What I learned about fitness at IDEA World

Greetings, friends! Wow, I feel like I’ve hardly sat down to breathe in several days. Last week, I was busy preparing for my BODYATTACK 89 launch, working and getting ready for my trip to LA for IDEA BlogFest and IDEA World Fitness Convention. Then once I arrived in LA, things were go-go-go from early morning until late at night. I got back to the Bay Area on Sunday afternoon, unpacked, tried to catch up with some work and was up early yesterday to join Dave and his company on a family outing to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.

While all of these activities have been fun, they’ve also left me a little bit tired, to say the least. But I’m back in action this morning in my regular routine. I’m coaching some classes at Orangetheory Fitness, working and hopefully starting to learn BODYPUMP 94, so that I can teach it for the first time on Thursday.

That being said, I’m enjoying this time to think about all that I learned during during the conferences. I’d love to share everything immediately, but I’m planning to space it out and give you the fitness, nutrition and blogging topics little-by-little. Make sure you check out my highlights from the LA trip here as well. Today, it’s all about fitness …

What I learned about fitness at IDEA BlogFest and IDEA World Fitness Convention via A Lady Goes West

For four days, I attended blogging sessions, fitness sessions and new workouts as well as walked a huge expo hall with tons of companies exhibiting the latest and greatest. Here are some of the things I picked up …

  • There is no shortage of fitness-related equipment out there. While walking the massive IDEA World Fitness expo hall in the Los Angeles Convention Center, I saw vibrating wobble boards, surf boards, BOSU trainers, resistance bands, drumsticks and so much more, all designed to kick up your workouts with a little flare. Do we need all of this stuff to get fit? No, but it’s cool that it’s out there.
  • Dance is in. While I’m not all that into dance as a workout, many people are, and it seems to be a trend that is here to stay. Zumba is still alive and kicking, and I thoroughly enjoyed the up-close class I participated in taught by the founder, Beto. I hadn’t been super excited about the class, but ended up having one of the most fun sweat sessions ever, moving and grooving with my fellow healthy-living blogger friends. In addition to Zumba, a few other programs I saw featured in the expo included WERQBootybarre, Bombay Jam, BollyX, U-Jam and Rizzmic All-American Dance Fitness. Although I’m not familiar with most of them, I certainly appreciate the fact that they are available and will hopefully get more people moving and living an active life.
  • Back pain is treatable. Did you know that nearly 80 percent of the back pain that people experience is merely due to tightness in their bodies and muscle imbalances? In a “Healthy Back Yoga” session put on by Linda Webster on the last day of the convention, I learned about the many causes of back pain and how yoga can alleviate them all. Most people with back pain have tight or weak spines, shoulders, cores and hips, which can be fixed with the stretching and strengthening of a few simples yoga poses performed slowly with proper breathing. 
  • TRX is an incredible modality, which can be used to teach advanced exercises off the straps. While attending a “TRX Multimodality Circuits” lecture and workshop, I was not only put through a pretty intense 45-minute workout using the TRX and various equipment, but I also learned how the TRX can help athletes and regular people learn the skills and strength they need to perform challenging ballistic, plyometric and explosive moves with battle ropes, kettlebells and more. Perhaps the best quote from the TRX session? “If you chase the plank in any movement, the movement will come.” So true! Get into that perfect plank, squeeze the thighs, squeeze the glutes, tighten up the core, and you’re ready to tackle a full workout.
  • When it comes to foam rolling, the bend is key. While I think I’ve got a good handle on foam rolling, I attended a “Roll, Regenerate, Revitalize” session that showed me a new tip to get deeper into the muscles by bending the legs and ankles while working on the lower-body once you’ve hit a pressure point. The sequence was “Roll. Pin. Bend.” — as in slowly roll the area, find the big pressure ball, hold it there for a minute, and then bend the knees or ankles to work into the tissue. Good stuff.

