a great IDEA

Hi friends! How are you? How was the weekend? Hope you had a great one. 🙂 Summer Shape Up Week 2 is happening here! If you’re just now joining in the fun, check out the intro page for all of the details.

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Plank w shoulder tap 3

I’m back home after an amazing weekend at the IDEA World Fitness conference and BlogFest in LA. I look forward to IDEA every year, and can always count on new techniques, motivation, and inspiration for the classes I teach. With BlogFest, I’m thankful that it also gives me some new tools to improve this little blog, and ideas to make things more fun and easy to navigate around here.

I also look forward to the chance to catch up with friends and enjoy delicious dinners, wine, and girl time. 🙂

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(with Ashley and Jess!)

I drove up late Thursday morning, and arrived just in time to grab some lunch and hit up my first BlogFest session.


(road trip snacks)

While I want to recap allthethings, in the spirit of keeping this post a post instead of a small book, I wanted to share some of the highlights:

Ryan Lee: Why you should be gathering emails + how to do it (BlogFest)

This is one of those sessions that ended too quickly, and I couldn’t take notes fast enough. Ryan was hilarious (with a dry and fabulously sarcastic sense of humor), which made his lecture lighthearted and fun. While I waited a while to start my email list, I’m so glad that I actually did it because it gives me another method to interact and share content (like the monthly workout plans). I feel like email is very personal, so I really appreciate it when readers invite me into their email inbox, which is why I don’t send a ton of emails. That’s against Ryan’s advice (he said to email at least once a day —> don’t have time, and I personally get annoyed when companies/people email every day), but he shared some valuable tips that I’ll be implementing.

(Katie Dunlop) Building Your Brand with Snapchat and Youtube (BlogFest)

I’ve been living under a rock because I wasn’t following Katie’s accounts, but she’s sustained a 45-lb weight loss and shares inspiration and workouts on her social channels. She is a joy to listen to, and when I met her afterwards, she was just as kind and lovely. I’m excited to keep following along, and I learned some new Snapchat tips (like how to find prettier font colors instead of the regular bold). I just started using Snapchat fairly recently, and it has quickly become my social media platform. 

Solutions for training postpregnancy clients (IDEA)

I was really excited about this session because I’m currently working on the next edition of PBB. It was nice to hear the experts share my philosophy on postpartum training, and supported the procedures in my own plan. I’m excited to apply the tidbits I learned for the next exciting generation of post baby bod plan.

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(Todd Durkin) Become a World Class coach (IDEA)

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Todd Durkin lives here in San Diego, owns a fitness center here, and I’ve heard everyone talk about how awesome he is… and I still hadn’t taken his class. I’ve been MISSING OUT. He is so fun, motivational, and intense. It’s apparent that he trains professional athletes. He scares me a little, in a good way. 😉 When Ashely and I arrived at his lecture, we weren’t really planning on working out since we were toast from earlier workout sessions. He made us want to take his class, and it was awesome. We went through an energizing circuit workout, using a variety of tools: battle ropes, BOSU, boxes, resistance bands, and medicine balls. It was fantastic. Maybe if I’m feeling brave, I’ll venture into Fitness Quest 10 sometime haha. 

He also shared his strategies for being an effective coach. It all comes down to compassion, empathy, being present, and LOVE. You have to love your clients and participants, and become genuinely invested in their success. I agree wholeheartedly, and I can personally tell a difference if an instructor or trainer is distracted. It was a valuable reminder to stay present, continue caring, and show love whenever possible.

This salad from Mendocino Farms

Salad of my dreams

I want this salad for lunch every day. It was the spring roll salad, with chicken instead of tofu, and included salad greens, mango, rice noodles, carrots, jicama, cilantro, spicy peanut butter chicken, kelp noodles, and avocado. This needs to recreated ASAP.

Workout with Gunnar Peterson (BlogFest)


I’ve been wanting to work out with Gunnar for years, and it was everything I’d been hoping for. He’s a celebrity trainer (the Kardashians are some of his clients), with a unique bootcamp-style format. He had a straightforward yet laid-back style, and I liked the new moves we did with resistance band loops. This was probably one of my top sessions from Blogfest.

