If you think the Arnold Expo is just about bodybuilding then you are sadly mistaken. Over 100,000 people partake in this grand event and believe me bodybuilding and figure contests are only a fraction of what takes place.
I made my first trip to the Arnold Expo this year and what I saw was absolutely amazing. Events taking place included the normal expected events such as bodybuilding (of course), and fitness & figure.
This is where the Arnold gets set apart from everyone else. The sheer number of events taking place can take your breath away. Other events taking place include Friday Night Fights, Archery, Powerlifting, Martial Arts, Gymnastics, Fencing, Ball Room dancing, Cheerleading, table tennis (ping pong for those unfamiliar with the term) and much more. The number of athletes participating is approximately 16,000.
| Editor's Note:
I would like to give a special thanks to Dr. David Ryan for taking Will and myself around to the various events that we may not have otherwise visited.
This makes the Arnold Classic a show among shows in the fitness world and one that should be looked upon with admiration and enthusiasm. Would other shows be hurt at all if they took some small steps like this to draw larger crowds? Probably not.
If the events taking place don't take your breath away then I would not hesitate to check out the great booths. This is where my experience started initially and is where I am going to start my story for you.
A single ticket ($10) will give you access each day to the following events:
- Anything in the EXPO Hall at the convention center, including the preliminaries of Ms. International, Fitness International and the Figure Championships. (The finals are a separate ticket and are held Friday night at Veterans Memorial Auditorium.)
- 5K Pump and Run
- Gracie Worlds
- Martial Arts competitions
- Bench Press Challenge
- Preliminaries in the Arnold Strongman
- Olympic Weightlifting
- Over 600 booths - which in return means lots of free supplements, clothing, samples, meeting pros and more.
At first you enter the expo and find yourself in a building that is probably larger than some football stadiums (the Columbus convention center is over 700,000 square feet and has a seating capacity of over 40,000 people) and holding hundreds of booths ranging from supplements and equipment to a McDonald's booth. Yes you heard me correctly; there was a McDonald's booth at the Expo.
Personally I would not like to see something like that at this type of event but it was really there. I would have to say that was the single strangest and funniest thing I saw at the expo.
The crowds and shows going on were abundant and everyone seemed to be having a great time. The pros were there and seemed very approachable and professional. This was kind of surreal for me because I am so used to seeing them in the photos we process on a daily basis for Bodybuilding.com.
It was very cool to finally see and meet some of them in person. Not to put them down (no pun intended) at all but I would have to say they seem so much shorter in person.
Throughout the weekend, I met pros like Jay Cutler, Gustavo Badell, Lou Ferrigno, Gunter Schlierkamp, Timea Majorova, Bob Cicherillo, Idrise Ward-El, Flex Wheeler, Mike Morris, Dorian Yates, Darrem Charles, Quincy Taylor, Ronnie Coleman, Dennis James, Phil Heath and Jeremy Freeman to name a few. And this was just the pros...
From the hottest fitness models to the biggest up and coming stars, they were all there and I got to meet all of them. It was one of those doozie moments of your life that you will never forget.
Although I had not planned on visiting the other events throughout the expo Dr. David Ryan (Medical Director for the Arnold Weekend & Bodybuilding.com writer) was kind enough to take us around to see what else was happening. This was where we saw the enormity of the real expo. It is not just about the booths giving out supplements and who will win the bodybuilding competitions. It is not even about the sensational and jaw dropping women of the expo either.
This expo is about fitness in general and showed that with all of the different events taking place. I really admire everyone who helped put together such a great show.
The calibration and coordination of the events and athletes surpasses even the Olympics. With over 30 sports competing for the top prizes in their sport, it is hard to grasp the reality of how important the Arnold Classic Weekend is to the sports industry, not just the bodybuilding community.
Tired? There is so much energy in this place you won't even know how to be tired.
If you plan on visiting the Arnold Classic in the future, I would suggest that you plan the whole weekend according to what you want to see. Without detailed planning, you will not be able to visit and experience all of what the Arnold Classic weekend really has to offer.
Jim Lorimer has put together an event that has grown to become a sport phenomenon. Thank you Jim for putting this event together year after year and for continuously improving the event year after year.
Special thanks must go out to all of the volunteers that helped put the event together. Without them, we would not have proper health care throughout the weekend, the events would not be presented at the needed times and all chaos would break loose.
All in all, my first Arnold experience was a dominating factor and helped me fully grasp what the industry is really made of. The industry is not about taking supplements. It is not about training. It is about a community of friends with one goal in mind... Practicing and preaching a healthy lifestyle.