Following the theme of EPIC, this post is epically long. So grab your coffee, protein shake, water or wine (no judgement here!), and settle in for a good read.
The SweatPink and IDEA teams brought us another amazing line up of topics with fantastic speakers and sponsors (more details below!). And in addition to spending two full days with brilliant writers and content creators, I got up on stage and presented this year (what?!). That was a whole experience in and of itself, so I’ll write up a different post about presenting. It was a big step outside of my comfort zone, and I’m so grateful SweatPink and IDEA believed that what I had to offer was worthy of being added to the agenda!
And of course, I was looking forward to seeing my BlogFest friends that I connected with last year and meeting some of the friends I’ve gotten to know virtually since then.
Don't worry - another post will be coming soon about what the BlogFest crew and the friendships mean to me. The event itself is fantastic and I’m so glad the team at IDEA see the value in this event, but it is so much more than the sessions. The heart of BlogFest are the people you meet, the friends you make, and the memories you share. This post would be crazy long if I included all that, so stay tuned!
Ok, here we go!
BlogFest was in San Diego this year, I knew I wouldn’t need my car since SD is so walkable, and has tons of transit options (trolley, train, ride-share, scooters) if needed. I also didn’t want to pay for a full week of parking at the hotel, so I took the opportunity to try out the Tesloop service that is offered from LA to San Diego. You can read more about my experience in this post, but spoiler alert – it was GREAT. I highly recommend if you travel between LA and San Diego frequently, you look into Tesloop.
BlogFest is officially Thursday and Friday, but since the people in this group are ‘do-ers’ there were unofficial kick-off events held on Wednesday. There was a group run around San Diego and a SoulCycle session in La Jolla. Some people did both, but I signed up for just the SoulCycle session. I’ve tried Spin classes before and found them to not be my jam, but I’ve heard such great things about SoulCycle I knew I had to try it. Stay tuned for my review of that experience!
Thursday we jumped RIGHT into the matters at hand. There was a morning workout with FitBodies (I was putting the finishing touches on my presentation, so I didn’t attend), and then right into the information sessions.
We kicked off with Petra Kolber who gave us all a much-needed kick in the pants about perfection, or why the lack of it is OK! One thing (of many!) that resonated with me was that you can be enough today and still know there is work to do. You should definitely check out her website and her upcoming book.
After Petra, we joined up with the greater IDEA World community for the Opening Ceremonies. This is where they announce the winners for their yearly awards, and the ever fabulous, entertaining, and impossibly FIT Elaine Lelanne makes an appearance. I have to give a shout out to Trina Gray for winning the 2018 IDEA Fitness Leader of the Year award. She's a fellow Northern Michigander! The Keynote speaker for the opening ceremonies was Robert Holden, Ph.D. talking about the research he has done on happiness, finding purpose and joy. No really, he has RESEARCHED it. I've added several of his books to my Library queue for some summer reading.
Sadie Nardini led off the afternoon with a session on how to generate income via online courses. I don’t have any aspirations of making online courses, but after Sadie’s session even I was inspired to start! My session on Google Analytics wrapped up the day before the IDEA World Welcome Party! I ended up skipping the party this year (the late night presentation prep the night before was catching up to me!) but I heard it was a blast. Fitness pros know how to party.
Friday morning kicked off with a workout with Frog Fitness. You've probably seen them on social media, and I was aware of ‘The Frog’ from my days at Gold’s in Venice Beach – some of the folks involved in the project go to Golds and I’ve seen it tested but never had the chance to try it, and I’m glad I did. I'll add a full review of the Frog work out here when that is ready. Let’s just say it was an ENERGETIC group so early in the morning. While I have a few reservations about some of the uses of the machine, it certainly is creative and they definitely aren’t lying – it is a heck of a workout.
Our first session Friday morning was with GiGi Ashworth, and if you weren’t awake by then, you certainly were once her presentation started. Her session was primarily focused on tips for creating video content but really got into the idea of authenticity as well. If you’ve seen any of her videos, I can tell you she is just like she appears on camera. Energetic, funny, and honest, she reminded me of some of my closest girlfriends - the girls that tell it to you straight, no matter what. Her lovely husband was in attendance as well and even answered some more technical questions during the Q&A.
