2013 Boston Mania Recap

As you guys know, this weekend I attended the 2013 Boston Mania fitness conference.

Boston Mania 2013

I went to this convention last year, and I loved it so much that I returned for more. It’s a great opportunity to not only get continuing education credits to keep my fitness certifications current, but it’s also a great way to network with other fitness professionals, get new ideas for the classes I teach and clients I train, and try the latest and greatest things in the industry. It was fun hanging out with Lauren, Monique, and Caroline throughout the weekend. I also met a couple of F&F blog readers in real life (Hi Michelle! Hi Tracy!).

Boston Mania 2013

Last year I had grand plans to write a recap post for every single session I attended, but I quickly grew tired of that after two or three recaps. This year I’ll keep it a tad more realistic. I am going to give you guys my main takeaways/opinions in this post, and perhaps I’ll do just a couple more detailed posts on my favorites later on.

Here’s the general rundown of classes I attended and my impressions of them:

Kettle Weight Drenched

  • Trainer: Jeff McMullen
  • Why I signed up: To feel more comfortable using the kettlebell/to get new exercise ideas
  • Overall thoughts: I left feeling a little disappointed, I was surprised the kettlebells were only 8 pounds, and the kettlebell exercises were unfortunately not that new to me.
  • Key takeaways: The discussion on the four components of program design (functional appropriateness, structural integrity, work capacity, movement skill), along with a couple of new bodyweight moves we did in between the kettlebell exercises (plank to scorpion and handstand prep).


R.I.P.P.E.D. – The One Stop Body Shock

  • Trainers: Nakeeya Deas and Billy Kirby
  • Why I signed up: To see what the hype of this class is about and to see if it’s something I’d like to certify in someday
  • Overall thoughts: The instructors had a lot of energy and it was clear they felt passionately about the program. I thought the format felt a bit rushed and repetitive at the same time. I also thought it was weird that we started with biceps, triceps, and shoulders instead of bigger muscles first.
  • Key takeaways: I learned that R.I.P.P.E.D. stands for resistance, interval, power, plyometrics, endurance, and diet – the six components to the program. Each section did leave me with some new exercise ideas and combinations despite the “rushed” feeling. I’ll just do them on the specific day I’m dedicating to working on one or two of those areas at a time.


Sports Conditioning Goes Group

  • Trainers: Peter Twist
  • Why I signed up: To learn new agility and plyometric moves that could translate into a group exercise setting
  • Overall thoughts: This was the most disappointing class of the weekend. I felt a bit bored and didn’t like the exercises we did. I also don’t think we made the best use of our time. However, I did enjoy some of the inspirational pieces at the beginning.
  • Key takeaways: “The time is always now” and “everyone’s an athlete” concepts.

Best of Bootcamp 2013

  • Trainer: Mindy Mylrea
  • Why I signed up: Mindy Mylrea (seriously, I’m obsessed)
  • Overall thoughts: Mindy once again amazed me with her energy and creative movement combinations. This was one of my favorite classes of the weekend! I also appreciated that it wasn’t repetitive of the classes I took with her last year.

Boston Mania Best of Bootcamp

Myofascial Compression Techniques: Trigger Point Performance Therapy

  • Trainer: Kyle Skull
  • Why I signed up: To learn new methods for injury prevention
  • Overall thoughts: It HURT (in a good way). I learned a lot and loved getting more of the science behind it. Now I feel inspired to try some of the techniques on my own and do more of it regularly. 
  • Key takeaways: I learned that foam rolling is not enough, and if you can only foam roll before or after a workout the recommendation is before. The 6 main areas of biomechanics to work with include the soleus, quads, psoas, piriformis, pectorals, and thoracic spine. I thought it was interesting that most of these areas are below the waist, but the most tension people feel is in the neck/shoulders.

6 Paradoxes of Fitness

  • Trainer: Lawrence Biscontini
  • Why I signed up: To hear the weekend’s keynote speaker
  • Overall thoughts: Lawrence kept my attention the entire time. I laughed, I cried, and I left feeling more inspired than I’ve ever felt after attending a lecture. This was hands down the best part of the entire weekend.
  • Key takeaways: “A no today is a yes waiting to happen tomorrow,” we as instructors and trainers are part of the solution to the obesity epidemic, and of course the 6 paradoxes of fitness that have to do with the way we think, use humor, eat, love, breathe, and move. This is definitely something I’ll be writing more about down the line.

