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Arnold Expo 2011: Fitness Under The Big Top.

If the Arnold Classic is bodybuilding’s Super Bowl, the Arnold Sports Festival Expo is the fitness world’s Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey act. These were the highlights.

Arnold Expo 2011: Fitness Under The Big Top

No greater testament to the genius of Arnold Schwarzenegger can be found than this: He decided upon a time to host a fitness weekend ... in Columbus, Ohio ... in early March, a vacation itinerary that would have you questioning your travel agent's sanity.

Apparently no one had the cojones back then to tell the man that he was crazy if he thought this would ever work.

Crazy like a fox, that is. The Arnold Weekend is now a cultural phenomenon. This year alone, some 175,000 muscle worshippers poured into town for the 2011 version, now called the Arnold Sports Festival, reflecting the ever-expanding roster of sports on hand.

The Arnold Weekend Is Now A Cultural Phenomenon
+ Click To Enlarge.
The Arnold Weekend Is Now A Cultural Phenomenon.

The physique contests are the Super Bowls of their sport, but let's face it: Mention "the Arnold," and you picture the exhibition hall.

That's where the magic, the insanity, and the spectacle flowers into full bloom. Of course, this isn't just about marveling at and building bodies; it's about building businesses, names, and reputations, too:

  • For companies, it's a chance to break out the latest in their line of products and hope to captivate the masses to buy them so they can reach their goals.
  • For celebrities, it's a chance to meet the fans in person and thank them for the support as well as represent the company that has presented them in all the ads throughout the year. It is also a chance to catch up with their friends in the industry.
  • For the fans, it is the stars, the companies, the sales, and the moment they see their favorite bodybuilder and sports stars that excites them to make the drive or flight from across the country or in some cases the world to check out the Expo.

    For those of you that didn't make it this year, here is a small sampling of highlights from Friday and Saturday at the 2011 Arnold Expo.

Here, then, were some of the highlights:

Twinlab and Ray Lewis

Power Fuel is Twinlab's newest pre-workout formula, and to help with its debut and promotion, they held nothing back. Those who stopped at the Expo got the pleasure of meeting one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, Baltimore Ravens legend Ray Lewis.

Ray was in the house to talk to executives, the media, and to meet the fans lined up for hours to see this great athlete. Regardless of when fans went to the booth, a long line awaited them.

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The Cage and Bros vs. Pros

Gaspari's Pros vs Bros lift for charity at the Arnold to benefit Hire Heroes USA
Watch The Video: 04:42
Team Gaspari Nutrition members Mark Alvisi, Hidetada Yamagishi & Ryan Hughes take on Animal Nutrition in what looks like ANIMAL ABUSE!!

The Cage is one of the more popular booths at the Arnold and Team Animal represented. Erik Fankhouser, Vinny Galanti, and the rest of the Animal crew were hanging out, selling their new Animal Rage product, having exhibitions, seminars, and doing so much more to please all of the fans that surrounded the Universal attraction.

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Then they set up for the Bros vs. Pros "bench-off" for charity. Universal, Gaspari, and all put up donations for this event. It was close but at the end of the day, Mark Alvisi nabbed the win for Gaspari, throwing up 225 for 32 reps.

The Cage Is One Of The More Popular Booths At The Arnold And Team Animal Represented
+ Click To Enlarge.
The Cage Is One Of The More Popular Booths At
The Arnold And Team Animal Represented.

BSN and Muscletech

The BSN booth was crazy from the jump. Where else do you get to see eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, Jennifer Nicole Lee, Dennis Wolf, Brandon Curry, Bob Cicherillo, and Alicia Marie all at the same time?

The Cage Is One Of The More Popular Booths At The Arnold And Team Animal Represented
+ Click To Enlarge.
Where Else Do You Get To See Eight-Time Mr.Olympia Ronnie Coleman.

After seeing everyone at BSN, I fought through the Expo masses to make it to the Muscletech booth. Six Star Muscle was right beside them, so, in order I saw former Mr. Olympia Dexter Jackson, Phil Heath, Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler, Branch Warren (the man who would win the 2011 Arnold), Johnnie Jackson, and Cedric McMillan.

Phil Heath Was In Attendance Representing Muscletech
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Phil Heath Was In Attendance Representing Muscletech.

So do we know how to throw a party or what? The booth was where the cool kids hung out all weekend long, with lines snaking away for as far as the eye could see. (Um, we should probably apologize to someone for clogging up traffic.)

No wonder they came, as members of Team were on hand to meet and greet with hand out bags, samples, and BodySpace T-Shirts. Steve Cook, Jamie Eason, and the rest of Team were having as great of a time as the fans that came to see them. Even Arnold swung by to enjoy the festivities with the world's No. 1 online supplement store and biggest fitness website.

The Booth Was Where The Cool Kids Hung Out All Weekend Long.
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The Booth Was Where The Cool
Kids Hung Out All Weekend Long.


Cleverly titled TNA Wrestling was in the house, too. They had their own booth, where former Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, as well as up and coming superstars Rob Terry and Brutus Magnus, were on hand to greet fans.

The Arnold Expo may be the only place where you get this much access to these stars of the fitness industry and other genres of entertainment.

Miscellaneous Muscle

The legends were on hand in abundance. Walking advertisements for the health-and-fitness lifestyle included Ed Corney, Bill Grant, Lou Ferrigno, Flex Wheeler, and three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane. Lou would be receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award during the finals on Saturday night so this weekend had to mean a lot to him.

Walking Advertisements For The Health And Fitness Lifestyle Included Ed Corney.
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Walking Advertisements For The Health And Fitness
Lifestyle Included Ed Corney.

All in all, it was another great Arnold weekend. If you have not been to this event before, you must do it at least once to have a true appreciation of what it is like to be a part of the biggest weekend in the bodybuilding and fitness industry.

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