25 May 2011
Descending upon Baltimore, MD this past weekend around 200 healthy living bloggers met up for the 2011 FitBloggin’ conference. Some came from Seattle like Tara of Tidbits of Tara while others drove from homes nearby, like Sana from Super Sana. Shauna of Diet Girl even flew over from Edinburgh, Scotland! On the shuttle to the hotel, FitBloggin’ had officially begun as the only other people in the van, Jess of Too Big and Mel of Mel Gets Fit were newbies to FitBloggin’ just like me.
Organized by Roni Noone, this second FitBloggin’ conference brought together seasoned healthy living bloggers with others just getting started. Over the course of two days, seminars on blogging interspersed with fitness seminars for an unforgettable experience. A conference is only as good as its people and the success of FitBloggin’ could best be defined by the comments from bloggers at the end of the conference: “I’m so glad I came.” “I’m definitely coming next year.” “I had been nervous about coming, but this was amazing!”
Attune Foods had the sincere pleasure to be a sponsor of FitBloggin’. This included hosting a breakfast of Uncle Sam cereals and Erewhon gluten free cereals on Friday morning for attendees to enjoy after running the 5K or group walking along the harbor.
Our CEO Rob, an avid runner took part in the 5K also getting a chance to meet attendees along the run, such as Attune Foods brand ambassador Anne of Fannetastic Food and Nicole of Geek Turned Athlete.
The focus and intent of pursuing healthy living through fitness defined FitBloggin’. The community embraced each other, wherever each blogger was along his or her own personal journey to healthy living. At the end of the 5K a group of attendees waited to cheer on and whoop it up for runners finishing the run. For many of them, this was their first time to run that distance and an accomplishment to be celebrated! Others walked at their own pace, enjoying the scenic views of the harbor while enjoying conversation. I joined the walkers for part of the walk and was glad to finally meet Kerri of Kat Does Diets. The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans came to the 5K decked out in tutus, which made me think of San Francisco’s own Bay to Breakers, infusing fun into the run and walk.
Shortly after the 5K, breakfast was served! Attendees helped themselves to bowls of Uncle Sam or Erewhon cereal, topping it off with fresh blueberries, strawberries and raspberries. It was encouraging to see people committed to healthy living starting their day off on a good start and even more exciting to hear from several that they already enjoy the cereals and had a chance to try something new like Cheryl from Cheryl Fairweather who regularly eats Uncle Sam but had never before tried Erewhon.
Attune Foods also hosted a casual Q&A between registered dietitian (and Attune Foods brand ambassador) Janel Ovrut of Eat Well with Janel and CEO Rob Hurlbut on “Nutrition, Digestion and how it affects Fitness.” The chat covered a broad range of topics from how to incorporate probiotics into daily use, the importance of fiber and what to eat before and after a workout. Kris of Krazy Kris contributed to the conversation asking a spirited question about the awesomeness of Greek yogurt as well. We received positive comments after the chat and really appreciated the opportunity and the questions asked.
Fitness classes followed like Kettlebells led by Lisa of Workout Mommy, trampoline fitness, zumba and resistance training. I snuck into part of the Zumba class and shimmied and danced along with those rhythmic Latin beats, laughing at myself and have a ball! Attune Foods brand ambassador Carla, the MizFit herself demonstrated ways to use resistance bands to work out the whole body and talked about how she incorporates fitness into her life in a way that brings she and her young daughter, affectionately called “The Tornado” together.
Leave it to the tech-savvy FitBloggin’ crew to try out and use new technology and test online media for real time connections. At registration, each attendee received a Poken- a small white plastic hand that they could then touch to another attendee’s Poken to get all of their contact information in a way that could easily triumph over traditional business cards. Over lunch, Katy Widrick led us in a LIVE #fitblog chat recorded via U-Stream and a great opportunity to engage other healthy living bloggers who were not able to attend but part of the larger ongoing conversation.
Carla then later that afternoon led the keynote panel in talking about “Blogging: From Hobby to Career” with esteemed panelists, Andrea Metcalf, Kelly Olexa, journalist Liz Neporent and Karla Walsh of Fitness Magazine. The common denominators between each of these panelists involved their passion for fitness and healthy living along with a lot of hard work to get to where they are now.
That evening, Susan of Foodie McBody and Paolo shared their stories of weight loss in visual stage performances. Wow! This medium was a powerful method of talking about some difficult subject matter like learning and accepting the diagnosis of diabetes or secret eating trips to Popeyes. I found myself tearing up and moved both by the sincerity of the stories and also their professional theatricality. What an interesting way to bring a healthy living blog into real life!
Day two started with too many good choices. Attune Foods brand ambassador Ryan of No More Bacon led a panel discussion with friends Josie of Yum Yucky and Jen of Prior Fat Girl on From Hobbyist to Professional: Taking Blogging to the Next Level. Then there was Attune Foods street team member Monica of Run Eat Repeat talking to newbies at breaking into healthy living blogging. I ended up in a session on How to Become a Social Media Superstar with Katy Widrick and Jess of Jess Runs. Their presentation was tight time-wise, but they managed to squeeze in a lot of topics.
I took copious notes on the sessions I attended, so leave a comment if you want me to email them to you. Gina Wright of Fitblogr walked us through how to Self-Host and everything you need to know to make the switch. I appreciated that she made her notes of the panel available on her website as the making the switch is not hard, but there are a lot of details involved. Matt from No Meat Athlete led us in a session on SEO really proving he is a bit of a ninja in that department (and a nice guy to boot).
And then there was the panel on Intuitive Eating. This discussion with panel presenters carried into multiple conversations later on. Shauna of Diet Girl talk about her method for “checking in” with herself includes a one minute timer to check in and discern whether she’s actually hungry or if there is something else going on. She, Karen C.L. Anderson, Christie Inge and Katie Heddelston talked about the importance of mindful eating. That is definitely something we can get on board with! Mindfulness is something Joanna actually covered a few months ago on the blog and something I have a sneaky suspicion might be part of next month’s posts.
The session on Blogger Responsibility led by Lisa Johnson with panelists Carla and Tina of Carrots N Cake talked quite a bit about understanding the level of influence bloggers have on their readers and the responsibility of the readers too. Both Tina and Carla commented on that what works for them may not work for others. It was an interesting dialogue between the three with insightful questions pulled from attendees in the audience. And then the final keynote led by Dr. Fitness & the Fat Guy brought to a close a weekend of fun, fitness and community.
If you’re still hanging in there, let me finally sum up FitBloggin’ for you.
It was all about the people- The community cheering each other on at the 5K – people expert in their areas and spreading the love by sharing their knowledge. As Susan of Foodie McBody said to Gail of It’s Gail – “We are all in the during phase.” And this is what is so compelling about the influence of healthy living bloggers.
One of the resounding messages coming out of the White House and out of our cities is an emphasis on addressing the current health crisis in the United States. At Attune Foods, we believe what matters most is what’s inside- this pertains also to healthy living bloggers. The role they are going to play in helping be the change in their communities and using their influence to affect positive change is one that cannot be ignored. The authentic voice, the genuine struggles and victories help anyone in a position of wanting to make a healthier lifestyle change get on board and know they are not alone. While going to a doctor to assess and prescribe for the changes ahead, people ready to join the conversation are welcome at the table and rallied on by the successes and defeats evident in the personal accounts of bloggers mentioned above and so many others, who contribute something valuable to the overall Conversation. Together, we can.
So, hats off to Roni and Carla and all the volunteers, attendees and rock stars, who made FitBloggin’ fantastic!
AnneliesCheck out my latest posts here