The weekend of September 17-20 brought about the biggest event in the fitness industry. What the World Series is to baseball, what the Super Bowl is to football, the Olympia is to fitness!
What started out as a showcase of the world’s best bodybuilders at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1965 has evolved into what is now called The Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend. The four day event includes the best in bodybuilding, figure, bikini, boxing, wrestling, strong man, powerlifting, and more. The biggest draw of the weekend is the Olympia Expo. This serves as the fitness industries biggest trade show and fan event. Attendees from around the world flock to the Las Vegas Convention Center to not only interact with fitness athletes, but also to learn about and sample a wide array of supplements.
This year the expo featured top supplement manufacturers such as Ultimate Nutrition, Optimum Nutrition, BSN, and what seemed to overtake the expo floor, Quest. You couldn’t walk two feet without running into one of the many Quest representatives in their blue shirts handing out their unique clean snacks like Quest bars, Protein Chips (yes I said chips) and sampling their extra thick shakes complete with protein candy toppings. Quest even brought their own food truck to pass out samples from. And make no mistake; these products are not the supposed “healthier” snack options you see in grocery snack aisles. The chips and bars are true clean eating snacks.
Bodybuilding greats like Jay Cutler made appearances to not only promote their respective brands but to mingle with fans. If you are a fan of bodybuilding, fitness competitors, or even film and sports celebrities, you can meet them all at the expo. In the past I personally met and saw in person people like Lou Ferrigno, Ronnie Coleman, actor Michael Jai White, Jim Stoppani PhD, celebrity chef Robert Irvine, Carmen Electra, football player Bill Romanowski, and even the legendary Joe Weider.
One thing that stands out about the expo is the people. I once asked an acquaintance who was an avid gym goer if he attends the Olympia. His answer was a firm “NO” stating he rather avoid the egos. Surprisingly though egos are not as frequent as you’d imagine. Many of the athletes and even the models and manufacturer reps are very gracious and outgoing people. In fact I’ve met fitness athletes who are not only friendly, but remember me from year to year and even look forward to seeing my kids. Both of my sons have attended the expo since they were babies.
The 2015 expo was just as big and extravagant as most. Attendees who arrived Friday the 18th for day one waited in line anywhere from 60-120 minutes just to be able to purchase a ticket. Despite the hot desert sun looming above the line, it is worth the wait and price of admission to walk away with possibly up to hundreds of dollars in free stuff and amazing discounts on all of your favorite supplements.
While this year’s expo was much more organized than the past two years, it was missing several notable regulars like the famous Bodybuilding.com booth. Many usual presences were also absent for their various reasons. Despite this, the weekend still had a lot to offer. You can even catch free competitions on the expo stage and fitness challenges on the floor.
If you are a fan of bodybuilding and fitness athletes or an avid gym goer and trainee and are able to make it to Las Vegas mid September, then the Olympia Expo should be a destination for you.
Here are some valuable fitness tips if you plan to attend the 2016 expo.
- Buy your passes ahead of time online at mrolympia.com. You can save time in line and even on the ticket price. The best part is tickets come with free magazine subscriptions that more than pay for the ticket price.
- Bring a bag or backpack. It is not unrealistic to be able to walk out of there with literally two to ten pounds of supplement samples and merchandise.
- Bring cash. Many booths sell items and usually at deep discounts. In the past I’ve purchased supplements at less than wholesale prices. This year alone my wife purchased a pair of $80.00 shoes for $35.00, no tax. Each booth may accept credit, but cash is always better.
- It is worth it to wait in the big lines. This usually allows you to meet special guests and get the best gifts.
- Parking fills up fast, even in the satellite lots across the street. Additionally parking is not free. Take advantage of the shuttles from The Orleans Casino, or use public transportation. There are bus and monorail routes that bring you right to the convention center.