After GiGi, the group welcomed Heidi Powell for the BlogFest keynote. You might know her from the show Extreme Weight Loss, and a lot of the BlogFest attendees were looking forward to her session. I’ll be completely honest – I had no idea who she was before the BlogFest line up was announced (we don't watch much TV!). And in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t have any preconceived notions of who she was, or ‘should’ be. But I learned that she is a powerhouse. A businesswoman. A mom. A motivator. She was smart, kind, down-to-earth, and instantly likable. And her arms? No joke. She spoke of various parts of her past (both the great and not-so-great) and how they led to her being where she is today. She also shared some learnings from her experiences, like the importance of gratitude, being a lifelong learner, and embracing failure. I quickly became a fan and the more I learn about her, the more my respect for her grows. I look forward to seeing all the great things she achieves, both on her own and with her husband Chris (who was also as kind and nice as you would hope!).
Our last session was from Chantal Brodrick on podcasting. She is a well-respected podcaster and hosts The Fitness Business Podcast. Unfortunately, she has lost her voice(!) so her colleague presented for her. It worked strangely well, so I give huge credit to them both for knowing the presentation material so well. And similar to Sadie’s presentation, I was inspired to start podcasting! Chantal’s presentation was just the right amount of inspiring, informative and technical. It was really a great primer for anybody looking to start a podcast.
Friday finished with the BlogFest Happy Hour - a chance to socialize with old friends and new, connect with the sponsors, and take a few more photos. After the Happy Hour, my dear friends Carla and Nadia invited me to join them for a nighttime paddle around Coronado Island (which also ended up including some post-SUP fireworks and snacks). I’ve done SUP Yoga which includes a paddle around the marina but it was a completely different experience to do SUP at night.
And that was a wrap for the ‘official’ BlogFest activities. Such a crazy, action-packed two days!
With BlogFest attendance, we also get access to the Saturday and Sunday sessions of IDEA World, which is AWESOME (hello, recertification CEUs!). My favorite weekend session was "ACE Health Coaching: Expanding Your Reach for Greater Impact" where I got to meet Lee Jordan who moderates the ACE Health Coach Facebook group that was a huge source of support while I was studying for my certification. He’s as lovely and kind in person as he is online!
I also had a chance on Saturday to stop by the Expo and catch up on the latest in health and fitness. Workout equipment, programs, organizations, clothes, accessories, food, supplements, and technology are all present at the expo. It’s a wonderful place to make new connections, try new things, say hello to brands you love or ask questions about products you’ve been interested in trying. I stopped by the ACE booth and got a chance to chat with Chris G, who co-facilitated the study group for the Health Coach certification (and he too was as nice and friendly in person as he is in class/online), tried out a Fitness Genes genetic test (will be doing a post with my results!), Carla is obsessed with her oofos and hooked me up with a pair to try (another upcoming post!), and I stopped to talk to the Ancient Nutrition team and got hooked up with a great Keto 360 Blueprint book to decide if I want to give that a try. The Expo on its own could take a whole post!
All in all, BlogFest 2018 was another fantastic event and I cannot wait for BlogFest 2019 in Anaheim!
Want to hear more thoughts on BlogFest 2018? Below are just a few, but if you google BlogFest 2018, you will find TONS more.
- Be Unabashedly You and Other Lessons from BlogFest ’18 - By Sara @ Little Nymph in the Woods
- #ideaworld2018: My Journey Of Learning, Lifts, and Laughs (Sooo Many Laughs!) - By Mary Beth @ livefunfit
- BlogFest 2018: Two Amazing Days with My Tribe - By Missy @ Getting Fit To Find Myself
- Blogfest 2018: Perfectionism, Authenticity and Video is King - By Alicia @ Bridges Through Life
And many thanks to the WONDERFUL BlogFest Sponsors who make it all possible!