Last week I was in beautiful San Diego attending BlogFest and IDEA World.
IDEA World is a fitness conference for gym owners and personal trainers, and Fitness BlogFest is a side conference for fitness bloggers. BlogFest runs for two days (Thursday and Friday), and then we attend any of the IDEA World sessions for the final two days.
The sessions run the gamut. Some are workshops, some are workouts. There are seminars on fitness and nutrition for people in all areas of fitness, health, and wellness communities.
It is four (completely exhausting) days of learning, networking and working out.
I attended my first BlogFest last year in Las Vegas and it was totally overwhelming.
Thumping workout music from every conference room, models on the expo floor doing the new must-have workout, brightly colored workout gear everywhere, all the new people in this fitness blogging community that I was totally new to.
All in addition to the sensory overload that is Las Vegas.
I had three goals going into BlogFest:
- Find two other bloggers I could partner up with for joint blog posts
- Focus on remembering names
- One possible brand/product partnership
While I didn’t make this an official goal, my theme for the week was to embrace new experiences.
Since our sessions begin super early (7 am) on Thursday, I arrived on Wednesday. After checking into the conference and settling into my hostel, I had some downtime before….Soul Cycle!
A local blogger arranged for some of us to take a class at Soul Cycle. I’ve never done Soul Cycle and I’ve never taken a spinning class, so I was more than a little scared.
I (surprisingly) enjoyed the class! I expected it to be much harder than it was (don’t get me wrong, it was super hard, but I was expecting worse). What I didn’t know was that I’d be working out in the dark. The teacher is illuminated some of the time to show what is going on, but other times it is totally dark. Odd, but it really helped me focus on what I was doing, not my neighbor.
I’m glad the class is done largely in the dark, and that I was with a group that was mostly other bloggers who are also new to spinning and/or Soul Cycle, I didn’t feel quite as odd man out.
I did a more complete recap of my workouts in my Oregon Coast 50k Week 6 Training Recap Post, but to summarize our workouts:
BlogFest officially began with ‘Out Of The Gym, Onto The Beach’ a class sponsored by Fit Bodies Inc., a company that places fitness instructors at swanky all-inclusive resorts. Watching their promo video almost made me wish I was a fitness instructor (I’d be hanging in the Caribbean, but then I’d have to be a fitness instructor… ).
After a full day of sessions, it was time for the afternoon workout – MEGA Circuit, part of the IDEA World Expo. The MEGA Circuit had 20 different stations, each one was a vendor at the expo. We spent 6 minutes at each station and then moved on to the next. Some stations were harder than others, but the overall result was exhausting.
The early Friday workout was ‘Frog Fit Body Slam’ done on The Frog – that I can best describe as a contraption. The first part was done in the pushup position (which was hard on my wrists) and the second part was lifting, that I don’t usually do and felt really awkward.
So all in all, this wasn’t my favorite workout, but it more than fit the bill for wanting to try new things.
Our afternoon workout was done by one of our sponsors, Trigger Point. It was 15-minutes of foam rolling lead by the guy I began calling the chief torturer (a/k/a master trainer Ryan), and a 15-minute bodyweight workout lead by fitness celebrity Natalie Jill.
IDEA World Workouts
Saturday was my first day being able to choose from the full slate of IDEA World classes, and I started the day with ‘Terriffic Tubing.’ I didn’t know exactly what to expect from this class, but I always like working with tubing, and I usually travel with resistance bands, so I thought I could learn a few new moves.
This class totally kicked my ass. The instructor started right on time and we moved for 110 minutes. Urgh.
The other Saturday workout was ‘Everlast Striking.’ I don’t know why I was drawn to this class, but I saw it on the schedule and impulsively signed up. It was an introduction to 6 of the basic punches in boxing. A mostly upper arm workout for a change! Although the boxing stance is no joke on the legs.
Sunday, the last day of IDEA World, kicked off with ‘Kettlebell Express,’ which I really enjoyed. It made me want to incorporate more kettlebells into my workouts. I even got a few great tips on how to correctly do a Turkish GetUp.
I was scheduled to do one more workout on Sunday, but I just couldn’t mentally or physically do it, so I called an audible and changed my schedule.
BlogFest and IDEA World is about more than working out. It’s also about learning, and I attended a few great (non-workout) sessions as well.
Our first BlogFest session became my favorite session of the entire conference. It was ‘Perfection Detox’ by Petra Kolber, and was all about letting go of the perfectionism that can so often hold us back.
Loved, Loved, Loved!
I did a sketchnote of it after (because that is the kind of thing I do).
Usually, when I do a skechnote, I do a general layout, and start over at least twice to correct issues. Given the theme of the talk, I did it once and tried to let go of perfectionism. Keeping in my misspellings, mistakes, odd spacing, and my immediately-regretted decision to draw a scale.
It says something about our culture that it is waaaay harder emotionally to be imperfect than it is to work 4 times harder to be ‘perfect.’