6 Paradoxes of Fitness

6 paradoxes of fitness

MMA Fighter Fit with the Bosu

  • Trainer: Kevin Kearns
  • Why I signed up: To learn new exercises on the bosu and because Lauren recommended this class
  • Overall thoughts: LOVED IT – right up there with Mindy. I was totally in my element during the class. Kevin had us all working hard, but smiling through it and yelling all together throughout the workout. I loved the concept of teaching clients and members to use martial arts exercises but without the hitting.
  • Key takeaways: Aside from all the new moves, that I won the drawing for a free MMA Fighter Fit certification! Guess I know what I’ll be doing next. Psyched!

Boston Mania - MMA

H.I.I.T the Step

  • Trainer: Abbie Appel
  • Why I signed up: To learn new class formats that I could teach with the step
  • Overall thoughts: Wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but I left with a better understanding of metabolic conditioning. I also thought Abbie’s approach was creative and fun. The exercises were all things I knew, but put into new combinations and different formats, which is what I was looking for.
  • Key takeaways: A new class format of doing three minutes with a more basic version of an exercise, two minutes of the next level, and one minute of the hardest version.

Boston Mania - HIIT the Step


  • Trainer: Angel Santiago
  • Why I signed up: To try something new and Les Mills based
  • Overall thoughts: Wish I wasn’t feeling so sore/tired at this point that I ended up watching most of it instead of participating. Thought the instructor was high energy and everyone had fun.
  • Key takeaways: This would be a class that I would take on my own or certify in if I was affiliated with a Les Mills club. I still enjoyed Piloxing last year better than R.I.P.P.E.D. or BODYCOMBAT.

Boston Mania Bodycombat

Cream Rises

  • Trainer: Lawrence Biscontini
  • Why I signed up: Because I felt so inspired during the keynote speech that I dropped out of the ropes class I originally signed up for to hear Biscontini speak again about the concepts in his book, Cream Rises
  • Overall thoughts: I didn’t want the lecture to end.
  • Key takeaways: I left with so many helpful tips for taking myself from a good/average instructor to a great one that stands out from the crowd. I bought the book and can’t wait to read it in its entirety.

Boston Mania - Cream Rises

Core Amour

  • Trainer: Abbie Appel
  • Why I signed up: I enjoyed her class the day before and wanted new ideas for core work
  • Overall thoughts: Can’t believe that adding a yoga ball can make such basic movements so hard!
  • Key takeaways: New ways to correct clients/class members to make sure they are getting the most out of their core work.

Cardio, Cuts, and Core

  • Trainer: Irene Lewis McCormick
  • Why I signed up: This sounded like a class I needed to come to!
  • Overall thoughts: Another favorite of the weekend, loved the incorporation of teaching techniques throughout the class
  • Key takeaways: Another new format to use in my own classes, using progressions and time based workouts – 40/20, 30/15, 20/10. Finally also got a clear definition on the difference between interval training and high intensity interval training (negative recovery time).

Muscle Mashup

  • Trainer: Jeff Howard
  • Why I signed up: Another class that sounded like I should be at, and with all bodyweight movements
  • Overall thoughts: I would have liked this a lot more had it not been the last class of the weekend. I was sore, hangry, and totally ready to go home by this point. The instructor had SO MUCH ENERGY, but I thought the exercises were executed a bit sloppily and could have been slowed down a bit as to not compromise form.
  • Key takeaways: TABATAS GALORE

Here are some other pictures from the weekend:

Live tweet board… I made the cut!

Boston Mania 2013

And fun fitness expo…

Boston Mania 2013

Hopefully this post helps if you ever plan to attend a Mania conference and are trying to decide what courses to take or sign up for. These conventions are offered all over the country every year, and I highly recommend taking advantage of them. I think they are the most affordable option for the amount you get at them. For my Boston-based instructor and trainer friends, mark your calendars for November 7-9, 2014! 😉

Readers, let’s chat. Have you ever attended a Mania convention before? What did you think? Were you at Boston Mania this weekend?

Upcoming Local Fitness Events

Hey guys, I’m just checking in quickly to share some upcoming local fitness related events with you.

Boston Mania SCW Fitness Convention
Next weekend you guys can find me in my happy place at the happiest place on earth. Mania is back in Boston, and I’ll be taking advantage of the learning and networking opportunities all weekend long. For my fellow instructors and trainers, there is still time to sign up if you want! I promise you won’t regret it. I went last year, and it was an amazing experience. You can sign up for one, two, or three days the weekend of 11/15 through 11/17.