TRX multimodality circuit workout at IDEA World Fitness Convention via A Lady Goes WestIn the first session of the day on Saturday, Heather and I worked as partners for a TRX circuit workout. One of us went hard for 40 seconds, while the other rested. It was killer!

In addition to the lectures, workshops and time in the expo hall, I was lucky enough to learn while trying new workouts from a couple of celebrity trainers …

Gaby Reece’s BlogFest keynote and a tough HIGHX workout

During the second day of IDEA BlogFest, we heard from Gabrielle Reece, former volleyball Olympian and model. As a former athlete, Gabby continues to be active today six-days-a-week and has launched a fitness program, called HIGHX

HIGHX came about as Gabby was living in Kauai for half of the year, and the gym was closed down. She began putting together workouts with various equipment for friends at a community center, and the group grew and grew. Today, Gabby is in the process of sharing HIGHX and this group-training circuit program far-and-wide to get more people exposed to it.

Taking Gabby Reece HIGHX workout at IDEA BlogFest via A Lady Goes WestAt 6’3″, Gabby has a pretty commanding presence. She was injured that day, so she used an assistant to demonstrate all of the moves in each circuit we were about to perform. We spent three minutes at each station, using kettlebells, resistance bands, ab rollers, our bodyweight, ladders and even more to work the body in all directions. 

Some of the takeaways from Gabby’s talk …

  • You don’t have to be hardcore about fitness all the time. There’s a shelf-life for hardcore. Strive for regular workouts that are doable.
  • Put people of all ages together in workouts, because they can learn from each other.
  • The fitness world is moving toward functional training. How can we all move better and be more functional? That’s the way we’re headed.
  • She said, “In life, we all have high cards and low cards. If you learn how to play those high cards, you have the opportunity to make something happen.” Great quote!
  • Fitness is better with others. Just like you need friends in your life, you also need a fitness community to support you and hold you accountable.

I enjoyed listening to Gabby and taking her workout.

Jillian Michaels’ BODYSHRED packs a punch

I also got a chance to try out Jillian Michaels’ new 30-minute workout program, BODYSHRED, which included simple moves, done for 30 seconds and repeated twice. While you’re supposed to have a set of light hand-weights, we were given water bottles to serve as a little bit of resistance …

Jillian Michaels BODYSHRED workout at IDEA BlogFestThanks to a special media area, a few of us bloggers were able to get up nice-and-close to the stage to hear Jillian Michaels scream and drive the 600-person class through the intense workout. She likes to use colorful language to motivate, if you know what I mean.

There were some tough new-to-me moves like ninja burpees, fancy push-ups and super-tough donkey kicks and more. I went as hard as I could, but there were so many people packed into the room, that it was pretty difficult to get enough space to safely perform the bigger moves full out, but we all still felt the burn.

Both HIGHX and BODYSHRED focused on short intense bursts of work, followed by complementary moves designed to get the heart-rate up and challenge the body. They were both equally tough, and I’d love to do them again, as well as incorporate some of the exercises into my own routine. 

IDEA BlogFest and Fitness Convention snapshots via A Lady Goes WestJust a few more scenes from IDEA including a painful foam rolling session, a partner workout and meeting Beto, the incredibly successful founder of the Zumba, who has an amazing story in which he initially came to America with less than $50, no English and a love of dance.

There you have it, my friends! Just a taste of some of the workouts and information I soaked up in the fitness space. And lucky for me, I get to walk away with some continuing education credits for my personal trainer certification as well as the knowledge. Hope you have an awesome day!

*Please note: I was given a complimentary ticket to IDEA BlogFest and the IDEA World Fitness Convention in exchange for speaking at the event and posting about it. I covered my travel and accommodations. Fair trade? I think so!

Questions of the day

What’s your favorite type of equipment to use during a workout?

Have you heard any inspiring quotes recently?

What’s something new you’ve learned lately?

Ashley signature



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  1. IDEA World was truly a fitness experience. It is almost overwhelming to think about how much knowledge was packed in there! And you are so right–there are unlimited ways to work out–which is great, because that means that you can always find something for you.
    Great reminder from the Gabby Reece talk–that people of all ages should be together when they workout for a new perspective on “this is xx age.” Inspire by doing, not telling! Great round up, Ashley!

