I don’t know what possessed me to search for health/wellness conferences last Wednesday afternoon, but I’m someone who has to entertain random thoughts immediately to keep them from dripping out of my ears. Turns out there was one happening in two days, just 45 minutes from my house, and apparently it’s a pretty big deal – FitSocial Conference 2013. Living in the leanest state in the union, it comes as no surprise. How did I miss this?
Of course I was too late to plan on attending the whole weekend, but was granted admission to the Local Trade Day on Friday, based on my proof that I was active in the fitness community and lived in Colorado. I was pretty excited to be given this awesome opportunity to rub shoulders with other fitness fanatics like myself, but at the same time a little apprehensive to be going alone. All of my blogging buddies are outside of my state, and many outside the U.S.
But at my age I can pretty much wing most things on my own these days, and this was to be no exception. So I announced to The Lobster my intentions of taking the 1/2 day drive-by and lined out all the particulars for care of the small person. He graciously agreed, as is his nature, and I cleared my Friday afternoon for a bigtime blogging bonanza.
Upon arrival I was given my entry badge. It had to be printed up right there due to my last-minute reservation – although they were very careful to spell my first name right, which was super thoughtful because seeing it written wrong does drive me crazy. But the coolest part was the other name – 43fitness – so legit! That was worth the price of admission. I could have taken that badge and driven home with as much satisfaction as I gleaned from the day’s worth of activities. I was absolutely beaming – I think I grew an inch as I strode through the Expo doors, knowing my little fitness website was considered relevant in the health/wellness industry.
Speaking of, the Expo was my first stop, and a great event showcasing local and healthy brands’ swag. I had the pleasure of chatting it up with reps from Attune Foods, Soybu, Love Grown and Mile High Organics. As an event attendee I scored free food and workout gear, and got to learn about how these companies were serving the community. If you aren’t familiar with them, take a look and let me know your thoughts. I was impressed with all of them, and will be providing details on Facebook this week. Unfortunately I was late due to traffic, and a few of the exhibitors, like WordPress had already gone (I did get an awesome sticker and little lapel pin at their table though – where should I put them?)
Next stop was the general session on Obesity, Health, and Physical Fitness with Dr. James O. Hill from the Anschutz Health & Wellness Center. This was an informative and very interactive talk sprinkled with a little bit of controversy. Some of the topics, such as metabolic flexibility and the demonization of sugar made for great blog fodder, and I’ll explore those with you in the near future.
After the general session we were offered a choice of three break-out sessions:
Using Social Media in Fitness and Health
- Building Your Brand and Monetizing Your Fitness Expertise – Led by Fun and Fit‘s Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA & Alexandra Williams, MA
- Blog Bootcamp: Get Your Blog in Shape in 50 Minutes with Joshua Hill & Matt LeBeau of Room 214
- Overview of Social Media: How and When to Use Twitter, Facebook, and Other Social Media Platforms with Maya Shaff & Stacey Kawakami of Room 214
Because I feel my blog is in pretty good shape, and I’m somewhat adept at using social media (except for Twitter – ugh! Still not sure if I will ever figure it out or if it’s even viable for my target market, PLEASE let me know if you care about it one way or the other) I chose the Monetizing session. Surprised? Ha ha, no you’re not. In any case, it was led by a pair of sisters hosting a fitness site by baby boomers and for baby boomers. Boy are they in the right niche at the right time! These two know their stuff, and gave some good info on working with brands, a topic I intend to research when I get an ounce of time (or an ounce of interest from any brand – hint hint).
The next breakout sessions were as follows:
Using Social Media in Fitness and Health
- SEO for Websites and Blogs with Tim Resnik from Moz (formerly SEOMoz)
- Succeeding with YouTube with Joshua Hill & Matt LeBeau of Room 214
- Creating an E-Book to Build Your Brand with Tracy Corwin & Scott French of WaveCloud
I honestly wanted to attend all of these, but because my family hasn’t figured out a way to clone me yet, I opted for the SEO. Although it was very relevant and helpful for those self-hosting, I’m still a baby blog, and in the end I’m not sure I gained as much from it since WordPress bakes such outstanding SEO into their platform. I also have to admit that I get the eye of the chicken when trying to absorb all the jargon and plug-ins and that go along with this aspect of blogging. So far I’ve been really happy with my ranking and traffic. That said, a lot of technical-ness that at this point I can do without…at least for now.
Overall FitSocial was a great experience, and I was only there for just a fraction of it. I even missed the Nature’s Path brunch that day and the yoga and HIIT workouts on either side of the content sessions. Not to mention the other two days’ worth of information, labs and demos! Most of all though, I missed hanging out with a bunch of people who are of my kind. Geeky, muscle-y types who can talk macros and meal plans all day long. Being there for only a few hours didn’t afford those connections, so next year I’m planning to really show up. If you’re a blogger and you’re reading this, I hope you will too!