BlogFest 2018: The Experience (And a Giveaway!)

Now that I’ve shared my deeper mental shift from this year’s BlogFest, it’s time to share all the fun things I got to do and try!!

Outside of our amazing community and all the friends I’ve made over the last year, the thing I really love about BlogFest is how many new things I’m exposed to while I’m there. Being from Iowa, we can be a bit behind the times…at least when it comes to new companies, workouts and products.

Last year, my biggest discovery by far was PoundFit! It has impacted my life so much over the past 6 months…And before BlogFest last year I hadn’t even heard of it! Other than that, my Takeya water bottle from last year is never far from reach!

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Photo by Lex from www.flecksoflex.com

While I think this year the biggest impact is going to be my mental shift, I found some awesome products that I can’t wait to incorporate into my life!

From the Sponsors

Trigger Point

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Now, I had tried rolling before. Repeatedly. After all, it’s supposed to help, right?! But it seemed like it never really did much for me. That is, until Trigger Point. They offered a guided workout with Natalie Jill, using their Grid Roller to warm up and cool down. It was awkward and kinda painful….but when I got up, I was amazed at how much better I felt!

I loved it so much that I went down to the Expo and bought one of their bright pink grid rollers! I love it and have been using it as a part of my workout routine since I got home!

(Not sure how to foam roll? I’ve been using Gixo’s new classes to guide me through my rolling session! Use this link to give it a try for yourself!)

Great Lakes Gelatin

Great Lakes was a sponsor last year as well, but I’m super excited this year. I visited their booth and they were wonderful enough to give me a canister of their Collagen Endurance to try out! I’ve been using it for about a week now and I’m loving it! I can’t wait to see what sort of effect long term use has on my damaged nails, but I’m even just enjoying the boost in my energy.

Haiku Bags

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Haiku Bags gave us the cutest wallets as part of BlogFest and I love mine! It now lives in my gym bag haha. As an added bonus, I won a giveaway after BlogFest and got a backpack from them! The giveaway wasn’t related to BlogFest, but I never would have entered without them being a sponsor!

California Almonds

Last year, I was so disappointed when I got home and realized I had lost the cute serving-size tins that California Almonds gave us. So I was thrilled this year when we got another one! I actually went down to their booth and got a second one, just in case!

I love almonds as a snack and not needing to measure out a serving makes grabbing that snack on the go even easier! I just fill the tin, toss it in my bag, and go!

Being Better Matters

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My favorite find in terms of food, I LOVE Be Better bars! They are delicious and the perfect snack for my post-work, pre-workout hunger! And because they are awesome and I love them, they have partnered with me to give away a box of my favorite flavor of protein squares! (Check out the end of the post for the giveaway details)

From the Expo

Supercharged

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By far my favorite find from the expo was a new workout! Supercharged was so much fun to try out! I would actually love to get certified in it someday. I love the message and mindset that the creator, Kwanza Jones, is trying to foster. She is a pretty awesome lady and I got to chat with her for quite a while!

TechnoGym

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I’m not a huge fan of treadmills, but I got to try a pretty nifty one from TechnoGym! It was a lot of fun and super challenging. I wish there was one available at my gym!

Other Discoveries

My People

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Ok, so I knew that the #SweatPink community is amazing. But this year’s experience was so different from last year’s for me. Last year, I was nervous, didn’t know anyone and was more than a little insecure about being there. This year? Different story entirely!

While I’m still a bit nervous and insecure sometimes, I had spent the last year getting to know a lot of these awesome people through their blogs and social media. We may have only met once before that, but these were my friends! My people! So when I got to BlogFest this year, I told myself that I wasn’t going to let that insecurity stop me. I was going to get excited and hang out with my community in person! I let myself be myself and jumped in way more than I did last year.

As a result, I got to feel what having that community around you really feels like. To look around and know that these are “your people” and that they get you in a way few others do.

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And by my jumping in and being more outgoing, that experience hasn’t stopped since BlogFest. I’m reaching out more and connecting more with my community. (Though this is an area I still need to work on) I’m developing closer friendships and a wonderful support network. While it may not be in person right now, I still have my people around me!

I can’t wait to see what this year holds and what exciting discoveries next year’s BlogFest will bring! I’m already counting down the days!

The Giveaway!

protein-snack-blogfest-giveawayI’m partnering with Being Better Matters to give you a carton of Honey Oats Protein Squares! Head on over to Instagram to enter!

Want an extra entry? Comment on this post with what in your life inspires you to be better!

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Be Unabashedly You and Other Lessons from BlogFest ’18

I’ve been struggling for the past couple of weeks on how to write this. BlogFest ended more than 3 weeks ago (how has it been that long?!?) and the lessons I learned there have taken a while to process.

 

The biggest one? To be unabashedly, unapologetically me! Yet even as I write that, I cringe a little.

Does that sound egotistical? Too focused on me, not enough on my readers? Is it rambling too much? Maybe I should make the post less serious….more serious? Are they going to get meaning out of reading this?

These are all things that go through my head, pretty much every time I write. And that is why the main message at BlogFest this year hit me so hard.

You see, I have a tendency to hide parts of myself, to smooth them over. To not dig too deep or show too much. And that isn’t what I want, not really.

I want for you to move forward on your journey with me to be there to support you.

Does that sound egotistical?