  2. That looks and sounds like my ideal conference! I’d love to attend something like that one day in the near future. Guess that means I need to get my act together with this blogging dream!

    And dance is all the rage in fitness these days! Just last night, Beachbody launched Cize, which is similar to the program’s you described. I got to see the test group results and it’s amazing how much fat burning and toning can happen from dancing in your living room!

    1. Hi Courtney! I’ve heard about Cize and would love to try it out just to see what it’s like. And yes, you’d be a kid in a candy store at IDEA World! Maybe next year?? πŸ™‚ And stupid autocorrect!

  3. So fun!! Jillian Michaels was the keynote last year and she was great, I would have loved to take a workout from her…ninja burpees sound killer!

  4. Nooooo to the dancing trend! I remember when zumba was all the rage when I worked at the gym and it was awful. I have zero rhythm, so I was miserable in those classes. Does Barre count? I can totally get along with that : )

    1. Hi Stacie! ahhah Well, the dancing I’m talking about is totally dancing, but barre is certainly dance inspired. I don’t know if I’d like Zumba as much if taking it elsewhere — but a class with the founder was incredible. πŸ™‚

  5. There really are a lot of ways to get your fitness on these days. I am in love with TRX. Actually just bought my own straps on Amazon. My gym used to have them but got rid of them for some reason so now I have my own. It’s a great way to mix up strength training and challenge your body.

    1. Hi Megan! How cool you have your own TRX straps! What a good purchase! πŸ™‚ And yes, I love them too! Even more now. We use TRX straps in Orangetheory workouts as well.

  6. So much awesome info Ashley! Looks like you had a blast. I’m not surprised the dance trend is staying around, it’s just not for me- I’ve done the beach body programs, zumba, sh’bam and I just can’t get into it.

    I have a foam roller & have never used it (though I know I should.) Will be looking for that roll, pin, bend technique.

    Also super jealous you met Gabby Reece!

    1. Hi Jen! I felt surprisingly good even with all of those workouts!! πŸ™‚ And yes, the fitness sessions I attended were very beneficial.

    1. Hi Morgan! You are giving your Dad the right advice. He should try yoga! I know it’s intimidating to newbies, but it can cure a host of ailments! πŸ™‚

  7. I love the helpful tidbit about foam rolling.. I always wonder if I’m being as effective as I think! I do a lot of body weight exercises, but I do like using a half Bosu ball to balance on when I do a lot of my exercises… helps engage my core. : )

    1. Hi Jamie! Yes, I go back and forth on whether I like to balance on the BOSU trainer for exercises that require you to stand. I mostly like the BOSU for doing burpees, push-ups and back extensions, in which you balance your upper-body on it with feet on the ground. πŸ™‚

  8. I need to learn to foam roll better. I know it helps a ton. I love the points from Gabby’s talk – awesome! Jillian Michaels – “She likes to use colorful language to motivate, if you know what I mean.” HAHAHA!!! That made me laugh πŸ™‚ It’s so good to be back to an almost “normal” schedule and read your posts as I sit and eat my breakfast! My favorite workout equipment is nothing at all – BODYCOMBAT is my favorite workout and it requires nothing.

    1. Hi Melissa!! All settled into your new temporary home?? And yes, Jillian Michael’s dropped a lot of “f-bombs,” which was a little bit unexpected hahah! And you know I’m not much into BODYCOMBAT, but I’m glad your favorite workout is a Les Mills program!! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Cassie! Imagine doing double-leg donkey kicks into a handstand with 600 people around you in an expo room? It was scary! hahah!! πŸ™‚

  9. This looks like a blast – and like I have a whole new list of workouts to try out! I’m obsessed with kettle bells and plyo based workouts that I can perform outside in the summertime. I’ve only taken a few Zumba classes, but they were a riot! Such a fun crowd, it would be tough not to get into the music when everyone is rockin’ out to the rowdy tunes!

