IDEA World Fitness Convention: Day One

I said it last year and I’ll say it again. IDEA World is the best fitness convention out there. Every second is packed with information and inspiration. And sweat.

I was not able to attend the convention in its entirety last year since I had to leave California for a wedding, but this year I made sure to fully immerse myself in everything. I stayed from start to finish and am now sitting on a plane bound for Charlotte feeling 100 percent exhausted and elated all at the same time.

IDEA World Fitness Conference

A few months ago, I was asked to attend IDEA’s inaugural Fitness BlogFest conference that took place in conjunction with IDEA World and speak on a panel all about blogging and share some tips and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. Thanks to my friends at Reebok who were kind enough to cover my travel, I was able to make it out to Anaheim and had a wonderful time connecting with fellow fitness professionals and bloggers, meeting some of you guys (!!) and spending lots of quality time with a few of my closest blogging friends.

IDEA World Fitness Convention and BlogFest: Day One

BlogFest took place on Thursday and Friday of the IDEA World convention, so I did my best to jump back and forth between the fitness conference and the blogging conference since they occurred simultaneously. With two of my biggest interests (fitness + blogging) colliding, I really wanted to attend both conferences and found juggling so many interesting sessions a little challenging at times, but did my best to attend what I could and make the most of it.

My first official day at IDEA could not have started on a better note. Gina, Heather and I kicked things off with a ridiculously sweaty 7 a.m. BodyPump class led by two master trainers, Josef Matthews and Jericho McDuffie.

Les Mills BodyPump


(I tried to tag those of you who asked via Instagram, but my black top and deep purple capris are both from Reebok. They are super comfy! The pants are thick enough to hide any lumps and bumps and stay up perfectly during squats. The top is part of their yoga line and has quickly become my favorite top to wear to barre classes. Hooray for built in cups and sweat-wicking material!)

I was dying to take BodyPump at IDEA last year but ran out of time so I knew it had to happen this year. I had high expectations for the class because BodyPump is one of my all-time favorites and I knew Josef is one heck of an awesome instructor since I took his GRIT class at IDEA last year. Jericho and Josef took us through a 45-minute version of BodyPump (the biceps and triceps tracks were omitted to save time) and I walked away knowing I was going to be crazy-sore. Oh my poor, poor hamstrings!

Jericho and Josef did a great job of keeping the class engaged and laughing (Josef’s dance moves were quite entertaining!) and the class passed by in a flash.

After BodyPump, Heather, Gina and I did our best to towel off and rush to the BlogFest welcome session that included presentations from Lorna Jane and Reebok.

Reebok Lorna Jane

Thanks so much to both companies for the goodies!

Opening Ceremonies

Directly following the BlogFest welcome was the official IDEA World opening ceremony that began with a few upbeat a cappella songs from The Filharmonic, a great group featured on The Sing Off, one of my favorite shows!

The Filharmonic

As a big-time fan of a cappella music, I loved listening to them and naturally brought up a few of their songs on YouTube afterwards and found out they’re going to be featured in Pitch Perfect 2. Keep an eye out!

The opening ceremonies welcomed conference attendees, presented an award to the trainer and fitness instructor of the year (congrats to Douglas Brooks and Krista Popowych!) and introduced all of us to Augie and Lynne Nieto.

Lynn Augie Nieto

Augie Nieto is the founder of Life Fitness and incredibly respected within the fitness community. He was diagnosed with ALS in 2005, but Augie’s positive attitude and determination left all of us riveted as we watched a video of him walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day. He continues to train three hours a day and his spunk was apparent to everyone in the room. I wish I could’ve had the chance to chat with him in person, but I sent a tweet his way after the presentation to express my gratitude and was very excited when he replied. Too cool!

Augie and Lynne currently dedicate a lot of their time to Augie’s Quest, an organization committed to funding research and drug development aimed at ending ALS. Since 2011, Augie’s Quest has raised nearly $40 million!

The keynote speaker and winner of the Jack LaLanne Fitness award was introduced next and Diana Nyad, the fearless swimmer who, at 62-years-old, swam 103 miles from Cuba to Florida, took the stage.

Diana Nyad

Her speech was fantastic. She had the entire audience riveted with stories of perseverance and bravery that she told with humility and humor. (I now have her documentary on my “must watch” list!)


Following the welcome ceremonies, most attendees walked directly into the expo to explore the various vendors and check out tons of fitness equipment, apparel and workouts and enjoy lots of food and beverage samples.


Some expo standouts for me on the first day included the K9 Fit Club (a workout for people and their dogs!!!), super cute Fivesse gym bags, Piloxing and Booty Barre demos, Dirty Energy bars, Reebok Spartan workouts, Food for Life millet bread and maple water.

