This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a fitness conference put on by my coach of Lean Bodies Consulting in conjunction with their “little sister” company of Curls and Whey Training in Virginia Beach.
The conference was open to anyone who wanted to attend, not just clients. Altogether I believe there were around 80 or 90 of us total.
If I could describe the experience in one word, as a personal trainer, I would have to say Humbling. Although I would never say I’m an expert or master trainer, I thought I knew a thing or two about this whole exercise thing. ;) But I learned more from THIS conference than I have at any other Nationally Accredited Fitness Conference where you’re sitting in rooms and taking notes. This was hands-on, one-on-one training at it’s finest. You can really only learn through experience right? And that’s exactly what this conference was. I’m SO glad I went. I’ve already implemented the tips and tricks I’ve learned in my own workouts as well as with my clients.
Some highlights from the weekend:
I was thrilled to FINALLY meet my coach Erik Ledin in person. I had only known him thru Facebook and of course our online emails. He has a reputation for being quite the tough guy. And a little more than intimidating to say the least. But that’s clearly just his persona as he is the biggest teddy bear ever! ;) I’m sure he won’t appreciate me blowin up his spot but it’s true. He’s definitely a “tells it like it is” guy and brutally honest, but it’s because he truly cares about his clients health.
Friday was a meet and greet at a hotel downtown in Norfolk where all the coaches gathered with the attendees. After my 10 hour drive from Cleveland I was exhausted but anxious to meet everyone face to face. We had some munchies (Of course I was all about the food, diet be damned!) and chatted with everyone. Met my fave person ever Megan Donnelson which was one of my highlights since I’ve been following her since her interview on CutandJacked.com. All I could think of when I approached her was “I’m not a stalker or anything, so don’t be afraid.” LOL!
Started out at The Gym Downtown in Norfolk to break out into groups.My group was Group A and our first stop was a seminar with Amy of Curls and Whey (And Erik’s wife) to discuss diet and nutrition. This woman. Wow. She speaks from the heart, she’s just a brave and wonderful soul. I love the way she addressed our questions about the diet mentality. Everyone struggles (and if you’ve been following my blog you know I have shared how real the struggle is to stay on plan) but it was good to hear it from the pros and coaches. Some of the information was not necessarily new to me and what I usually tell my own clients but it helped to have it repeated. Amy also discussed how to create a fat loss diet, how and when to implement re-feeds into your plan and why plateaus or being on a maintenance plan are GOOD things. I took lots of notes on that part as I have never done re-feeds before.
Our next stop was Upper Body with Erik and Megan. This is where the humbling came in. And not just for me but for many of the attendees, as some of them were trainers themselves too.
Megan went over Lat Pulldowns and Erik guided us with Seated Rows. Sounds simple, right? But as they both pointed out, these are the most common exercises that people butcher in the gym. While I don’t think any of us were doing them incorrectly, per se, we learned how to do them Optimally and more Effective. I was flaring my elbows out and leaning back too far in my pulldowns instead of sticking the chest out and bringing the bar straight down. And the seated rows…HA! I just have to laugh because I felt like I was a “project” for Erik to get me to do this one correctly. “Shoulder blades shoulder blades shoulder blades!!!” :) I will forever hear his voice in my head as I do them now. I was making this an ARM exercise and not a BACK exercise. Lesson learned!
Megan and Erik then showed us some other upper body moves to try like how to perform a Cable Fly correctly and Face pulls and Chest Presses (I was NOT squeezing the shoulder blades on this one at all, so that was a new one for me).
After lunch was Lower Body time. My fave! Mark was the coach for this one and someone snapped a shot of me demonstrating a Single Leg Deadlift which was very fun as this was also a new way for me to try them. I like to think I know how to squat and deadlift properly and according to Mark I did well. I will now do Front Squats with straps now though, so a new tip to start trying! I really like the way Mark described RDL’s though. “It’s not how far the down the bar travels, but it’s how far back your hips come.” Perfect cue to tell those clients of mine who don’t quite understand how to do them properly.
After this was Open Gym time so we could get our own workouts in as well as try out new stuff with the coaches right there. I got my leg workout in and added in a couple new ones as too. It was basically a free for all since about 40 of us were trying to do lower body with just a couple barbells available, but that actually made it fun and entertaining!
Saturday night was when the coaches got to show off their dance skills. I was serious when I said I wanted a Dance-Off between all the coaches so little did they know I was judging them as they made their way onto the dance floor. Here’s a snippet of the fun that was had:
I considered all my dancing (sober, I might add!) as my cardio for the day. But I PROBABLY wouldn’t have stayed out until 2am knowing I’d have coach Holly’s metabolic workout the next morning. OY!
Sunday started with a lecture from Coaches Ileen and Steph on Thyroid and Hormone Testing, something I am a HUGE advocate of as well. Having worked at LifeTime Fitness, I have given lectures on cortisol and lab testing more than a few times so I’m very glad LBC/CWT made this part of the conference. It’s crucial to get your labs done. (Shameless plug for my affiliate company ThorneFx who provides these tests too here).
After the lecture it was time for Holly’s workout. Thank goodness for the long warm-up because I needed it. Although I drank was water all weekend, I lacked sleep. Something about not sleeping in my own bed. I was going on about 4 hours of sleep. Not that I’m making excuses! :)
Holly’s workout was AWESOME! We did 4 rounds (I think) of 10 exercises for 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off. There’s video that was taken at the conference and I’m anxious to see it because I’m sure my clients would LOVE to see me being tortured with burpees and push ups and all the lovely exercises I have them do. So clients, be assured, I got my butt kicked.
After lunch it was time to head out. I couldn’t stay for the Roundtable discussion but I did manage to stay for the raffle and won THIS:
Yes Peanut Butter!! HA! I almost want to say that this was the best part of the weekend…Because we all know how much I love PB. ;)
All in all, this was an amazing, fun-filled, kick ass weekend where I met not only some great coaches but made some great friends who all embrace the LBC/CWT philosophy. I left there inspired, motivated, and re-ignited to continue to be the best personal trainer I can be to my clients. It’s all about spreading the knowledge and paying it forward. I cannot wait for the next chapter in my own transformation (August 2015 competition perhaps??) while watching my new friends and fellow PT’s take their own journey as well.
Thanks again Erik, Amy, Julie, Steph, Ileen, Holly, Megan, and Mark for putting on this conference. Awesome Awesome Awesome.