If you are a blogger and you write about anything related to health, fitness, exercise, running, or sports, then you NEED to be at IDEA BlogFest 2015 (EDIT: THIS YEAR. Not next year. 2015.) hosted by Sweat Pink. Fortunately for you, I have tickets and you can win them!
BlogFest includes two days of blogger-specific education, with lots of time for networking. It also includes ALL of IDEA World, with special access to presenters and brands. It is four days of bloggy goodness, and enough ideas and content to keep you writing all year long. Sweaty inspiration, new friendships, brand access, and swag. You can read all about the schedule by clicking HERE.
IDEA is the world’s largest association for health and fitness professionals. I joined as soon as I had my first license (Zumba–which I earned at IDEA World!) and continued my membership as I took on group ex certification with AFAA and then ACE. If you’ve never heard of IDEA, you owe it to yourself to check out what IDEA has to offer: continuing education for fitness professionals, a trade journal, social media posting, conferences, insurance, and much more.
IDEA World is a gathering of 12,000 amazing health and exercise-focused individuals from all over the world. There are literally hundreds of different workshops, lectures, and workouts. It starts with pre-conference sessions where you can get become a certified Schwinn Cycling Instructor, or take a workshop with Stott Pilates, Balanced Body, NASM, or TRX, among others. (Pre-conference sessions are not included in BlogFest, but as long as you’re going to fly out, you might as well check one out.)
Thursday and Friday, you’ll spend at BlogFest. There’s a fresh agenda for 2016, including Gabrielle Reese, one of my favorite athletes, and Zumba founder Beto Perez, but here are a few glimpses of last year.
In addition to the workout with Tara Stiles and Chalene Johnson, BlogFest 2014 featured Jillian Michaels (I swear I took a picture but I can’t find it!) and a presentation by Under Armour with one of my new favorite women, Shuana Harrison. Sponsored athlete and she has a PhD? What’s not to love?
BlogFest attendees had their choice of Saturday and Sunday workshops (which included workouts). Last year also featured a pre-event unofficial run sponsored by RunGo. BlogFest attendees could also chose from sponsored sessions early morning and at lunch. I tried Fluidity bar early one morning (it kicked my butt), and then took a lunchtime session with Vibram and Bosu (and experienced more about my feet than I ever had before).
During BlogFest, some of the tweet breaks included snacks by BlogFest sponsors. Dannon, also an IDEA World sponsor, presented one tweet break with snacks and a presentation by an RD specific to sports nutrition for women. Dannon also gave each of us a jumpdrive loaded with information about yogurt.
I also attended a gorgeous breakfast sponsored by Gerolsteiner, and learned more about regulation of water, bottled water, and mineral water.
Why yes, I did a lot of eating! Did I mention there are also snacks in the Expo? I’m woefully short on snaps, but there were EAS smoothies, Kelloggs products, Go Veggie! vegan cheese, a new pasta made from beans, and Beyond Meat’s new line of protein products.
The Expo had more than just snacks though. This year there are over 600 exhibitors. There were exhibits with EVERYTHING related to fitness. NASM, ACE, and AFAA all had booths where you could learn about their certifications and exams. Merrithew-Stott had tons of products to try out, including mini-classes, as well as consultants about their educational programs. BlogFest sponsor Lorna Jane debuted a boutique of gorgeous workout wear, as did Blogilates with her new line of clothes and fitness journals. You could try out Zumba or a towel-fitness class, learn about fitness classes for you and your dog, test disinfecting wipes for use at the gym, and do a million other things.
Sometimes, a dance party broke out. Or a crossfit class. The Expo hall was a pretty great place to pick up blog-fodder. Everyone was eager to put a product in your hand, talk to you about new developments, demonstrate the moves, or offer you some literature to read later.
BlogFest attendees get a special swag-bag with freebies, products, and special offers. I don’t remember everything that was in it, but I remember a pre-release copy of Leslie Sansone’s newest “Walk off the Pounds,” a year subscription to a streaming fitness service, a certificate redeemable for a free Under Armour heart rate monitor, and stacks of other goodies.
The sponsors of BlogFest also handed out goodies during the course of the event. Surprises around every corner! Lorna Jane gave each attendee a cute tank with fitness inspiration, a visor, a stretchy hair-taming headband, and also hosted a raffle at the closing party.
During the BlogFest sessions, we covered a bunch of topics. Some topics were very broad, like how to turn your blog into a brand, or legal advice for bloggers, while others were more targeted, such as taking good food pictures and learning a little SEO. Attendees were a mix of experienced and professional bloggers, and newer bloggers from those not-yet-blogging on up.
In addition to the brands sponsoring BlogFest, all of which expressed interest in working with bloggers, there were also brands at the Expo looking for social media contacts or brand ambassadors.
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta selfie.
This year’s BlogFest presentations cover blogging topics such as how to increase readership and market your message, building a following on Instagram, busting nutrition myths, and the future of blogging. (Seriously, check out the schedule and look who is presenting! I’m so excited to learn from Kasey Arena, Katy Widrick, Melissa Burton, and the other bloggers and celebrity guests.)
Sponsor for BlogFest 2015 [EDIT: why did I keep typing 2016? Do I think I am living in the future?] include Siggi’s (seriously, I cannot wait for you to taste skyr!), Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition by General Mills, Merrithew (Stott Pilates, Zenga, Core, Total Barre), MorningStar Farms, Propel, and Reebok.
I can’t think of a better place to make connections with bloggers and brands, learn about the style and substance of blogging (and the mechanics–I need all the help I can get!), and try out the latest trends in fitness and food and fashion.
If you’d like to join me at IDEA World’s BlogFest 2015 with Sweat Pink, save July 15-19 on your calendar and book a plane ticket to Los Angeles. Then cross your fingers, and enter to win a ticket to BlogFest using the widget below.
(Ticket to BlogFest includes admission badge for BlogFest and IDEA World. It does not include airfare, room and board, pre- and post-con sessions, your passport renewal, boarding for your cat, or that cute new top from Eleven by Venus that you just have to have. Legal disclaimer, blah blah blah.)