Zumba Mashup with Gina Grant (IDEA) 

I was SO EXCITED to finally meet Gina Grant. She’s one of the few original Zumba master trainers still around (like from the dawn of Zumba), and I always knew I would like her choreography on the ZIN DVDs. She is so cute, and was extremely sweet in person. I’m always so awkward when I meet fitness/chef icons (whyyyyyyyy am I so awkward?!), and she chatted with everyone who took a photo with her.

Something interesting about the Zumba session: it was ALL hip hop. I already told you guys that I though Zumba was dying a slow death -and I’m riding the wave until it crashes- but it was interesting to see that they’ve kind of dropped the “it has to be mostly Latin music- philosophy. I have zero problems getting down to “Anaconda” and “Panda” so there ya go.

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(I look dead because I was so.tired)

Oh, and here’s a pic with Demi Lovato! 

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JK she was made of wax.

I had such a wonderful time at the conference, as usual, and know that this feeling will last me until next year, when I’ll be due for a little re-charge. 😉 

The drive back home took 4 hours instead of 2, thanks to the lovely LA traffic. I got to listen to the entire Hamilton soundtrack in its entirety (usually it’s in bits and pieces here and there) and cried when it was over like a weirdo. Why is it so good?! I keep hoping work brings me to NYC for something so I can stay an extra day and stand in the Hamilton line for 24 hours since tickets are sold out forever.

I also listened to a couple of podcasts and was finally back home with the crew. <3


As much as I enjoyed the weekend, my heart is always so happy to be back home.

Hope you all had an amazing weekend, too! What’s something that makes you feel recharged and excited? 🙂 What podcasts or audiobooks are you enjoying right now? I rekindled my love for the Stuff You Should Know podcast. So good. 🙂 Also I have to know if you’ve ever met a celebrity! Were you awkward like me, or did you play it cool?

Have a happy Monday!



More IDEA recaps:

2013 Conference recap

2013: The Expo and other fun stuff

2014 snack stash

2014: What I learned

2014: What I knew

2015: IDEA World and BlogFest

Special thanks to my friends at IDEA and BlogFest for generously providing my event tickets. Transportation and accommodations were not sponsored. <3

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  1. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on July 18, 2016 at 6:37 am

    We really fit a lot into a few days, and it went by so fast. So happy to have experienced it with you and glad you’re back home safe with your people. Too bad about traffic. I’m seriously wishing I could have Mendocino Farms for lunch today … 🙂

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

      had such a blast with you girls this weekend! and i want that salad right now 🙂

  2. Jessica @ Semi-Sweet Tooth on July 18, 2016 at 6:48 am

    Love that some of my favorite bloggers are friends (I see you up there Ashley ^^ ha!)! IDEA always looks like such a fantastic experience. It only takes a few sessions into a conference and I typically feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the world! Can’t wait to see what you implement!

    On a side note, I wish I could have seen the SnapChat and YouTube session. I fiiiiinally downloaded SnapChat (@SemiSweetTooth) and am slowly dipping my toe into that one. I feel like there’s so much to learn!

    Thanks for sharing!
    XO, Jessica

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:37 am

      yes, ashley is amazing! love hanging out with her 🙂
      it’s one of those things where the more you do it, the easier and more fun it gets 🙂 i’ll follow you!

  3. Alissa on July 18, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Ahhhh. I would LOVE to get to IDEA some day. Love that you got to meet Gina. She is amazing. Do you have any idea what they are teaching in B1 these days about the 70/30 split? People all over the Zumba FB groups are always complaining when instructors do mostly hip hop, but then when I see stuff like this it makes me wonder what Zumba is up to. And with rolling out Zumba Strong, (which seems to be a page right out of the Les Mills book), I love that they are trying to stay current, but if they are going to allow more popular music I think they need to come right out and say they are. Cause there are instructors like me that feel nervous when I have too much hip hop etc.:)

    • queenoffitness on July 18, 2016 at 9:29 am

      Gina Grant has her own dance studio with Dahrio Wonder (who she is engaged to and having a baby with in December) and her studio genre focus is all hip hop. Even though she is still a huge part of Zumba Fitness, she is doing her own side gig too and does publicity, demonstrations, etc for that. At the Zumba convention, they have sessions that focus solely on one genre for 2 hours. The 1 thing I remember about all these sessions were the leaders saying “make sure your staying true to the Zumba formula, but these are other ways to incorporate your 30%.” At the B1 training the leaders said if you play all hip-hop you can’t call it Zumba.