    1. Hi Jessica!! Zumba can be quite fun if you have a great teacher — of course — I’ve only really enjoyed it one time and that was with the Zumba founder! Kettlebell workouts outside in the summer? You’re hardcore, lady! πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks so much for sharing what you learned with us! Ahhh, I would’ve been in heaven with all of this stuff…particularly listening to and working out with Gabby Reece and Jillian Michaels. Love those ladies! I would love if you shared some of the new-to-you exercises/moves you mentioned doing in both Gabby Reece’s and Jillian Michaels’ workouts!! I’m always looking for new functional exercises to incorporate into my Total Body Conditioning classes and in my own workouts too.

    1. Hi Ashley. I wish I could remember the names of some of the things in Jillian Michael’s workout. But the double-leg donkey kick to handstands and ninja burpees are great places to start. Google those ones! Except, I don’t think you should demo either right now hahaha! πŸ™‚

  11. All the workouts and workshops were so much fun! Definitely took away some pointers and tips that I’m going to start putting into practice! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Dani! ahahah well I would have preferred heavier hand-weights, but the bodyweight stuff was so hard, that the hand-weight portion served as recovery! πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed this one!

  12. I LOVED how real Gabby was! She was so down to earth and honest yet still inspiring – and of course her workout was amazingly sweaty intense tough. πŸ™‚

  13. I actually learned a lot just by reading some of your recap! There are so many ways for people to be active and enjoy fitness nowadays, the options are never ending! All your pictures are so cute, I LOVE your leggings too!

  14. I hope you share more details about the yoga and the foam rolling! Great recap as I felt like I learned a lot just reading it! Also, details about the tights in the first pics pls!

    1. Hi Ash! Those leggings are from Actio926 — I did a campaign with the company a few months ago and even got to meet the founder while at IDEA over the weekend too! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Ange! Yes I know, Jillian sort of ran on the stage and ran off the stage without saying much. Too bad! But her workout left us DONE! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Heather! A ninja burpee means you sit back on your knees, jump up to standing from there in one motion and then do a full burpee. I’m exhausted just typing it out … πŸ™‚ hahaha

  15. 600 bloggers for a workout? That sounds like a little much for my comfort zone. I’m sure the atmosphere was vibrating with energy.

    1. Hi Emily, No, there weren’t 600 bloggers! The Jillian Michaels event was part of the larger fitness convention, so most of the people there were just fitness professionals. BlogFest had about 170 people total. πŸ™‚ hheheh But yes, it was a lot of people!

  16. Woop woop! What a great weekend! It was so nice to meet you and hang out (and have our booties kicked in workouts together :). I also was a little hesitant about the Zumba class, but it was so amazing! Sometimes it’s hard to just let go and groove :). Talk soon, lovely lady! xoxo

  17. I would love to do a workout with Jillian Michaels! Ninja burpees sound terrifying! lol. And I love what you said about back pain, I feel like a lot of people avoid exercise because of injuries, when it could really be due to muscle imbalances. I love doing yoga once a week to stretch out, and I need to start learning how to foam roll! Thanks for sharing all you learned this weekend, looks like it was a blast!

  18. Sounds like an fantastic time! I am really into TRX training right now, especially with a few of my clients. I also was surprised to hear that dance fitness is still considered “in”. I haven’t heard much from that style in any of my gyms lately so I figured it was on the way out. I do have to say as a former Zumba instructor, getting to take class from Beto is pretty awesome. He’s such a HUGE influence in the world of fitness. Glad you had a fun trip!

    1. Hi Jenna! You taught Zumba? Totally cool. Quite the different vibe from Les Mills classes, right? I’m not super into dance as a workout, but you have to be totally impressed with how Beto has grown that company! Wow!

  19. Ahh some of those workouts sound great! I have to admit I have always loved Jillian Michael’s and I can only imagine how tough those ninja burpees were! Sounds like such an amazing time!

