Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My "school nerd" ways at the 2015 National Wellness Conference

In January, I created my 2015 vision board, which included this image:

Last week, I made that vision come true! I attended the 40th Annual National Wellness Conference for the first time. I was so excited to attend, yet I had no idea what to expect when I arrived. 

The conference took place at the University of Minnesota, which lucky for me, is only a few miles from my home. I was amazed to learn that people traveled from all over the U.S. to attend this conference as well as South Africa, India and Australia. Amazing!

When I first walked in to receive my registration materials, I was so excited. The staff was helpful and I received a bunch of great swag from the sponsors of the event. My favorite item was provided by Real Balance. It was a journal to use for the week to document my conference notes, as well as room to write about my nutritional and mental well-being throughout the week. 

After registration, I headed over to the expo. It was packed full of people and vendors. The amount of wellness talent that surrounded me was both exciting and intimidating since I'm fairly new to coaching. I didn't know where to begin, but then I ran into one of my instructors from my Mayo Clinic wellness coaching course. Catching up with her helped my excitement overcome my feelings of intimidation!

The conference began with a keynote speaker and "motivation scientist", Dr. Michelle Segar, which took place in this large auditorium:

[Note: the following story has nothing to do with the conference content, yet I must share it!] 

One thing you may not know about me is that I'm a huge school nerd. My best friend and I (obnoxiously?) sat in the front row of our college French course. We always answered questions and received "A's". I did the same in some of my other courses as well. And, I've taken that habit with me throughout life as I've attended other classes and training sessions. This day was no exception. I sat in the center section in the very front row. And, no one joined me! As a side note, this was a fascinating social encounter, especially with such a large group of people that specialize in connecting with other people for a living! Not only was I the only one in the front row, but there were hardly any people in the first few rows. Everyone piled in the back. Luckily, the host asked everyone to move forward and all was well.

Moving back to Dr. Michelle Segar! She beautifully consolidated 20 years of research on motivation into an hour and a half of genius. My biggest takeaway was her strategies to help people find their "why". That is the starting point of reaching success with any goal!

Following Dr. Segar, I attended three breakout sessions. (And, yes, I sat in the front row for each session!) Here are the highlights:

  • Susan Wilson, CWP, and Sandhya Rajagopal discussed Styles of Communication. I learned about different ways of communicating and which style I use. You can find out with a simple 10-question quiz that's very enlightening. 
  • If you want to take the quiz, reach out to me and I'll send it to you.
  • I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear Joshua Steinfeldt, PCC, CMC, CWHC, CEC because he's at the University of Pennsylvania attending courses with the founder of Positive Psychology, Dr. Martin Seligman *bows*. He's also had the opportunity to work with Dr. Arloski, who I'll discuss shortly. Steinfeldt's discussion focused on lonlieness. His stats were fascinating and solidified my choice to pursue wellness coaching:
    • 25% of people say they don't have someone they can share a personal problem with.
    • In 1980, 20% of people felt lonely. In 2010, that number moved to 40%.
  • The fact that this group is so large - it's staggering. He taught us about coaching to create a connection with people and creating a space to help people overcome loneliness. 
  • The activity that Steinfeldt asked us to do was also staggering. I'll share it with you. If you do this activity, please send me an email or private message and let me know your results. I'd love to discuss this with you!
  1. Write down the people who you consider "high-quality" connections in your life. These are people who are always available to you. It's 3 a.m. and you can freely call them to bear your emotions.
  2. Who is on your list?
  3. What are the themes or patterns?
  4. Who's not on your list?
  5. What surprised you?
  • The last session I attended was exciting because I was able to meet and work with Michael Arloski, PhD, PPC, CWP. I've read his book, Wellness Coaching for Lasting Lifestyle Change, and it's been very helpful to me. During his session, I was able to do a practice coaching session with a member of his team. She really gave me a run for my money! It was a challenging "session". I talked with Dr. Arloski afterwards and thanked him for his contributions to my learnings. It was a fabulous day!
If you want to reach out to me about these exercises, feel free to email me at or send me a private message via my Facebook page, Mind Over Mayo Wellness Coaching.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fit Fest 2015 Review

On Saturday I had the privilege of attending the first annual Fit Fest event in the Twin Cities sponsored by Mpls-St. Paul Magazine. Not only was it the first Fit Fest, but it was the first fitness event of its kind hosted here. This amazes me, since we are known as one of the fittest cities in America. I attended with my super fit and fun pal, Christina, from Four Season Fit. Check her out!

Here are the quick and dirty highlights of the event:

The speakers were legit. The keynote speaker and class instructor was Chris Freytag. Locals, you may know her from KARE 11's Motivation Monday. Her talk about healthy eating was direct and easy-to-follow. She is extremely knowledgeable, but keeps it real. 

I also heard Dr. Christina Meyer-Jax speak who discussed smart food hacks about how to make the best food choice the easy food choice. My favorite: grab some mason jars and put some hummus at the bottom. Top with cut up veggies and it makes an easy-to-grab snack!

My favorite speaker was Lori Schaefer of In the Equation, who you may have seen on The Biggest Loser. I'm not one for crying, but her story brought me to tears. If you need some inspiration, take a look at her story. It's amazing and motivating - and proves that you can do anything even if you've failed many times before. My favorite note from her talk: It's much easier to lose the weight than it is to keep it off. Amen, sister. Here I am at Lori's session!

The classes kicked ass. The event offered so many classes, but I selected a Turbo Kick class that was very fun, but alas, I got my ass kicked. That said, the expo at the event offered free massages, so it's all good now!

The venue was amazing. The new Recreation and Wellness facility at the University of Minnesota is ridiculous. State of the art and beautiful!

The folks who organized Fit Fest were amazing. The event itself was organized beautifully. Many friendly helpers were there to keep things running smoothly and made sure everyone knew where to go. A very special thanks to whoever ran across the street to fetch a turkey sandwich for me since I couldn't eat the peanut-laden lunch provided! That is truly an above-and-beyond move!! To top it off, the entire event only cost me $20 to attend. $20!!! WHAAAA???!!! I know, right? And, it took place on a beautiful day in Minneapolis, which is rare. Yet, the event was so good that it kept everyone captivated indoors all day!

Locals, be sure to watch for this event next year! I know similar events are also available nationally. Simply google "fit fest" to find an event near you!