      Alissa, I hear ya!!! I recently went to a Zumba class where 5 songs in the instructor hadn’t played a single Latin song, plus she was allllllllll over the room and didn’t stand in 1 place long enough for me to be able to follow her lead. I peaced out of there after 15 minutes. I personally think the INSTRUCTORS are the ones who are killing the Zumba Fitness brand. I don’t mind 1 or 2 non-Latin songs thrown in to the mix but if you are dancing to popular radio songs for the whole class or just want to have your own dance party in which you are the star, why oh why call it Zumba? That’s what I don’t get!

      • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

        i’m glad you chimed in!! good to know- i was so confused. the class was awesome, though!
        i’m still sticking to the 70/30 for my classes, but my time slot has been hit or miss.

    • Kelly on July 18, 2016 at 10:11 am

      I know Gina Grant and her husband teach “hip hop mashup” at the zumba convention, which is coming up. So maybe she was sort of going through that format in preparation. My Zumba classes still have a lot of Latin music in it. The Zin volumes still have about 6-7 of the 10-11 songs that are latin. I wouldn’t want it to be mostly hip hop because I like the Latin aspect of it.

      Did you see any of the zumba strong demo at IDEA, Gina? I think it might bring in a new crop of people that want a more intense workout for sure.

      • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:32 am

        that’s what i was wondering, too. i liked the hip hop, but i did find myself craving some salsa or cumbia in there 😉
        I DID! it looks like a lot of fun!

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:36 am

      whenever i take a class that’s all hip hop, i enjoy it but i don’t think of it as zumba
      i’m glad queen of fitness chimed in re: the B1 training because i was confused if that was the “new thing” or not

  4. Kim on July 18, 2016 at 7:01 am

    I just saw that Jazzercise had a booth at IDEA – did you go check them out?

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

      i did briefly, but didn’t get to chat with anyone! i still need to take a class. definitely before we move because i don’t think they have it where we’re going

  5. Molly W. on July 18, 2016 at 7:24 am

    My husband came home from work yesterday, and I was crying in the kitchen. “Hamilton died!” I sobbed. “Eliza lives 50 more years without him!!” He’s like, “Yeah, I know. I had social studies in 5th grade…” ITSSOGOOD.

    • Jen on July 18, 2016 at 7:32 am

      Oh man, I wish there was a “like” or “love” button for this comment! hahahaha SOTRUE

      • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

        it made me laugh out loud

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:35 am

      tom said the same thing! i was like “eliza went on and did all of these amazing things. it’s so beautiful!” and tom was like “yeah i know” hahaha

  6. Ashlee on July 18, 2016 at 7:34 am

    I love podcasts! I just posted on this actually last week because I not only want podcast series recommendations.. But I find it helpful to get specific episodes since some series have so many options and I get paralyzed by decisions!! Here are 10 of my current faces.. Excited to see what everyone else says here! http://theblueeyedperspective.com/?p=624

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

      i will check it out- thank you!

  7. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on July 18, 2016 at 7:38 am

    I need to be better about making an effort to grow my email list. That’s an area I really haven’t given much attention to.

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

      it’s a lot of fun once you finally do it!

  8. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on July 18, 2016 at 7:58 am

    We went t Mendocino as well. The food was amazing! Four hour commut is horrible! I was stuck at TSA for an hour while they inspected my suspicious protein powders and vital proteins.

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:34 am

      I FORGOT YOU WERE THERE! ahhh i wish i could have met you finally

  9. Julie on July 18, 2016 at 8:33 am

    I agree w/ you re the e-mail thing. I def don’t like getting spammed w/ e-mails on a daily basis. I will usually unfollow when that happens.

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

      same! or i just never read them

  10. Allison Stabile on July 18, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Gina, What a crazy fun weekend! Did you ever make it over to the Jazzercise booth? Hope so! Allison

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

      yes, i stopped by once just to check it out- can’t wait to take a class!

      • Allison Stabile on July 18, 2016 at 12:16 pm

        Oh, good. Come by anytime. Can’t wait to meet you in person.


  11. Sarah @ The Blonde Giraffe on July 18, 2016 at 10:54 am

    looks like an amazing and inspiring weekend!!

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

      wish you could have been there!

  12. Sam @ Barrister's Beet on July 18, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Looks like such a valuable weekend!! I hope to go to IDEA one day : ) I, for one, appreciate that you don’t hit up our inbox once per day. I would t mind hearing more often, but once a day is a lot! I usually unsubscribe from those lists. I’ve been working on building my own list- which has like 9 people on it so far lol ; ) just keep swimming!!

