Monday, October 21, 2013

FitSocial Recap, Part 2... Red Rockin' Good Times in Denver

As you may have read in part 1 of my FitSocial Conference recap, this Colorado adventure for the FitSocial was something that I had been looking forward to for a LONG time.

One of the things that made it such a great trip was having my good friend Caroline join me. I truly wouldn't have had as amazing of an experience that I did if it weren't for her being there as well. 

Although we didn't travel back and forth from Boston together, we were roommates in both Boulder and Denver. One reason why we get along so well is because we are generally on the same page... and that was no exception on this trip.

Denver - Day 1
That Saturday morning, Caroline and I said sayonara to Boulder and drove down to Denver... but not before exploring the area for one last time in search of caffeine and bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel sandwiches.  It was a tad early for a Saturday but thankfully Ozo was open which more than satisfied our coffee needs.

As luck would have it, Moe's Broadway Bagels was also open... umm, MOE'S bagels?? Serving Moejo coffee??? Of COURSE we had to go!

They even spelled "Moejo" right! :)

The remainder of the presentations were held at Anschutz Health & Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, a brand new, gorgeous, state-of-the-art facility that just opened in April 2012.  It's research, training and programs are led by some of the leading experts in obesity prevention and wellness.  The fact that it was being held here was a huge part of why I wanted to go to this conference.

a peek inside the Anschutz Center's weight room

One of my favorite presentations was "Evidence-Based Model for Successful Health Behavior Change" by Dr. Denise McGuire... super informative!  She dug deeper into what I recently learned through my Wellness Coaching studies and spoke in detail about the different stages of change, plus best practices for working with clients.

Some of Dr. McGuire's tips for making behavior changes...

I also loved "Social Media in the Fitness World" with Chris Freytag and Sarah Chambers, both from the American Council on Exercise.  They discussed various means of social media and filled us in on how to become more efficient and successful at it.  I'm not gonna lie, it was all a tad overwhelming but in a "holy crap, this is amazing" kind of way.

Chris had instructed our HIIT workout the night before and I love her passion and enthusiasm for fitness... I find her to be such a role model for busy, working moms and it was great to hear her presentation.

After all of the workshops, we were given a few workout class options to attend... Zumba or Tabata Spin. I was sitting most of the day and eager to get my sweat on! I chose the Tabata Spin class, led by Kat (yet another New England -> Colorado transplant!) and was not disappointed.

Ashley, me and Caroline, pre-spin!
We didn't waste any time kicking the night off with a rooftop party at the Anschutz... fantastic food, delicious wine, great mountain views, prime sunset viewing and good conversations... so fun!

Sunset shenanigans on the rooftop
pic courtesy of Kia

So much fun that we kept the party rolling with a hotel after-party! The whole night was a great bonding experience and I got to meet so many awesome bloggers.

One person I was really happy to finally meet was the super sweet Alyse from Fit Approach and Sweat Guru who I've been following for quite some time now... ever since I became a Sweat Pink Ambassador. I'm so inspired by woman entrepreneurs like Alyse and feel proud to be a member of the Sweat Pink community :)

me and Alyse

Denver - Day 2
Sunday started off bright and early with a 7:30am Pound fitness class at the Anschutz Center led by resident Pound instructor, Melissa, who needs to tell me her secret for being so un-annoyingly chipper and energetic that early on a Sunday.

sunrise over the Anschutz Medical Campus, across from our hotel
Pound is a full-body exercise class that fuses cardio, Pilates, isometrics and plyometrics.  Class incorporates the use of lightly weighted, bright green "drumsticks" to simulate drumming to music. I always said that if I could play any instrument in a band, I'd be the drummer... plus I love music, so I was definitely intrigued...

Pound drumsticks... aka Ripstix

HOWEVER, it also kind of sounded like a "Barre with drumsticks" class to me - in other words, not really my thing - so I was pleasantly surprised when I ended up LOVING it.

The class deserves its own review though so I will divulge all the details in an upcoming blog post :)

And finally....

Although there were lots of great presentations lined up for this final day of FitSocial, I decided to forgo all of it to take a ride out to Red Rocks with Ashley from Fierce Forward.  This is a decision that I do NOT regret...