Petra shared my Instagram post of it on her social media, so now my imperfections are going out to an even wider audience. EEEEEKKKKK!
We then had a few sessions on topics I already knew a bit about, creating online courses, ‘making love to the camera,’ and podcasts. These sessions all reinforced that I am thinking about the right things in my little blogging endeavor since courses, video, and podcasts are all on my radar to varying degrees.
I suppose I just need to take Petra’s advice and get over my perfectionism to make progress.
We also had a session on Google Analytics, which is a behind the scenes thing for us bloggers. This was the session that created the biggest to-do list, but it’s a little bit like getting a mammogram or going to the dentist. I know it’s in my best interest, but the idea fills me with a sense of dread.
Our keynote was by Heidi Powell, a fitness celebrity. This conference really opened my eyes to how many ‘fitness celebrities’ I don’t know since I don’t watch the fitness TV shows. I kept hearing people get all excited that they can meet so-and-so later at the expo, and all I can think is ‘who?’
IDEA World Sessions
On Saturday, with BlogFest over (Boo) could attend any of the IDEA World sessions. My first non-workout session was a Kineso Taping workshop. As I’m starting to do more run coaching, it’s just a matter of time until taping becomes more of a thing so why not take advantage and learn from the experts?
In the session, we got rolls of tape and we practiced on each other – we could identify other seminar attendees for the rest of day since we were all taped up.
The tape is designed to stay on for 3-5 days, and I can confirm that trying to take it off the first day hurts!
My other Saturday session was ‘Rescue Your Knees – Look At Your Feet.’ This was an hour-long session that had an interesting 15 minutes in there somewhere. I expected more on various foot stretches, but it was a lot of anatomy and Latin names of muscles and bones. One of the teachers was totally anti-shoe (she called shoes ‘foot prisons’), and didn’t pass up an opportunity to talk about how shoes and orthotics are evil.
Point taken, but you’ve said it once, let’s move on.
My only non-workout session on Sunday was about balance. It presented some interesting ideas, but I don’t know how much of it I buy into. His thesis is you can increase your balance by ‘working out’ your eyes and inner ears, since those areas control balance.
Like the K-tape seminar, at times it pushed me out of my little introvert comfort zone (a good thing). One of the exercises had us partner up and do various eye/vision exercises. My partner was Mo, a personal trainer from Jordan (he flew 17 hours only to attend this conference).
Direct, intense eye contact (especially with strangers) is usually not my jam, but I suddenly found myself staring into the deep brown eyes of a man I’ve known for 2 minutes.
For sure, a new experience.
The recurring themes of BlogFest for me wasn’t a specific theme, but consistent confirmations that I am on the right track, doing and thinking about the right things.
A mini-theme was prioritizing getting your work out there over ‘saving it’ until it’s perfect. This came up several times in different sessions and was reinforced in practice by the positive response (both from Petra herself and other attendees- BlogFest is an amazingly supportive community) I got from posting my ‘imperfect’ sketchnote on social media.
Last year, the big theme was CBD, everything was infused with CBD.
There wasn’t anything quite as consistent this year, but there were many vendors of smart tech for workout classes. Heart monitors and the like so that group classes can have a dashboard of everyone’s workout stats during class.
Orange Theory made this popular, and it’s a trend I don’t really care for. I get how it is supposed to make you push harder and compete, but I don’t know that workouts should be a competition.
What’s not to love about San Diego? As I was thinking about it, I think the last time I was in San Diego was for a 10K race at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot on the same obstacles Where Marines Are Made’ This was maybe 2003. Running is the one area of my life where I’m a hipster – I did obstacle races before they were cool.
The big downside of the location is that activities took place in two locations – the Hyatt and the convention center. It is a 10-15 minute walk between them. It made for a ton of walking. According to my Fitbit, I walked nearly 50 miles from Wednesday to Sunday.
This also made the timing of sessions odd. There had to be at least 15 minutes between sessions for those who had to go from one location to the other. So either you had to walk (and you arrived just in time, tired from walking) or you didn’t and you had 20 minutes of downtime (too much to do nothing, but not enough to make useful).
Did I Meet My Goals?
I’d say so.
While I don’t feel like I met as many people this year, I feel like I got to know the people I met last year (many of them in a vague blur) much better. It may be that I didn’t have to be social with strangers this year, but others also commented that there didn’t seem to be as many active first time attendees this year. The BlogFest ‘Sophmore Class’ is now a much tighter and unified group. A few ideas for joint blog posts were hatched.
I was better (but still not great) with names. Several times, I was 10 minutes into a conversation with somebody before I realized I’d met them last year. I was glad to hear I wasn’t the only one this happened to.
What I hadn’t counted on was the number of people I knew only by their Instagram handles. I’ve been following them for a year, with no idea of their real name.
Finally, I came away with not one, but two(!) potential business partnerships.
Stay tuned for more (hopefully).