3 Unlikely Lessons Learned at the Shine Influencer Event at IDEA World Fitness Convention

Every year I attend the world’s largest fitness convention: IDEA World convention. It’s an opportunity to earn continuing education credits for my fitness certifications, keep up with the latest research and trends, network with other fit pros, and soak up a yearly dose of inspiration.

The conference extends over four days and offers education on nearly every fitness-related topic from nutrition, coaching, exercise programming to marketing, and just about everything in between— taught in-person by the industry’s most successful and influential leaders.

IDEA World convention welcome at the Anaheim convention center.

IDEA World convention welcome at the Anaheim convention center.

I packed my bags for Anaheim, California prepared for another year of learning, growth, and motivation, but things were going to be a little different this year, and it made me a bit uncomfortable.

In the end, I learned about coaching, nutrition, exercise technique, how to grow an online business, and make more money blogging, but the three biggest lessons were the most unlikely for a fitness convention.


For the last four years, I attended the IDEA World conference with Fit Approach’s Blogfest. Blogfest was a smaller blogging convention within the big convention. We attended separate seminars as a team on blogging and social networking topics. We were a tight-knit group that grew closer and more engaged as a community each year.

(see my BlogFest recap from last year to learn more)

Some familiar BlogFest faces at the IDEA World Shine event.

Some familiar BlogFest faces at the IDEA World Shine event.

The first year I attended Blogfest in 2015, I didn’t know any of the other bloggers IRL (in real life, as the kids say). Each year my circle of fitness blogger friends grew, and Blogfest became my annual reunion of old friends, adding new ones each year. (Quite an impressive feat for this self-proclaimed introvert.) These are my people. We are all bloggers, trainers, runners, and fitness enthusiasts with a dedication for sharing our passion with the world.

We learned late last year that BlogFest was not continuing in its current format at the IDEA World convention for 2019. Blogfest was evolving into a summer camp-style weekend of learning and workouts in Michigan, and the IDEA fitness convention would take over running the blogger portion of the conference. They renamed it Shine— an influencer event.

Shine was an invite-only event, and it seemed that a majority of my Blogfest friends did not receive an invitation. While I felt honored to be invited to this exclusive event, I was worried that without my usual friends to lean on, I would struggle to connect with people (you know, your standard introvert issues).

I focused on the fact that change is good. It’s smart for Fit Approach to try a fresh approach (nailed it) with a summer camp-style retreat on the east coast, and it’s excellent for IDEA to evolve their influencer event in California. If we don’t change, we get stagnant. Change can feel scary because we get comfortable in the known, but no one grows while feeling comfortable. These are the words I told myself, going into this brand new experience, that proved to be true.


Sometimes I forget that exercise can be extremely uncomfortable for people. I don’t mean uncomfortable because you are breathing heavy with burning muscles, although that’s a part of it. I mean it’s uncomfortable because it’s different, because it’s not the routine, because it’s new.

I like to work out. I want to push myself. I like to sweat. I know this is not the norm, and sometimes I lose the connection of how hard it can be for some people to show up. The workout might be challenging, but for certain clients, the biggest challenge is showing up in the first place.

Showing up at Shine was uncomfortable because I didn’t know what to expect. It reconnected me to the feeling, and I realized that I don’t push myself outside of my comfort zone enough.

Of course, once I arrived, there were a few familiar faces and a lot of friendly new faces. It reminds me that it’s alright to feel awkward and to do it anyway, and that pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone usually pays off with growth, and maybe some new friends.

Sadie Nardini at the Shine Event teaching us about building an online studio and community.

Sadie Nardini at the Shine Event teaching us about building an online studio and community.

Here’s a link to Sadie Nardini’s talk at Shine: 3 Steps to Create An Amazing Online Subscription Studio


I have to admit; it was tempting to judge the new event against the old one. Most of my friends weren’t there, it wasn’t structured the same way, and the educational seminars were different. I could cry that I wanted my old event back, but that’s not productive.

I went into it with an open mind and an open heart and leaned into the discomfort. What could I give here? What can I receive? Different isn’t bad; it just is different. I had to learn not to judge this new experience against my old ones, lest I ruin a perfectly great experience by wanting it to be something it’s not.

Of course, a new event in its first year is not going to have the same deep sense of community as an online one that has been in place for a decade, but I made new friends, connected with new brands, tried new workouts, and experienced new products. You know what? It was fun! I learned a lot and enjoyed a fantastically organized event.

I am honored to have been invited and grateful for the experience. I worked hard to stay present and engaged with every event on the calendar, to get the most out of my time with my fellow fitness influencers. Different is good. Different equals growth.

I’ve been home for a week, and my mind is still spinning from all I’ve done and learned, and I am still trying to put it together in a cohesive way. I’ll be following up with more about the workouts, the sponsors, and the education, but I wanted to get these thoughts out, as sometimes you learn the most critical lessons in the most unlikely places.

Thank you Shine for the invite, for the fun event, and to the sponsors for making it possible. It paid off to push outside my comfort zone and try something new. I learned a lot in the sessions, but I learned more about myself in process.

Am I having fun…or what?

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The future’s shining so bright; I gotta wear shades.

The future’s shining so bright; I gotta wear shades.

Questions? I’d love to help.

Coach Lea

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