IDEA 2014: What I learned

Opening ceremonies  1 of 1

Barre endurance
Expo  1 of 1 4
 Hi guys! How’s your Monday going? Thank you so much for all of the beautiful anniversary wishes. We appreciate them so much!
This year’s IDEA World Fitness Convention had a lot of what I expected: informational sessions and lectures with top educators in the industry, a chance to hang out with some of my closest blog friends, and that I would likely overdo it on the first day and be sore the rest of the time (when in Rome). 
There were also quite a few new surprises:
-a keynote speech that had the entire room weeping and inspired. I thought there was no way they’d be able to top last year’s.
-an additional conference layer with emphasis on blogging. (BlogFest was such a blast!) and
-a PLAN for how I’m going to approach and improve the classes I teach, in addition to the renewed motivation and inspiration.
A re-cap of the conference and sessions I attended wouldn’t begin to scratch the surface of the amazing and awe-inspiring experience. Instead, I thought I’d post some of the things I learned + some of the things I already knew, yet were further cemented in my mind and heart after attending.
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Blog friends(With Courtney, Cassey, Julie and Heather!) 

Some things I learned:

From the Opening Ceremonies:
Augie Nieto and Diana Nyad are two heroes I didn’t know I had. Augie Nieto is the founder of Life Fitness (the strength training machines that are in virtually every gym) who was diagnosed with ALS, the same disease that has seen recent headlines with the ALS ice bucket challenge. He’s already doubled his life expectancy, trains for three hours a day to regain strength and mobility, and even accomplished his goal of walking his youngest daughter down the aisle. His beautiful wife was there with him, and gave the most eloquent and touching speech while the audience was on their feet, crying and cheering for them. Augie’s quote that I will keep with me: “You can celebrate what you can do, or mourn what you can’t.
Diana Nyad, the first to complete the historic swim from Cuba to Key West (minus a shark cage. Just writing that gives me the heeby jeebies) was an engaging and brilliant storyteller. I could have listened to her talk for hours. You can read more about her story here, but she’s living proof that you’re never to old to go after your goals. 
From the Pimp My Playlist session:
-The Class Tamer App (free for iPhone users; they’re working on a version for Android versions) is going to change my spin classes. You can import your playlist from iTunes, add sound effects, change the pitch speed, write coaching notes and view how much time is left within the app.
-Check out for awesome song remixes
-Jeffrey Scott is AMAZING. After sharing his playlist tips, plus a sample playlist + coaching guidelines for AN ENTIRE CLASS, he led us through an incredible spin class. Even though we were all sore and tired, he made us work so hard! His personality is larger than life, and he was motivating and hilarious.
From Cassey’s talk:
Cassey is a friend of mine, and also a huge source of motivation for me. Despite her huge success, she is one of the sweetest girls and is extremely humble. Cassey is doing some seriously amazing things, and we were all interested to hear her experience and tips from working in social media and building a brand. 
Some of my notes:
1) Find your voice. Be personal. 
2) Serve. Your intention should be to help people. (For example, post the full recipe on Instagram and hashtag in the comments)
3) Create value through a newsletter or a freebie, like a monthly workout calendar.
4) Amplify your impact. If you don’t have a YouTube channel already, create one.
5) Make it official. A great way to do this is through products. (Cassey recently launched her BODYPOP collection and the pieces are stunning with high quality and beautiful fabrics. She gifted me a pair of pants and I’ll be posting them after I wear them to barre this week!)
6) Focus on authentic partnerships.
From the Q&A;
To increase YouTube subscribers, collaborate with other YTers, focus on topical videos (for example, if an awards show is coming up, cater your workout and title to that),
check out other similar titles and tags to model your videos after. The first three tags on YouTube are the most important.
Make it shareable and useful!

