Friday, May 23, 2008

How to best prepare yourself for WSSC

A fellow fitness blogger has posted an excellent article on how to conquer a fitness conference. With WSSC just a week away, I thought it could be helpful.

I'd like to add a few of my own suggestions, especially as they relate to Spinning conferences, and most especially if you're going to Miami next week!

1. Create a calendar of your sessions that you are signed up for, and the ones you want to attend as standby. Write down your first, second and third standby choices so it's all in one place. This way you can get into the stand-by lines early. But even if you can't get a bike as a standby, don't let that dissuade you. See below for wall-hugging...  Also, you should know that even though sessions might say they are sold out on Sunday, know that people get tired and attendance drops off on the last day. You are very likely to get a bike on Sunday as a stand-by, especially in the afternoon.

2. If you get to the conference early, this is a good time to orient yourself with the layout of the rooms you'll be attending, so you're not running around looking when the session has already started.

3. I like the idea of introducing yourself to the presenter prior to the session, because they can get so slammed with people afterwards asking questions. But be mindful of whether they are dealing with sound checks for the mic and their music and getting their notes in order. Often between sessions there isn't much time for one presenter to clear the stage and the other to make sure everything is in order.  But if the presenter looks confident and is just riding to warm up, by all means, that's the time to go introduce yourself! Then later, if you see him or her in the hallways, reconnect.

4. Do you want the playlist? Take down their email (most are listed in the session book, which is available online).  I don't know a Spinning presenter who isn't happy to send their playlists by email after the conference (some may not be as good at others at remembering...but I know they have good intentions)!

5. The group of Spinning MIs that I know are some of the most approachable people I've met in the fitness industry. Take advantage of them while you can - most are very happy to chat and share their ideas and give suggestions in between their sessions or if you see them out by the pool.  Occasionally we are preparing for a session and need some mental time alone (I know this can happen to me) and if that's the case, we'll let you know, but when that session is over, please! Come back and ask your question if you see us in the hotel.  I've actively gone in search of someone I had to put off one year because I was stressing about an upcoming session (I'm learning not to stress so much), and I never saw her after that and felt badly. I hope she is reading this and knows it was only temporary unavailability!

6. DON'T RIDE SO MUCH! Of course, you want to ride and experience a few of the sessions, but in truth, you will get so much more out of sitting on the sidelines and taking notes. This is known as "hugging the wall" and you will not be alone.  Some longtime WSSC attendees rarely even get on the bike, and end up with writer's cramp at the end of the day. By the way, these are the people you want to befriend! Buy him or her a cocktail or Starbucks in exchange for some notes if you weren't able to take any. :-)

7. The other reason not to ride so much is that you will truly wear yourself out. Take it easy, and balance your days. Some riding, some wall-hugging, some stretching, maybe some pilates, maybe a lecture or two. Your body will thank you.

8. Get in line for your session early if you can. First, it's a great place to meet people, and secondly, you want to try to get a bike as close to the front as possible. Also, if there is a lecture segment and a ride segment, the lecture might be away from the bikes. First, find your bike, place your water bottle and towel on it, but do this quickly and proceed to the lecture area as soon as possible. It is our goal to start on time to give you the maximum amount of information as possible.

9. Be prepared calorie-wise. Bring energy bars for every day you'll be there (it's less expensive than buying them there).  Take them with you to every ride. I like to bring some ziplock bags of almonds or trail mix, rice crackers, fruit and other healthy snacks. Snacks at the hotel are inadequate (although I've heard they're getting better).

10. If you have back-to-back sessions, bring a change of clothes - you may not have time to run up to your room. 

11. Bring your bathing suit and sunscreen and a hat.  But also bring your rain gear and a light jacket! Miami this time of year will alternate between HOT and humid and cool and rainy. Sometimes even sideways torrential rain; last year we called it a hurricane. But not to worry, it will be hot again shortly afterwards. 

12. I'll reiterate what Biray wrote in her article on GroupFitPower's blog, Create a Temporary Community at the Conference. The good news is that it is very easy to do at WSSC. Forumites from Pedal-On and Innercycling are experts at community, making friends, and welcoming others into their community. They like to hang out on the couches in the lobby. Go join them! Introduce yourself, and quite possibly you'll make friends for life.

13. Don't miss the group ride on Friday night! Even if you only "hug the wall". The energy is amazing.

14. Please come up and introduce yourself to me! 

I'll see you in a week!


Be Fit With Biray said...

Thank you for referencing my blog post and for the kind comments! I think what you have also reiterated some excellent reminders for a successful conference experience. I attended WSSC a few years ago and it was remarkable! Very well organized and full of incredible energy! I have never seen so many people so passionate about cycling in all of my career. You're bound to meet some extra-ordinary folks! And you're right about the Friday night ride - an event never worth missing! Great post!

Anonymous said...

I only wish I could make it to Miami this year! Orlando is in my cards this time, so I'll just enjoy the comments at Pedal On when y'all get back!

Thanks, Jennifer!

Jennifer Sage said...

I was hoping to do Orlando this year, as I was there last year, but it looks like I'm not. Hopefully ECANY. thanks for all your great tips on your blog Krista, and for leading me to Biray. I'll be checking back frequently to both of them!