said the attendees were continually visiting his booth to see the latest materials and designs for health clubs. David Dunlap, regional sales manager for Broadcast Vision, another one of the exhibitors, also had a great response at the show.

“Club Industry East has been phenomenal for us,” he said. “We have a new product that is proving to be a great attraction, and the crowds have been strong all the way.”

Barry Chait, president of Bare Fitness, a 10,000-square-foot club in Middletown, NY, said he came to the show to shop equipment and learn how to run his business more efficiently. Another attendee said the event helped to keep her up-to-date on the new technology.

“The energy at Club Industry East makes it one of the most effective events I've ever attended,” said Ellen Linderer, personal trainer/sales, Total Body Fitness, Lansdale, PA. “By coming here, I'm hip to everything going on.”

Beyond the chance to visit with 118 suppliers and network, attendees also had the opportunity to select from more than 80 sessions in the conference program. The curriculum encompassed a broad range of topics, ranging from “Getting Your Clients to Train Like Pros” to “Incorporating Principles of Yoga and Pilates into Your Personal Training Program.” The two free seminars — “The Best and Worst of Exercise Programming” and “Execs in the City: How the Biggest Clubs in the Big Apple Make Their Operations Work” — drew capacity crowds, Greenebaum said.

Attendees also packed a conference room to hear Mike Chaet, president and CEO of Club Marketing and Management Services, unveil the seven secrets to making money in the business. He advised attendees to make every visit to the club an experience for members. He said it's also essential for clubs to “plan their own obsolescence.”

“If your equipment is stale and you haven't done anything for a few years, your club will become obsolete whether you like it or not,” he said. “If you don't have the latest and greatest treadmill, your client will put in one at home or your competitor will run you out of business.”

Keith Hernandez, the keynote speaker and former New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals All Star, also inspired attendees to be the best they can be. In his presentation, titled “Building a Home Team that Can Win It All,” he said that his parents taught him the team concept from an early age. Hernandez related his experiences as a ballplayer, actor on Seinfeld and sports commentator to the needs of club owners and managers to work with team members at all levels to enhance both individual and group performance. He said when working with clients, a winning personality is infectious.

Club Industry East 2006 will be June 7-10, 2006, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.