The success of a trade show is typically measured by the amount of traffic in the aisles during exhibit hours. But in the world of fitness, those rules don't apply. In fact, the ideal fitness exhibition hall has very little aisle traffic, as fitness equipment manufacturers want attendees on their machines rather than simply observing them. My formal introduction to this culture occurred recently when I attended my first fitness industry trade show. I was greeted by a wave of fitness equipment, nutritional supplements and Zumba.

But this trade show was a welcome change from the chemical engineering trade shows from my previous life. The most glaring difference, aside from the attendees being in significantly better shape, was the energy. In a word, intoxicating. There is no energy drink or afternoon coffee run needed to make it through a day at a fitness show. All any attendee — or editor for that matter — needs is comfortable shoes, comfortable clothes and an attitude that screams "bring it on!"

That attitude, that craving for an intoxicating health high, is what separates fitness and wellness enthusiasts from your Average Joe, and it's why this is such a close-knit community. Walking around the show, I couldn't help but marvel at the passion of exhibitors and attendees alike. This is the place where handshakes are replaced with high fives, and sales pitches are replaced with motivational speeches. And it's those motivational speeches that have carried me, and millions of others, when we felt ourselves falling down outside the security of health club walls. When our struggles in life make us feel weak and our mind tells us that we need to hide under a blanket, we don't because our spirit and soul scream to stand up and fight. This is truly what makes health clubs so special. It's the life lessons learned there that we translate to our daily lives. We can all be stars when performing in short intervals in the setting of a gym, but it's what we do when no one's watching that defines us.

Here are some of my favorite motivational quotes from the gym that I have applied in both my personal and professional lives:

• No pain, no gain.
• If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.
• When you're not training, someone else is.
• The pain of today is the victory of tomorrow.
• Fatigue makes cowards of us all.

These are more than just words, these are the backbone of an industry that is committed to one sole purpose: Creating a healthier you — physically, mentally and emotionally. Those words empower you and give you the confidence to overcome hurdles you never dreamed you could clear.

I understand it can be easy to give into the fear or believe your doubters. I've been there. And you can choose to deal with that by hiding under the covers... or you can fight. You can repurpose that negative energy into a positive workout. Think of those life lessons you have learned or heard at the gym as you push yourself through one more set or one last mile because that pain, as fitness professionals might say, is simply weakness leaving your body.

Wishing the Athletic Business community a strong and healthy new year.