Highlights from the 2018 IDEA World Fitness Convention and BlogFest

Sharing all about what I learned at this year’s IDEA World Fitness Convention and BlogFest in San Diego.

This was my third time attending IDEA World Fitness Convention and BlogFest, and as usual, I came away truly inspired. 

2018 IDEA World Fitness Convention and BlogFest

IDEA World Fitness Convention is the largest fitness convention of the year, welcoming more than 14,000 fitness professionals from around the globe. Everyone comes together in one place for a few days to attend workshops, try new workouts, connect, share and learn from each other. And you get to wear a super-cool name-badge and wristband every day too. 

Ashley Pitt at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

My outfit is from Fabletics, and here are my shoes.

I went into this year’s event excited to hang out with like-minded folks (and be baby-free during the daytimes for long stretches), soak up some practical information to support my teaching and training and pick up new tips and tricks for blogging and social media from the BlogFest portion. However, what I really walked away with this year was motivation and a much clearer point of view for what I should be focusing on moving forward. Pretty big stuff, right?

Let’s break it down …

IDEA World Fitness Convention Expo

The expo is part of the convention each year and is always super fun to peruse. It’s a massive room full of vendors sampling their latest and greatest products, mini workout showcases, fitness equipment demos and so much more. It could take you all day long to make it through the expo and feel like you spent enough time in each area, and I split it up by visiting it each of the three days for about an hour each time, and I didn’t hit everything.

This year, the food sampling was all relegated to one “nutrition” part of the room, which was helpful, because sampling new protein bars, beverages and mostly healthy food is my favorite activity. Anyone else? And yes, it’s all free, unless you choose to buy full-sized products, which are sold at a discount. 

Expo at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

LaCroix had a cute booth with little trampolines for pictures, which was fun. I loved picking up a hard-boiled egg on a stick from Eggland’s Best and was very happy to get some pitted medjool dates in a jar too from Natural Delights. I tried powdered peanut butter, which was pretty good (not like the real thing though), and I also tried flavored Topo Chico water. I’ve seen Topo Chico water all over Instagram and wasn’t crazy about the original version, but the grapefruit flavor was so refreshing, I absolutely loved it, and you may have seen it make an appearance in my latest edition of favorites too.

As far as the trends on what I saw … There are definitely a lot more herbs and herbal supplement-based products. Nearly everything has added protein. And convenience is key. There are always a lot of bar companies, and this year, I saw quinoa-in-a-cup, pre-made pouches of cauliflower rice and sweet potato rice, and a lot of ready-made protein drinks as well. 

When it comes to fitness equipment, people seemed to be excited about a souped-up stair-stepper for stepping classes, top-of-the-line water-rower classes and also a lot of all-in-one contraptions that provide resistance for solo workouts or group sessions. I tried one of the curved treadmills, and that thing was hard. I also got to try a Theragun massage tool, which provided pretty firm vibration, and it was a major treat for my sore muscles on my last day, and I really want one of my own.

Basically, trying new fitness things is always a good time, whether you end up a fan or not. 

Ashley trying Frog Fitness at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

IDEA World Fitness BlogFest

I spent the majority of the first two days with more than 150 fellow bloggers and social media influencers in an off-shoot conference called BlogFest, and we did some workouts and had sessions with speakers. This year, I didn’t know as many people as I have in the past, but that’s totally okay.

The ladies who put together the BlogFest event, Jamie, Alyse and Liz are just the sweetest, and they work so hard. Love them! They also gave us food …

Ashley breakfast bowl at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

Here were the highlights from BlogFest ..

  • Petra Kolber gave a refreshing opening workshop on saying goodbye to perfectionism (striving to be perfect sucks the joy out of life). She shared so many inspiring quotes and messages about learning to be the REAL you. I loved it, and I do expect this theme of ridding yourself of the notion of perfect to be even more present on the blog in the future, as it has already been making appearances. Petra has a book coming out soon, and I may buy it. More details on that if I do.
  • Heidi Powell gave a super casual and laid-back conversational keynote all about her story. Basically, she is natural born “fixer” and after dealing with an eating disorder and a divorce, she met her now husband and co-host, Chris Powell, and they teamed up to help people on a larger scale through the show “Extreme Weight Loss,” which I’ve never watched. Heidi is a mom and a businesswoman and tries to lift everyone up. She was friendly and oh-so-pretty in person too, which I saw up close when I got to take a picture with her and Chris …

