Welcome to the latest edition of Lea's Beans where I take a short break from my regular fitness articles and share a little about what's going on in my real life (IRL as the kids say).
I just got home from BlogFest and the IDEA World fitness convention in beautiful San Diego. IDEA World is the largest fitness industry event of the year. I love to attend each year to earn the continuing education credits that I need to renew my fitness certifications, to learn and grow, and to stay up to date on changes in the industry.
BlogFest is the best-kept secret inside of the IDEA World Convention. It's an intimate two-day gathering of fitness bloggers, social media influencers, and fitness professionals within the larger convention. It has all the education, speakers, fitness professionals and celebrities as IDEA World, but it has something special that even the big convention can't touch...community: Women supporting women.
I fancy myself as an introvert. It doesn't mean that I hate people or that I'm shy or that I am scared of talking to people. (If that were true I'd be a terrible trainer!) It's that I have no interest in meaningless small talk with strangers, I love spending quality time with close friends, I enjoy one-on-one connections usually more than big groups and I recharge by reading, writing, and arithmetic (just kidding about that last one, I'm terrible at math). Introverts make the best bloggers because we get to express ourselves to the world without actually having to interact with it in person (jokes!).
My friends and family are supportive of what I do in their way, even if they don't understand it, but the ladies I meet at BlogFest are just like me. They get me. They are me. They are fitness bloggers, trainers, instructors, enthusiasts, influencers, runners, weightlifters, friends, sisters, and daughters. After four years of attending BlogFest, the event doesn't feel like a convention anymore, but an annual gathering of friends... and every year that circle of friends gets a little bigger.
My head and my heart are full. I feel a mix of overwhelm and excitement. The conference has a way of opening up my eyes and reminding me of my potential. It's my annual recharge to reassure myself that all my efforts in my fitness business, my blog, my clients, and my side hustles are all worth it. It gives me the encouragement that I'm not in this alone, that my fears, my insecurities, and my mistakes aren't unique, that they are all human struggles. That everyone, from the celebrity fitness trainer to the newbie blogger is cut from the same human cloth. BlogFest reminds me that we're all in this together, that a rising tide lifts all boats.
There is no way I can even begin to share all that I learned, all the people, all the speakers, all the brands, all the sponsors, or all the workouts. I could never express it in the same way as experiencing it. Instead, I decided to give my unofficial and unauthorized Lea Genders Fitness BlogFest awards to highlight my favorite parts of the weekend.
THE LEA GENDERS FITNESS UNOFFICIAL AND UNAUTHORIZED BLOGFEST AWARDS!
THE AWARD FOR THE BEST WORKOUT USING COCONUTS GOES TO...
Fit Bodies, Inc Out of the Gym and Onto the Beach Workout.
Fit Bodies, Inc sends fitness professionals to resorts to teach classes on the beach. They wanted us to learn more about their business, but since the beach wasn't in the hotel convention hall, they brought the beach to us with a fun a beach-themed workout using coconuts as weights.
THE AWARD FOR THE WORKOUT THAT SOUNDS EASY BUT WAS FROGGIN' HARD GOES TO...
FROG FITNESS FULL FROG BODY SLAM WORKOUT
Frog Fitness sounded easy. How hard do frogs work? Super hard. It's a full body workout that pushed me way out of my comfort zone. The Frog Fit equipment will kick your ass vertically and horizontally.
THE AWARD FOR THE SWEETEST FITNESS CELEBRITY WITH THE BIGGEST BICEPS GOES TO...
Heidi Powell from the show "Extreme Weight Loss" gave the BlogFest keynote speech. She is sweet, inspiring, beautiful and bicep-y. (That's a word, right?) It was the highlight of my week to hear her message of empowerment and hug her afterward. She and her husband, Chris Powell, won the IDEA Jack LaLanne Award at the 2018 IDEA World Convention opening ceremonies. Christine from Run Out of the Box wrote a fantastic detailed summary of her speech, it's worth a click over to check it out. (I was never good at taking notes in school either.)
THE AWARD FOR SHARING THE QUOTE I NEEDED TO HEAR MOST GOES TO...
