SCW Midwest Mania – My First Big Fitness Conference

Posted: October 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

Me and Lawrence! (Please disregard my tired eyes and lack of makeup.)

I attended my first big fitness conference this past weekend. For those of you counting, yes, that makes three fitness-related events in the past three weekends. And I LOVE it! Friday
morning I woke up at 3:55am and left Grand Haven with my mentor Marcia and our fellow fitness friend Becky for Chicago. Well, Rosemont, Illinois, actually. Rosemont was the host
site for SCW’s Midwest Mania, which is a three-day event held in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It was a huge hotel with two levels of conference rooms and ballrooms, where the bigger workout classes were held.

I was immediately overwhelmed, but excited when I walked in and stood in line for registration. After I checked in, I was given a lanyard with my class and room schedule on it. Before the
conference started, I had to register online and pick my classes according to the MM catalog I got in the mail. There were a least a dozen classes held during each hour-and-a-half block during the day, putting us in class from 7:30am to 5:30pm. On Friday, Becky and I both had BODYVIVE at 7:30am. It was all right; I definitely like BODYPUMP and BODYCOMBAT better, mostly because this was a little dance-y and a little too low-intensity for my liking. I didn’t mind it, but I wouldn’t necessarily choose it as my next Les Mills certification.

My second class was High Performance Swiss Ball Training, which, I’m going to say right up front, was disappointing. When you see/hear “high performance,” you think “high intensity” and “hardcore.” This was not. Looking back, I’m glad it wasn’t and I did learn some great new core stability moves, however, the lecture itself and how we had to work with a partner was not my favorite. The Swiss Ball is basically a stability ball—one of those big inflatable round balls. The lecture was very technical, people asked a lot of questions, I couldn’t follow everything as well as I would have liked, the guy rambled a bit, and then when we got into partner work, I wasn’t a big fan of my partner. Like I said, though, I enjoyed the moves—they
definitely worked my balance and core to the extreme. The moves are nice to have in my fitness arsenal, that’s for sure.

Third class of the day was Per4mance. It’s an intermediate to advanced level class tailored a little more (in my opinion) toward athletes because the exercises are more focused on speed,
endurance, change of direction, and plyometrics. The only equipment necessary was a set of eight orange cones and medicine balls. This high-intensity class was all about running around the cones, making figure-8s, changing direction at the cones, jumping over the cones, running backward or with high knees, shuffling, tabatas, and suicides. It was definitely a challenge, but one that made me feel like I was back training for soccer again! The medicine ball work at the end was a challenge, too; we had a partner (this time she was awesome because it was my fellow Powerhouse instructor Melanie) and we had to lunge and throw it to one another, do twisting ab-pass moves with it, bounce it, and lots of other moves that involved upper body and core strength. I enjoyed it and left sweaty.

After lunch (and a quick shirt change), Marcia and I headed to the famous Keli Roberts’ BOSU HIIT class. I was first introduced to Keli in an old Kathy Smith kickboxing VHS. I liked her moves then (and found out this weekend that she choreographed that workout) so I was pumped to try her BOSU workout. I’d never done an entire workout on the BOSU. But it. Was. AWESOME. Marcia and I had such a great time and man, was it tough. With a BOSU ball and a small 4lb. weighted ball, we got an amazing workout. We jumped, squatted, lunged, and push-up’ed our way through an hour, working ourselves into sweaty messes. It left me with some amazing choreography, a renowned love for Keli, a desire to buy a ton of BOSUs and start a class with them, and really sore quads and hammies.

My fifth class was one I had been looking forward to for weeks: BODYCOMBAT. One hour of intense kicking, punching, and jumping to some awesome music. I was really tired and my muscles were screaming by this point, but I completed the workout proudly and with a smile in the front row. The instructors were cute so that definitely helped push me to work harder, but I have to admit, it was a hardcore workout. It’s definitely something I want to look into getting certified in, that’s for sure.