Ashley Pitt with Powells at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

  • Chantal Brodrick, the creator of the Fitness Business Podcast (which I’ve never listened to, but now think that I should), told us exactly how to start a podcast. I must admit, starting a podcast is a dream of mine, but one that I keep putting on the back-burner. Maybe one day! The funny thing is that Chantal had lost her voice, so she actually had a proxy give her presentation and she sat there and nodded along enthusiastically. 
  • Natalie Jill spoke to us about how she transformed her life after hitting rock bottom, and then she also spoke about how to stay true to your personal brand. She also taught a bodyweight workout, which was pretty good. I had seen Natalie Jill before, and I love that she isn’t shy to say she is 46-years-old and still fabulous and really didn’t turn her life around until 40. It’s never too late. She seems to really keep it real. I like that.

Ashley outside at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

My outfit is from Fabletics, and here are my incredibly comfy shoes, which are way better for walking/athleisure/running than for lateral exercise.

Best workouts from IDEA World Fitness Convention 2018

I tried a few new-to-me workouts …

  • Strong by Zumba. Although I only did a 15-minute demo of Strong by Zumba, which was only the standing portion of the class, I enjoyed it and believe the choreography is innovative. The instructor of the day was amazing too, and I really liked how the movements were so fierce and timed with the music perfectly. I had no idea that Strong by Zumba was actually martial-arts inspired and not dance-y in the slightest, and I liked that. I’m not into kickboxing or combat-type workouts at all, but they challenge me, so I was glad to do this one. It definitely wasn’t what I expected, and it’s not something I would teach or take regularly, but if you like martial arts, it’s for you.
  • Bbarreless. You guys know I teach Bootybarre (read my class review of Bootybarre here), so I was eager to try Bbarreless, the barre-less version of Bootybarre, by the same creator. The demo class I did had some pretty bad music, but the moves were good. The resistance portion of the class features a long theraband, and I loved the way it felt on the body with some isometric exercises for the upper and lower body. Bbarreless was a little more dance-y and aerobics-like in the beginning compared to Bootybarre, but it was fun. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it, and would certainly prefer a full Bootybarre class instead. I don’t see this format doing well at the gyms where I teach either, so I think Bootybarre is better suited. 
  • Beat Drop at the Barre. One of the workout/educational sessions I took was by Lauren George, an absolutely adorable barre instructor who taught us how to choreograph barre classes to the beat of popular music instead of fitness-remixed music. I often use fitness-remixed music for my barre classes in order to keep a consistent BPM (beats per minute), so I loved to see how Lauren created a different vibe with her choreography framework. She then taught us perhaps one of the best barre classes I’ve ever taken, which I believe may have been inspired by the Barre Above program, which Lauren helped create. I loved her teaching style and will totally be taking some of her tips for my own classes moving forward. For instance, her motto for coaching a class: “Set up, get them moving, give 2-3 cues on form, sandwich the progressions and regressions, educate on the purpose of the exercise, then motivate.” Well said and nice and simple. Oh and she called our backsides “cupcakes,” which was somehow cute and not cheesy at all. Loved it.

Barre class tools at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

Ashley and Lauren George at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

Post-barre workout shot and how cute is Lauren George, who taught the session? 

  • IDEA World Mega Circuit. While this isn’t exactly a brand name of a workout, the IDEA World Mega Circuit was my FAVORITE workout of the whole event, and it took place in the big expo hall. There were about a dozen stations and you spent six minutes at each station. Each station featured new and up-coming fitness equipment with little challenges. There were bikes that lean from side to side (so much work on the core), water-filled plastic kettlebells (feels awesome), contraptions with resistance bands and so much more. I only completed seven stations and was completely spent after the fact. I wish I had had the time to go back and do more.

IDEA World Fitness workshops

On my last day at IDEA, I attended just the fitness portion and found these two sessions so valuable …

