Finally, it’s the #IDEAWorld BlogFest Recap. It’s long so get comfortable.
There are a lot of fitness and blogging conferences and from each one you may walk away with education, networking and brand connections – there are the friends you make and the cards you take (and give) as you try to make sense of all the information you come home with.
It’s hard not to want to be a better blogger, writer and business person while being more motivated, efficient and invested as a blogger and fitness enthusiast after returning from a conference. It’s overwhelming and exciting at the same time. It is fun to take that conference inspiration and translate it into action.
#BlogFest was pretty amazing and here’s why in thevalentineRD signature style:
B – Bloggers
When you get 140 health and fitness bloggers together there’s fun to be had whether it’s reconnecting with old friends or making new ones (even if you have to stare at their badge to figure out who the person with the regular sized face actually is).
There are bloggers who just know you’re going to have fun with like Brian@Pavement Runner (Did you know his real name? I had to ask when I met him last year too) , smiley Bobbi@NHerShoes and of course, the 10 Women You Need To Meet At BlogFest which included some of these crazy girls:
Then you realize that there are some amazing people you didn’t know before like Kasey@Powercakes, Lyndsay@The Balanced Brunette and NeverEverBeenSkinny or the ones you didn’t meet but someone else lets you know about like 9 Bloggers To Read via Tiffany@Running Hutch (and the many others I didn’t get to know but will try).
L – Learning
Besides having fun with new and old friends, you definitely want to get some education out of a conference, right? I didn’t attend the IDEAWorld sessions geared toward personal trainers and fitness instructors (but maybe next year – I’ve always been tempted to get a fitness certification of some sort) but I did attend the BlogFest education sessions.
BlogFest sessions were geared toward using improving not only the design of your blog but to improve your blog as a brand and business.
- Meal Prepping and How To Blog About It was disappointing. While Laura Lynn Klein was personable and showed some gorgeous pictures of food, she lost credibility with me when she mispronounced and incorrectly spelled the name of one of the most well known chefs in America as “Julia Childs” and not Julia Child.
- How To Approach Brands and Sell Yourself was a panel with Whitney English, Tracy Hollywood of FleishmanHillard (yes, her real name) and Kelly Olexa brought up good points about how to connect with brands you’re passionate about, not selling yourself short but to also be creative and flexible with a pitch, what to deliver and payment.
- Blog Design Tips and Tricks on a Budget by Rita Barry was very comprehensive and her ability to help writers communicate with designers about their ideas for look and feel was exceptional.
- Business Of Blogging with trademark attorney Ashley Long, CPA and Health Coach Jessica Mishra and Katy Widrick helped bloggers think about liability, finances and media kits. Blogs take brain power, money, time and effort, that work needs to be professional, organized and ready to produce if/when you make the brand connection of your dreams.
- Bloggers Tell All with Julie@PeanutButterFingers, Gina@Fitnessista and Monica@RunEatRepeat was eye-opening. These 3 all blog full time (which means often posting twice a day!) and they were very open about how getting paid by brands and agencies has changed from page views to CPM’s and why there has been an increase in sponsored posts. I was very impressed by Julie – she makes a great effort to unplug from social media (leaves her phone at home on dates with her husband and doesn’t even bring the phone into her bedroom at night) and the idea that if/when she has a child she’s not sure how (or if) she’ll allow the child(ten) to be part of her social media effort.
*Side note: There are so many well known health and fitness bloggers that are pregnant right now and I’m curious to see how the next wave of parents incorporate their child into their blog.
O – OMG! Moments
(there were quite a few)
- Hearing from Lorna Jane Clarkson at the BlogFest kick-off. Not only did Lorna Jane talk to the group about her company philosophy of Move Nourish Believe, she talked about how she got started as a designer in Australia 25 years ago. Her stores are popping up all over the US and the activewear is adorable. As someone born on Valentine’s Day, it made me smile to learn that there’s a heart in every single Lorna Jane garment to symbolize that the design was made with love.
- If you didn’t cry during the IDEAWorld Opening Ceremonies, you must have been dead inside: hearing about the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Augie Nieto and the story of #AugiesQuest (against ALS) was tragic but hopeful, seeing Elaine LaLanne do full body push-ups on stage (she’s 88 years old) and listening to long distance swimmer Diana Nyad talk about her life and her determination to be the first person to make the swim from Florida to Cuba were all unbelievable. It was an amazing reminder about the physical and emotional strength of humans and the human spirit.
- Even before hearing the story of Augie Nieto and Augie’s Quest, a bunch of us decided to do the #ALSIceBucketChallenge. We did it. It was cold and for a good cause.
- Getting the chance to do a PiYo class led by the woman who invented it, Chalene Johnson was pretty epic. You’d never guess that she just had 2 teeth pulled before instructing our class. She worked us hard while making jokes and smiled the entire time. She also was a great sport and took a bunch of pictures.
