I’m back from Portland! What a fun trip. The biggest highlight was definitely the live Q&A webcast with Bowflex, but there were other highlights too. Did you miss the webcast? Watch the video right here!
If for some reason the YouTube video isn’t working for you, you can also watch the video by clicking here. (Warning: I couldn’t get it to work in Firefox, but it worked in Chrome. You may need to try a couple different browsers, too!)
The webcast started bright and early, at 8am, but my day started at 5:15am, when I hit the hotel gym (excitement and nerves prevented me from getting a good night’s sleep, so waking up early was not a problem). I took it as a good sign when, during my 35 minutes on the elliptical, a Bowflex commercial popped up during a cable rerun of “Law & Order: SVU.”
We pulled up to the Nautilus headquarters in Vancouver, Washington (just across the river from Portland) around 7am. Nautilus is the company that owns the Bowflex brand, and they also make home exercise equipment under the Nautilus and Schwinn brands, too.
There’s a product showroom off the lobby, and that served as our studio for the webcast. They were already setting up lights and equipment when we arrived.
Here what I was looking at from my spot on the couch:
The webcast lasted an hour, and we answered lots of questions that were sent in from viewers across the country. Rob, the Bowflex exec that served as moderator, did an excellent job keeping things moving and involving all three of us on the couch (he’s also an incredibly nice guy, and funny, too). Next to me was Brooke, who has lost 172 pounds (and blogs about it here). Brooke is super cool and great to hang out with.
On the other side of Brooke was Tom Holland, Bowflex’s fitness expert. Tom is exactly the sort of trainer I would want. He’s smart, insightful, and approachable, and also really listens and adapts his messages and advice, so it’s easy to learn from him.
An hour may be a long time, but it flew by. I haven’t watched the whole video yet, but I’ve been told I did a good job making my points, providing advice and information, and sharing my story. And while a lot of it is now a blur, I remember it feeling effortless at the time, mainly because Rob was so genuine and set a casual, relaxed tone, and also because so many great questions were submitted.
After the webcast, the folks at Nautilus had a full day of fun stuff planned. Some more bloggers showed up (Karen from SubMommy.com, Toku McCree from MindFitMove.com, Poppy from Facing40.com, Carol and Josh from All Mommy Wants, and Melissa from MelissaKaylene.com), and we were welcomed by the CEO. We toured their offices, and saw the biggest, best office gym ever. Employees there are encouraged to go exercise basically whenever they want, even if it’s in the middle of their work day. There are informal classes and meet-ups so people can support each other and learn new things.
We learned about current and upcoming products, and they even gave us a little something to take home (which I’ll share in an upcoming post). I got to try out the Bowflex MAX Trainer, a new cardio interval machine that condenses a full workout into 14 minutes – and it’s awesome. It’s really hard, but completely engaging, too, so the minutes fly by.
That afternoon, we took a field trip to Multnomah Falls, a beautiful waterfall 45 minutes east of town, in the Columbia River Gorge. It rained the whole time, but that didn’t stop us from going on a great hike. The only thing the rain prevented me from doing was taking a lot of photos, and there were photos ops all over the place. Too bad smartphones and water don’t mix!
I did get a few photos, though. Here’s the star attraction: a 620-foot, two-tiered waterfall (the largest in Oregon):
There’s a trail to the bridge in the photo, and the trail continues all the way to the top. It’s a good, steep hike (2.6 miles total), with a 620-foot elevation change. Here’s the view of the Columbia River from the top:
A kind stranger took a group shot:
I’m in the back, and in the front, from left to right, is Marisa, John and Julie (all Nautilus folks), Poppy, Brooke, Tom and Melissa. The only person missing is Kali (from Nautilus’s PR agency), who was moving a little slower because she accidentally brought two left shoes with her. (Note to self: Don’t pack a gym bag in the dark!)
Of course the rain stopped a few minutes after we started driving away from the falls, and by the time we got to Hood River, a cute little town even further up the Columbia river, the sun was shining – and the river was full of kitesurfers and windsurfers.
After an excellent dinner (I tweeted photos of everything I ate all day long) we headed back and I flopped down on the bed as soon as I reached my hotel room, exhausted. Two workouts, a big webcast interview, and everything else made for a long day, but, like I said at the beginning, it was a great one. The folks that planned everything (Rob, John, Marisa, Julie, Kali, and folks I didn’t get to meet) did a bang-up job, and I’m thankful they provided me the opportunity to participate.
It really is an honor to be invited to do anything where I’m able to share my story. Sometimes I think back on all the years that I spent being ashamed of my weight, and how the last thing I would want to do is talk about it. Man, how things have changed. Now, my weight has become a story that others want to share and hear, and all because I had the strength and courage to make a change.
Keep it up, David!