Athletics Magazine

Review–Health and Fitness Bloggers Conference

By Brisdon @shutuprun

As you know I attended the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference in Denver this weekend. In all honesty, I kind of attended. I missed Saturday, which was the worst day to miss in terms of goings on. When I signed up for the conference I knew this would be the case because I already committed to do a race on Saturday and knew I couldn't do both. I decided to try to have my cake and eat it too, so I opted to do both things.

Sometimes it’s best to choose if you are going to have the cake or going to eat it. Trying to do both can get kind of crazy. And, make you fat or something.

What I learned is that if you are going to attend a conference, then you need to 100 % attend that conference. If you miss a day or cannot participate in any of the extra offerings like fitness classes and dinners, then you are not getting the proper conference experience. Anyone who goes to these things knows that aside from what you learn at the presentations, a conference is about community and getting to know the people around you. It is about sharing experiences and commonalities. I don’t think I got to do this in the way I wanted to.

That said, I did really enjoy my time at the conference at got a lot of of it. The Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) is kick ass. Friday morning I took a tour of the facility and ooh-ed and aww-ed at the state of the art fitness equipment like this geeky treadmill (those are computers where you can do Facebook, watch TV, make your lunch, anything your heart desires). Almost makes treadmill running bearable.

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I also appreciated the pool that had a separate “well” specifically for water running. You all know I became an expert in water running when I was injured. I hated it, but it kept me in shape. I love the idea of a separate “well” where all of us nerdy water runners could congregate and complain.

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I loved the 1/10 mile running track that meandered around the fitness center. Just think, you would only have to run this 262 times to get in the marathon distance. Piece of cake.

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There is even a rooftop “green” terrace where you can dine, but also where they grow fresh stuff that they cook with in the downstairs' bistro.

The expo was outstanding with many different sponsors including (to name a few) Refuel with Chocolate Milk, Driscoll Berries, Smartfood Selects, Love Grown Foods, Rockin’ Refuel, and Goodness Knows.

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Me with Liz and Traci from Refuel with Chocolate Milk.

My favorite new produce was the Smartfood Selects Cinnamon/Brown Sugar Multi Grain Popped Chips. They are like crack.

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The presentations and speakers I saw were  informative, touching on such subjects as obesity in America, performance testing, weight loss and weight management and how to use the internet to grow your fitness business.

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I felt like I was in college again, only I wasn’t hungover.

There was a ton of great info, but some of the facts/ discussions that stuck with me:

  • The most effective way to lose weight is to focus on diet and cutting calories. Exercise is an important component, but not as important as diet in losing weight – this was brought up again and again by the “experts.”
  • Exercise becomes crucial once the weight is lost and a maintenance program is started.
  • A factor leading to obesity in this country is that we have too much good, cheap, and available food at our fingertips and it comes to us in large portions. We are still in the mentality that it is best to “eat when food is available and rest when we don’t have to work.”
  • When losing weight, it does not matter what the food composition is (carbs, protein, etc.), it matters how many calories you eat. For instance, if you eat 800 calories a day of carbs vs. 800 calories a day of protein, it is not relevant whether your calories come from carbs or protein – what is relevant is the number of calories consumed.
  • Changing one thing in our culture, such as making soda less available, will not do much to “move the needle” towards a decrease in obesity. Multiple factors need to be addressed like – how much television we watch, school lunches, sedentary lifestyles, etc.
  • People who successfully lost weight focused on the following (from the National Weight Loss Control Registry)
    • Reduced caloric intake
    • High level of activity
    • Limited television watching
    • Frequently weighing oneself
    • Eating breakfast
    • Consistency
    • Restraint when it came to temptations

As you can tell, much of the focus was on the obesity epidemic and how to address it. There was also an outstanding presentation by Dr. Inigo San Millan about exercise performance testing including information on the types of diets elite endurance athletes have. One of my favorite slides showed what the members of the Garmin cycling team eat per day:

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Crappy picture, but that says 8,000 calories per day – 75%  of it from carbs. The point was that carbs get a bad rap, but some of the healthiest areas in the world eat tons of carbs (Asia, Mediterranean countries). The difference is that these populations are more natural active through walking, bicycling, etc. I’m going to start eating 8,000 calories a day and walking to the mailbox.

The info from the conference was presented by some of the leading experts in the wellness field including James Hill, Executive Director of the AHWC and Director, Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center, and Dr. Holly Wyatt, physician and clinical researcher at The Center for Human Nutrition in Denver , Colorado.

Overall, lots of good info. I will say that I preferred the setting of last year’s conference better – it was held in Boulder where you could hike, go to great restaurants and just enjoy the beauty of the town. While the Anschutz Wellness Center was amazing, it is located in east Denver, in a very un-scenic and concrete-jungle area. I think since so many people travel from out of town, it would be nice to have it in a better location. I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to just move the wellness center to Boulder.

See? Have your cake and eat it too mentality.

Thanks again to Refuel with Chocolate Milk for giving me a scholarship for this weekend!

SUAR


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