- Learning about turning your blog into a money making brand with Cassey@Blogilates was educational. Much like when I heard Cassey speak at FitBlogLA, she still gave the passionate message about being true to who you are and connecting with your audience but this time there were more business lessons like invest in a product, Facebook isn’t always your friend (she promoted a post on Facebook once and it was detrimental to her Facebook Page), use licensed music and like Martha Stewart, she doesn’t sleep much! Cassey and her Blogilates and Pop Pilates brand is proof that passion + hard work pays.
- The most surprising OMG moment of the conference was listening to the Keynote by Jillian Michaels. Who knew she was so humble, funny, self-depricating and honest. She talked about being worthy (“Why Not Me?), her early weight struggles, failure, media perception and even her philosophy on teaching healthy eating to her children.
I went into the Keynote with a negative attitude about Jillian Michaels due to the Evolution Fitness Conference experience with her BodyShred class but now I’m a total convert. I hope Jillian and her people get her in front of more people who can talk about her to prove that the perception that most people have of her is incorrect.
G – Glowing Goodness
More than just the glow of sweat, there was a glow of goodness that radiated at this conference. Maybe it’s hokey but when a group of people who have passion for health and fitness are in a room together, there’s a feeling of hope, motivation, inspiration, drive. There’s an overwhelming desire to help oneself and others to reach their true potential.
People are health and fitness professionals (and bloggers) because there is something more to being committed to an active lifestyle than just teaching or taking a class, working out or working at a gym or writing about one’s experiences in the quest or upkeep of a healthy lifestyle. The “something more” that each person individually feels when their work is their passion might be that glowing goodness feeling. For me, being at BlogFest made me exceptionally proud to be part of the health and fitness community as a blogger and as a Registered Dietitian.
F – Fitness
You can’t have a fitness conference without some exercise….
Day One Fitness
- Fitness started early with a 6am Downtown Disney Fun Run. Due to my ankle sprain from my Duran Duran 10K the week before, I decided to support but not run. I had coffee with Alyse and Bianca from Fit Approach and Pavement Runner’s bag.
- Right after the run was some Yoga with Stephanie Ring. I was late but the stretches felt good after laying low for a few days (ankle again).
- Day One Fitness ended with a PiYo workout with Chalene Johnson. This hybrid of Pilates and Yoga was made for those who need training for core strength and flexibility (me!). As a Duran Duran super fan girl, I had a deep appreciation for seeing Katy Widrick geek out a bit when Chalene commented on her form during class (it’s something I would totally do).
Day Two Fitness
- 7am Bootcamp with Caroline@TheTrendyTrainer and Moe@FitnessMoeJo was tough and super sweaty but fun. I’m not normally into partner exercising but it was early enough that I didn’t complain.
- Yoga with Tara Stiles was odd. First, I forgot how shockingly thin Tara Stiles is. I took a class with her at her NYC yoga studio a few years ago and remember remarking to my husband how emaciated her appearance was even then. I know she was a model and is likely naturally thin but I was not the only one in the room who audibly gasped when seeing her in person.
- Despite how uncomfortable I was with what Tara Stiles looked like, I was even more uncomfortable in her yoga class. The class had poor flow but seemed to be encouraging students to do as many poses as possible at great speed and just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t very yogic but I left the class about halfway through. I do remember enjoying Strala Yoga in NYC but this class didn’t do it for me.
E – Empowerment and Being Enough
Believing and having faith in yourself as a person, a blogger, an athlete and a business person was a theme throughout BlogFest. I think the message of “being enough” came through clearest when listening to Jillian Michaels during her Keynote. The inspiration to be self empowered and achieve your own definition of success and happiness was impactful.
S – Swag
Swag is a perk of every conference but fitness and blogging conferences are like the motherlode. BlogFest attendees were given amazing gifts from Lorna Jane, Reebok, Under Armour, Subway, Merrithew Health & Fitness, Propel and Manitoba Harvest. There are a few things I can’t wait to try out and another giveaway may be in order!
T – Transformation
From panelists and brand stories (like Reebok and their BOKS program for children and Under Armour’s I WILL WHAT I WANT) to the Lightning Round speakers, the message of life changing effects of a healthy life were clear.
The messages of transformation that were clear at BlogFest were much more than the superficial transformation of the physical body through fitness. Every person involved in health and fitness can tell you that there is no real change within a person without an effect on the mind, body and soul. These transformations weren’t all extraordinary.
In fact, the most powerful transformations were those that were accessible – showing that health and fitness efforts along with drive and determination, can and will bring forth a positive change in a realm encompassing more than just a person’s athletic stamina.
Overall, that’s my interpretation of BlogFest. This conference reaffirmed my commitment to health and fitness efforts not only for myself and my family but in my profession. This was a conference i’d definitely pay for again but maybe next year I’ll come home with a fitness certification!
Do you have a fitness certification? If so, which one do you have and why did you choose that one?