K9 Fit Club Fivesse gym bags

BlogFest: Working With Brands

After overloading on awesome samples, we walked back to catch a session all about working with brands at BlogFest with Kelly Olexa of FitFluential, Whitney English and Tracy Hollywood. Here are some key takeaways I jotted down:

  • Your blog and social media accounts are your resume. When it comes to working with brands, what you already have out there is your resume. Brands are looking for content and writers with personality who have an engaged audience. Whether your main audience is on your blog or other social media platforms, having an active and engaged audience is key. Take the time to interact with people who follow you.
  • Before signing a contract with a brand, read it thoroughly. More and more brands are writing exclusivity into their contracts. It’s important to take the time to read contracts you sign to ensure you’re not agreeing to more than you bargained for.
  • Reach out. Don’t be afraid to reach out to brands you already know and love to try to cultivate a partnership. Brands enjoy working with bloggers who already adore their products!
  • Consider adding a case study to your media kit. Adding details to your media kit that explain positive results from your past campaigns can help brands see what they can expect from a partnership with you.
  • Relationships are incredibly important. People within the industry talk and talk a lot! Don’t burn bridges and be professional and gracious.


After sitting down for a couple of hours and taking notes, getting up and moving sounded awfully appealing! Another workout was on the agenda for the day and BlogFest attendees were fortunate enough to attend a PiYo class led by the creator of the workout, Chalene Johnson.

PiYo Chalene (Pic from BlogFest Instagram)

Chalene took us through the workout two hours after she had two teeth extracted and was a total spitfire! She was full of enthusiasm and made it easy to feel motivated to workout. It was easy to see why she is so successful!

PiYo class

(Pic from HappyHealthyCLE Instagram)

I was pumped to try PiYo after hearing all about it from my friend (and IDEA roomie!) Katy who teaches PiYo in Orlando. After experiencing the class with the incredibly charismatic Chalene, I totally understand the hype. It’s fast-paced and incorporates lots of body-weight strength moves and yoga and pilates-inspired exercises. I am now on a mission to find PiYo near me in North Carolina. (I also think it would be an awesome class to teach!)

BlogFest Happy Hour

With our final workout done for the day, we all headed back to our rooms to shower (and use a ridiculous amount of dry shampoo) before meeting up and heading back out to the BlogFest happy hour!

Fitness Bloggers

Sweet Tooth Sweet Life Courtney PBFingers Julie

Hooray for a reunion with Courtney!!! I missed that hot mama so much! Even though we stay in touch, I haven’t seen her in person since she was pregnant with sweet Lucas who is now a year old. We were way overdue for some quality time and I loved sipping on some wine with one of my oldest blogging buddies!

healthy living bloggers

After happy hour, we went out to dinner and the wine kept flowing as we ate a delicious dinner at The Ranch. It was a great evening to cap off a great day!

More IDEA World and BlogFest fun to come!


  1. says

    It looks like you had an amazing time!!! I love the idea of these conferences. Although I’m a new blogger, I would love to attend next year. The fitness classes look amazing and the blogging tips would be great! Glad you had fun 🙂


  2. says

    Looks so fun and glad you enjoyed Chalene’s class! Not quite warming up to PiYo the way I wanted to but I LOVE her TurboFire series as well as ChaleneExtreme. Hmm, I haven’t done one of the Extreme workouts in a while, must put that on the to do list! 🙂


  3. says

    This is such a fun post! It looks like you had a wonderful time. So nice you got to catch up with your friends too 🙂 Do Ryan and Sadie get along without you while you travel, or it it pizza and beers and tears until you return? I bet they missed you so much! Can’t wait for recap #2!


  4. Linda @ Fit Fed and Happy says

    Major thanks for posting those tips! I read them all word for word and I agree with everything you said.


    • says

      It was, but the class we experiences was more of a breakdown where Chalene would stop and explain things between songs. I’d love to take the class without the breaks. I have a feeling I’d love it even more!


  5. says

    I am so jealous!! i think i may have to think about attending next year! i’m still trying to build my brand… i’m not a full blogger, but i do most of it through IG…
    There are PIYO Dvds that JUST came out! i’m doing them right now and LOVE integrating them into my HIIT workouts and lifting! I feel like my muscles are much happier now! lol! Glad to see you enjoyed the class!!


  6. says

    Loved this post! And it made me relive just how awesome IDEA was! So glad I got to spend some quality time with you! I feel like I’m already having withdrawls… xo


  7. says

    That seriously sounds like SO much fun! And, thanks for the blog tips!! It’s always nice hearing tips from bloggers that are making it happen! I had no idea that IDEA was this amazing (<—is that super corny or what?!? haha). I seriously would go to California for it!


