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.
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.
(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.
Thanks so much to both companies for the goodies!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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!
(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!
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!
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!