True Runner Grand Opening
For my runner readers, a new store called True Runner opened this week in Chestnut Hill. True Runner is a specialty retail store that offers brand name running apparel, footwear, and equipment. The store is kicking off its grand opening celebration 11/15 through 11/17, and they have a ton of fun activities planned.

True Runner Weekend Events

Ultimate Bootcamp Yoga Event
For those that love bootcamp and yoga, Ultimate Bootcamp and South Boston Yoga are hosting a double workout on Saturday 11/16. You can take a 60 minute bootcamp class from 8-9am, followed by a 90 minute yoga class from 9:15-10:45am. For more information and to register, click here.

Ultimate Bootcamp Thanksgiving Workout
Ultimate Bootcamp is also hosting their 6th annual Thanksgiving Day Blast workout in two locations on Thanksgiving morning. You can get your pre-turkey sweat on at the Boston Common from 8:30-9:45am or at Arsenal Park in Watertwon from 9:00-10:15am. Either way, 100% of your entry fee will be donated to either the St. Francis House in Boston or the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown. For more information and to register, click here. If I don’t teach a class on Thanksgiving morning, I think I might check out the Watertown workout!

Seems like a ton of stuff is going on the weekend of the 16th, huh? Anyone going to any of these?

If you check any of these events out, let me know. I’d love to hear how they are. Have fun!

Boston Mania 2012: Tabata Bootcamp

Tabata.  If you take my classes, you already know all about it.  You may love it, you may hate it, you may even hate that you love it or love that you hate it.  Whether I’ve already exposed you to Tabata or you have no clue what I’m talking about, I’m hoping this post will teach you something new.  It’s a longer read than usual, but worth it!


The second workshop I attended at Boston Mania was probably one of my favorites the entire weekend:  Tabata Bootcamp with Mindy Mylrea.

Tabata Bootcamp with Mindy Mylrea

Before I get into the specifics of Tabata Training, let’s talk about Mindy and how awesome she is.  She was by far my favorite presenter at Boston Mania, and I took two workshops with her on Friday.  She’s happy, hilarious, tells dirty jokes, and has so much energy!  If you are not familiar with Mindy (famous name in the fitness world), I highly recommend checking out her website here and buying some of her workout DVD’s.  She’s awesome, awesome, awesome.

Tabata Bootcamp

Mindy started the workshop with a lecture that gave some history of Tabata and how it’s become the “hot thing” in today’s exercise world.  If you are an F&F reader who ONLY does steady state cardio on the same machine day in and day out, that’s great, but… pay attention.

Steady State Cardio

Steady state cardio USED to be the end all be all for weight loss.  People used to (and some still tend to) think that the longer they just stay on a machine, the better the workout.  Wrong.  When you do a cardio session at the same pace for the entire workout duration, your body ADJUSTS to the speed you are going and actually tries harder to conserve energy so you can keep going.  And guess what energy comes in the form of?  Calories.  So what is the point of CONSERVING calories during every workout?

**Note:  I’m not saying to NEVER do steady state cardio.  If you are already a fit person who exercises regularly,  pretty much one steady state workout a week to keep your lungs in check is all you need as part of your regimen among other training.  And if you are a beginner, steady state is a great place to start.  It does still have health benefits and is better than nothing.  This is about how to take it to the next level.**

Interval Training

After steady state cardio was all the rage, interval training was introduced.  We talked a LOT of science here – how interval training that lasts for longer than 20 minutes can certainly be harder intensity, but it’s still in the cardio realm because it uses oxygen and the body still never fails because it doesn’t need to readjust.  We talked about the lactate threshold and reaching your VO2 max (told you lots of science), that “grey area” between aerobic and anaerobic exercise.  Athletes started realizing they could be better if they could sustain activity in this lactate threshold area longer… basically on the “verge” of failure.

High Intensity Interval Training

Then came HIIT, high intensity interval training.  This type of training takes you into the anaerobic zone.  It consists of 20 minutes of less of training time and focuses on exercises that use major muscle groups and compound movement.  HIIT taps the energy sources INSIDE the muscle, and it works better for fat loss than steady state because it creates a prolonged after burn, or EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption).  This type of training causes the body to take longer to return to its state of rest, so it continues to burn calories at a higher rate long after the workout session has completed.

Tabata Training

So!  Tabata itself is a type of high intensity interval training that is very simple but very intense.  The training time is only 4 minutes, but it should be the 4 hardest minutes of any training routine you will do.  After a warmup, an exercise is performed to failure for 20 seconds.  There is then a 10 second rest followed by another 20 second bout of intensity.  There are 8 cycles of this to form the 4 minutes.


