Those of you that follow me on Twitter or Instagram know that this past weekend I attended Fitbloggin in Indianapolis. Fitbloggin’ is essentially the gathering of those who blog about their fitness journeys, or people who are interested in starting to blog. This was my second time attending Fitbloggin. My first experience was in Savannah, GA in 2014.
Because this year’s Fitbloggin was in Indianapolis, I was lucky enough to only be a few hours drive away, which definitely helped me determine if I would go or not. I arrived on Thursday night, and the only thing on the agenda was registration and appetizers at Scotty’s Brewhouse about half a mile from the hotel. I ended up arriving an hour late, but I happened to walk in at the same time as two girls in attendance on behalf of Sworkit, so they were kind enough to eat with me. Registration was nothing more than picking up or name tags. Not too exciting.
Breakfast both days was provided by Siggi’s yogurt in the form of a parfait bar. While this was quite tasty, the breakfast was not enough to keep me satisfied for long. Thankfully, I brought a strong supply of Quest bars with me.
Friday and Saturday had me attending some awesome sessions that had both blogging and weight loss related topics. I started my education on Friday with a blog themed day of “Being a Consistent Blogger Forever” led by the lovely and knowledgable Nellie of Brooklyn Active Mama, followed by learning some SEO basics (that were really helpful) taught by Jessica Woodbury of Don’t Mind the Mess. Saturday was my weight loss focused day with amazing discussions about falling off (and getting back on) the weight loss wagon led by David from Keep it Up David and weight loss highs and lows (led by Angela Gillis from We Beat Fat). The afternoon led me to a session about overcoming setbacks with Kristin Meekhof, and I topped off my education with a discussion on training your brain, habits, and all that jazz from Steve Carmichael from Run Buzz. All great sessions and amazing people.
Friday also had author of Secrets of A Former Fat Girl, Lisa Delaney, as a keynote speaker who told her story and answered our questions. There was also a panel discussion, and one of the panelists was Dawn Jackson Blatner. I thought she looked familiar to me, but it wasn’t until she uttered the words “Superfood Diet” that I realized why I recognized her. She was the trainer that WON the reality show “My Diet is Better Than Yours.” Since I’m a sucker for weight loss shows, I definitely tuned in to that one. Needless to say, I fangirled for a moment over the fact she was there. She went to the sessions and listened, learned, and participated just like the rest of us. It was pretty neat.
Saturday only had one keynote speaker before conference close, and that was Brooke Randolph. She gave a presentation on emotionally healthy living, and let’s be honest..we all could use a few reminders in that area.
In addition to sessions full of learning and discussion, there are also fitness sessions at Fitbloggin (duh!). There were 4 total, but I attended 2 of them. On Friday I attended a booty burning workout thanks to Sworkit. While I’ve never had any experience with that app before, the amount of soreness I was experiencing on Saturday made it very clear to me that the app works! Saturday was the ever popular Zumba class, led by Margo aka ShesNachoMamma, and Nellie from Brooklyn Active Mama. Zumba was an amazing time!! We danced, laughed, bonded, got sweaty, and felt amazing. Anything that closes with a showtune sung by the great Liza, a kick line, and dance party is amazing in my book!
While the content was awesome, and the attendees were fantastic, I will admit that Fitbloggin 2016 left something to be desired compared to when I attended in 2014. For one, there were zero evening activities planned. I was used to evening receptions with provided meals and more opportunities to mingle, and here I was literally on my own Friday night because I didn’t feel like I had necessarily bonded with anyone enough to seek out dinner plans (my closest Fitbloggin friends all couldn’t attend this year for one reason or another), so I walked to find dinner, brought it back to the room, and hung out by myself. Could I have actively sought out some group to tag along with? Sure, but a chance for us all to be together would have been much more my style. On Saturday, the conference closed at 5:30pm, so I just decided to go home since I was only 3.5 hours away.
In addition to the lack of even activities, I’ll admit that I was very disappointed in the lack of food. If there’s one thing I know about Fitbloggin attendees it’s that we all love food, and the only food that was provided to us was yogurt parfait bars for breakfast and a few appetizers Thursday (most of us ordered our own food anyway) and at Friday’s expo. Lunches, dinners, and snacks were all provided by myself. Thank goodness for the Starbucks in the hotel lobby and the awesome cafe a short walk away. Maybe it’s just me (okay, I know it’s not just me..), but I feel like having more food provided would have just made sense. It would have been nice anyway.
My last complaint is about the sponsors and the expo. At my last Fitbloggin I felt like there were sponsors that I actually wanted to connect with, and this time around I felt a lot less so. A lot of food sponsors, but not necessarily the kind that would be considered a valuable connection for my blog personally. While I did come home with a bit of swag (mostly food) and a new love for figs (California Figs was a sponsor and we all had the chance to try them. I’d never had a fresh fig before), I just didn’t feel like the expo and sponsors were up to snuff.
While Fitbloggin 16 left me with something to be desired, I did enjoy meeting new people, making connections, and opening my mind to all of the knowledge and experience that was there for me to absorb. Oh, and since I had never been to Indy before, it was my first time seeing the city, and while I only saw a very small bit of it, I loved it. Indianapolis is a beautiful, clean, and very friendly city. Kudos to you for being awesome, Indy.