As promised last week, I'm here to share all of the details about the amazing opportunity I had to attend the Big Ten (B1G) Recreational Sports Conference, which was held at UNL last Tuesday-Thursday.
Basically, this event is held once a year at one of the B1G schools. It is an opportunity for networking, learning, and socializing among employees in campus recreation. I just so happened to start working at UNL at the perfect time, as we were hosting this year. My boss invited me to join in on the experience, and I am so grateful that I did!
It started on Tuesday with pre-conference activities. There were a few choices to choose from, but since I wasn't interested in golfing or any of the other choices, I decided to go on the Nebraska Athletics Facilities Tour.
With this tour, we were able to view the Barbara Hibner Soccer Stadium, Sid and Hazel Dillon Tennis Center, the Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Breslow Hockey Center, the Bob Devaney Sports Center, Hendricks Training Complex, the Hawks Championship Center, and Memorial Stadium.
Yeah, we covered a lot of ground!
It was super interesting to see all of the weightrooms, conditioning areas, locker rooms, lounge areas, and so much more! Let me tell you - Nebraska holds nothing back for their athletes. Nothing. Plus, I still have a student's perspective, so that made it interesting as well.
Either way, I am so glad I went on the tour - I met some really nice people in our group of about 25 people. There was another group fitness instructor from Rutgers that was super nice - we hit it off right away.
Dinner that night was up in the skybox of Memorial Stadium. The views up there are amazing!
Wednesday started with roundtables, which were made up of people in similar departments from the various schools in the B1G. I, of course, attended the Group Fitness & Instruction roundtable.
This event was probably one of my favorite events of the entire conference, as we were just able to talk to each other about our programs, triumphs, and struggles related to group fitness. There were participants from Wisconsin, Michigan St., Purdue, Ohio State (or The Ohio State as they preferred to be called - that was the running joke of the conference), and Rutgers.
Next, we moved onto a tour of the Recreation and Wellness Center on East Campus, followed by the Ultimate Vendor Experience, which was basically an amazing race challenge. We were split into teams, given a clue, and had to search around the building for vendors that matched our clue. Then, we would complete a task given to us by each vendor and receive our next clue. This was a lot of up and down and all around the rec!
Next, we had lunch followed by educational seminars and sessions in the afternoon over on City Campus. I attended a session on motivation and coaching weight loss management, before heading to the session that was the highlight of my B1G experience.
The session was called Power & Strength: Alternative Training Techniques, and it was taught by the head of personal training here at Nebraska. The session was a workout using all of the best, funnest, awesomest (is that even a word?!) workout equipment: sleds, prowler, TRX, weighted balls, battle ropes...the list goes on and on.
Needless to say, I had the time of my life working out using all of the exciting equipment that I see in magazines or online, but never get to use.
There was also a station for pull-ups with a resistance band (to make them easier for those who can't do strict pull-ups. One of my goals this year is to get a strict pull-up, but I"m not quite there yet. I've been using an assisted pull-up machine to help me, but I had never tried a banded pull-up, which simulates more of what an actual pull-up is like.
So when I saw the banded pull-up station, I was at first nervous: Would I be able to get even one?
Well, during the workout, I left those doubts behind, and pulled out at least five full banded pull-ups. I felt incredibly strong, powerful, and confident! Obviously, I left that session flying high - my energy was incredible!
Wednesday night's social was downtown in the Railyard here in Lincoln. We had lip sync battles and an opportunity to talk with each other in a relaxed setting. I talked at length with two professionals, one from Purdue and one from Illinois, both of which invited me to their campus recreation facilities anytime that I'm in town - we'll see if that ever happens! A girl can dream, right?!
Thursday morning started off with a education session for everyone. For every session period, there were at least four options to choose from so that everyone could go to something they would enjoy (as there were over 175 people at this conference).
I chose to attend "There's Gotta Be A Better Way" - Making Your Programs Relevant. I knew that I would be soon creating health coaching and personal training programs, so I chose this session with a purpose. It was an amazing talk that gave us six concrete steps to create meaningful programs, which is super helpful and guiding as I look to my future.
Then, we had a tour of the City Campus Rec Center, another educational session ,and lunch. The afternoon was followed by two more sessions and a closing speaker.
The first of the two afternoon sessions I attended was about using periodization in designing a personal training program. It was super informative - full of info that I will be using for myself and future clients!
My second session Thursday afternoon was about surviving your first year, whether that first year be of grad school, a professional job, etc. It was led by a lady here at Nebraska that I admire, so I took away several inspiring nuggets from that talk.
By this time in the conference, I was exhausted, but I had to teach a fitness class at 5. So, I sneaked away to the free massages in the lobby, relaxed a little bit, and got myself into "teaching mode."
After teaching, I came home, made myself look presentable, and headed to the last event of the B1G Conference: dinner and social at Brewsky's downtown.
We had rented out the entire basement of the bar and had the dueling pianos playing as well. I had never seen the dueling pianos before - they are amazing!
That night, I also had the opportunity to have a couple of amazing talks with some other B1G individuals, one of which was with the director of campus recreation at Michigan - a pretty important guy! He came over and sat at my table to eat, and I started talking to him, and eventually asked his position. I wasn't expecting director, but when he said that, I immediately was like wow, this guy is the real deal!
He was super nice, and we had a great conversation about Michigan's group fitness and personal training programs. Later, the two ( the only two who came to the conference) guys from Indiana campus recreation came and joined us. It was fascinating to learn about other programs and rec centers.
Well, that was the B1G conference for me. Even after a good night's sleep, Friday morning I was exhausted! But, I will never, ever forget this experience, the conversations I engaged in, and the people I met. It was definitely worth it! Next year, the conference is at The Ohio State (don't ever forget the "THE").
Now back to reality - have a great week!