Think about it.  If I tell you that you have a whole minute to do burpees, you most CERTAINLY are not going to work as hard.  The mindset is “Oh, I have an entire 60 seconds.”  But if I tell you that you only have 20 seconds, the mindset shifts to “Shoot, I only have 20 seconds.”  Then you dominate those burpees as hard as you can.  Magic.  Mindy said it was like having 8 orgasms in a row.  Thoughts?  Maybe if Ryan Gosling is involved?

Mindy’s Tabata Bootcamp Format

Mindy’s Tabata Bootcamp workshop taught us how to design an hour-long class using the Tabata Protocol.  Since there isn’t any way you could do JUST Tabata for an entire hour (if you are, you aren’t doing real Tabata – it defies the science behind it), she taught us to design classes using three TYPES of Tabata:

  1. True Tabata:  What I described above, same exercise for the 20/10 microbursts.  In a class, only do one or two bouts of “true” Tabata.
  2. Tabata Type:  When you use 2-4 exercises and combine them to create the 4 minute experience.  The timing is the same, but exercises are added to vary the training.
  3. Tabata Timing:  Up to 4 exercises linked together by the 10/20 model but the intensity is hard instead of hardest.  You can also choose to mix it up with 40/20, 30/15, etc.

She also ran through a Tabata checklist for success, basically how to decide what exercises to use in a Tabata Bootcamp class:

  • Simple movement
  • Less is better in terms of patterns/complexity
  • Major muscles/compound movement
  • Bigger is better with movement
  • Immediate HIIT factor in terms of instant failure
  • Offers progressive/regressive:  Start with something you can barely do, then regress if need be
  • Goal oriented & measurable:  Can be replicated
  • 1 exercise is the best

Then we got moving!  And shaking, and groaning, and… wait a minute, maybe Tabata really is like an orgasm!

Tabata Bootcamp Equipment

Mindy had us practicing different Tabata exercises using the ropes, gliding discs, and bender ball.  I ended up buying this equipment at the end of the workshop because it was a great price ($40 for 2 DVD’s, the gliding discs, and the ball) and I wanted to buff up my at home workout equipment collection.

We did a quick warmup, then four rounds of Tabata for a sixteen minute workout.  Doesn’t seem like a lot, but THAT’S THE POINT!  What is everyone’s #1 excuse for not exercising?  Not having enough time.  But with Tabata you get the same, if not MORE benefits, of that longer workout you don’t have time for.  Here are the rounds Mindy took us through:

holiday time saving tabata workout

Some notes:

  • Round 1:  Do the gliding prone pushup tuck-ins as a True Tabata, so just that move for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off , eight times, for four total minutes.  With feet on gliders, either pull both knees up then do a pushup and push back out.  Modifications:  Just pull both knees in and out without the pushup, or alternate pulling one knee in at a time.
  • Round 2:  Do as a Tabata Type series, so go through each move for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.  That will bring you to two minutes, then repeat through the series.  For the bender ball touch jump, have your right foot front for the first round and left front for the second round.  Jump up and touch the ball on the way down.  For the hold (time under tension), just shift side to side in your plie squat.
  • Round 3:  Do as a Tabata Type series, so go through each move for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.  That will bring you to two minutes, then repeat through the series.  For the gliding lunges, keep the foot that is lunging backwards on the gliding disc.  For the bender ball and gliding disc burpees, keep the bender ball in between your thighs the whole time and feet on discs as you push out.  For the single leg burpees – bender ball behind the knee, alternate which leg has the ball when you repeat the round.
  • Round 4:  Do as a Tabata Type STRENGTH series, so go through each move for 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off.  That will bring you to two minutes, then repeat through the series.  For the prone arm to elbow dolphin, start on forearms and twist to side to side planks with feet on gliders.  For the Table to L, start in a table top bridge (feet on gliders) and swing your butt down and through so you make an L.  For the prone swim, lie on stomach with hands on discs, swim side to side.  Finally for the V Sit, put the bender ball behind your back and lift your legs into a V Sit Hold.  If you have the rope, you can swing your arms here.

Also, make sure to warm up properly and take rest as needed!!!  Again, this is not for the novice exerciser.

So what do you guys think?  Anybody out there still doing steady cardio all the time?  Do you do any Tabata as part of your workout routine already?  If so, what’s your favorite exercise to incorporate into Tabata?  If not, will you start adding it in?  Anyone use gliding discs and bender balls regularly?

I’m planning on teaching another Tabata workout tonight in Interval class, focusing on upper body strength.  Who’s in!?