One of the most frequently asked questions since speaking FitBloggin and Healthy Living Summit last year has been “which conference would you recommend?” I’m excited to say I will soon have Blend Retreat, FitSocial and FLBlogCon to add to the list, but for now here is a quick run down to help you decide.
Both change locations each year and do a great job of picking cities where you can enjoy things outside of the conference as well. Last year HLS was in Boston and Fitbloggin in Baltimore, both made for great running outings!
After our long training runs in Boston – Ashley, Mary, Meghann, Theo, Me, Anne. During the FitBloggin run Lindsay (that’s right even the founder of another event joins in these!), me and lots of people I can’t see everyone to tag.
HLS won the food category hands down. I believe this is in part because HLS is attended by more food bloggers and thus it’s an extremely important component for the conference. Additionally, HLS is a shorter conference and doesn’t have to stretch the food budget quite as far.
HLS included a large morning breakfast spread created by one blogger using Wild Harvest ingredients, plus a number of dishes from Wild Harvest chefs. It was by far the best breakfast I’ve seen at any conference ever and since breakfast is my biggest meal of the day, this make me pretty darn happy! The hotel took the requested recipes and made the dishes exactly as requested. HLS Lunches then included a variety of options to fit nearly every dietary choice from paleo, to vegan, to gluten-free.
Fitbloggin lunches also provided a great variety, including salmon on Saturday! However the breakfast options were slim and I definitely heard mutterings from a number of folks that they simply weren’t satisfied. If you have any dietary restrictions plan to bring things with you or scout out nearby restaurants in advance.
Both conferences leave evening meals at your discretion (minus appetizers at opening mixers).
- Fitbloggin was $300 for two full days + an offsite event the day before + a 5K the day after
- HLS was $100 for one full day + multiple events the day before + 5K the day after
FitBloggin – Offsite event included an amazing tour at the McCormmick facility with lots of information about healthy spices and a delicious meal.
HLS – Pre-events included lots of mingles to walk to Whole Foods, get ice cream, learn to take better photos. These all provided great opportunities to meet people in a smaller group and ensure you felt really comfortable once the conference began.
HLS and FitBloggin both have a cocktail night, but the HLS ladies really get decked out. It makes it feel like a very special evening and a celebration of friendship. Beyond those moments the rest of the weekend is largely spent in jeans or your workout clothes if attending the workouts!
Pre-dinner with Laura, mid-day with Jill (FitBloggin). Pre-workshop with Phyllis (HLS)
(HLS) Always time for silly at the photo booth and a group shot before the cocktail reception.
Both conferences contain a variety of speakers and panels on blogging tips. Clearly they both have good taste since I was invited to each! I kid, but really the topics are varied from how to blog local to blogging your weight loss journey. I can’t pick a winner in this category either, but will say HLS is probably more focused on how to GROW your blog and FitBloggin is more about how to ENJOY your blog (with ideas on money thrown in).
Checkout both sites from the images above for recaps of different topics. Both do a good job of live blogging and there are always lots of blog posts with recaps after so you can see how the topics unfold.
Both events have some great workouts planned which allow you to try different things and simply ENJOY being active. I would actually say it’s a tie on the total variety and types of workouts as both had bootcamps, Zumba and running events.
The FitBloggin workouts were scattered throughout the day and thus had a little more participation than the early morning pre-conference workouts held by HLS.
Using the Cathe slides at FitBloggin and outdoor bootcamp at HLS.
Is there a difference in who attends either conference? Well honestly yes there is. Neither is better in any way, they just offer different things.
FitBloggin was started by Roni Noone a weight loss blogger that has inspired a WHOLE lot of people. Therefore there is a very large contingent of people on their own weight loss journey from starting out to maintaining at this conference. It provides one of the most supportive atmospheres I’ve seen for people to share their stories and get pumped up to keep going even when it’s tough.
HLS was started by 6 large healthy living bloggers: Caitlin Boyle, HealthyTippingPoint.com; Jenna Weber, EatLiveRun.com; Meghann Anderson, MealsandMiles.com; Kath Younger, KathEats.com; Tina Haupert, CarrotsnCake.com. It seems to attract more food bloggers and a much younger crowd, including a number of college students, largely focused on getting better at blogging.
I enjoyed both conferences, but for completely different reasons. I strongly recommend you attend any of the conferences out there for the great friendships and support. When trying to decide which one I hope this break down helps and I’ll be posting later this year after I attend the other 3 with another breakdown.
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