Good morning! I am currently coming to you back in Detroit after an absolute whirlwind of a trip to California.
To be honest, I didn’t really see much of it. I did, however, experience my first earthquake. It was small, but definitely present. Earthquake(s) and all, (8 in the past 7 days? Really?!) I spent the majority of my time in Anaheim indoors and don’t regret one minute of it!
Choosing to put forth the determination and investment to attend the IDEA World Fitness Convention was – hands down – one of the best decisions I have ever made. And I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement and generous offers from Julie and Gina to crash in their rooms.
(A huge THANKS goes out to those two for “sponsoring” me!)
Everything about my time in and outside of the conference over the past four days made a huge impact on my career… and well, life really. That may sound over-exaggerated, but I assure you that it is also the the truth, as I sit here typing this post up with a grin from ear to ear.
IDEA is without a doubt a one-of-a-kind experience for fitness professionals, and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone looking to have a career or incorporating fitness into a job in the future.
I had only heard about IDEA last year after a couple of friends attended, but this year kicked off what I hope to be an annual tradition at the beginning: a conference within a conference just for fitness bloggers called BlogFest.
I feel like I have so much to share that I don’t even know where to start!
I took vigorous notes during each of my sessions and plan to share those details and tips I picked up with you over the next couple of weeks. Today, I figured it would be best to just start with a recap of Day One.
2014 IDEA World Fitness Convention + BlogFest:
Thursday morning started with a 7 a.m. bang with my very first Les Mills BodyPump class with Josef Matthews and Jericho McDuffie.
I haven’t found a facility that offers Les Mills in my area (if you know of one in the Greater Detroit area please let me know!), so I was excited and nervous to take the workout alongside others who most likely teach it.
While I hadn’t previously taken BodyPump, I had taken plenty of Group Power classes in my Orlando days. I would say that the structure of this class is pretty similar, just not as wide stream and branded.
Since I have mainly been completing my own workouts with free weights at home, running, and taking barre or Fitness Pilates over the past couple of months, using the bar and weights was a huge wakeup call for me and my upper body. Say hello to what they call “the gator”, muscles!
I followed along as best as I could and had to take a couple of breathers here and there. That was to be expected, but for the most part I kept up pretty well and had a blast! I would love to incorporate a class like this into my regular workout routine.
After our workout, Gina, Julie, and I headed over to the BlogFest room, which is also where we spent the rest of our morning.
I just love her and her Australian accent! She is an incredible inspiration to women, health, and fitness enthusiasts around the globe.
Directly following, we had a few words from our friends over at Reebok who shared their latest campaigns and news. It looks as though there is a lot of great stuff on the horizon!
Hungry, a group of us grabbed breakfast at the Starbucks in the lobby of our connecting hotel, then made our way over to the Opening Ceremonies.
I had no idea what this involved, but knew I would it would be great when they started with a performance from the acapella group, The Filharmonic from The Sing Off!
There were a handful of inspiring IDEA awards named to fitness professionals, followed by an introduction of Augie Nieto, co-founder of the largest equipment manufacturer in the world, Life Fitness.
What an incredible story he has. In an attempt to keep it brief, Augie was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2005 and has surpassed his life expectancy. His wife is tremendously caring and supportive. Since the vocals weren’t able to come from Augie himself, Lynne addressed the crowd with their project, Augie’s Quest.
You know those ice bath tags that are going around to raise awareness for ALS? That’s #AugiesQuest.
During this part of the session, tears were contagious. They played a video of him walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day (with the help of a machine and assistance from his therapist), and everyone lost it. His determination to stay strong to change lives and her unwavering love and support for her husband is off the charts.
Since 2006, Augie’s Quest has raised $41,000,000. Truly amazing!
Just after Augie left the stage, Elaine Lalanne came on to announce the life time achievement award to Diana Nyad! At 86 years old, Elaine gave herself a push-up challenge and completed it right there on the stage.
As if that wasn’t enough, the ceremonies finished off with a keynote speech from Diana Nyad. If you haven’t heard of her before, try to think back to when you heard about the 62-year-old woman who swam from Key West to Cuba. A team of around forty stayed by her side through over one hundred miles of distance and forty-eight hours of consecutive swimming, without a shark cage.
That’s Diana… no big deal.
She started her story with her background and love for swimming, and transitioned into how her epic swim was her fifth attempt of the same challenge. She had a quirky, yet informative way of telling stories that drew everyone in and we ended our time in the showroom on our feet applauding with praise. She didn’t give up, but instead lived her dream at the age of sixty-two! Never think your dreams are too big, my friends!
After the Opening Games came to a close, we made our way back to BlogFest and heard from a panel of experts about working with and selling yourself to brands. I have plenty of tips to share on this (as with most of the sessions), so keep a look out for those to pop up as separate posts down the road and in the near future.
There were a lot of familiar and fellow FitFluential Ambassador faces in the room including who we like to call “Aunt Kelly” (founder Kelly Olexa). I love any chance to get a big group of us together and loved meeting ones I follow like Kasey!
(Who also put this cute photo collage together. Thanks!)
Next up was a session on blogging design hacks with The Blog Genie followed by lunch via samples in the EXPO. I always love EXPOs and IDEA has one of the best I’ve seen for this line of work.
Reebok instantly drew me in with their colorful booth and stage setup with a variety in live classes!
A group of us made a lap around the perimeter and I somehow ended up at the Massage Envy booth. Funny how that happened.
I would go into detail about some of the fabulous products I came across, but that would take a lot of effort I’m currently lacking. Don’t worry though. I grabbed the good ones and have some fun things in store for you down the road!
We ran into the Lorna Jane booth on the way out, and I officially decided that I’m not over bright and neon. Not even a little bit. I have had my eye on the brand for a while, but now I want anything and everything.
Their designs are so vibrant and fun!
Before long, it was time to get over to our second workout of the day: PiYo! After seeing all of the hype lately, I was pumped to try this new-to-me style of bodyweight workout. And the best part? It was taught by the one and only Chalene Johnson.
(Thanks for sharing the photo, Katy!)
You guys. I’m totally smitten. I really, really want to take more classes and possibly even get certified to teach it! As a yoga, barre, and Pilates junkie this free form of flowy, yet intense blend of Pi(lates) and yo(ga) rocked my world. The class went by in a flash and I wanted more!
After what seemed like an already full day, we left the convention center for a quick shower and got ready to come right back to Happy Hour hosted by Sweat Pink and the rest of the BlogFest sponsors.
Have you guys met my friend, Jared?
(I heard he loves Subway just as much as I do.)
As things wrapped up, we made our way off of convention center property for the first time since the day before. We ate at a nice restaurant called The Ranch and enjoyed a delicious dinner hosted by our friends at Propel.
From the flavorful homemade tortilla soup to the entrees of salmon and stuffed chicken, we were definitely spoiled. There also might been a chocolate and ice cream dessert I ate every bite of. Might have.
Dinner was great and filled with the best company!
Day One was certainly packed from start to finish, but it was a total blast more than anything!
(There you are, Bobbi!)
The rest of the conference didn’t seem to slow down, and I will be back to share more stories soon.
Thank you to all who entered in the Albion Fit Giveaway! I always love reading what items you are drawn to and what you would pick if you were the winner. There were so many cute ideas shared!
Entry #401 Ashley P. You won by being a Housewife Glamour Facebook fan. Woo hoo!
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your shipping address to claim your prize.
I hope you are having a great start to your Monday!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever attended a fitness conference?
• What was your favorite part about last weekend?