Since entering the world of bodybuilding, we’ve done our best to go to as many competitions and expos as possible. Luckily, the second biggest event of the year (after the Olympia), happens just a few hours away from us in Columbus, Ohio. Kyle and I have made the trip down for the last three years, and each year it’s just gotten bigger.
The Expo is absolutely insane. There are about 900 booths of vendors, and they estimate about 175,000 people visit it over the course of the weekend. It actually feels like there are that many people in the expo on Saturday alone! (If you don’t like crowds, don’t go to these events.) Supplements, clothing, equipment, protein bars, and health product vendors are all under one roof. This is great if you’re looking for information on a specific product without wanting to buy it, sample stuff, or collect as many free samples as possible. It’s terrible if you just want to walk at a normal pace and watch the competition.
There are so many sports taking place at this event – from bodybuilding to fencing to pole dancing. Wrestling, cheerleading, and powerlifting… little kids to older adults. It’s truly an amazing event, no matter what sport you love.
To make it even better, there’s a stage inside the Expo room which housed amateur and pro competition categories. For the $15 expo ticket, you’re able to watch some of the best in the world compete – not a bad deal. This year our priority was just to watch as much of the competition as possible, both amateurs and professionals. The Ontario Physique Association had a large number of athletes competing in the amateur categories, it’s always nice to support local athletes and people you know from home.
We managed to watch the amateur women’s physique and bodybuilding finals as well as the professional women’s physique, figure, and 212 bodybuilding prejudging. So, we both got to watch our categories and see some of our favorite athletes.
If you’re interested in watching any of the competition, bodybuilding.com was streaming the events live and will have them available online. We still need to go back and watch the open bodybuilding finals because the wifi at our hotel wasn’t cooperating. My “insider tip” for anyone going to a big show like this, bring an iPad and find some good wifi to watch the event online. You get to see everything as it happens, with a better view than if you paid for a ticket in a large venue. We do this at the Olympia, too. Obviously being IN the venue is a totally different experience, and you should do it at least once, but the tickets are expensive and you end up watching the show on the screens anyhow.
Other weekend highlights included some great junk food finds at Target (Easter candy with plenty of white chocolate options, thank you!), training at a new gym, and our favorite Mexican restaurant. We stayed near this restaurant our first year, and have always gone back to it. You know it’s going to be good when the servers barely understand English and only speak Spanish. I should have taken a picture of our amazing food, but was far too hungry to think of that.
It’s a great weekend to kick start my own competition prep. Seeing all those athletes on stage has made me miss it. One more week of offseason…