PETRA KOLBER THE PERFECTION DETOX: TAME YOUR INNER CRITIC, LIVE BRAVELY AND UNLEASH YOUR JOY
Perfection detox seemed to be an unofficial theme throughout BlogFest and the IDEA World convention: Be authentic, You're enough, Be unapologetically you. I heard it over and over again throughout the week. Maybe it's a sign of a positive mindset shift in the industry.
THE AWARD FOR THE BEST FOURTH ANNUAL CHARLIE'S ANGELS POSE GOES TO...
Every year Briana, Elizabeth and I get together for our annual BlogFest Charlie's Angels Pose. We celebrated Briana's 21(ish) birthday for an extra special night. I am already counting down the days to do it again next year in Anaheim.
THE AWARD FOR THE BEST WEATHER GOES TO...
SAN DIEGO, CA
I ran my fastest mile of 2018 on the #runstreak in San Diego along the harbor. It's amazing how my lungs respond positively to cool air and low humidity. It's triple-digit temperatures again in Fort Worth today, so I stand by my belief that the San Diego weather deserves its own award.
THE AWARD FOR GIVING ME A KICK IN MY PANTS TO TAKE SOME ACTION GOES TO...
Beth gave me a copy of her Blogger to Author book and I'm doing it, Y'all.
(Side note: I live in Texas but I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. I never say y'all unless I'm really excited.) Stay tuned for my book. This $hit is happening.
THE AWARD FOR THE BEST SPONSOR GOES TO...
ALL OF THEM!
I can't choose! I can't thank the sponsors enough. Did you know BlogFest is free to attend? Yes! You only have to apply, promise to show up, and pay for your travel and accommodations. It is all made possible by the fantastic sponsors of our event. I am grateful for their support that allows me the opportunity to connect with these inspiring ladies each year.
What an incredible #blogfest2018 everyone! Thank you all for being there. We’ll be posting all the recap photos, but first let’s look at THIS SWAG! Thank you to all our amazing sponsors - we really wouldn’t be here with out you! @californiaalmonds @tp_therapy @dairygood @bell.institute @beingbettermatters @fitbodiesinc @trainfrogfit @lacroixwater @jimmybars @kettlegryp @resyncsupplements @greatlakesgelatin @haikubags #ownyoureveryday #tpxblogfest #undeniablydairy #mybreakfaststory #bebetter #trainfrogfit #teachonthebeach #getagryp #resync #lifewithglg #fitwithglg #livelacroix #haikuatblogfest #getjimmywithit #blogfest #ideaworld #sweatpink
THE AWARD FOR THE BEST ORGANIZERS OF A CONVENTION THAT EMPOWERS WOMEN AND THAT'S INCREDIBLY INCLUSIVE AND A TON OF FUN GOES TO...
The Ladies of Sweat Pink/Fit Approach
I am so grateful for all you do. I know it's a lot of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears to pull this off year after year. Thanks to the ladies on the front line and those behind the scenes. We missed you, Alyse! This was the best BlogFest yet! Let the countdown begin for next year!
Thanks to everyone who made the event meaningful: the hosts, the sponsors, the speakers, and the other attendees. I began to attempt to list every person who made this special for me, but the list became ridiculously long. Know that if we shared a chat, a meal, a workout, a hug, a table or a walk between the hotel and convention center, you made a significant positive impact on me and my experience.
Did I miss anything? Were you there? Would you like to go next year? Have you ever been to a convention like this one, that was actually fun? Are we following each other on Instagram yet?
You know how those other girls do beautiful #yogaposes on the beach? Well, this is what I do. 😂 if I’ve learned ANYTHING this weekend it’s to show up as authentic as possible and what I do is always enough, even when (especially when) it’s not perfect. You’ll never see perfectly posed images from me but you will see silly excitement from a girl who loves the beach ❤️ #fortworthtrainer #sandiego #blogfest #ideaworld #oceanbeach #sweatpink #fitnessblogger #progressnotperfection #goodenough #beachlife (📷 @micheleoldani)
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