  • How to ignite your warm-ups. I absolutely loved this session from Brett Klika (who was once the IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year) all about igniting the warm-up process for your clients and class members. It’s so much more than getting the body moving, but getting the mind in the right space for exercise too and leaving behind the toxicity of the external world. Brett had us play games, do new-to-us movements, trick our minds into changing focus and get out of our comfort zones in order to be primed and prepped for a workout. He was an awesome presenter, and I got so much out of this session. I also loved that it was my first of the morning and so it woke me up in all the right ways. I really hope to take some of his tips and put them into action. Three cheers for amazing professionals like this guy.
  • The female body. The actual title of this session was “The Female Lumbo Pelvic Hip Complex,” which I thought may be a bit wordy for you, but basically this one was all about how to handle the woman’s changing body through pregnancy and menopause, while continuing to exercise. The presenter was Farel Hruska, and she was super knowledgable. We focused on how to stabilize and mobilize the greater core area and even tried some exercises with a partner, most of which were standing (the preferred way to work the core for a pregnant woman). The big takeaway — moms are athletes! Amen! Basically, women’s bodies are amazing (they change WAY more throughout life than men’s bodies) and we need to learn to take up more space with better posture, rolled-back shoulders and a proud chest. We also need to be patient with our postpartum bodies and focus on strengthening the core via proper breathing and keeping core tension, rather than silly crunches. Oh and do your kegels! We did them in class, of course.

Blog friends at IDEA 2018 by A Lady Goes West

The very best part, of course, is seeing old friends and making new ones. Giselle, Betsey, me, Gina and Tara.

While it’s hard to sum up a three-day event in just one post, these were the highlights. I did attend and sit through a few sessions that I was not a fan of, and those didn’t make this recap. As always, I walked away more knowledgable and full of inspiration that I plan to use on the blog and in-person with the members I touch in my gyms. Let me know if any of this sounds interesting and you want a deeper dive.

Thanks for reading, my friends! Have a fabulous day!

See previous IDEA World posts here:

By the way, I saved all of my videos from IDEA this year in an Instagram story highlight on my profile, so you can go back and watch all the action if you’d like.

Highlights from 2018 IDEA World Fitness Convention on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet

Questions of the day

What’s something you learned lately?

What workout do you most want to try?

How do you warm up or get ready for your workouts?

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20 Comments

  1. I’m gonna be there next year! I just HAVE to make it happen.

    And I’m not much of a podcast listener at all. But I would totally listen to yours.

    Thanks for the recap. Xoxo.

    1. Hi Courtney! Yes, the event will be around the same time in June next year back in LA/Anaheim — so start your planning! 🙂 Happy Monday, my friend!

  2. Ahhh so so fun!! Sounds like a blast. I’ve been following Lauren on Instagram for so long and her teaching style looks really awesome, I bet it was fun to learn from her! Now that I’m finally settled and want to get back to blogging and fitness stuff I’m planning on attending next year!!

    1. Hi Marielle! I don’t know how I hadn’t heard of Lauren before, but she was fast-paced, with moves that were pretty easy to set up, but quite effective. I hate it when a move takes like 5 years to set up in a barre class hehehe. 🙂 And YES, I hope you make it next year!

  3. That sounds like such a fun event! Is it open to anyone who purchases a ticket? It’s awesome to be able to try out all the new trends and just learn from other fitness professionals!

    Definitely learned how my gait may be having issues with my running but yoga is helping me find space and run better!

    1. Hi Virjinia! The BlogFest is FREEEEE as long as you apply and are accepted. If you just go to IDEA World, the fitness portion, you can buy a ticket, and it’s quite expensive. Hope you can try and go next year in LA. And how cool you learned about your gait. So important!

  4. Hey Ashley, what a great experience you had. Will you change your music for your barre classes? The music does have a great effect on the members. I do Les Mills RPM spin classes and free style classes. I found the free style instructors have an advantage being able to select their music. When I attended conferences for teaching or coaching I left excited with all the new ideas I picked up. Couldn’t wait to use them in practice.

    1. Hi Richard! Yes, I love getting new ideas from conferences and using them in practice. I may toy with my music selection a bit for Bootybarre, but of course, can’t change the Les Mills stuff. It’s both good an bad, because it’s easier to prepare for class when you don’t have to select music, but it’s harder to make it your own if the music is provided. I like having it both ways with some Les Mills classes and some freestyle barre! 🙂

    1. Hi Vanessa! I know, we are spoiled here on the West Coast with all of our activities and the IDEA World and BlogFest! Makes a good reason for a visit though! Hope you get to make it one day! 🙂

  5. I will always think so fondly of IDEAWorld and Blogfest. I always had so much fun and learned so much! I don’t think that Emmie would be the best plus one, though 😀

    1. Oh no! I would NOT wanted to have to have Brady with me. In fact, I don’t think it’s the best scene to have a little one with you — that’s why I was so happy he could stay with Dave’s parents. Maybe you can make the getaway next year and go solo!

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