SCW's "Midwest Mania" is Missing the Punch it Used to Pack

SCW's "Midwest Mania" is Missing the Punch it Used to Pack
Midwest Mania seems to have lost its pizzazz and participation.

Ever since I became introduced to fitness, I looked forward to Midwest Mania, hosted by SCW. I’m so old school that I remember when it was Sara’s City Workout, and I celebrated its progression to SCW which now takes place all across the US. Named after its founder and creator, Sara Kooperman, an attorney turned fitness enthusiast and professional derived from her passion for yoga and aqua fitness, she is a visionary and game changer in the world of fitness.  To say I admire and respect her business acumen and transformation of fitness education is an understatement.

Driving out to O’Hare to a nearby hotel turned fitness expo where fitness pros from all over the world came to present was like going to the Olympics and Vegas and Disney all in one.

Being able to meet them and learn fun, innovative teaching strategies made me walk away feeling like a pro myself. I know without question that the conference helped expand my knowledge and skill over the years, and gave me tools that made me stand out as an instructor. It is common for people to tell me how much they enjoy my classes and how my style is different from others who don’t do what I do, which I attribute to years of training and willingness to expand and build upon my craft in which Midwest Mania was the perfect place to do that.

This year I took the Ballet Barre training with the awesome and amazing Abbie Appel.

This year I took the Ballet Barre training with the awesome and amazing Abbie Appel.

Over the years, new fitness presenters have come on the scene, which is great because it means the door is open for newbies to shine, but there is something to be said to see that the pioneers of fitness no longer attend. I miss seeing Gay Gasper, Deb Puskarich, Lawrence Biscontini, and Manuel Velazquez; and then having the opportunity to meet next level pros like Chalene Johnson and Jillian Michaels, and so many others–although Jillian was so rude I’m okay with not having to endure another one of her keynote speeches.

I know the industry is evolving and changing, but it seems that the founders of functional fitness, those who provided safe and fun instruction before that name was even coined, have been swapped out for the latest hype and crazes.  While I am glad that the door is open for new kids on the block, it seems that science is being replaced with satiety to a younger crew who are comfortable with a driving beat where cuing is not even necessary–and yet, ask any seasoned pro and they will tell you that a good instructor has to talk and explain movement because without that, you may as well be dancing at a club.  You may be burning calories in a workout, which in the midst of an obesity epidemic is helpful, but is it safe and effective? Probably not.

Step aerobics classes used to be packed with people who could keep up and knew 32-count phrasing. Now, it’s a rarity to even see a Step class, and even rarer to see instructors who know how to count!  Now presenters have to ask if people know how to cue on an 8-count.

Like a kickboxing routine turned into shadowboxing in the dark, something has happened because Midwest Mania just isn’t packing the punch it used to.

Abbie Appel taught us Ballet Barre at 2018 Midwest Mania and stressed the importance of teaching and cuing for safety and effectiveness.

Abbie Appel taught us Ballet Barre at 2018 Midwest Mania and stressed the importance of teaching and cuing for safety and effectiveness.

I’m not sure what’s going on in the industry because many instructors don’t even desire attending Midwest Mania like they used to. Could it be that new popular dance/fitness formats which allow anyone to pay and “earn” a certification have watered down the industry so much that professionals find the conference obsolete? Perhaps.  It could also be that presenters have to pay to be there and sacrifice so much time and money to attend that low turnout doesn’t offset the rationale and expense.  Whatever it is, I miss the Midwest Mania of yesteryear.  My dream has always been to be a presenter at the event, but minority presenters is another thing you won’t see a lot of representation at Mania.

Like anything, there’s always an ebb and flow, and feast and famine in business. My prayer is that SCW’s Midwest Mania will experience a resurgence of energy and participation from instructors desiring to expound and build upon their craft so that knowledge, skill, safety, and innovation are not the exception in the fitness industry, and once again the norm.

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About Me: I’m a wife and mom of six daughters known as “The Fitness Evangelist” because of my ability to take ordinary fitness classes and turn them into worshipful experiences. I have graduate degrees in Writing and Exercise Science and Health Promotion, and I’m also a certified fitness instructor through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America. I can speak on entrepreneurship because I help people with their health and fitness goals any where in the world through my business with Total Life Changes. For more information about me, you can visit my website at or go directly to my TLC website for product information IBO #8154411.

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    Elana Anthony

    I am a wife and mother blessed to have six daughters who fill my home with love and laughter. My passion is writing and teaching, but most especially inspiring people to live healthy lives in my faith-filled fitness classes. My dream is to have my own faith and fitness TV show where people from all the world collectively join together on our "temple" building project of enjoying optimal health. I am a certified group fitness instructor by the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), and earned graduate degrees in Writing from DePaul University, in addition to a degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from the California University of Pennsylvania. I have seen and experienced the hand of God work and move in my life, and consider it an honor and blessing to be saved to serve.

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