Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference 2011 Recap

Boulder, CO June 24-26 2011

This was a really hard conference for me to recap. I was too close to it and have biased feelings.  I regret a few things pertaining to my involvement with it.  I am no longer involved with it except needing to get Ignite Fitness videos up and I have that scheduled for Tuesday 27 December (see my echoes of reverb post for this month’s postings).

The big strength of this conference is that the organizers are great at developing BIG collaborations.  In only their second year they will be partnering with the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the School of Medicine of the University of Colorado.  I love science-based information sharing and this is an aim for the heart of the conference in 2012.  I am interested in attending in 2012 for this reason but have not made a commitment to attend yet.

Anyway, back to 2011.  On the first day of the conference I was juggling two conferences and teaching a yoga class.  I did spend most of the day at the LOHAS Forum before joining everyone at the Marriott.  Here is the meeting room I walked into.

Shellie Pfohl keynoting while Kris Beal (@Krazy_Kris) types in foreground

Our first day dinner was outstanding.  Whole Foods in Boulder was nearing the end of an extensive expansion and invited us to their new patio for a #realfood bash hosted by their chefs.  This was a favorite meal of the year for me – so much simplicity leading to elegance and a cohesive menu plus we walked to and from the event under a beautiful Boulder sky.

Whole Foods chef speaking to us about our meal
Starwberry Gazpacho
Sweet Potatoes with Flatirons in the background
Tofu Spring Rolls
Butter Lettuce Cups

Lemon Tarts

I was up early the next morning transporting props from yoga studio to the Marriott and back for a 7 AM yoga class for 30 people.

The conference actually did have a very high level of yoga practitioners but we were doing an all-level class to get some alignment and breath going before sitting all day for sessions.  Here is a quick shot of the savasana.  Hanging out with this group was a big highlight of the conference for me.

I was on the Becoming an A-lister Panel that morning with Jenn (@FitBottomGirl w/ mic) and Stephanie (@skinnyjeans)

I also got to see some friends speak that day too

Ryan (@nomorebacon) being "the man" and funny while talking about the tech side of blogs

Leah (@bookieboo) and Stephanie (@skinnyjeans) talking about building their brands

Jo Rogel delivering an AWESOME keynote (he was working with Gaiam when he delivered this - he has since gone on to more challenging projects)

And as a quick note – when going to a conference and a keynote is delivering their address that is not the time for Q & A if you oppose something they say.  This is not anything against the conference organizers but a well-known blogger who in my opinion behaved poorly during Jo’s keynote.  However I take offense when I see people treat friends disrespectfully and I consider Jo a good friend.

Some of my favorite men in the room (only missing Todd a.k.a. @BoulderRunner). The guy in the middle is my husband who saved my butt doing an Ignite talk. And my son stealing Jo's conference badge.

We dined again that night thanks to Chocolate Milk.  The next day was Ignite Fitness (like I wrote, come back 27 December for all of that) – it was a hassle but it was pulled off.  The conference did do something that I thought was super cool – a quick round-robin speed-blogging introduction to brands.  I wrote about it back in June – I really liked it. Then there was a closing announcing the plans for next year’s conference and finally post-conference activities.  I skipped the activities because I was exhausted after a week of conferences and it was HOT.

My personal regrets were in asking people to come who did arrive and were not treated all that kindly by the event organizer.  As it was I only got a thank you a few weeks after the event from the organizer and not the promised compensation I was offered when I first took the ghost-tweeting position.  My ghost-tweeting position did not stay anonymous and my biggest regret is that my reputation was tied to this conference in capacities I had no influence over.

This conference was definitely a firm wake-up call for me in how I associate with future events even if they are kick-starting in arenas I want to support.  I will most likely only give my support for community members I have personally vetted in the future.

Like I wrote, I may go to the 2012 conference as a participant.  What I see from their speaker line-up it is something that interests me.  Do not think it will be like a regular blogger conference though.  It is academic information dissemination and I am a former academic.  Do not expect to see too many of your bloggy friends speaking or an open call for bloggy speakers.  There are other fitness blogger conferences for that.

2 Comment

  1. I think you raise an outstanding point about vetting individuals, causes, organizations, and conferences before attaching one’s name and reputation to an activity or event, etc. I too was in attendance at this conference and while some things were handled quite well there were some really disappointing components as well.

    From a purely health and fitness standpoint, I found it fascinating that we were in an enclosed room with no windows for both days of the conference. The inclusion of candy bowls on the tables was pretty incongruous as well. Also, if we are talking about a bloggers conference where issues of integrity in blogging are being raised, shouldn’t those same standards apply to the conference organization? For example, there are no shortage of truly healthy options when it comes to sponsors and vendors and yet many of the conference sponsors and vendors were processed food products.

    Perhaps the most disappointing piece for me is that I know how incredibly hard you worked for months prior to the conference to market and raise awareness about the event. I wouldn’t have attended had it not been for your association. I was extremely disheartened when you were not publicly acknowledged by the event organizers. The conference organizers had no idea how lucky they were to have your involvement.

    I can’t honestly say that I will attend the 2012 conference. I’m still undecided. While the Friday morning focus on blogging and the second day breakout sessions might be of interest, the vast majority of the agenda appears to be, as you said, more academic presentations. I also have a bad taste in my mouth because you were, in my opinion, treated poorly. You are such an incredible resource in the area of personal and community health, fitness and wellness. Thanks for all that you say and do to help all of us be a little healthier.

  2. I remember how much work you put into this conference. For your part, you did a fantastic job and I hope you’re proud of your personal contribution, all else aside.

    The only other thing I want to add, mostly for the benefit of Todd and Ryan, is a shout out to the importance of #BoneHealth. 😉

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