Browsing Tag


Earned, Not Given: Anytime Fitness Annual Conference

September 18, 2012

Inspiration. Motivation. Education. Bleeding Purple.

Those are the words that come to mind when I think about this past weekend. I spent the weekend photographing, talking, dancing, crying, and laughing with my fellow Anytime Fitness family. As I reflect on the weekend, I realize how fast it went by and how tired I am now as a result.

We (Lee and I) woke up at 4:30 am to be at our 6:30 flight! I was so exhausted that I slept on the plane (something I rarely am able to do). After landing, her awesome mom and dad picked us up and drove us to Chicago…where we hung out all day, walking Chicago’s Loop.

After getting settled in at the hotel, we spent the evening watching funny videos, listening to the “State of the Franchise,” and laughing at jugglers. With an early morning Friday, I called it a night.

I woke early Friday morning to photograph the morning Bootcamp workout. It was an intense session, lead by none other than Shannon Fable with the Bodyworkz team. Everyone was having fun while sweating their guts out. Plus, one of the Anytime Fitness Trainers, April Calderon, set the World Record for number of pushups done on 3 medicine balls IN FRONT OF THE BEAN! What a true inspiration. She showed the world that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything.

Friday was very busy with a speaker from the Ritz Carlton and a marketing and branding session.

The 80s party brought out the best in our Franchise. We showed that we not only can we do something as silly as dressing up “80’s style”… we will do it, do it together, and do it in style. We stick together and that is why we are so successful. People showed up in Ninja costumes, Mario and Luigi… plus a ton more!

The true inspiration came on Saturday. We awarded 3 of my favorite bloggers the 2i awards (2 inspire). Meet Annie, Meghann, and Cassie.

From Left: Annie (@MamaDweeb), Meghann (@MealsandMiles), and Cassie (@BackToHerRoots)


Annie is from Kansas and received the 2i award because of her amazing abilities during the #SurviveOn35 challenge. She made a grocery budget of $109 dollars look commendable for a family of FIVE! With exceptional planning and care, she was a co-winner of the challenge! She writes about family, food, fashion, and more on her blog Mamma Dweeb. She encouraged hundreds, that eating healthy on a budget doesn’t have to be expensive!


Meghann is from Florida and received the 2i award because of her unforgettable efforts in the #SurviveOn35 challenge. She constructed creative and healthy meals while documenting every cost for her readers. She illustrated the true meaning of eating healthy on a budget. She blogs at Meals and Miles. She is also an ultra-marathoner, amateur photographer, and globetrotter. She is constantly supporting her blog readers to live healthy lives through education and motivation.


Our first 2i award is from Indiana and received the 2i award because of her ability to put her whole heart and soul into the Anytime Health community, her motivational writing, and her health. She writes about food and fitness on her blog, Back to her Roots, where sheencourages people to live a healthy lifestyle through clean eating habits and exercise. She consistently brings outstanding content to the Anytime Health blog with encouraging and attention-grabbing content.

On top of that Saturday night was spewing with inspiration with four incredible member success stories that didn’t just involve losing weight or dress size but included a limbless woman, bullied kid, husband showing love by getting healthy, and a woman who had just lost her way. These people were just people trying to make themselves better…little do they know how they will impact anyone who watches their success videos. I was to the point of full on tears watching these videos!

This conference was my second. Nonetheless, it was the best. Even with exhaustion looming over me, I was still moved and excited to get to work and continue to move our brand towards awesomeness!

6 Non-Touristy Things to do in Chicago

September 7, 2012

One of the reasons I love to travel is that you can see how other cultures live. And while Chicago is a lot like Minneapolis, it’s got its own uniqueness. After doing some research, I looked for some fun “non-touristy” things to do while I am in Chicago next weekend for the Anytime Fitness Annual Conference. Here is what I found:

Grab a Movie in the Park

During the summer months in Chicago, they host a Movie in the Park nights all over the city! If you are planning a trip soon, they are playing movies through October! Check out their schedule here. According to the website, admission is free, and all movies begin at dusk weather permitting. A free movie date in Chicago…Heck yeah!

Visit the Hideout for Awesome Live Shows

The Hideout is a small live music club that hosts everything from music and theater performances. They also host a killer block party every September! Yelp users speak highly of the place, saying:

“This is the quintessential Chicago bar. If you have friends coming in from out of town and you want to show them a real slice of Chicago away from tourism, this is the bar. I have been going there for years and never had a bad time there.”

The beer is cheap (yet drinkable), the music is good, and it makes you feel at home.

Grab a Morning Workout on North Avenue Beach

Rent a kayak, go beach running, or just sun and swim at this local beach. With plenty of activities available, you won’t get bored here. Spring and fall days can be just as inviting, especially if you like to run (or have a dog or kids that do), want to fly a kite, or go for a bike ride.

Eat Delicious Grub at Heaven on Seven

Located on the seventh floor of the Garland Building, this Heaven on Seven is the original. It’s famous for its spicy Cajun-Creole menu, specializing in breakfast and lunch. It only serves dinner once a month, so you must consider the Michigan Avenue location for an evening meal.

Walk Michigan Ave

Okay so this is a little touristy, but I just love Michigan Ave’s shopping, people watching, and overall appeal. Some of my favorite stores to go to (or glance into) are: Marc Jacobs, NikeTOWN, and Chanel (that is the peer in one because I can’t afford much there). According to Frommers,

The Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St. (close to Michigan Ave), looks like something out of an English country village, with a Gothic stone exterior and a peaceful, flower-filled courtyard.

Visit the Farmers Market

Another fun and free thing to do is visit the farmers markets in places you travel, it’s one of my personal favorites! Downtown travelers are now able to shop for fresh produce and farm products every weekday, rain or shine, at the Farmstand Farmers Market located at 66 E. Randolph St. Open Monday through Friday from 7 am to 3 pm, the new market will offer fresh fruits and vegetables recently picked on nearby farms.

Resources: Chicago
Explore Chicago

photo credit: CJ Schmit via photo pin cc