Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend #FitBlogNYC – Fitness Magazine’s Blogger event. This was the third year of the event and the second time I attended. Last year, I knew nobody and I was so nervous going into the event. This year? It felt like a party, reuniting – and meeting in person – so many friends and bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the last year. Fitness Magazine really knows how to put on a blogger bash, as well. This is definitely the highlight of the year for many NYC based bloggers.
First up - the food. Yup, starting with the important stuff (given that I am hungry about every two hours these days, it was wonderful to be well taken care of in the eating department!). There was a lovely spread set out for breakfast, as we all mingled before the start. Fresh fruit, gluten free pastries, juices, water and coffee, as well as fresh green juice provided by one of the sponsors, Oster Versa, who kept them coming all day.
After Fitness Editor-in-Chief Betty Wong welcomed all of us, she introduced our first speaker, personal trainer and former pro-basketballer Holly Rilinger, who spoke on The New Formula for Fitness Success.
- Exercise is not one size fits all. What works for you may not work the same for someone else. Experiment, try new things, find what it is that makes you happy and keeps you motivated – Holly believes there’s a workout out there that will suit you – you just have to find it.
- Pay attention to the way you work out. Plan it out ahead of time, so you’re not doing the really exhausting work first, leaving you unable to finish a workout.
- It’s possible to get an effective workout in 20 or 30 minutes, but when asked about the 7 minute workout popular right now, Holly replied that if you have 7 minutes for exercise, she would spend it sitting down with your calendar to work out how to add more workout time to your schedule.
- Sleep is underrated and incredibly important. The recovery aspects of sleep, like the Human Growth Hormone released during REM cycles, is as important as the workout itself.
- For fitness professionals, Holly recommends branding yourself – find the one thing you offer that no-one else can and run with it. Be authentic – people are drawn to authenticity.
Next up was Dr. Marci A. Goolsby, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. The HSS is really involved with New York Road Runners and Dr. Goolsby was speaking about extreme athletic pursuits and training, like CrossFit, marathons and mud runs, so I was looking forward to hearing her speak. She didn’t disappoint.
- Workouts aren’t inherently dangerous. It’s whether the workout is a good fit for you and your body, as well as how quickly and intelligently you get into the workout that can make it dangerous.
- The biggest problems that lead to injury in the majority of Dr. Goolsby’s athlete patients are inappropriate training progression (i.e. too much, too soon); lack of strength training (preaching to the choir with me on that point!); and not adjusting nutrition for the amount of exercise being done.
- For avoiding DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), Dr. Goolsby’s number one advice was to keep moving during recovery – right away after your workout, then try to keep moving throughout the day.
- Female-specific issues that are very common include lack of bladder control (not dangerous, but frustrating), and amenorreah, or loss of menstruation. Amenorreah, while common in female athletes, is not normal. Dr. Goolsby advises seeing your doctor as soon as you notice this happening. Not only can it affect fertility, if it’s due in part to inappropriate nutrition for how you’re working out, it can also develop into a form of disordered eating.
- Pay attention to symptoms of overtraining. These include your heart rate increasing during rest and exercise, your immune system breaking down (catching all of the bugs), poor sleep, a higher rate of perceived exertion during exercise (i.e. a workout feeling harder than it should), or amenorreah.
- Dr. Goolsby is a huge fan of working out during pregnancy (woo hoo!), saying it’s fantastic for mama, baby, delivery and recovery.
The morning sessions wrapped up with the hysterical Carla Hall, a former Top Chef competitor and a host on The Chew. Carla was such an entertaining speaker, making us laugh while sharing some awesome tips on healthy cooking.
- Carla’s philosophy is to cook with love. If you’re in a bad mood, the only thing you should be making is a dinner reservation.
- Spices are your secret weapon. If you can only cook one protein well, but you learn 18 different spice combinations that can be used in a sauce, as a rub, for a marinade etc, then suddenly you have 18 dishes you’re able to cook.
- Don’t be afraid to mix cultures with ingredients and technique. For example, making an Italian pesto with a Southern staple, collards.
- Carla’s must-have kitchen equipment for healthy cooking include a non-stick skillet, so you use less oil; a baking pan with a rack so you can ‘oven fry’ instead of deep frying foods; and measuring oil rather than free pouring.
- Don’t fear fat! Leave some fat, or add some in, or your dish won’t be satisfying and you’ll end up eating more overall.
Once the morning sessions were over, I was STARVING again (surprise!) so I was so happy to find an amazing lunch spread for us:
During the break, we had a chance to visit with all the awesome sponsors with booths at the event, all of whom were SO generous to us. Seriously generous – check out the gift bag we all left with:
The sponsors included Balance Bar, Dermalogica, Eddie Bauer, Hoka One One, Luna, Oster Versa, Pure Protein, Tonalin and Tria. There were so many other companies who included gifts in our bag, including Reebok, Sparkly Soul, Erica Sara Designs (I met Erica in person at the event and she is lovely), Vega and so many more. Erica Sara is offering a 15% discount with the code FIT15 – use it! Her jewelry is SO pretty, you will love it.
And here’s what made it such an awesome day – all my lovely ladies! I caught up with friends I’ve met in real life before and met some favorite bloggers for the first time in person, too. One woman working at a sponsor booth remarked that we were all so friendly with each other and excited to hang out and it’s so true – we get to know each other so well through our blogs, that when we meet in person, it’s like reuniting with an old friend.
The final session of the day was the blogging panel discussion on making your brand your business, with Instagram star Laura Sykora (I love following her incredible photos on Instagram), Bianca Jade, aka MizzFit (who was a great speaker), and RD Anne Mauney, aka fANNEtastic Food.
I could just write the takeaway was to Be Authentic (which is I think something every single speaker of the day mentioned as well), but there were lots of amazing tips and advice shared with us.
- Bianca: Emulate bloggers you love. Don’t copy, but build your own unique voice around concepts you love in other blogs.
- Anne: Just jump in, then refine as you go. It doesn’t have to be perfect when you start out – it’s an ongoing, changing medium.
- Laura: Don’t let your ego get in the way. Not everyone is going to like you, so just accept that and keep being yourself – you’ll attract the people who do appreciate what you’re doing.
- Bianca: Work with other bloggers, collaborate and network, don’t compete. Blogging can be such a strong community and help you to build your brand as well.
- In terms of working with brands, all three speakers advised only forming relationships or agreeing to work with brands that make sense for you and your blog. If it’s not the right fit, or you’re doing it for money with no passion, then your blogging voice will reflect that and your readers can tell (and are turned off).
- Bianca: If you don’t know how to do something, you can learn it, even if it’s simply through googling. And remember, your mistakes help you become better at your craft.
I’m so grateful to Fitness Magazine for inviting me to this event and to all the sponsors for the amazing products we received (there will be lots of mini-reviews coming up as I try everything out!). It was so inspiring to hear some amazing women share their expertise and it’s always wonderful to see blogging friends in person.
Bloggers, have you met other bloggers in real life?
What’s the best work event you’ve attended?