I decided if I were to write a comprehensive post from beginning to end about what I heard, saw, and ate at the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference, it would never get written. So instead, a week later, I offer you a glimpse into the weekend. I eagerly soaked up every session so I can post about the fascinating information in future blog posts.
The host location, the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado Medical Campus in Aurora, CO, is a glistening modern building with an extremely knowledgeable, friendly staff. Dr. James Hill, founder of the center (his accolades would take half this post), and his colleagues made us feel at home and were surprisingly accessible. Dr. Hill joined us for dinner and there were plenty of Q & A’s in which we could ask anything we wanted. The main focus of the conference was the obesity epidemic, and I came away feeling much more informed and armed with the latest research to help my clients and readers.
Although I was too busy to work out in their innovative fitness center (confession: I had a fantastic workout right before the conference), I took a class that introduced us to Technogym’s innovative Kinesis machines, which use a 3D pulley system. These machines let you move any which way and make regular cable machines look archaic. I’m a huge fan of cable machines and I want one of these. But I’m not sure they’re even in gyms much yet and they cost about a zillion dollars (probably).
Small group presentations at the Wellness Center showcased the various areas they’re studying. Breakout sessions included the university library (where we learned about using Internet resources for our blogs – VERY useful), the metabolic kitchen (which creates precise dishes for studies), and the grocery lab (for educating and studying shopper’s habits).
In the human performance center, James Ellis, Director of Operations, and Dr. Iñigo San Millán, a world leader in exercise physiology, gave us a demonstration of a (very expensive) test to measure lactate threshold. Dr. Millán presented and answered questions about how we can learn from elite athletes to combat obesity. One of his main points was that we should periodize our training and work in the endurance zone 80 percent of the time and the high-intensity zone only 20 percent. This is a fascinating area and I plan on writing about it here soon. I was eager for more information about strength training, but there wasn’t as much as I’d have liked. However, I think much of this still applies.
Paolo Neville, the center’s good-looking executive chef, prepared grilled chicken, red lentils, watermelon salad, and a peach smoothie while answering questions about cooking. He taught us to never add virgin olive oil when you first start cooking; it simply cooks off and you lose the flavor. Use the cheaper stuff – vegetable oil and regular olive oil and save virgin olive oil for later in the cooking process. His dishes were delicious by the way!
And did I mention the hotel? The rooms in the new Springhill Suites Marriott were pretty impressive. The only drawback was that it was a little tough not having the conference at the same location as the hotel. You couldn’t just run up to room or stash your stuff there easily (I’ll take some cheese with that whine).
Of course, meeting the other bloggers and fitness professionals was the highlight of the conference. The attendees were obviously very knowledgeable and fitness savvy – the speakers mentioned this several times by virtue of the brainiac questions we asked.
I made new friends, met online friends for the first time, and even met the most down-to-earth YouTube goddess you’ll ever know. Shanti Marshalla (aka Antishay) was introduced during the excellent presentation by Ace Fitness pros Ted Vickey and Bordes on growing your fitness business via the Internet. Pretty impressed by her 12 million-plus YouTube views… but that all stems from how natural and real she is in front of the camera.