What do you get when you take a bunch of bloggers, give them a wifi connection and put them in a room together surrounded by fitness experts and top brands? A bunch of tweets, hashtags, insta-selfies and one kick-ass experience. That is what BlogFest felt like. But it wasn’t only hanging out and a giant meet-and-greet opportunity with the fitness blogging community, it was an opportunity to learn and/or get a refresher on the world of fitness blogging.
The first day started with a fun run. We gathered outside before BlogFest officially started and ran 3 miles together to Downtown Disney and back. The RunGo app helped lead the way and it was an opportunity for the running community that was in attendance to gather and do something we all enjoyed. After the run was done, we of course took a bunch of pictures and RunGo had some giveaway items for the participants. Everyone walked away with something, but the ones that downloaded the app received a portable phone charger — and I heard throughout the weekend that it was a LIFE SAVER — since we were all on our phones most of the weekend.
The Kick-Off Event for BlogFest was a talk with Lorna Jane Clarkson, the founder and innovator behind Lorna Jane Activewear. I was familiar with LJ, but didn’t really know too much of the back-story and it was great to hear how it started and she was one of the first to start designing active wear FOR WOMEN – rather than the “shrink it and pink it” mentality.
IDEA World Opening Ceremonies
It was amazing to be surrounded by the fitness community. I’m used to being around RUNNERS at expos, but this was more along the lines of weight-lifters, trainers, cross fitters, yogis… as a runner 95% of the time, I felt a little out of my element, but could feel the passion/enthusiasm in the room. The keynote was Diana Nyad – the inspiring long-distance swimmer who recently (at age 64) became “the first person confirmed to swim from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage.” Her talk was inspiring and loved that she referred to a marathon as a “shorter distance race.”
We also heard from Augie Nieto, “a pioneer in the fitness industry.” If you are familiar with the “ice bucket challenge” that is sweeping across the US, then you are aware that there is an ongoing battle to fund research and drug development aimed at ending ALS, or commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was a touching and moving speech and a room full of trainers and fitness enthusiasts were almost all brought to tears at the story of Augie walking his daughter down the aisle.
Working with Brands
Since we are bloggers, we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with some of our favorite brands, but many of us are not sure how to make that happen. Thankfully, we had a panel of experts that were willing to share some insight: Kelly Olexa, Tracy Hollywood and Whitney English (shown below) hosted a session called “How to Approach Brands & Sell Yourself.” I wouldn’t be able to do justice to an hours worth of information, but a few points that they talked about were to find your voice — be YOU! That’s who the brand wants to work with… don’t try to mirror someone else’s blog because your audience will be able to tell if there is true passion behind it. Another point was to reach out to a brand if you are truly a fan of theirs. It could be as simple as following on social or interacting with them… let them KNOW you love their product. Like I said, it was a lot of information and if I find a link to someone that shared detailed notes, I promise to share a link.
PiYo with Chalene Johnson
First things first: I have never done PiYo and I am probably the least flexible person in the universe. But I was all about giving it a try. I have been following Chalene on social since I can remember, so I was excited to be able to workout with her. I tried to follow along with the class as best I could and I apologize to anyone behind me that was thrown off by my “coordination,” but it was a fun experience and I think everyone in the class enjoyed it. During the end of the class after a water-break, I want near the stage and grabbed this cool selfie below — Chalene saw me doing it and played along striking a pose along with me. The class enjoyed it. Afterwards we took a group photo and many of us hung out and took the opportunity to take some sweaty photos together.
At the Expo:
Of course, as all of this was going on, there was a HUGE expo going on below us downstairs. BlogFest was a part of a larger fitness convention with IDEA World. There were tons of booths and workout areas set up with all the top brands, trainers, workout programs, food options, activewear brands, etc. As a runner, I can immediately compare it to a race expo, but add in space to incorporate a full workout.
Happy Hour and Reception
With the first day coming to an end, BlogFest hosted a quick happy hour for all of us to socialize… it was nice to talk to people without worrying about the next session and it was great to put on some fresh clothes and shower – it was a long, active day. After happy hour, we headed down to the IDEA World expo floor for a luau themed reception. Same idea, a great way for the entire expo attendees to interact one-on-one and celebrate the fitness community. Of course, more pictures were taken.
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Next post scheduled for Tuesday:
BlogFest Day 2: includes Cassey Ho from Blogilates, Jillian Michaels, Tara Stiles and more pictures with your favorite bloggers.
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Did you see all the shares on social media from all of us?