The Club Industry show may be a veteran event in the fitness industry — it has more than 22 years under its belt — but this year's conference and exposition for health and fitness facility management is making new tracks. More than 6,000 attendees are expected to attend the annual event Oct. 15-18 at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

Specifically, those tracks are educational tracks and include leadership and personal development, specialty populations, and nutrition and weight-loss. New co-sponsored tracks are corporate fitness, digital fitness and nutrition, and inclusive fitness. The new tracks and additions bring the show's seminar total to 151.

“What's different this time around is our conference program,” says Zari Stahl, group show director. “It's very robust with a lot of new seminars and different tracks. The conference program is really full, and there's a ton of stuff that we're offering.”

The new seminars and tracks address a variety of fitness facility owners' needs and markets, says Stacey Orlick, Club Industry 2008 conference director. This year's show also features active training sessions, which are practical workouts that include both a lecture and a demonstration of the material.

“In these sessions, you actually do an exercise in the room with equipment,” Orlick says. “It could be a jump rope or something bigger, but it'll be a workout.”

In the past, only roundtables were held in the afternoon, but this year's show features a mix of roundtables and seminars after the lunch hour. Because roundtables are not eligible for most continuing education units (CEUs), the new schedule allows attendees to earn CEUs all day, Orlick says.

Although CEUs will not be handed out at the keynote address, attendees will have a rare opportunity to hear the father of aerobics himself, Dr. Kenneth Cooper, speak from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16. The special event is free to attendees and will feature the presentation of Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro's Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Cooper, chairman and CEO of the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas.

From 11:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro will present the Best of the Best awards. Five facilities will be rewarded for their deserving programs in the areas of best new member integration program, best community/nonmember program, best children's program, best senior program and best behavior modification program.

Immediately following the awards presentation, Rick Caro, president of Management Vision Inc., New York, will moderate the panel discussion “Fitness Business at a Crossroad: How to Hold on in Today's Economy and Prosper in the Future.” The panel will include a group of respected industry leaders representing various segments of the industry as they examine business survival, opportunities, membership economics and fund allocation in today's challenging economic climate.

If attendees are looking for new equipment to stand out from the competition, they can peruse the trade show floor from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 16; 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 17; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 18. More than 225 top companies are expected to exhibit at the show, filling McCormick Place West with 900 booths of fitness-related products and services. Attendees can try out those products first-hand at early morning workouts from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 17, and Saturday, Oct. 18.

Attendees also can participate in more than 26 group exercise classes and demonstrations at the Club Studio Stage in booth 168. Co-sponsored with SCW Fitness Education, the schedule is filled with various 30-minute classes. Attendees can sign up for the free classes at the Les Mills booth, which is located directly across from the Club Studio Stage. Classes will take place during early morning workouts and exhibit hall hours, says Herbert Greenebaum, Club Industry marketing manager.

To further increase knowledge about the industry, attendees can stop by the Club Industry bookstore located next to registration to browse and purchase a showcase of fitness and health club industry literature, much of which is written by Club Industry presenters. To network, attendees should not miss the welcome reception from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 15, where they can get to know their colleagues with music, hors d'oeuvres and beverages in a relaxed setting.

Attendees can meet the host of CLTV's new healthy lifestyle show, Andrea Metcalf. Club Industry 2008 and CLTV, a Chicago TV station, have partnered to find the top trainer in Chicago and are looking for nominations. Attendees living in Chicago can nominate an employee, colleague or even themselves. Metcalf will collect success stories on Thursday, Oct. 16, and Friday, Oct. 17.

Whether it's through sessions, networking, workouts or even a little fun on TV, Club Industry 2008 is sure to help attendees make tracks this year.

“Club Industry provides specific solutions for every single fitness professional,” Greenebaum says. “No matter what type of facility you have, you'll find what you need.”

Club Industry 2008 Schedule of Events

Wednesday, October 15

9 a.m. - 4 p.m. A all-day educational sessions
Noon - 1:30 p.m. B educational sessions
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. C educational sessions
4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. D educational sessions
5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m Welcome reception

Thursday, October 16

8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. E educational sessions
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. A all-day educational sessions
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. F educational sessions

11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Keynote and Lifetime Achievement
Award Winner: Dr. Kenneth H. Cooper,
founder, chairman and CEO of the
Cooper Aerobics Center

12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Exhibit hall open
2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. G educational sessions

Friday, October 17

7 a.m. - 9 a.m. Early morning workouts
8:30 a.m. - 10 a.m. H educational sessions
9 a.m. - 4 p.m. A all-day educational sessions
10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. J educational sessions
11:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Exhibit hall open

11:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.
Best of the Best Awards Presentation

11:45 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Panel Discussion: “Fitness Business at a Crossroad: How to Hold on in Today's Economy and Prosper in the Future,” Moderated by Rick Caro, President, Management Vision Inc.

2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. K educational sessions

Saturday, October 18

7 a.m. - 9 a.m. Early morning workouts
9 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. L educational sessions
10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Exhibit hall open
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. M educational sessions

Can't make it to the show?

If you can't make it to Chicago this fall, you can still get a taste of the show by going online to Club Industry's Fitness Business Pro's blog, Behind the Scenes, at www.blog.fitnessbusinesspro.com/fitnessbusinessproblog. The editors will write up their thoughts and observations about the keynotes, panel presentation, and many of the sessions and products at the show.

To register or learn more about Club Industry 2008, including detailed information about educational sessions, events and exhibitors, go to http://national.clubindustryshow.com/National2008/public/enter.aspx.