We all love fitness conferences. Whether we’re learning workout trends, developments in exercise science, exploring exercise mechanics or brainstorming business strategy, most fitness professionals leave conferences excited about their new-found knowledge and are inspired to bring it back to their clients. However, despite the excitement, there can also be a sense of overwhelm; so much information but with no plan of action of how to implement it all. Here are 10 tips to maximize your conference experience and leave with a better plan of successfully applying your new knowledge.

1. Budget in advance
Make planning which conferences you’ll attend part of your annual New Year’s planning. This way you can budget accordingly, get coverage for time-off and stay accountable to attending. You’ll often save money with early registration as well.

2. Pre-conference planning
If you have session options, take time beforehand to review and plan your conference schedule.

3. Be selective
Select sessions you believe will have the most immediate impact and are most relevant to your training and/or business.

4. Organize your notes
Rather than making notes for the individual sessions, you may find it more useful to make separate lists or keep separate notebooks. For example separate 1) actions to implement immediately, 2) ideas to implement in the near-term, 3) ideas to consider in the future, and 4) miscellaneous information/key takeaways. Otherwise, you leave with a notebook full of unorganized notes that you may or may never return to for reference.

5. Ask questions
Education is an investment in yourself. Make sure you maximize your investment by being engaged in the session, ask questions and participate. Particularly if you are a kinesthetic learner.

6. Take time at the end of each day to summarize your most valuable takeaways
Carve out time at the end of the day to create a summary of 8-10 key takeaways that resonate most with you. This will be a great source for future reference since the information is fresh.

7. Leave the conference with 2-3 specific tasks that you can implement immediately
There is no better feeling than taking action and seeing results. Even if the actions seem small, positive action begets more positive action!

8. Network and connect
Perhaps the most valuable part of conferences is the opportunity to network with peers. Connect and collaborate and you may be surprised of the relationships you develop that can play a meaningful part of both your business and personal lives.

9. Ask your peers
Some of the most valuable information you receive may not come from the seminars or workshops directly; rather from conversations with peers. Stoke conversation with questions like: What’s working for you? What are your current challenges? What other conferences do you attend? Who do you follow? What books/websites, etc. are you reading?

10. Rinse and repeat
The more you get out from behind the four walls of your gym or training facility; the more you realize the value of regularly attending educational events. And over time, you’ll find you also become a more discerning conference-attendee.