    • Fitnessista on July 18, 2016 at 11:30 am

      that is awesome 🙂
      i usually unsubscribe too so i don’t want to be one of those people haha

  13. Christy L. on July 18, 2016 at 11:47 am

    Yeah, steer clear of the daily emails! I always unsubscribe to those too.

    I’ve met Margaret Cho and John Goodman. I was just as awkward as I am when meeting any new person, so I basically was normal, ha!

  14. Jennifer on July 18, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I don’t know which would be weirder- if Demi Lovato was actually wearing such a shiny top to a workout convention or that there was a wax sculpture of her there. XD

  15. Caroline M. on July 18, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Sounds like such a fun weekend! I just got back from a weeklong trip in the mountains with lots of hiking which definitely left me feeling recharged. And OMG I would love to break it down in Zumba with you and Gina. I’m glad they’re moving towards more hip hop. I always think it’s more fun to dance to songs that you hear on the radio.
    I worked a concert this summer and awkwardly interacted with Gavin Degraw, Sutton Foster, and Christopher Jackson (from Hamilton!!!). I’m kind of awkward anyway so I don’t know how abnormal I was acting!

  16. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on July 18, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Definitely hope to attend next year! BlogFest looks amazing.

  17. Kate @ SoCal Runner Gal on July 18, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Ummm, so I met this celebrity at IDEA World and her name was Gina Harney. I tried to play it really cool but I was probably super awkward. #starstruck

    I wish I could’ve jumped into some of those blog fest sessions – especially the one about building an email list. I am TERRIBLE at that, as in, I don’t do it. EEK.

    I am still recovering from IDEA. How do some people work on their feet for 8 hours a day? It’s so exhausting! Plus all the talking. I feel like I need a week vacation.

  18. Laura @FitMamaLove on July 18, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Looks so fun! Maybe next year…

  19. Erika S. on July 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    I can’t wait for your resistance loop exercises. I’ve been so into using mine but struggle to come up with good (and different) workouts. It always works my legs & butt in the best way.

  20. Kayla on July 18, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    1. The Hamilton cast recording is SOOOOO good. Seriously got me through training for a marathon (and uh running a marathon). I probably looked like a weirdo sobbing through the last 5 minutes…

    2. I’ve always wanted to go to IDEA / BlogFest. Sounds like it was great and worth the trip. Fingers crossed I’ll get to go next year!


  21. Kelli @ Hungry Hobby on July 19, 2016 at 5:56 am

    I loved the Zumba class! I’ve actually been avoiding becoming an instructor because I don’t really love it when it’s totally Latin so the hip hop style was amazing and I loved it!

  22. Lisa D. on July 19, 2016 at 8:47 am

    That’s interesting about Zumba! I stopped going a few years ago because my instructor was told he had to stop playing the hip hop stuff and went strictly to the Latin music. Not that I have a problem with Latin music but, for me, the hip hop stuff and his choreography to songs you’d never imagine doing Zumba to were what was so fun (Luke Bryan – Shake it for Me, Tina Turn – Proud Mary). If they are back to doing mostly hip hop (or whatever they want) I’m SO back in!!

  23. LJ on July 19, 2016 at 9:14 am

    This is just my opinion, but I wanted to throw my two cents in:

    Seriously, I love that your email list is not sending me stuff on daily basis. My email inbox is my ToDo list: I like to read and archive things ASAP. The Shape-up emails remind me to mix and match my workouts (and I just love your workouts and adding them into my mix). I bookmark what I want and archive the emails. I read almost everything on your blog (with a RSS feed reader). Not daily, but multiple times a week. I guess you are the only blogger who I have been reading on my busiest times, and even throughout months of rehab from an injury when I lost faith in ever getting back to fitness and unsubscribed from almost everything fitness related. But if you star sending daily emails I will have to unsubscribe. 🙁

    • Fitnessista on July 19, 2016 at 9:28 am

      I rarely say never, but you never have to worry about that. I don’t have time haha and neither do you guys! The skimm is the only company where I think daily emails are ok 😉 you probably won’t see much of a change in the frequency but just got some new ideas to make them more fun
      I really appreciate you reading and being here for so long, especially with everything you have going on. I hope your healing journey is going well and I’m thinking about you

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