Toronto & The Strong Pro Summit
Today I got back from the Strong Pro Summit in Toronto, Canada, fabulously arranged by Jon Goodman of PTDC. I am SO glad I went!
The reason I decided to invest in going was that I met Nick Tuminello and Alan Aragon earlier this year at Brolando Experience in Orlando, Florida. It was such a great and intimate event where we really got to get some quality time with the speakers. And I was totally inspired and ready to go after that, so I figured, Strong Pro Summit must be just as good! And so it was, I had my travel excuse (for those who don't know me, I'm always looking for one - hey you, challenge me!).
Anyways, the Toronto visit was good on many levels! First of all, it was a lot nicer weather than last time I was there, so Toronto is now at least a 7/10 on the would-hit-again scale. Canadians are nice people too, the city is walk friendly and they have a shop that sells Wonder Woman clothes. So there's that.
Second, I (finally) got to go to Bang Fitness, who has inspired me on my journey while building up Massive to what it is today. It's not quite the same, Bang does mainly semi-private training while I've got an open gym as well as personal training on different levels. But it is fantastic to get to see how other people do things regardless of the differences - when ideas merge, magic happens! I went to dinner with founder/owner Geoff Girvitz (and ate dumplings for the first time) and got to hear the story of (the Big) Bang. And I got the opportunity to ask questions and learn more! Geoff has been doing this a lot longer than me, so it's really good to get some insights as to how the pro's work!
After that I had the pleasure of coffee (well, tea actually) with Paul Hynes who works at Bang as a trainer. We got in touch because he trains one of my dearest friend's boyfriend (who is now also my friend), and he gave me some really good insight into what type of training and programming resources he's learned from. I will definitely check these out - with the new model I'm planning at Massive I feel I need to up my skills when it comes to group programming and how to navigate (fast) progression/regression in larger groups, without it taking too much time out of the session.
On Friday morning I finally got to meet Jon Goodman, after many years of following his stuff online. I've learned loads from his free material and his books over the years, and this year I also decided to invest in the Online Trainer Academy (which is amazing - I can use so much of it at the gym already, so it's not online exclusive!). It felt like I had known him for ages, you know when you meet someone and it's almost too comfortable (can it be though?). It must be hard to have so many people (think) they know you, and not really knowing all those people. But Jon seems like he's got a good memory and a great heart, so perhaps magic happens when he meets these people. I am totally impressed by his people skills! And business skills. And his delivery. All the things pretty much.
He also introduced me to a fellow super hero (fan) and European, Ben Mudge from Belfast. Jon introduced him as Thor (he looks like Thor), and so that was his name for the rest of the conference. Next year perhaps we'll both cosplay our way to the summit - wouldn't that be cool (calling all super heroes, time to start sewing costumes). Not only does Ben like super heroes, but he is also a very inspirational guy, take a look at this video to see what I mean! So I'm definitely grabbing life by the balls just a little harder from now on.
Between conference events I managed to squeeze in a visit at Ripley's aquarium (awesome, go there!) and lunch with the dear friend I referenced earlier. I love friends!
In the afternoon there was a OTA networking event, and then an evening social at the Hockey Hall of Fame (where I got to meet Stanley's Cup ;) ). I totally fangirled over Mark Fisher and Eric Cressey. Turns out they're actual people despite appearing to be gods! And I'm amazed how humble and nice they were, not that I was expecting that they would be horrible people, but just the fact that they are "just like you" (except insanely successful in their respective field). Awesome.
I've also followed Molly Galbraith for many years and finally got to meet her! She's the founder of Girls Gone Strong, which shares some similarities with Barbelles, but it's a lot bigger and has a huge impact on thousands of women every day (Barbelles is a small network).
STRONG PRO SUMMIT
So finally the (even more) fun began! Best of the day was Eric Cressey's 10 years, 10 Lessons and Mark Fisher's presentation, which I'm not sure if he renamed on the spot or not. But it was about how to make you facility/training/tribe have choice, fun and create a good community. He was such an engaging speaker - it was impossible not to love it. Also he's a unicorn, so.
In the evening Nick, Ben and I went to eat amazing honey/garlic sirloin with some taters. It was a good primer for the social event at a hotel nearby. The place was a little loud, and too many people not belonging with "our" company (=they weren't strong summit people), but Nick and Alan more than made up for that. Hopefully next year I'll already know more people or just speak louder (seems I brought a cold over from Sweden). Also it would probably help if the drinks weren't $25! (cheaper drink=expected increased intake by perhaps 50%=louder voice that carries across the room=more people hearing=more people engaging in conversation=hopefully banter=success)
Second day was pretty awesome too, best of was Jon Goodman's talk on Viralnomics and (of course) Alan Aragon's talk on Flexible Dieting. That guy can really make anything fun! Will get more into the talks as I go through and review my material - I want to write about what I got out of each one of them - good for me, good for you.
Anyways, here are some pictures of northy Canada and Greenland. Ok bai!