To be honest, I really had no idea what to expect. The only other mass blogger event I’d ever been to was Blend, and this was my first official “conference.” And just like before I left for Blend, I was anxious, excited and nervous all at the same time.
So, I’m going to go through the whole thing here in ONE post, and then go back and fill in the details throughout the week. I’ll try not to write a novel here… but am not making any promises.
Ashley was my partner-in-crime (and roommate) for the weekend, and also the one who pretty much convinced me to sign up for Fitbloggin’ in the first place (THANK YOU ASHLEY!). Since the conference was in Baltimore, it was a pretty easy drive. And, I also happen to know Baltimore like the back of my hand since I went to school there (and was always going out in the city). It was definitely nice to drive and be able to take as much crap as I wanted to (though the entire back was filled up with over 300 bottles of water for fitmixer!) and not worry about checking luggage on plane.
We got the Hyatt (where the conference was held) a little before noon and then promptly left again to head up to the McCormick factory in Hunt Valley (about 25 minutes outside of the city). The tour was an added bonus to the whole conference- and a blessing for all of us that were able to get to Baltimore early enough on Thursday to attend. We were divided into two different groups, and Ashley and I were separated. We survived. I decided to sit with the bad girls (Hilary, Kenlie, Kate and Kelly) in the back of the bus
Naturally, I am drawn to the trouble makers.
I really didn’t know what to expect from this tour. I was thinking that we would be fed at some point, but really wasn’t sure. As we were waiting to go inside, who should be behind me, but Mark, the at-home-winner from Biggest Loser Season 10. Naturally, I asked him to take a photo with me
Pretty cool that he was attending the conference too!
When we finally got into the facility, we were greeted by a beautiful, colorful buffet of food! Tons of vegetables (including raw zucchini ribbons, roasted cauliflower and asparagus), couscous, grilled chicken and some tasty fish with farro(!!). I filled my plate UP!
Check out the menu (dessert was served later on):
While we ate, we listened to some of the McCormick representatives talk about the importance of a healthy diet and how incorporating more vegetables can make such a difference. I agree- and you KNOW I love my veggies.
After lunch, we split into smaller groups and attended different sessions, and I met up with my bad girls again.
The first session I attended was led by one of the McCormick chefs. He showed us how to make an INCREDIBLE fish dish – and the smells were just intoxicating.
I wish you could smell this through your computer monitor!
We also learned about how awesome roasted veggies are (agreed!).
We also got to do some market research- including a taste test of applesauce with two different types of cinnamon.
In between the sessions, we were treated to a very tasty mini dessert buffet- shot glass style!
Oh man. I must learn to make that mousse at home…
Around 4:30, it was time to head back to the Hyatt for the welcome mixer. We got our awesome swag bags, checked into the room, and headed down to decorate our name badges.
There were markers and stickers for us to personalize our tags- I thought this was such a cute idea!
Like my stickers? Broccoli, pizza, eggplant, bananas, mushrooms and dogs… yup.
I had originally planned to drive over to Fells’ Point for dinner (which is only about a mile or two away from the hotel), but decided that it would have been a big pain to move the car. My new friend Molly (another local! yeah!) had told me about a restaurant called Kettle Hill at Power Plant Live that was really good, so me, Hilary, Ashley and Kelly walked over there.
When I think of Power Plant, I think of cheesy clubs that I hung out at in college where I got way too drunk and danced on top of bars… so “a place to go for a great meal” doesn’t really come to mind. But, it was described as “farm to table,” and those words sell it to me every time. The food was good- but the service was horrible. At least the company was awesome.
We decided to call it a night after dinner, and Ashley and I went back to finally unpack our things and settle in a bit. And stayed up WAY too late talking- but it was totally worth it!
I had originally had every intention of doing 6:00 am yoga on Saturday morning… but that didn’t happen. Instead, Ashley and I went for a run. And I must say, my charming (and sometimes dirty) Baltimore was looking lovely at that hour!
It was really nice to run along the water and catch the sun rising up in the sky!
We didn’t do a crazy long run, but it was just what both of us needed!
The Crossfit workout was scheduled to start at 8:00, and both Ashley and I were pumped for that. We both really love that style of training (short sets of high intensity functional training), and I was excited to see what they had in store for us. Since there were so many of us and we were in a hotel (rather than a Crossfit gym) we just did body weight exercises- which can still kick your ass big time. The workout was good, but I have to say- I was definitely disappointed. The coaches spent at least 30 minutes just going over the moves and talking about Crossfit, and I could tell that everyone was getting really antsy and just wanted to start the work out. We ended up just doing a 12-minute AMRAP(as many reps as possible) circuit (of 1 min on/1 min off) with no real warm-up and NO cool-down (boo!). The coaches were great- and I’m sure it would be different in a Crossfit gym, but I kinda felt like my time was wasted.
After Crossfit, it was finally time for some food.
Weight Watchers cheese sponsored the breakfast and there were some creative options, including an egg casserole made with quinoa, oatmeal, (sweet) quinoa with berries and turkey meatballs. It felt good to re-fuel!
I headed over to the fitmixer table to take over for Lindsay so that she could finally shower and grab a bite to eat. Tina, Jill and I gave fitmixer aminos to people as they walked by and told them about the products. Luckily, I’ve used the aminos ever since Blend, so I knew what I was talking about!
