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Tish Goes to IDEA World: Propel Fit Challenge Complete!

This is a sponsored post brought to you by Propel. For our sponsored post policy, click here.

I find myself falling into the best of situations when Fit Bottomed Girls is involved. I mentioned in a past post that I would be attending the IDEA World Fitness Convention. I was excited to go, most definitely, but the excitement was a little overshadowed by some heinous fear I had of the unknown. It was my first fitness convention, and I didn’t know what happened at fitness conventions — when I don’t know something, I turn into a little wuss. Lucky for me, Propel challenged me to shadow a fitness pro, and I never walk away from a good challenge. So I loaded my workout gear, Propel packs and husband up (Mark was totally geeked to go and will be writing about his time at the convention, too) and hit the road. Anaheim bound!

IDEA World Conference, Propel Fit

The IDEA Expo

I felt so blessed that I was given access to the conference while on my Propel challenge. Upon arriving we immediately went to the convention center and registered. That’s when all the coolness hit me. Thousands of fitness folk were everywhere. Every shape and size; every kind of fitness nut you can imagine. And that was just registering.

By the time we made it into the actual expo I went into fitness freak out. Workout apparel galore, fitness celebrities, amazing workout gear and toys, and yummy foods and vegan protein powders. It was an FBG dream! It was also one heck of an overwhelming experience. You want to buy all the things by the time you’ve made your rounds. Dude, I found lentil pasta that packs 20 grams of protein. I don’t know about you, but that kind of stuff makes me swoon.

IDEA World Conference, Fitness Expo, Propel Fit

The IDEA Sessions

You would think the Expo in all its glorious consumerism would have been enough, but it was actually the educational sessions that we were able to attend that hooked me. People, if you have a trainer that attends the IDEA Conferences then high-five their fit bottoms and rest assured you’ve got a good egg. There’s just something about fitties who thrive off of keeping up with the latest science, information and technology. Trainers came prepared with pen and paper, ready to learn, and it was so inspiring.

Out of Bounds with Douglas Brooks

I actually have to toot my own horn. I chose classes that I knew would be helpful to FBG readers and the FBG team. My very first class was with my fitness pro, Douglas Brooks. Part one of my challenge was to take his class, Out of Bounds, which boasted that it would take us out of our comfort zones and beyond our limits. Using a variety of functional-training equipment, the high-energy session mirrored life and sport as we met challenge, unpredictability and chaos head-on. (Sound intense? Now you know why I was terrified.)

It didn’t help that Douglas told the whole group (and there were a whole bunch of us … at least a 100) that I was a writer who would be shadowing him so he’d be watching me and pushing me throughout. Apparently the term “blogger” is a bullseye with those folk because they had fun with me.

Even if I would have been able to stay under the radar, I would have had my butt handed to me in that class. My heart raced. My legs burned, my core was screaming, and my arms went jiggly. Don’t get me wrong, though. I haven’t had that much fun in a really long time. There was so much new equipment I had never seen before including these wonky plastic kettlebells that you fill with water. We used those bad boys for some really cool moves that mimicked bowling swings and basketball figure-eight drills that had me squealing. I love when working out mimics play time. I’m a big kid at heart so I was having a ton of fun in the stations. I sweated like a beast, but I was still shocked that I felt sore the next day.

Douglas and his amazing team got so many points for bringing the fun. At the end of the class I actually won an inspiration medal for beasting it out. Apparently the team assumed FBG writers were stronger typers than swingers. I loved showing them that we FBGs practice what we preach.

Bosu, Out of Bounds, IDEA World Conference, Skip Jennings, Inspiration medal winner

Skip Jennings, on my right, was endearingly tough on me throughout the workout. Obviously I admired the encouragement.

When Emotion Meets Motion with Rodney Corn

Moment of truth; I thought this workshop would cover somatic releases. I was so geeked to learn more about that crazy phenomenon, but that’s not what Rodney Corn had in mind. (I laugh now for taking the workshop title so literally.) Instead, the class focused on the power of emotion and how it affects our workouts: how depressed, anxious and upsetting moods can limit our movement and overall time in the gym.

This was one of those classes where I truly felt like an undercover spy. Everyone else seemed to be trainers, so he was really focusing on helping training professionals get to know their clients better. Applying some of the same personality testing we use for corporate jobs (I don’t know about you, but I’ve taken a ton), Rodney was able to break down the different kinds of people who work out and how to best create personal prescriptive sessions based on the type of person who is working out.

Tons of light bulbs went off. I’m amiable and then some. I love to talk and smile and engage while I’m working out. It gives me energy and brings me joy, but I’ve encountered one too many a trainer who has barked at me for being too social during a workout. According to Rodney, the trainer shouldn’t punish me, but instead encourage group workouts and engaging workouts that allow me to do my thing and smile away. I took so many notes and plan to share the knowledge with my husband. He gets burned out a lot when his clients lose their passion. (He takes it personally.) But this type of mentality teaches us that there are just different strokes for different folks and when you find the workouts that align, you’re golden.