Possibly. But it’s also true. And I’ve struggled with the best way to do that. Because I was scared. I was scared to show you my faults, my struggles….Even my successes. When something wouldn’t go well I would try to gloss it over. When something went really well I would downplay it.

Blogfest-2018The first speaker at BlogFest was Petra Kolber. And while all of the speakers really helped me and gave me a lot of insights, Petra’s really hit me hard. Here are a few things that she shared and what they brought home to me.

Others connect with your faults, not your perfection. What they want to know is how you deal with those faults.

By glossing over my struggles, I help no one. I just make it harder to connect, harder for them to see how I traveled along my own journey.

Focus on passion, not perfection.

This is a constant struggle for me. Is this a good enough photo to share? What if I can’t write this post well enough? Maybe I just shouldn’t share it until I can do it better. But this means that it never gets shared. I am passionate about what I am sharing with you all. I need to allow that to be enough. To allow me to be enough.

Don’t wait for perfect.

That one really says it all. And while I still am hesitating with those same questions, I’m striving now to not wait for perfect.

Two other ladies that spoke and really impacted me – Sadie Nardini and Natalie Jill. While their entire presentations were pretty awesome, there was a key statement in each that really spoke to me.

“You can’t help the world if you don’t step forward.” – Sadie Nardini

“What is your driving core motivator? Things don’t just happen, you make them happen.” – Natalie Jill

Both of these made me admit something to myself. Something I don’t think I had ever said in a serious, non-self-depricating way.

What I want more than just about anything is to make a positive impact on others. To use my journey to help them along their own. To motivate, inspire, educate and cheer-lead my way into their lives so that they are better for having known me.

I want to make a difference to people. I want to make an impact on many people’s lives. On their health, their happiness…their entire well-being. 

This isn’t really something I ever said seriously. I mean, who am I to hope to have that type of impact?

Well, that is something I’m still working on answering. But this year’s BlogFest and all of my amazing #SweatPink community has really pushed me forward on figuring it out!

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(There will be a more lighthearted recap of all awesomeness that was BlogFest and IdeaWorld in a few days! But this year had a big emotional impact on me and I wanted to share that part first and foremost.)

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BlogFest & IdeaWorld – The Experience

I’ve been thinking for the past few days about what I wanted to say, how I wanted to sum up my experience at my first IdeaWorld and BlogFest. How to adequately share with you the overwhelming joy and passion that these 5 days brought me…. What I can say is that I’m more sure now than I ever have been that not only am I going to start sharing my love of fitness more here on the blog, I’m definitely going to be pursuing it more off-line as well.

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The Pre-Conference

The 5 days of craziness started with an all day, pre-conference certification training on Tabata! I am super excited for that to be my first certification and can’t wait to start putting all of the the wonderful things Mindy Mylrea taught us to use. The experiences she shared with us about her life in fitness so far, her thoughts on overall wellness and living a healthy lifestyle…well, let’s just say she had a lot of knowledge to impart on all of us! I’m so thankful to have been trained by her. The highlight of my day came at the end though, when she gave me 1 of the 2 IdeaWorld Inspiration medals she handed out to our class, for my “intelligent contributions”. I won’t lie, I may have gotten a little teary-eyed.

What a way to start off the conference, right?!

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Day 1

The next day (the official Day 1) started bright and early, back with Mindy for a fantastic workout, then on to BlogFest! I will admit, I was a little nervous and intimidated to be in a room with a bunch of awesome health and fitness bloggers! Everyone was super friendly and welcoming though. Not only that, but our sponsors for the event seriously spoiled us. All of the speakers we had for Day 1 had some great knowledge to impart and I can’t wait to apply some of it here on the blog.

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While everything was amazing, the part of Day 1 that really hit me was the Opening Ceremonies. Just the massive amount of driven people, all passionate about sharing their love of fitness, all in one room….to say it was overwhelming and moving is an understatement. The various awards that were given out, the keynote, the talk of how they have built this conference for the past 35 years (!!!), all of it was just so inspiring. It really reminded me of why I started this blog and started teaching in the first place. Because I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle! And being surrounded by so many excited and like-minded people was just so revitalizing!

Day 2

Day 2 started bright and early yet again, with another great workout (are you sensing a theme yet? :-P) We then moved on to a networking breakfast so we could get to know some of our fellow bloggers! After that, it was a flurry of presenters and amazing information. I loved getting know more about working with brands, which was a lot of the focus of the talks that day. And I mean, I love the idea of being able to share more of the brands I love with you!!

But the highlight of Day 2 definitely came from Todd Durkin’s Keynote presentation. I had already heard him talk during the Opening Ceremonies when he was awarded the Jack LaLane Award and he nearly had me in tears a few times then. Hearing him talk in that small room to all of us bloggers, with such passion and energy…well, I don’t even think I can put words to it. I realize that I am using the word “passion” a lot in this post, but I can’t stress it enough…everyone there was just so passionate about sharing their knowledge and their love of fitness! Todd Durkin’s speech will always stay with me, as possibly the most impactful part of the whole conference for me.

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I still don’t know what all to say about all the wonderful people I met this week. The ladies from SweatPink, all of the great bloggers who attended and were so friendly and welcoming, even the sponsors who were so happy to share their awesome product and chat! I know I’m going to have more to share with you in the coming days, both about the experience as a whole and about the last 2 days of the conference! I’m so thankful to have had this experience, one I hope to be the first of many.

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I do know one thing – this is definitely not going to be my last time attending BlogFest and IdeaWorld!!

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