Last Saturday I woke up early, excited. It was Expo day!
I went last year, with a group, and I’d be going with part of that group this year as well, but this year I was aware of what I was getting myself into. Last year I was blindsided by protein farts and crushing crowds- I likened it to a rave without dancing, which is to say, I did not enjoy it.
This year, though, I was ready when MyProtein asked if I’d go check it out on their behalf. I got up early, tried to get a workout in (this ended up being an utter failure because I can’t understand clocks and cut it short, thinking my ride left an hour earlier than it did… resulting in me waiting for my ride in a parking lot with no makeup on an hour early then driving home again to get my lunch and put on makeup anyhow), brought appropriate shoes (shoutout the those Flyknit 3.0s), and brought a better attitude.
Also, we stopped to pee on the drive up, which ended in donuts. What can I say, I’m a sucker for deep fried dough.
I knew I wasn’t going to meet DLB this year- the line to snap a photo with that majestic unicorn of a woman and her admirable and formidable husband is hours long, and I simply haven’t got the patience- so I came with few expectations regarding interaction with fitness celebrities.
The one person I DID want to make an effort to meet was Mark Bell, creator of the Slingshot. I absolutely adore his podcast, Mark Bell’s PowerCast, and I wanted to tell him so. Within 5 minutes of entering the building, I’d already chatted with him a moment and taken a photo. I put my hand around his back and HOLY CATS he’s like a BULL. How did he even get so many muscles?! If anything will keep me powerlifting, THAT will!
My little crew and I then just took a wander, up and down each row, tasting things- peanut butter, in particular, as I’d worn my Peanut Butter Addict tank (use code PICKLE10 for a discount, if you want one too!), and every nut butter company with a booth took notice and called out to me. Who am I to say no?
The main draw of the Fit Expo is not the celebrities, not the contests, it’s definitely the tasting everything. Rather than buying hundreds of dollars worth of protein supplements you probably won’t like, you can just walk up and down the aisles and grab a tiny nibble of each before deciding it’s awful and walking away, or purchasing a bunch at a discounted Expo price. Win-win! And this year I wasn’t even on contest prep, so I wasn’t even anxious about all of the samples, I just had at them. Last year the discovery of the Expo was the Explore Asian bean noodles, which I’ve kept stocked in my cupboard since. This year, I made no astounding discoveries, but, tried a bunch of things at least. Also free samples.
Aside from the samples, I kept an eye out for activities. Walking around is great, but the booths with things to do other than sell stuff to me are my favorite. I participated in an impromptu push-up contest with a vendor when, as I was passing, he called out, “Hey did you win?” To which I responded, “Win what?” “The Contest!” “I haven’t had a contest yet today, but would you like to have a push-up contest, so I can say yes?”
I think he thought I’d give up much earlier, but I’m pretty good up until about 50, when I really start to slow down.
A contest in which I had to lift a 15 pound container of protein in each hand and do a side lateral hold for time, and did pretty well but didn’t win… though I did manage to gain a cheering section by the end, which is always awesome.
And I met a whole mess of really amazing women-
I managed to see Gracie V. deadlift…
Marisa Inda, one of the most amazing female powerlifters from the Juggernaut team. You may know her from her epic pull-up dance videos. She’s one of the few people in the world who makes me feel inspired- and honest to goodness while I was busy being starstruck at her incredible strength, she was fawning over my freshly trimmed bangs. She’s so sweet- she hung out and chatted with me for a few minutes and took a photo, even though I caught her mid-cheeseburger.
Kim Jones, who, if you don’t already follow her on social media, you ought to start. I feel like perhaps she didn’t get recognized much at the Expo, but I adore her content. She’s a coach, first and foremost, not a model, so her feed is full of stretches and helpful exercises, not flexy pics of her butt (not that I’m against this, but the market is pretty saturated). I thanked her for this, and she seemed genuinely grateful for the feedback.
And Cammie of Military Muscle.
Fun fact, noted by my friend Gillian: every single one of the athletes we met was eating. Sticking to our stereotypes, ha!
Overall, the day was a success. I left with a whole mess of new supplements to try, as one does at an Expo, and met some really awesome people purely by accident. I think it’s important to seek out opportunities to be surrounded by like-minded people. Simply being in an environment where people have similar goals, and understand you without even speaking is something of a relief. It didn’t matter if the people around you were bikini competitors (who were there in abundance, as the Iron Man Naturally was also happening at the Expo, I just didn’t make it over there), powerlifters, Mas wrestlers (I did see the aftermath of a man tearing his bicep at that event), or bar calisthenic athletes, we were all there to celebrate what we do- challenge, test, and improve our bodies. It creates something of a community you don’t often feel outside of a competition setting, and it’s refreshing and invigorating. Just the boost I needed to push me through until I get back on the platform in March, and back on the stage in May!