It was great to chat with Jill and Tina for a while, since I hadn’t met either of them before (Jill was supposed to be at Blend…). I found out that Tina lives right near Greg’s dad (on the south shore of Boston)- which is just a crazy coincidence! It was fun to talk about all of these different shops and restaurants that both of us love around that area! We also had quite a bit in common, and that’s always a bonus.
And Jill is just freaking hilarious and has some damn awesome tattoos. I really hope she makes it to Blend 2013.
After workin’ it for fitmixer, I eventually made it upstairs to shower (boy did I need it!) and change for the rest of the day. I was really looking forward to some of the sessions, which were a mix of “how to better your blog” and “sharing personal experiences” kinds of discussions. It was good to have both types, which were completely different from each other. I’ll elaborate more on those in a later post…
We were served a very tasty lunch in the middle of the day, and I even took a picture of it (imagine that!).
And at some point in the day, I finally found my little Lena!!!
Lena and I got to hang out quite a bit in Colorado back in July, and I’ve definitely been spoiled by getting to see her three times this year (in May, July and September). And who knows- maybe I’ll even be back out in Colorado again before the end of the year!
The rest of the afternoon was spent in and out of sessions, with a few breaks for snacks and coffee. There was also a little bit of trampoline jumping going on
and posing for silly photos for Popchips
Ashley and I also finally got a chance to chat with Roni, who is the amazing, talented mastermind behind Fitbloggin!
Roni’s even more beautiful in person- and I can’t thank her enough for putting this event together!
My Friday night dinner group decided to get a quick (early) dinner right around the corner from the hotel so that we could be back for Ignite Fitness, which was the “keynote speaker” for the conference. (Again, I’ll elaborate more on that later this week!). Afterwards, Ashley, Lena, Lynda, Danielle and I walked across the street in search of gelato. We sat outside by the water and just talked and laughed for a while. I had only just met Lynda and Danielle, but just instantly loved them and felt like we had been friends for years. That’s the crazy thing about these blogger conferences!
Ashley and I both agreed that we’d call it an early night (we were both exhausted and wanted to go for a short run early in the morning)- but ended up staying up talking until after midnight. Again, totally worth being tired for!
Needless to say, Ashley and I didn’t get up and run early on Saturday morning. And that was A-OK with both of us!
The JumpSport trampoline class was at 8:00 am, and I was really looking forward to it! I have to admit- when I first heard that there was going to be a trampoline class I thought oh, that will be fun and probably pretty easy. I was definitely right about the FUN part- but WRONG about it being easy- it was quite a workout!
The room was set up with a bunch of JumpSport trampolines (which are actually quite different than the little trampoline we had at in my house in the 80s). Notice all of the bloggers Tweeting and Instagramming before class started…
The workout was led by Jeff McMullen, who is one of the best group exercise instructors that I have ever taken a class from in my life! I was kind of mentally taking notes about everything that I loved about him during my workout, so that I can apply it to my own teaching! He was so high energy and passionate, and just rocked! We started with a warm-up, and then did a series of 9 different Tabata workouts, alternating between the trampoline and the floor. It was intense (and holy crap, my legs were on fire!)
After the Tabata series, we did a few final additional exercises, followed by a cool-down. The entire workout was about an hour long, and everyone was drenched in sweat!
Stinky as I was, I got Jeff to stand next to me and pose for a shot.
Not the most flattering shot of me… I’ll admit.
I am so buying one of these trampolines asap. Jeff gave me a bunch of the workout DVDs and I can’t wait to try them out! I also think that this will be SUCH a good tool to use for training clients- because trampolines are just so great for all levels of fitness!
Breakfast immediately followed the Jumpsport workout, and by Saturday, I wasn’t really focusing on photographing my food. There was an oatmeal bar. It was….eh- but as you know, I’m an oatmeal snob. I had every intention of going to the Zumba class being led by Mrs. Fatass right after, but by the time I had eaten and had a large cup of coffee, I really just wanted to go shower and relax for a bit. I regret having missed the Zumba class (because I know it was lots of fun) but you can’t do it all, right?
Ashley and I both agreed that it was a good time to go ahead and pack up and load up my car and check out, since we were leaving that night. We also took a quick trip over to the McCormick store in the Inner Harbor, since we had been given a 25% off coupon from the tour. After that, it was time to head back over to the hotel for lunch, which again, I didn’t photograph. But I’ll save you the suspense- it was pretty similar to Friday’s lunch (which is not a bad thing!), but included salmon instead of chicken.
I finally got to spend some quality time with my Lindsay- I really hadn’t seen her for more than five minutes all weekend!
Hmmm… is Hank checking out my butt in this picture?
Oh my goodness, it was SO GOOD to talk to Lindsay. Talk about someone who is just a beautiful, kind and genuine soul. I wish we were neighbors.
There were a few more sessions in the afternoon, and as much as we both wanted to stay, Ashley and I agreed by about 4:00 that we were pooped and it was time to head on home. I really hated to miss Saturday nights’ and Sunday morning’s activities, but again- you just can’t do it all.
I said my goodbyes, and posed for one more picture with the “fab four”
I met SO MANY beautiful, amazing, honest people this weekend. I’ll elaborate much more on that in the next few days- but I’ll just say this for now: Damn, I feel inspired.
P.S.- Fitbloggin’ 2013 is in PORTLAND next June! I am so there. Have I convinced you that you should be too?
Have you ever been to a blogging (or other) conference where you left feeling inspired? What do you think of using a trampoline for workouts?