Event Recap: Blogfest and IDEA World 

Blogfest Recap

IDEA is an organization of fitness professionals who have an annual conference and expo attended by nearly 12,000 gym owners, personal trainers, nutritionists and other fitness pros. The past few years, they have also held Blogfest – a series of sessions specifically for fitness bloggers.

As a fitness blogger, it sounded like a perfect event for me!

At Blogfest, we had two days of sessions and workouts designed specifically for us, and then we could attend any of the general sessions at IDEA World. There were hundreds of class options on any topic imaginable.

Blogfest and IDEA World

In a word, Blogfest was AMAZING.

I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it far exceeded whatever expectations I had. The other attendees were bloggers and social media people in every area of fitness and nutrition and were at every level of experience.

With such a variety of people, I came away from nearly every interaction having learned something. I was even able to offer some knowledge (I hope!) and lessons learned to bloggers who are newer than I am.

I’ll spare you the run down of each of the sessions and workouts, but I will recap my biggest impressions and take aways.

What Constantly Made Chuckle At IDEA World

I’ve been to many professional conferences over the years. Usually, when you walk the halls you might hear a speaker talking in flat tones about some professional topic. If you looked in a room, you’d see rows of chairs or tables.

Not IDEA World.

You walk by conference rooms and hear loud thumping Latin drums or a pop/dance remix. The rooms were mostly open space, ready for movement and activity.

The other big convention in at the Convention Center was a woodworking/construction convention. I can only imagine what those guys thought as they walked by conference rooms thumping with the rhythms of the latest hip-hop fusion class.

Keynote Addresses

We attended two keynote addresses, Darren Hardy (author of the Compound Effect) for the main conference and Todd Durkin (author of Wow) for Blogfest.

It is hard to beat a motivational speaker who is really great at what they do. It feeds directly into my love of the slightly cheesy motivational/ self-help genre.

I totally drank the kool-aid at both of their speeches and walked away ready to conquer any challenge.

Blogging Take Away

It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster on the blogging front.

I find it hard not to compare myself to other bloggers (although I know I shouldn’t). There was waaaay less of it than I expected, but even so, how I felt about myself as a blogger varied greatly over the course of a few days.

The first day of blogging sessions (on reusing old content and SEO), left me feeling like I was at a good place and taking the right steps. The second day of blogging sessions (on guest posts and working with brands) left me feeling pretty inadequate and down on myself.

I was glad we’d just had Todd Durkin’s keynote speech. He talked a lot about just doing your thing and not discounting yourself or your power (I’m paraphrasing, it sounds much more inspiring when a motivational speaker says it).

I need to focus on that. I’m not the biggest blogger in the world, but I know for a fact I’ve made an impact for a few people.

That is important.

That means something.

We also did peer review sessions of each other’s blogs, which was an interesting experience. We randomly mixed with people and by chance, many of the people I met with were way more advanced than me.

They were all very nice and supportive and gave me very helpful, constructive and actionable feedback, but in the process, they also illustrated just how much more I could be doing with my blog.

It really got me thinking…

Goodies!

I had heard from previous attendees to bring an extra bag for all of the goodies you get at Blogfest and the IDEA World Expo. I was skeptical, but since I have an extra duffel bag I stuck it in my bag.

Sooooo glad I did.

The freebies and goodies from sponsors were plentiful. I needed every inch of that extra duffel bag.

I love my new Takeya water bottle and I won’t need to buy granola bars or dried fruit for months.

My Fitness Take Away #1

I do not excel at hyper-choreographed classes.

We bloggers had a special session of Strong By Zumba, a new High-Intensity Interval Training class put together by the people who made Zumba.

I expected dancing.

It’s not.

Bloggers Do Strong By Zumba
Bloggers Do Strong By Zumba

Strong By Zumba is an amazing workout, I especially love that the soundtrack is specifically designed for the course. It feels like every move had a sound effect.

I’m just not used to classes where every single step is choreographed. I felt like I had two left feet the whole time.

But leaning into my fear of doing things I’m not good at, I grabbed a coupon code for online classes from Bollyx, a Bollywood themed class that had a booth at the Expo. They made me smile every time I walked by. I’ll try out a few classes online in the privacy of my own home.

The world does not need to witness my attempts at Bollywood choreography.

My Fitness Take Away To #2

I need to foam roll more.

I did two sessions on foam rolling. One sponsored by Trigger Point Therapy, and one called Flexibility Fast.

Foam rolling is one of those things I’ve done mindlessly on occasion. I’ve heard it is something runners should do so I’ve half-assed it without really understanding it.

But after both of these sessions (which had specific instructions by people who know their stuff), my entire opinion of foam rolling changed. It still hurts (a good hurt) when done properly, but it feels amazing after the fact.

Must. Do. More.

My Next Research Project

Learn more about Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

This was something I heard of, but didn’t know anything about other than it was data field on my Garmin I didn’t understand.

I now know the (very) basics and want to learn more. As I understand it, it measures the resiliency of your nervous system and your readiness for activity or need for rest.

After two hours we obviously didn’t get enough info to fully understand the science or the implications of it, but it was enough to be intriguing.

Illustrated Lack Of Knowledge

I realized at this event my knowledge of celebrity trainers and fitness celebrities is a little lacking.

People kept mentioning so-and-so is at the XYZ booth, and muckety-muck trainer is doing a session the next day. ‘Who?’ I was left thinking more than once.

Although Jorge Cruise was one I had heard of-

This is largely due to the fact I’m more of a runner than gym or fitness person. If they had running personalities, I would have been more in my element.

Theme

Everything is connected.

Several sessions discussed how once upon a time the focus was on moving muscles in isolation, but now the focus is on how everything is connected.

One session demonstrated this. We walked around faking an injury to our big toe and focused on how it noticeably impacted our core. An injury to (or modification to how you move) your ankle impacts how your shoulder moves.

Interesting.

Sunday’s Emotional State

Utterly overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed with information, with to dos, with ideas, with stuff, with noise, with too cold conference rooms and too hot outside temps.

IDEA World Expo
Exercise gadget or torture device? I never did figure it out.

My first emotion when I hit the Expo floor was overwhelm. That feeling didn’t go away for four days.

I do not live in the gym world. Booming music and rows of people demonstrating the latest classes and choreography didn’t let up. Countless gadgets and gear I can’t comprehend the uses of were endless. Tables of food products proudly advertising they don’t contain a product I’d never heard of to begin with.

It was a lot.

Overall

That said, I cannot wait to attend next year – San Diego 2018 is already on my calendar.

I met great people and learned so much. We worked out less than I expected, but as much as I needed to.

If you are a fitness blogger (or even want to be one, several people at Blogfest hadn’t started their blogs yet), look into it!

See you in San Diego!

Blogfest Recap

Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a seeker of the irreverent and the unexpected.

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