    1. Hi Hilary, I never watched the Biggest Loser, so I didn’t really know that much about her. She puts on a good workout though!! πŸ™‚ You would have loved it!

  20. This sounds like am incredible experience!! Do they hold these events often? There are SO many diffident modes and methods in the fitness world. I’ve always liked the simple and outdoor modes. I feel like exercise should be laced within the lifestyle. But, for many having a fun, new exercise modality is their lifestyle. There is truly something for everyone out there! My fav quote as of late, “I don’t dwell on it, I just do it.” About running by Olympian marathoner Joan Samuelson

    1. Hi Jess! I love that quote! And this particular IDEA World Fitness event is held once a year only, but there are smaller fitness conventions like MANIA and others that are more regional. You should get out IDEA’s website to find smaller ones, or just mark your calendar for next year! πŸ™‚ And yes, simple outdoor workouts are great for some people. That’s what my husband likes as well, although I’m all about the equipment in the group fitness room! Have a great day and thanks for saying hi.

    1. Hi Carly! Yes, you should mark your calendar for next July and start planning for it!! It’s an awesome experience. Happy Wednesday to you! πŸ™‚

  21. Hey Ashley!

    These are some great fitness takeaways from the whole conference. I kind of wish I would have taken a TRX workshop! It looked like fun! Zumba with Beto was so fun! I need to incorporate more dance into my workouts πŸ™‚ Hope to see you there again next year!

    1. Hi Kayla! For sure! TRX was brutal, especially at 7:30 a.m. after a day of three workouts, but it’s a modality that I’d like to spend more time on, so worth the effort. And YAY for Zumba! I’m so shocked I enjoyed that as much as I did. πŸ™‚ Great connecting with you, of course!!

    1. Thanks, Heather! I’m going to try the bend technique today on my roller! Wish I had you to push down on my quads and make it hurt hahaha! πŸ™‚

  22. Awesome recap!!! One day I will get my butt to IDEA–looks so awesome.

    Isn’t Beto the coolest? I love, love his story and love teaching Zumba πŸ™‚

    I want to try BodyShred so bad!

    1. Dancing in front of Beto was amazing! He led the best class, then gave us so many cool stories. I LOVED it!! Makes me want to take up Zumba hahah! πŸ™‚

  23. Great recap, Ashley! I’m not really that into dance either but I can appreciate that it offers a non-traditional workout for those people who hate traditional exercise.

    And that Healthy Back Yoga session sounds awesome! I actually hurt my back pretty bad when I first started taking Pump because I went too heavy with my weight and didn’t focus enough on using my core. And my core just wasn’t strong enough, frankly. I love the idea to heal such a common problem naturally. Surgery on your back should be an absolute last resort!

    1. Hi Sarah! Yes, core strength is definitely necessary for lifting weights so you don’t get hurt. And with the healthy back yoga, you learn to lengthen the tight muscles that are causing the pain and keeping you from properly engaging your core. I could have sat in the session all day long! So much learning to be done! πŸ™‚

  24. I can’t get enough of your posts from this conference, I’m just eating it up! I love that you got so much out of it. I could go on and on about this post, but a few things REALLY resonated:
    – Chase the plank in any exercise (I can’ t think of a more intuitive way to feel form!)
    – Dance: totally with you girl, though my gf does UJam daily at Google and gets an extreme workout because she really gives it and has lost 15lbs!
    – Other weaknesses = sore lower back. I have realized mine is from hips – this must have been an awesome talk!
    – Gabby!! <3 She just did a podcast on the Tim Ferriss show with Laird Hamilton and the famous CrossFit trainer about fitness and other things and it was really good!
    – Functional training: love it, also, I think there is a need to focus on injury prevention as we age starting NOW! If certain moves hurt, maybe it's a muscle imbalance or maybe it's your joints saying no!


    1. Hi Jill, You get the award for best and most thorough comment ever! You really need to go to IDEA BlogFest and IDEA World next year! πŸ™‚

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