I had to break for a shower after that. I’m pretty sure I could smell myself at that point. Four of the five of us ladies got ready and headed down to our last class—the Yo-Chi-Glow
masterclass—together at 6:30pm. This is when I officially met the much-talked-about Lawrence Biscontini. Marcia has been raving about him ever since I met her because he’s this great mind-body yoga-T’ai Chi instructor (in addition to many other workouts). I needed that hour of yoga and T’ai Chi to let my body relax and begin to stretch out. Lawrence greeted us as we entered, smiling and happy, as he handed us a green glow bracelet to put on our left wrists (to signify “heart”) and a purple one to put on our right wrists (to signify “wisdom”). Hey, I love glow-in-the-dark bracelets so I already liked the man! He was so much more, though. He, of course, knew Marcia and it was fun to see him interact with people. He was a wonderfully kind man and his combination of yoga and T’ai Chi was lovely. It was very relaxing and tested my balance as well as my ability to slow down and move with my breath. If you’ve
never tried T’ai Chi or Yo-Chi, I suggest you try it if possible. It’s extremely relaxing. Lawrence went above and beyond and for the last 15 minutes he turned off the lights so only our wrists glowed as well as the candles on the stage. It was really cool to see everyone’s hands moving slowly and glowing. I finally started to understand Marcia’s love for harnessing and releasing her Chi.

A long-awaited big buffet dinner followed the class and it was much needed. I hadn’t eaten a real meal all day because it’s so hard to digest something more than some pretzels or fruit when you’re doing a bunch of high intensity workouts. We (all five of us, that is) went to bed around 9:30pm, with me on the floor, trying to rest our worked-out muscles.

Saturday morning I started with a cup of coffee and Lawrence lecture “Cream Rises.” It was all based on his book with the same name and it was just what I needed. It’s focus is teaching—how to be a better teacher in the fitness industry. I soaked up as much as I could like a sponge and beelined to buy his book as soon as class was out. Lawrence, being the wonderful man he is, signed my book and took a picture with me. I have a feeling we’ll be in touch…

Marcia, Becky, and I attended one more class before we agreed that we would leave and it was a good one—Corebar. Trade marked overseas, this lat-pull-down-looking bar is weighted (in 2, 4, or 6 pounds) and was designed to fit nicely behind your back and easily held in your hands. For the next 45-50 minutes we jumped, punched, twisted, squatted, lunged, and did core stability exercises holding the bar. It was dripping by the end because the core moves were not easy. The music was pretty good—it fit most of the moves well—and the two women instructors were pretty BA. Although I did raise my eyebrows at the fact that they were wearing Puma tanks and pants and Nike shoes. Contradiction? Yes. Oh well. They were foreign. If that can somehow neutralize the mistake. It was a great class to end the weekend with.

A quick shower and haphazard packing job later, we were on the road back to Michigan. Looking back, I’m glad we left a bit early. I’m not sure my body could have handled another three or four workout classes. And the crowd was getting to me—lots of pink, lots of makeup, lots of bling-bling, lots of tight clothing. It just wasn’t me. And the vendors were nothing special. Sure, there were things on sale, but nothing amazing. I did buy some new gear, though, which was nice. What I tried workout-wise helped to give me a better idea of what I can do, where I want to get to physically, what I like, what I don’t, what I need to start doing and using, and where I could possibly go class-wise and workout-future-wise. This past weekend, just like the BODYPUMP training the week before and the Turbo Kick certification two weeks ago, reminded me how much I love working out, love teaching, and love the world that is fitness.  It all makes me smile because even though my body aches every time I go from sitting to standing and my back needs some major TCL, I would do it again next weekend. And I can’t wait to teach tomorrow. And I can’t wait to start teaching more. And get certified in more specializations.

In conclusion, this weekend was great. Will I do it again next year? It depends on what will be there, who’s going, and how much it costs, because it’s not cheap or super close in location. Am I glad I did it this year? Absolutely. It was exactly what I needed. In conclusion, I am happy with where things are going for me and my fitness career, and this past weekend was just another stepping stone for me.


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