  8. says

    Sounds like a really fun and informative conference! I love that there was pretty much something for everyone. Can’t wait to read your other recaps – please share everything! 🙂


  9. CandieTravels says

    Just wanted to say that your hair and abs look amazing in your happy hour pics! Hope you are enjoying the convention!


  10. says

    Looks like such an awesome time! I would love to attend this conference next year!!! I had the opportunity to hear Diana Nyad speak at my sister’s graduation this past spring and she was so inspiring. It was 90 degrees and sunny outside but I would have listened to her all day long.


  11. says

    Blogging and Fitness??!!! Can there be any better pairing?! Having the best of blogging and the best of fitness in such a small place is pure gold!
    I’m sure the opening ceremony for IDEA must have been so emotional after hearing Augie’s story and Diana Nyad’s speech.
    It is my first time hearing about PIYO but by the look of it I think I have to add it to my fitness bucket list!
    By the way I loved your outfit for Blogfest Happy Hour!


  12. says

    I was checking out every picture you posted from the weekend. I so wish I could’ve gone to both conferences this year. And yes, Josef is definitely an awesome BODYPUMP trainer, and I’ve attended a couple of his trainings and workshops over the past few years as a Les Mill instructor. Love all your workout gear. Thanks for sharing your experience. Keep it coming!


  13. says

    This conference looks amazing! I’ve never heard of it (new blogger) but am interested! Do you get invited or just book it? Also, just had a friend become a PiYo coach – she absolutely loves it! Thanks for sharing!


  14. says

    I LOVE PiYo! I’m in week 5 of it right now. Love the fact that you don’t need weights but just your body weight to tone your body. It’s a great workout.


  15. says

    This whole experience looks amazing!! I’m sure ya know this, but Josef & Jericho are dating, and so when they do trainings/events together, I think it’s so cute!

    I trained in PiYo a few years back, and liked it, but it wasn’t for me. But that’s ok! I love that there are so many programs out there so everyone can find a class or niche they love 🙂 Can’t wait to read more about IDEA–makes me want to find a way to go next year!


  16. says

    Love your outfit! Also: so jealous of your body pump class! It’s been like 2 years since I’ve taken it (no gym membership) but I do miss the classes! Bicep and triceps tracks were my least fav, so the class you took would have been perfect for me 😉


  17. says

    Sound like an amazing time! Hopeful that someday I’ll be able to attend IDEA and see all the excitement firsthand. Thank you for sharing those blogging tips, too…as a still-new(ish) blogger, I’ll take any advice I can get my paws on. 🙂


  18. says

    That looks awesome! The PiYo looks great too, I have heard a ton of buzz about it and would love to try a class if I could find one in Atlanta. What I really want to find, though, is that canine fitness class! The one thing I don’t like about my dog (literally the only thing as I am obsessed with every other aspect of her life) is that she doesn’t like running with me. She will run about a half of a mile then she decides it’s “walking time” and refuses to move past a slow saunter for the rest of our time outside. I would love to find a class in which we could both get in better shape!

    Thanks for leaving the tips on working with brands! My blog isn’t to that point yet but I do hope that one day I get there and I love reading advice from bloggers who have been successful in marketing their site and brand.


  19. Meagan says

    Wow. I just realized I’ve been following your blog for over a year now since I remember you going to IDEA last year! haha Time flies!! 🙂


  20. Kimberly J from TX says

    I would have loved to work out with Chalene! PiYo is awesome, especially if you also lift weights. I’m certified in the gym format, but I don’t teach it.


  21. says

    Oh haha, you did the other Pump session. My friend was teaching CX at that time I think. Josef and Jericho are both amazing! I’m going to a training with Josef in October (I’m excited and terrified, haha). 🙂 I can’t wait to hear more about the rest of your trip!


  22. says

    Man, sounds like a seriously fun time! It’s so cool you got to see Chalene in person as she’s the first ever person I “worked out with”, as in, when I first got serious about fitness after my hiatus from xcountry. And I hope there will be more awesome conventions like IDEA in the near future!


  23. says

    So cool that you got to hear Diana Nyad speak! I read a Vogue article on her once and was blown away by her amazing story and her resilience. That was some time after her third or fourth attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida and it was heartbreaking to read about how hard she worked but had to give up each attempt and once threw all her swimming gear out on the roadside after one failed attempt. When she got up the next day, though, she went out and took it all back in. And started prepping for training again. I was so happy to hear when she successfully achieved her swim! She’s such an inspiration 🙂



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