My lunch on Friday, June 28 was the best I’ve had in a while. A roasted chicken sandwich with a basil aioli, lots of fresh veggies, and a table surrounded by new and old friends – it was exactly what high noon at Fitbloggin’ is supposed to look like. I was three meals in to this year’s conference when I could whole-heartedly say it was the best food that had ever been served at this event. And then, the noon hour entertainment pushed beyond anything we’ve seen at Fitbloggin’ before.
I’d seen a fashion show on the schedule and admittedly balked. By the time the third person stepped on to the catwalk I was fighting back tears. I tweeted out that what was happening in that room was redefining strength and beauty. Organized by Emily Ho Sandford, women of every body shape and size graced the stage to rousing applause, often bearing nothing more than a bra and workout pants. They donned wares by Handful, Enell, and Reebok and showed that what was on the outside hardly defined what was on the inside.
If that fashion show didn’t set the tone for the weekend, I don’t know what would have.
It was the conference’s fourth year and proudly our fourth to be involved. This year, a special scavenger hunt with a hot prize awaited the more than 200 attendees. Every goodie bag had one of our token blue cowbells stuffed inside. But hidden around the conference center were five golden cowbells earning the recipient a seat at an upcoming Google+ Hangout with Biggest Loser’s Dolvett Quince. One winner announced she’d have to leave her husband, another was on the verge of tears, and all seemed to be on the cusp of exciting new detective careers!
Stay tuned for a live broadcast featuring Dolvett with our golden cowbell winners: @PoppyJMarler, @ManifestUrself, @BritChick74, @Eggface, and @TheTRexRunner. Plus, @BklynActiveMama won a bonus seat for tweeting a pic of her blue cowbell!
The golden cowbell was such a hot commodity that even The Laughing Cow couldn’t be left out of the fun. We think he looks pretty good holding our little bell (and we’ll admit, his new white cheddar was a pretty tasty snack)!
What we love about Fitbloggin’ over any other conference out there is the focus on the FIT and the BLOGGIN and the intersection of each. The mornings were spent sweating together, and nothing will bond you more quickly with someone. Zumba, Jumpsport, a Pioneer Square bootcamp, yoga, and the legendary Sunday morning 5K keep everyone from just loafing around the hotel. (Which, by the way, was The Nines in Portland and we can’t thank them enough for the gorgeous setting, accommodating staff, and warm welcome.)
The afternoons get down to the business of blogging. We hosted a session on SEO for bloggers, helping our friends learn a few basics that can improve the quality of their posts and traffic. Kelly Turner joined us, as did Shelton Koskie (who may or may not be my husband) to discuss analytics and web master tools.
A session hosted by Margo Donohue and Alexandra and Kymberly gave invaluable information on not only pitching the media, but how we as content sites and bloggers want to be pitched, too. Next year, every brand sponsoring this event should be required to attend that session.
Of course, the time outside of the workouts and the sessions is always the most valuable, the most intimate. That’s where relationships that seemingly live in this virtual reality online find their way in to real life. We exchanged too many hugs to count with old friends and many with new friends who we look forward to growing with in the coming year.
And then, there’s Swag! Goodies! Freebies! They make a conference like this more fun and offer some pretty sweet souvenirs. We’re digging our new Crossfit shoes from Reebok – a poppin’ purple with bright blue shoestrings. We don’t want to keep all of it to ourselves though. So, we’re giving away (some) of our Fitbloggin’ bag and sweetening the pot with some DIR swag as well.
Our Fitbloggin’ swag bag includes a Reebok gym bag, Jumpsport tech tee, Lenny & Larry Protein Brownies, free Laughing Cow coupon, Blue Diamond blueberry almonds, Hemp Hearts, Fitbloggin’ knee socks, PLUS a DietsInReview T-shirt, cowbell, measuring cup, our exclusive Baker’s Dozen eCookbook, and two packages of Truvia.
Thanks for the memories everyone, and we look forward to seeing you in Nashville? Austin? Roni says it’s still TBD for 2014…