There was a lot of fitness science involved with this workshop. If you’re a trainer and interested in learning more, I suggest you hit up his company website, PTA Global, and check out more on the subject. It’s truly fascinating information! If you’re not a training professional and you feel like your current trainer isn’t “getting you and what you’re needing from your workouts,” then send them to the site. It’s eye-opening information that seriously can make a world of difference.

The Latest in Pre- and Postnatal Fitness with Farel Hruska

This one was by far the most emotional one out of all the classes I took (ironically it wasn’t the previous). You see I was tickled FBG blue when I found out Jenn was pregnant and instantaneously went into best friend mode researching ALL THE THINGS for her. I saw this class option and knew it would benefit not just her, but all of the Fit Bottomed Mamas out there, so I happily signed up and waited along with a group of fitness professionals (both men and women). I could tell some were just awesome trainers who just wanted to give the best kind of workouts to their mamas, while others were clearly packing fit bottomed babies.

It  was a nice blend of folk and the instructor, Farel, was amazing and then some. Personable, honest and clearly passionate about Fit Bottomed Mama health, Farel spent our time going over some shocking misconceptions about exercise and expecting mothers. Like for instance: It is a total myth that pregnant women can’t allow their heart rate to go above 140. Total myth! Women who worked out before they got pregnant can maintain the same workout intensities well into their pregnancy (if they have a healthy pregnancy, of course!).

She shared science, showed us all some great workout modifications, as well as how to train a new mother. Farel was a person who absolutely validates the quote, “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rocks the world.” That’s when the emotion started in. All of these people were interested in how they could best respect and honor the mothers of the world. There’s just something about demonstrating love to women that melts my heart. I can’t WAIT to share the information I learned with Jenn AND Erin. My two favorite FBMs. If you’d like to learn more, Farel, encouraged us all to write her. She’s the National Fitness Director for FIT4MOM. She knows her fit mama ish and is happy to share the knowledge.

My Interview With Douglas Brooks



The lessons didn’t end once I walked out of my workshops, though. The whole purpose of me going to the conference was to complete my Propel Fit Challenge and that I most certainly did. After my crazy, awesome workout with Douglas and the Bosu Ball Team, I had the opportunity to sit down and hammer the man who was inducted into the National Fitness Hall of Fame. Yeah, he’s amazing … his awesomeness did not go un-groupied.

I was intimidated when I first walked into his workshop, but Douglas is so down-to-earth and so kind and generous with his passion for fitness that you can’t help feeling like an old friend upon first meet. I suspect it’s qualities like this that have helped him become the great fitness professional he is today (and the reason he was stopped not once, not thrice, but four times on our short walk out of the convention center to a nearby coffee shop so people could shake his hand and share their admiration).

When did you fall in love with fitness? Sports came first. I wanted to be a professional baseball player; lettered in baseball and gymnastics. I fell in love with fitness probably my junior year of college when I had to take a kinesiology class. There was so much to learn about the human body. I started out absorbing the information for myself to help me in my own personal training, but then a lightbulb went off that I could coach and help others at some point.

What tips do you have for getting out of your comfort zone? Get a team around you! That could be a personal trainer or a group fitness instructor or both. Start creating experiences where you’re finding guidance and motivation to go to that next level.

What’s your favorite piece of equipment? I can’t answer that question! It’s like choosing one child you love more. I like using equipment that promotes functional workouts, so I’ll use a Bosu ball a lot in my workouts, but I also love equipment that I can load with, like a cable-pulley system. I need weights like dumbbells and kettlebells with an unstable surface. That’s a good formula.

What is the one piece of knowledge you try to promote when working with clients? Move out of your comfort zone, but give yourself some slack. We condition ourselves to only go to certain pieces of equipment. You have to grow and try new things. Forget about perfection. It’s all about trying. Embrace failure. It’s good! If you fail at a load you’re supposed to do that. If you fall out of balance your body learns something.

Have any hydration tips for us? Don’t wait until you get thirsty! You should start hydrating hours before. My rule of thumb is gulp every 15 to 20 minutes, and start hydrating hours before your workout. Make sure that you’re starting with water; you introduce calories ONLY when you’ve been working out for longer periods of time.

Overall I didn’t want our time to end. He had such a breadth of information to share. I swear, Douglas, if I’m ever in Colorado, I’m coming to your clinic. There are some fitness pros you find in life who truly get it; they share the same beliefs that we Fit Bottomed Girls hold onto with passionate grips: the ultimate and magical goal is to feel fit … to feel great while doing the day-to-day things we do in all of those hours not in a gym. I have to thank Propel for setting up that meeting. Challenge completed.

Have you ever been to a fitness conference? —Tish

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