At idea

(With Monica and Katy, too!)
From Jillian Michaels’ talk:
I wanted to start off by saying that Jillian blew everyone away. She was real and spoke passionately and candidly about her learning points, motivational techniques and history in the fitness industry. In the past, I wasn’t the biggest Jillian Michaels fan because of her supplement line (which, turns out, she was unhappy with as well) and how they edited her personality on Biggest Loser. This is one of the many reasons why she left the show. I fell in love with her after listening to her podcast over the past couple of years, and after her BlogFest keynote, I’m an even bigger fan. (I also appreciated the fact that she was equally creeped out about the earthquakes that were occurring in Anaheim. She said, “What the f*ck is happening?! Is this an earthquake?!” Same reaction from yours truly haha.)
Here are the notes I took during her talk:
Preparation meeting an opportunity equals luck. Authenticity and passion are #1.
Fitness is about helping others build a better life.
Make sure to have very defined goals, and define these in great detail.
Keep an open mind: a great teacher is going to be the best student. Don’t go into anything thinking you have all the answers. The best continuing education is to work with fellow trainers. Take what you like, and leave what you don’t.
Believe you deserve it. Instead of “why you?” think “why NOT you?” There’s a difference between singing your own praises and thinking you’re better than others. You have to sing your praises, or no one else will. When you respect yourself, you command respect from others. 
Regarding fear, there are three things that could happen:
1) You do it, and it goes right.
2) What’s the worst case scenario?
3) What if you do NOTHING? This is the most important one. In the worst situation, you fail, but every failure is an entry point for learning.
If you’re trying and not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough. Don’t mistake failure for regret.
Since she is also a busy mom (in addition to everything else she does!) she focuses on 3-4 30-minute personal workouts. She works hard and makes the time count.
I’ll have one more IDEA post up this week with some things I already knew. Some needed a gentle nudging reminder, while others were totally obvious (and an awesome good time).
Hope you enjoy the rest of the night!
With julie
Huge shout out and thank you to my sponsor for the event: Reebok! I was honored to be able to represent them at the conference, and am thankful for the amazing Reebok gear I was able to wear while I was there.
Have you ever attended a fitness conference or something similar? What do you love the most about your job?

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  1. Sounds like such a fantastic weekend! Would love to be able to attend someday. 🙂 That’s really interesting to hear about JM, because I’ve never been a big fan after what I’ve seen of her coaching style (both on TBL and in her workout DVDs). Love the notes you got from her talk, though, so maybe I need to try giving her podcast or something a shot.

  2. The keynote speeches at the opening ceremony were so inspirational and I agree about being able to listen to Diana Nyad for hours. Incredible!

    So those were real earthquakes we were feeling? I really thought they were just coming from the workouts in another room, but you’re not the only one posting that they were real.

    • Fitnessista says:

      the were real! we googled it and it seems like anaheim has an earthquake almost every day

    • I remember reading about Nyad and being so excited and proud that a woman was able to successfully complete that feat. I followed along with her progress during the attempt and all of the news stories related to it. Then, I read an article called “Lost at Sea” in 614 magazine (Columbus, OH area magazine, can’t find a link) that changed my views. The WSJ recaps a bit here:

      While her accomplishments are still impressive – and I’m sure she is a great speaker and very motivational – it’s hard for me to truly feel inspired by her anymore. I don’t know exactly what to believe, but it seems that we may never know the whole story.

      • PS – so good to see you with Cassey! Her blog introduced me to yours, and I’m so glad you both are enjoying success. I often mix her pilates routines with your weights/HIIT routines throughout the week 🙂

      • Fitnessista says:

        whoa, i’m glad you posted this article. very interesting. i had no idea! i’m not even sure what to think now

  3. I was blown away by IDEA! I’m so glad I went. Jillian Michaels was really fabulous. Great to see you! 

  4. I was unable to attend at the last minute because I am weeks away from delivering my first. To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. But, I love reading the recaps and lessons learned. I saw Jillian speak when she was on tour and was so impressed by her message and authenticity. She is such a force to be reckoned with. I love my job because I get to work with people to create a healthier lifestyle.

  5. I wish I could’ve gone to both conferences this year to learn some valuable information and meet awesome bloggers like you, but sadly I didn’t make it. I love working in the fitness industry as a trainer and Les Mills group fitness instructor, because I feel like I learn something new every single day and my job is all about helping people. I’m going to attend pre-post-natal certification soon am looking forward to that in the next few weeks. Even more information to help me help others. Have a great week!

  6. Happy belated anniversary! I love all of this information. 🙂

  7. I too was blown away by Jillian Michaels and I was not a fan before I heard her speak. She was amazing! I’m glad you took such great notes because it reminds me of what she said. I loved her, f-bombs and all.

    I love how you called Augie and Diana Nyad ‘two heroes you didn’t know you had” because I felt the same way. Both were so inspirational.

  8. Definitely agree on being blown away by Jillian Michaels. I used to be a huge fan but sort of fell out of love with her after the supplement debacle. I have to admit I’m back to girl crushing on her as she really was an awesome person who seems to truly want to help others get healthy.

