It’s been over for almost a week, and I’m finally getting around to writing a post about this year’s Fitbloggin’ conference! I’m also going to be very ambitious here and try to capture it all in just one post- so bear with me if it gets a little lengthy.
This year’s conference was definitely different from last year’s – in many ways. For starters, last year’s Fitbloggin’ was in Baltimore, which was a mere 45-minute drive away from where I lived in Maryland. This year it was held in Portland, so flying was a much better choice. I also had Greg with me- not really at the conference (though he did join me for the Saturday night reception) and we made a whole vacation out of it. I had already been in Oregon for a few days before the conference started and was in full-on vacation mode. Last year I didn’t know what to expect or have any idea how much of an impact these people would have on me, and how many of them would truly touch my heart.
(Photo from Fitbloggin.com)
Also, going into the conference last year I only knew TWO people that would be attending (Ashley and Lindsay- neither could make it this year 🙁 ). This year, I knew quite a few people- friends I had made from last year’s conference and others that I hadn’t met (in person) yet, but “knew” from blogging and Instagram. *Side note: I think it’s funny how many friends I have made from following each other on Instagram- seeing photos daily definitely makes you feel like you know someone!
The conference was at the Nines Hotel in Portland- which is pretty darn swanky. Just look at the bed in our hotel room!
Not to mention the view from the rooftop bar on top of the hotel:
The first night included a badge decorating party and welcome mixer, of which I attended for a little while before getting dinner downtown with Kelly (who was my partner-in-crime the whole weekend).
Both Friday and Saturday started with workouts and were followed by various sessions. I knew that ONE thing I had to do (because I missed out on it last year) was the Zumba class taught by the fabulous Sam and Mrs. Fatass.
Man, I love (and really admire) these ladies. The pair also recently opened their own GYM! If you’re in the Wilson, NC area- check out Trio Fitness!
One of the sessions that I went to Friday was led by Dani and Kelly, and was called “Dealing with your Before when you reach your After.”
It was really powerful to hear everyone’s stories about weight loss and how hard it is to suddenly identify yourself as a “thin” person once the weight is gone. I could definitely relate!
Another session I attended hit even more close to home and was called “Getting Back from Gaining Back.” As someone who has lost a large amount of weight and gained some of it back, I can say that it sucks. Again, it was great to hear from others and know that I’m not alone and I haven’t failed because I’ve put on a few pounds. I had a lot to say- in both sessions- but I chose to keep my mouth shut. Why? I’m not really sure. Last year I talked openly about my struggles with weight loss, body image and self-acceptance, and I let the waterworks flow. This year I just didn’t feel open to sharing. I don’t know if that’s “good” or not, but I definitely benefitted just as much from hearing from everyone else.
During lunch that day, I took myself WAY OUTSIDE of my comfort zone and participated in the first annual Fitbloggin’ fashion show. Skinny Emmie had reached out to me and asked me to participate a while ago, and I hesitantly said yes. She said that the show would be full of people of all sizes modeling athletic wear. I modeled an outfit for Nux, which you can see here (kind of) in this photo with one of my favorite bloggers, Kristina (aka SpaBettie)!
I was really, really uncomfortable in this outfit and walking on a stage in front of a big group of people was tough. The outfit (especially the pants, which are strategically cropped out) did not flatter me at all, did nothing for my figure and highlighted the areas that I’m most self-conscious of. I just felt (and looked) fat. I was happy to put my carefully selected clothing (to hide all of my not-so-flattering features) back on after the show, but I don’t know- for some reason the whole thing just really got to me and made me think a lot about getting back on track with this weight loss thing. I didn’t go out of my way to get pictures with many people during the entire weekend, because I wasn’t really feeling like “being seen” any more than I had to. (I know this all sounds like Debbie Downer, but don’t worry- there’s a happy ending! And I’ll talk about that more next week. 🙂 )
I took a break for a little while in the afternoon to walk around Portland for a bit and get dinner, and felt a bit better after that. I got back later than I had wanted to- but managed to catch the last few speakers for the Keynote Speech of the evening: Ignite Fitness. It’s a really cool concept. Each speaker gets 5 minutes and 20 slides to share their story- and it’s a whole lot of fun!
That’s Martinus, doing his thing. 🙂
The rest of the night was spent mingling with friends- including these two girls that I could pretty talk to forever.
(Dani and Brooke- both have gone through some huge transformations from losing weight!!)
Saturday’s workout was another event that I had really been looking forward to: JumpSport Trampoline class!! I took this class last year and totally fell in love with it (so much so that I got my OWN trampoline to use at home!).
Just like I remembered, it was super fun and a crazy workout!
I also think the instructor, Jeff is the greatest thing since sliced bread (and I wish we had gotten a better picture together!)!
Holy crap I love him.
After the class, I made my way around the sponsor’s tables to check out the swag. One of which included some oatmeal from Special K.
Normally, I would stay away from anything pre-packaged like this, but the ingredients actually looked pretty good (and not scary or hard to pronounce!). If I like it after I try it, I’ll tell you guys. 🙂
I attended a three (or more? I can’t remember…) sessions on Saturday- one of which included a discussion on how to utlize SEO to drive traffic to your blog. This session was held by my dear friend Brandi (who I had met last year), along with her husband Shelton.
The two of them really know their stuff, and I took tons of notes! I also spent a bit of time giggling with Kristina and trying to figure out how to use things on my new computer (and feeling really stupid!).
As you can see, I did figure out PhotoBooth. And yes, her shirt says KALE. (Awesome.)
There was a big reception that night that included a speech from Chef Jason Roberts and some great giveaways. And guess who won her very own mini iPad?
I wish I could say it was me, but it was the next best person: Kelly!
I had a lot of fun catching up and laughing with friends old and new. There was also dancing and karaoke that continued all night long, but we left in search of food after a while.
The conference ended Sunday with the annual Fitbloggin’ 5k run, but I chose to sleep in because I was tired (and because I don’t really like to run unless it’s on a trail). I did get a super kick-butt leg workout in for Livefit – the hotel gym was impressive and had almost everything I needed!
I said my goodbyes that morning, and definitely missed out a few hugs from people that weren’t around or left early. As it seems to always go with conferences, I’m really happy about the time that I did get to spend with different people, but really regret not being able to spend enough time with others.
Some special shout-outs:
Kelly- There are no words. You know how I feel. 🙂
Nicole- we’ve followed each other’s blogs forever, and FINALLY got to meet. You’re even MORE beautiful in person!!
Alicia- it was great to see you again, but I say we bring the dogs next time.
Brooke- We’ve been “Instagram friends” for a while now, and getting to hang out with you was one of the highlighs of my weekend. You are amazing!
Sammie and Sue- You ROCK. I love your energy. I need to make it to NC to take a class (or five!) with you. And hopefully Matt will be there too- because he cracks me up!!
Emmie, Alan, Dani and Steve: I met each of you (briefly) at last year’s conference, but have gotten to know you much better over the last year, thanks to the magic of Instagram. You inspire me and make me smile every day!!
Just like last year, Fitbloggin’ has left me with a whole lot to think about, and has brought nothing but positivity back into my life. And once again, it’s given me a good kick in the butt to focus on what’s important. I love my Fitbloggin’ family- and can’t wait to see you all next year (hopefully in Austin!!).
A HUGE thanks to Roni and all of the sponsors for making this event happen (but especially to Roni, who puts her heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into Fitbloggin’ each year!). I’m so grateful for you!
****P.S.- I’ve got two great giveaways going on right now- be sure to check them out!