March 21-24, 2019 • Hilton Chicago • Chicago, Illinois


2018 Keynote Lectures


Interval Training for Health and Fitness: HIIT Versus Hype?

Martin Gibala

Martin J. Gibala, Ph.D.
McMaster University
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



Interval exercise involves alternating periods of exercise and recovery. Athletes have employed the practice for over a century, but the last two decades have seen a resurgence of scientific interest into the physiological and health-related adaptations to this type of training. The method is infinitely variable but can be broadly classified into two main categories: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) typically refers to submaximal efforts that elicit at least ~80% of peak heart rate, whereas sprint interval training (SIT) involves ‘all out’ efforts or an intensity corresponding to ≥100% of the workload that elicits maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). Studies comparing HIIT and moderate-intensity continuous training MICT, matched for total work or energy expenditure, have generally found intermittent exercise elicits superior adaptations in both healthy and diseased states, including cardiorespiratory fitness and indices such as glycemic control. Other recent work has shed new light on the potential for SIT, which involves a small total volume of exercise, to elicit adaptations that are comparable to MICT despite a smaller total exercise volume and time commitment. These findings are noteworthy given that lack of time is one of the most cited barriers to regular physical activity. This session will review the physiological basis of interval exercise and examine the role of intensity, duration and volume in regulating training-induced adaptations. It will also consider the practical application of interval training in both healthy individuals and people with cardiometabolic diseases.


From the Paralympics to Public Health: The Inclusion of People with Disabilities in Sport and Physical Activity

Cheri Blauwet, M.D.
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts



Population health data indicates that people with disabilities are far less likely to engage in leisure time physical activity, and more likely to experience the impact of sedentary lifestyles to include obesity and chronic disease. This is due to a multitude of factors inclusive of architectural barriers, lack of targeted programs, and most importantly, ongoing bias in which people with disabilities are assumed to be less active and unlikely to engage in physical activity. Although the barriers are many, ongoing advocacy, policy change, and the promotion of universal design has gone far in reducing these disparities. Fitness professionals play a critical role in promoting inclusion, and are poised to move the needle in ensuring that people with disabilities have the opportunity to lead active lifestyles.

An Evolution of the Exercise Prescription: The IronStrength Community Fitness Program

Jordan Metzl, M.D.
Hospital for Special Surgery
New York, New York


Although the concept of exercise as medicine has gained traction in recent years, a large gap still exists between the advice provided in the medical office and the implementation of exercise programs. Talk is easy, action is more difficult. Having recognized the need for better implementation strategies, Dr. Jordan Metzl, sports medicine physician, author, runner, and triathlete, created the IronStrength® community fitness program five years ago. One of the world’s first physician-led fitness initiatives, Dr. Metzl has evolved the concept of encouraging his patients to exercise. The class started with twenty people exercising in the basement of a gym now has grown into a 34,000 person strong fitness community with free classes held in iconic venues, often attracting more than 1,000 people at a time with goal of promoting health through activity. This lecture will describe the growth of the IronStrength community fitness program and detail how this model of program can be replicated around the world to promote a healthy, symbiotic relationship between fitness professionals and the medical community.

Click here to view an article by Dr. Jordan Metzl in the New York Times



Special Lectures



Featured Lecture- The Case for Why Current Exercise Prescriptions Creates Exercising Couch Potatoes: Let’s Do Better by Starting a “Movement Movement” 1X





Marc Hamilton, Ph.D.
Texas Obesity Research Center
Houston, Texas








There is arguably nothing more prized for promoting many aspects of health and wellness than a large rise in metabolic rate throughout most of the day. How do you best do this, regardless of age and fitness? This talk will explain a few of the most important principles (but almost always misunderstood) about muscle physiology. You will learn in an easy to understand way (even with a live demonstration) for how to optimize muscle contractions for raising metabolic rate throughout the workday and at home when not at the gym. Learn why the current exercise prescriptions (no matter how intense), nor something like the simplistic suggestion to “just stand more”, are missing the mark. One key concept that you will be able to better explain to your clients is that there is nothing you can do for yourself that comes close to creating the opportunity for the many healthy and potent metabolic responses caused by acute (immediate) skeletal muscle contractile activity performed correctly.






The Dr. Bortz Lecture: Aging is Hard Work: Exercise Training to Change the Course Toward Disability



Carol Ewing Garber, Ph.D., FACSM
Teachers College, Columbia University
New York, New York






The physiological, cognitive, and functional changes that accompany aging present special challenges requiring adaptive approaches to meet the unique goals and needs of the older adult. This session will use a case study approach to illustrate the principles and practical applications of exercise guidelines to diverse older adults.