Fitbloggin has been described as “summer camp for fitness bloggers,” and after spending the weekend in Portland with old and new friends, I can see why. It’s a mix of personal fitness trainers and writers (like me) and people who simply want to better themselves and blog about it.
I’ve attended two other health blogger conferences (FitSocial), but Fitbloggin came along first and has a bit of cult following. Sure, people come to learn about how to draw readers to their blog, but it’s really more about the social connections and atmosphere of support than the information gathering. If you write about your fitness journey or are interested in writing about it, you’ll probably enjoy this conference. And if you’re a fitness pro like myself it’s super cool to meet people you’ve connected with online and make new friendships too.
There are social events each night (with music and drink tickets, woo!), morning workouts, a few organized runs and tours, and lots of opportunities for networking. Breakfasts and sponsored breaks are included and a lunch and dinner. This year it was held at The Nines in Portland, Oregon, a fantastic location to visit. Most everyone had a roommate (or two) to cut costs, which adds to the social element.
This year’s keynote was an Ignite event, in which presenters share their personal and professional passions using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. This was my second Ignite event and it was just as inspiring and interesting as the first one I saw at FitSocial a few years ago. These presentations were recorded and I’ll link to them when they’re up.
Side note: The swag at Fitbloggin is epic. Reebok shoes, food samples, shirts, water bottles, and knee socks, anyone? Plus you have access to lots of vendors and their public relations people, if you’re into that.
- Total Gym Demo. I love trying out new fitness equipment and this Total Gym demo showed how you can use your body weight to adjust the resistance on their machine. It feels similar to suspension training with possibly even more options. Incidentally, I didn’t attend any of the workout classes because I’m already informed about those types of workouts. I did train on my own twice in the hotel gym though!
- Building Your Blog Through Organic SEO, by Nicole Bullock. Great tips about using keywords in your blog and images, using the Google keywords tool, and maximizing social media. I found out you can actually use hash tags on Google + and Facebook, who knew?
- Video SEO, by Lisa Johnson. Despite having her own Pilates studio, blog, and DVDs, Lisa is very accessible and down to earth, and truth be told I love her madly. Since I’m working on getting my YouTube channel stocked up with exercise videos, I sat down and chatted with her about a few of the mental barriers that are getting in my way (perfectionism, anyone?). Be sure to follow Lisa on Twitter and check out her blog!
Here are a few highlights of the people aspect of my trip. (I’m especially thankful to those who didn’t notice the weird sports bra/pad things I had to wear the first night because I forgot the right bra.)
I was also happy to meet Deb Roby, another longtime online friend who shares my love of weightlifting. Deb is super genuine and easy to talk with. Deb, sorry we did not connect during the drinking portion of the evening … you might have enjoyed seeing me wasted on so little alcohol.
Favorite new friend who won’t be able to get rid of me: Johnny Nasello of JohnnyFit.com was an Ignite speaker at Fitbloggin and with good reason: He recently took a spur-of-the-moment risk and now has his very own training studio. Since one of my absolute favorite things to do is meeting people I can learn from, I’m super happy I connected with him. Plus he’s just a cool guy! Subscribe to his YouTube channel here.
Person who made me LOL the loudest: Kymberly Williams-Evans, half of the funandfit.org team turned out to be the funniest damn chick at the conference. Anyone who can get that Texas-sized belly laugh out of me is an instant friend. Didn’t spend time with her twin sis Alexandra this weekend, but you should definitely check out their funny, informative blog for chicks over 50!
Happy to see again: I met Tamara Grand, Alicia Benjamin, Kia Ruiz, and Leah Segedie at previous FitSocial conferences and absolutely loved seeing them again. Tamara, who blogs over at fitknitchik.com, is a genuine, knowledgeable personal trainer who I can talk shop with, learn from, and just laugh with. Alicia just recently moved to my neck of the woods from Boston and I definitely should spend more time with her. She’s super knowledgeable about nutrition and clean eating and about as authentic as they come!
Kia also lives an hour away, but of course it takes going to a different state to connect with each other in person. She’s a yoga instructor, writer, and Ignite presenter extraordinaire, and again just a lovely what-you-see-is-what-you-get lady. She also exudes a certain Zen-like quality that I want to breath in!
Leah, matriarch over at mamavation.com, is a straight-talking lady who isn’t afraid of being wacky. She’s got well-earned self-confidence and sassiness and that appeals to little ole humble me (lol).
Of course, there were many, many more beautiful people who I felt lucky to meet. I’m not forgetting you here, it’s just time to end this post. Check out how beautiful Kelly over at curvyfitgirl.com lost over 100 pounds. I was lucky to spend time with this sweet lady at the conference after knowing her forever online. Also check out brookynfitchick.com, a healthy living blog by the hilarious and energetic Margo, sweatinguntilhapp.com by Alan, an amazing (and sexy!) guy who blogs about his journey to health and fitness, and Kristina’s to-die-for recipes at spabettie.com.
So that’s it – a memorable weekend that left me feeling good about my blog and everyone who reads it (and even those who don’t, heh). Hope to see you online – or in person someday!