    It was great to get to chat with you and hope to see you again soon! Sending positive thoughts for your thumb to heal fast 🙂

    • Fitnessista says:

      totally agree. she really loves (and is great at) what she does
      so happy we got to hang out this weekend! come visit us in SD sometime soon 🙂

  9. I had the opportunity to hear Jillian Michaels speak last year at Sweat USA. She was incredible! Like you, I was never a huge fan of hers, but after hearing her story and passion I was a big fan. She blew me away!

  10. Sounds like an amazing experience!

  11. I’d love to hear about the pre/post natal talk you went to. Could I shoot you an email? Even just to pick your brain on your own experiences with it!

  12. Love the tips, I never knew about the first three tags on YouTube being the most important…but can I just say YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO MEET JILLIAN MICHAELS!! Woot woot way to go lady!! 🙂

  13. First, I love the blog update. I usually read on Feedly, but I popped over to the site to see the changes. I love the way it looks, and I feel like it fits the overall feel of your site.

    I love hearing about the IDEA conference. Thanks for sharing what you learned. I would love to read a summary on the different classes you took, especially Piyo. From my limited exposure to Biggest Loser, I wasn’t a huge JM fan, but my husband bought Body Revolution for me this spring, and I discovered that I really like her. She pushes and encourages but not in a mean way. I found her yelling encouraging and it did push me to try a little harder.

    • Fitnessista says:

      thank you so much, rachel!
      glad to hear you like body revolution. i haven’t done a ton of her dvds, but i’ll have to check it out!

  14. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Jillian Michaels. I also completely changed my opinion of her after listening to her podcasts. She sounds like a very caring and motivating person. So glad she got out of the Biggest Loser.

  15. Wow, that looks like so much fun to attend! I love Jillian Michaels–although I do think she’s a bit too strict sometimes–is that a little less in person? Lol. 🙂

  16. It looks like an awesome conference! I’m jealous!

  17. what an amazing conference! love jillian’s words on fear.

  18. Hey Gina! It was soooooo good to see you!!! Can’t wait for our next reunion 🙂

  19. It was so amazing to meet you! I really appreciate that you didn’t freak out while I was just blabbering on about how awesome you are. I promise to be better next year lol. I love your notes on Jillian Michaels and it was great seeing another perspective on her speech.

    • Fitnessista says:

      hahah stop that. i loved meeting you and getting to chat! (even when i was freaking out about the earthquakes haha)
      hope to see you again soon!

  20. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing. Loved hearing about your experience and takeaway ideas!

  21. Loved reading this, Gina! I got to hear Jillian speak at last year’s Can Fit Pro conference and she was nothing short of awesome. Also, so happy to see that you went to a Schwinn class!! I love their master trainers and every year aim to get into one of Julz Arney’s workshops because she’s such a fantastic and inspirational teacher. Looks like a great weekend!

    • Fitnessista says:

      jeffrey was talking about julz’s classes and how amazing she is! i’m going to follow her on spotify 🙂

  22. Love this post Gina! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an amazing conference.

  23. downloaded the class tamer app immediately after reading this post and am loving it!

  24. I have never been to a fitness conference and now that I know they exist- I MUST GO!! I noticed that Jillian gets a bad rap a lot but she has been able to produce amazing products and a huge following. I have not done a lot of research on this but after reading your post I understand both angles.

    How exciting for you to have been a rep for Reebok. Also, I love the new setup/layout of your page!

  25. What an awesome conference! I hope to be able to go next year!

  26. Thanks for posting the hot talking points from the conference, it’s awesome for those of us who couldn’t be there to still get to learn some of the valuable stuff you got to soak up there.

    Also, some great reminders about how to use a blog to help others. That has been my biggest goal since starting mine, and it’s great to pick up tips on how to make it both accessible and helpful for others. I appreciate the reminder to be authentic as well, I have trouble opening up sometimes and tend to slide towards generic articles at times. I have really had to work at letting my personality show through, so thanks for the reminder!

  27. Love remixes! Definitely headed to check out that site and the app.

  28. I LOVE being a trainer and group exercise instructor – but like Jillian said, I struggle with fear. I once wanted to get a tattoo that said “fearless” but I always felt like I couldn’t wear a tattoo that I didn’t practice on a daily basis. FEARLESS is now my mantra! Once I feel like I can conquer my (usually unfounded) fears, I am going to get that tattoo!!! 🙂

  29. I go to the Can Fit pro conference every year, which is the same concept as the IDEA conference but in Canada and I absolutely love it! I look forward to going every year too!!

  30. I didn’t read through all the comments, so someone may have mentioned this – but it sounds like Jillian touched on some of the same points as she did during the Maximize Your Life tour (which I left feeling so pumped!). IDEA is on my conference wish list for 2015!!

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