Finding The Words To Best Describe FitBloggin
This past weekend I attended FitBloggin and now I’m sitting in front of my
computer iPad trying to figure out how to turn the experience into a posting. To condense the entire conference into a few meaningful words seems nearly futile and would lose so much in translation. Last year I gave a session play by play with some notes, commentary, and a few photos. This year though, so many things felt different and I don’t think that format would do it justice.
Not different in a bad way, just different in that I don’t think a recap with pictures alone really paints the entire scene. You can’t take a picture that really captures the raw emotions and community that convened for this years FitBloggin. The raw honesty, happiness, excitement, joy, and pain that people shared in some of the sessions was eye opening and led so many attendees to spend some much needed time on self reflection … myself included.
So where to start? Humm … perhaps we should cue a soundtrack to loop in the background, you know like MySpace used to have. What would the best song be to convey the weekends ideals? It’d have to be upbeat, fit, healthy, happy, crazy, and make you wanna hug someone.
I’m pretty sure if you were at FitBloggin you know what I’m talking about and likely already know the song I’m thinking of …
Yea, that song … the You song from the Sue & Samantha ZUMBA spectacular on Saturday. The one where practically everyone at the conference was on the same floor showing our rhythm (or in my case lack of it), sweating, and craziness all with huge smiles on our faces.
Ok, now that the music is cued what’s next?
We could start with a few words that to me describe the event. These are words that I feel best express the effect the weekend had as well as what it was like to attend.
happy – I rarely saw anyone this weekend without a smile plastered on their face, unless maybe they were learning or sharing something at which point they had either a furrowed brow look or a tissue.
emotional – I know that happiness is an emotion but this one stands alone because there were a number of heart felt sessions where people let out all of their emotions … laughter, crying, disappointment, disagreement, etc. In the end, while emotional, I think everyone can agree the net result was positive.
active – Like last year, I pretty much was only in my room to sleep and shower. Whether I was doing yoga, sharing, cross fitting, hugging, zumba’ing, crying, laughing, eating, learning, running, or relaxing I was crazy active and wasn’t doing any of those things alone in my room or in front of a television. I think we’ve all been to those conferences where we’re happy for the day to end so we can go relax in the hotel or just get away, that was not FitBloggin.
rejuvenating – This weekend was restorative in every way. From the hugs by new and old friends to the breadth of topics discussed and shared you couldn’t help but walk out of this weekend ready to take on the world, your health, and your fitness.
reflective – Whether you reflected on the goal of your blog, YouTube profits, a sales pitch, your weight loss, self acceptance, or the amount of alcohol you consumed this weekend you spent some portion of it in deep thought.
singularity – I know this may seem like an odd one, but I’m a nerd so I’m allowed a certain amount of sci-fi liberty here. To me this weekend was a community singularity, as in providing infinite value to the community. The single place, the central point, where our community takes an infinite value and we are larger together than we could ever be apart.
Ok now that we have some subtext for the weekend I’ll be honest with you when I say those are not the words I’d use to describe how I felt going into the weekend. That list would have included words like fright, embarrassment, nervousness, and uncertainty.
I know this may be shocking to some but I was headed into this years FitBloggin 20 pounds heavier than last year after peaking 45 pounds heavier this past January. While I was (and am) still battling back down that doesn’t mean I wasn’t embarrassed with my gain. If I couldn’t accept where I was how could I expect to fit in and be accepted at a conference of Fit(ness)Bloggers? I mean have you seen the muscles on Carla?
Add to that the fact that I’ve been less social on twitter and I was nervous I wouldn’t be accepted and would be woefully out of touch with where people were on their journeys. My blogging had continued but my readership has dropped significantly about mid year, perhaps they were bored with my cycling posts? The uncertainty of the whole thing had me on pins and needles until …
Well, I don’t know if there was a single moment but you know what the Cheers effect is? Perhaps not as I may have just made up that term. It’s the effect where you walk into a room and everything just feels comfortable … the people, the conversations, and the hugs. Everything about it just felt comfy, like that worn pair of jeans you love or your favorite blanket on the couch.
I walked into the hotel lobby and it all just clicked. I saw faces I recognized from last year, some I only knew from their twitter avatars or blogs, and entirely new ones as well. The hugs and handshakes started to melt down that wall of nerves I’d built and by the time welcome reception came around that night I was comfortable and ready to take on the weekend.
Well … kinda sorta comfortable. You see, while I’d knocked down my wall of nerves I didn’t realize I hadn’t cracked opened a hole to let my confidence out. It was then that I found myself in the Self Acceptance and Weight Loss session on Friday unable to speak, frozen with nerves. I sat there listening to all of the amazing stories and insight into self acceptance, wanting to participate, to share my story, but unable to muster the confidence. While I thought I’d learned my lesson from last year I apparently still stumbled on that first step to sharing. If you have the time I definitely recommend reading the liveblog from this session, warning … bring Kleenex.
After the session I vowed to not make the same mistake on Saturday during the When You Have A Lot To Lose session. It was sorta harder to freeze up there anyhow as Tara asked me to participate … like last year, she challenged me to break out of my comfort zone (in a good way). Tara has an amazing way of bringing the best out of everyone around her, I miss her already.
During the session Tara spoke first, followed by Meegan, finally I had the microphone for a few minutes. I tried not to talk too fast and mumble, both habits I have when I start speaking about things I’m excited about. I explained my backstory, my tipping point(s), and offered my advice and then it was over. I wasn’t sure if the format would allow us to circle back or not, it didn’t but I wish it had. Afterwards I thought of so much more to share but rather than bore you with that now I’ll save it for a future blog post. I’ll just say now that I opened up and though I wanted to say more it felt great to not sit there bottling up thoughts and feelings and to instead share with everyone.
While there were a number of great session at FitBloggin, these two for me were pivotal when I look back at the overall experience this year. They best represent how our community strives to support one another, how deep our back stories are, and how despite outward appearances we’re all our own worst enemy when it comes to self acceptance and weight loss. The health & fitness
battle journey truly is 10% physical and 90% mental.
I know this posting may not be what you were expecting from a recap but to me FitBloggin is not about the money making sessions nor the networking to build my brand. When we’re honest with ourselves, and on our blogs, readers will engage us and opportunities will present themselves. How we schedule our tweets, setup our SEO, or place our ads is missing the point. FitBloggin as a conference will always have sessions that focus on educating us but it’s true strength lies in it’s community and the sessions around building and supporting it.
Through the community we’re stronger, healthier, and more accountable … we’re able to call bullshit and we change lives.
FitBloggin is not a bunch dreary lectures from talking heads like most conferences, it’s much more like a huge community hug with smiling and accepting
Wrapping It Up
I did actually decide to close by sharing the sessions I attended and link to their live blogs (where available). I changed my mind on sharing the sessions I attended partially because I didn’t want to forget and mostly because they were awesome sessions that I highly suggest you check out. I won’t regurgitate the details here, that’s what the live blogs are for … besides I couldn’t capture all of the details and emotions anyhow. I actually plan on blog postings for a few of them soon, check back in the coming days and weeks.
- McCormick Offsite Tour
- Evening Mixer
- Susan Ito’s Food Food Body Body performance
- Got Chocolate Milk
- Cathe Friedrich Workout
- Self Acceptance and Weight Loss
- Blogging, How Much Is Too Much
- Ignite Fitness Keynote
- Turning Your Post Into An Article
- When You Have A Lot To Lose
- Monetizing Through The Pitch
- FitBloggin 5k
Thanks for taking the time to read. Hopefully I’ll see everyone in Portland next June for FitBloggin 2013!