Red Rocks = paradise

I can't put into words how amazing Red Rocks is but... in short, it has a permanent spot on my short list of favorite places on earth.

Red Rocks is quite famous for being one of the best outdoor venues to see live bands but I had no idea that this open-air amphitheater was almost equally well-known for being a place to get a kick-ass workout!!
me and Ashley, in between kicking our asses
As someone with an enormous passion for both live music and fitness, this was pretty much a dream-come-true place for me to visit.

Amazing venue, amazing views...

A few cool Red Rocks facts:
  • It's located at an elevation of 6400 feet above sea level... I've never felt breathlessness from a workout like I did while running these stairs!
  • If you were to run the lengths of all 69 rows of wooden benches in front of the stage, it would be the equivalent of running a 5K. 
  • Plenty of workout options! You can run or do strength exercises on the rows, run the stairs next to the rows or climb up and over ledges next to the stairs (ranging in heights from chest-level to above my head)... these ledges were my favorite.
  • It's FREE to workout here
Showing the ledges who's boss...
The entire time we were there, I couldn't stop saying, "This is amazing."

Perfect ending to a great trip!
saying our goodbyes...
luckily we work together so I was going to see her the next day :)

Top 10 Takeaways from FitSocial 2013:

  1. Take advantage of exploring a new area -- I mentioned earlier... zero regrets on skipping out on a few planned conference activities to fit in self-guided exploration of Boulder and Red Rocks.  They comprise some of the best moments of my trip :)
  2. Be open to possibilities, especially when it comes to fitness -- I'm a big advocate of high intensity exercise; however, listening to Dr. Hill's presentation about the pros of steady state cardio, as well as finding enjoyment in the Pound workout (a very non-HIIT workout) reminded me that it's important to keep an open mind about fitness... AND it's okay to change your mind about your personal philosophy.
  3. Support your community -- Whether it's social media friends, fitness friends or local businesses, support them in a genuine, altruistic way... whether is via commenting on blogs, re-tweeting their tweets or patronizing their businesses.  We are all in this together.  Plus, it's good karma :)
  4. When in doubt, blame the altitude -- Crazy headache?  Altitude.  Phone battery dying too fast?  Totally the altitude.  Rental car's speakers inexplicably going fuzzy?  Yep, damn altitude.
  5. The Anschutz Center is AMAZING-- Between the ridiculously smart faculty and staff, super-friendly receptionist, motivating fitness instructors, talented chef and a fitness room that dreams are made of, I want to move in here.
  6. I miss working out -- Don't get me wrong, I'm an active person but lately, I just do whatever I feel like... and may or may not be a little too lenient with the "off days".  Exercising consistently while at FitSocial - as well as trying new workouts - reminded me of how much I miss and enjoy planned, regimented workouts... and the lack thereof probably explains why I've felt a little off recently.
  7. It's a small world after all -- Never ceases to amaze me how I can meet people with mutual connections even 1000+ miles away from home
  8. I am worse than I thought with directions -- When your hotel is across the street from your destination and you STILL can't remember how to get there, your directional skills are BAD.  I blame it on the altitude. 
  9. I'm a sucker for a good mountain range -- I didn't see much of Colorado but it was love at first sight of the Rockies :) Boston will always be my first love but CO is my new west (southwest?) fave.
  10. Life is better lived by stepping out of your comfort zone -- A pretty bold statement coming from a shy introvert, eh?  But it's true. Starting conversations with people I don't know isn't high on my list of favorite things to do but the more I go to events like this, the more I realize how important they are... not just for networking and educational purposes but to push myself outside my comfort zone. In almost every single instance, the person I meet ends up being an amazing individual that I learn something new from... and I leave the event a better person because of those experiences.

Looking everywhere BUT at their patient dad who just wanted a Red Rocks doggy pic...


  1. Love this post and love how inspired you left! Definitely motivates me to get my bum in gear and HOW COOL is it that you found MoeJo all the way out there!? xo

    1. Thanks Georgina! I think I caused a mini-scene at the bagel shop when I saw the "MoeJo" haha :)