As you may or may not know I was in beautiful Boulder, Colorado this past weekend for the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference 2011 and all I can come up with in all my great vocabulary is: WOW! Your first thought/question is most likely: Why WOW? Tell me more about this conference as I want to be amazed as well.
Let’s start out with the fact that the conference took place in Boulder, Colorado. Home of the athlete. If I am not mistaken I believe this is/was considered the healthiest city in the United States. I could not find data to back this up, but I did find data that said that Denver was #5 (click HERE) but I would be hard pressed to believe that Boulder is not in the Top 50 (according to this data.) The weather is perfect with temps barely touching 80* in the morning and no humidity. The sun rises at 5:15am so you can be out and about and done training by 7:30am and still have 1.5 hours to get to work. The sun sets around 9pm so that means that if you get out of work at 6pm you still have three hours of daylight to work with. This city is conducive the living a healthy lifestyle.
If the weather wasn’t enough to convince you to go and live a healthy lifestyle (or at least visit) let’s discuss the food. It was incredible. Now we were fed two meals at the conference, but I did eat out a couple of times and it was so hard to pick because it seemed that one restaurant was more healthy then the next. For example. on Thursday night I got to Boulder and went to Pearl Street (downtown Boulder) and walked around looking for a restaurant and saw this as the top item on a board outside a restaurant: WARM QUINOA SALAD. My vegetarian ears perked right up, but alas I walked by and went to an Italian restaurant because they had a vegetable stuffed manicotti.
The conference itself was a wealth of knowledge, but before that I want to point out how well organized it was. The sessions were ~45 minutes in length so that means you did not have an opportunity to get bored. I find that if a presentation is an hour or longer I tend to daydream and think of the one million other things I would rather be doing. At 45 minutes the presentations were perfectly timed, but it was the presenters that made the time go by fast. We heard from presenters on branding yourself, becoming a brand ambassador, working with PR Firms, publishers versus self-publishing, social media, dietary myths, the Presidential Challenge (join my group under CTER by signing up HERE), search engine optimization and much more.
We also had the opportunity to eat. As part of the conference we went to Whole Foods Boulder where we were treated to a vegan meal. Now I will tell you that I was nervous about the meal at Whole Foods because I did not want to have to pick off meat from my plate and thought it would just be a salad and I would have to order something else (or go back to my hotel room and eat there since I had a full kitchen and had gone grocery shopping.) After the sous chef was introduced, she began to rattle off the menu and this is what was being served: Broiled Sweet Potatoes, Flatbread Pizza with hummus base and vegetables on top, Tofu Wrapped Spring Rolls (wrapped in Bok Choy), Polenta Topped with Tempeh and for dessert a walnut mousee. I looked around and said…’this is all vegan’ and beamed with a smile like the sun because I was going to be able to eat all of it, which I did…..twice!
So, now you know what made the conference great but wait there is more….and this is what made it outstandingly awesomely incredibly phenomenal. It was the people. I cannot begin to describe everybody there but let me say the following people I have tweeted with, followed their blog or just met at the conference and each person was genuine and down to earth and I was thrilled about that:
Kris of the blog Kris M Beal or on Twitter @krazy_kris. Suzanne of the blog Workout Nirvana or on Twitter @workoutnirvana. Anne of the blog fANNEtastic Food or on Twitter @fannetasticfood. Theodora of Losing Weight In The City or on Twitter @tblanchfield. Ryan of No More Bacon or on Twitter @nomorebacon and so many many more that I will run out of room in this post if I keep listing them. If you want to see the attendees and what they are saying then go to twitter and search the hashtag #FHBC11 and you will the conversations.
And I have saved the best for last. I will always affectionately refer to this group as the ‘Back of the Class’ Group. Maybe the Sweathogs is a better term to use because we would have been considered the group of students that were always causing trouble. Yes, this was the group that included the great SUAR, the awesome MissZippy, the fabulous Run With Jill and the awesome Clair.
Now why would I come up with this definition for us? Well as you know Beth has a propensity to discuss her flatulence on her blog and let’s just say she is genuine, I’m a 5 year old in a 37 year old body and I laugh at these things.
That doesn’t say enough then how about this tweet that I received during the middle of the conference from Krazy_Kris:
I was laughing so hard that I began to sweat in the conference and had to take deep breathes from hyperventilating. So what was I laughing about? Click HERE to find out. Then after reading that go to the right hand side and read the other posts. Be sure to visit Amanda’s blog as well for her take on the conference by clicking HERE.
Speaking of laughing until you sweat….during our 7am yoga class after months of talking about letting one fly in the middle of class I started to feel the bubble building and thought to myself: I am going to let it go and then laugh so hard they are going to ask me to leave the room. It was at this exact moment that the ending scene from Scarface when Tony Montana starts shooting the machine gun took place. I did not know if it was a dream or real until I realized that it was not me but instead Clair that had decided to play GI Joe in the middle of yoga class. At this point I am in a downward dog position with my head buried and laughing so hard that again I cannot breathe. I look up and stare at Beth who is laughing so hard herself and mouths to Clair: Did You Just Do That? Then the laughter started up again and I have to tell you my core has never been more sore without doing one single crunch.
When the weekend was drawing to a close I was happy to be going home to see my wife, whom I missed, but I was saddened by the fact that the 4 friends I had made this weekend were departing to head to different points of the country. The thing about this group though is that I know we will all get together again and hang out because it was that much fun. I mean from sharing meals and wine to laughter and learning it felt like I had graduated high school with them and this was our reunion. There were no awkward pauses when we first met. There was never any dead silence as we were always chatting and laughing. I cannot wait to see Beth again in December at the Rock N Roll Las Vegas Marathon, and hopefully we can arrange time for the Sweathogs to get back together again before next years conference (oh by the way they announced the dates are June 22-24 and you can register HERE.)
Lastly, I am going to leave you with pics from the conference that I borrowed from Beth, Amanda, Clair and some other bloggers at the conference because I did not take any for I was laughing too hard.