Earlier last week I flew to historic Columbus, Ohio for the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic and Sports Festival Weekend. The Festival welcomes 17,000 athletes annually who compete in 40 different sporting events, including 13 Olympic sports. 170,000 fitness enthusiasts and fans attend the Festival each year. This year I decided not to compete, but in turn, market Underground at the world's biggest, 700 booth Arnold Fitness Expo. The Expo houses sport personalities, film stars, and the biggest names in health and fitness who present the latest trends in fitness apparel, supplements, and training equipment.
Throughout the weekend Team Underground endlessly shook hands, took pictures and greeted other fitness industry business owners and supplement companies in anticipation of the launch of undergroundgymllc.com. We also met some incredible personalities and characters. Among them, staying with us at the Harrison House Bed & Breakfast was fitness legend and quadruple bypass heart surgery survivor, Pax Beale. A former Mr. USA, national bodybuilding champion, 1945 USC Rose Bowl winner, US Air Force boxing champion, and the only person to swim to Alcatraz in pitch dark December with no fins or wet suit; at 84 years of age he has quite a resume! We caught up with our new friend Bill Kazmaier and watched the GNC IPF Deadlift Championships. Others we met included Bas Rutten, Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans, Butterbean, Lou Ferrigno, Frank Zane, Shawn Ray, Flex Wheeler, and Jay Cutler just to name a few.
We partook in some fine dining and Columbus nightlife, attracting an ever growing crowd with our own insatiable personalities as we dominated the downtown streets. However, the absolute highlight for the weekend was hearing Arnold himself speak at the amateur boxing event. “You couldn't tell the economy is hurting by looking around at this place,” the California governor said of the several thousand people filling the Fitness Expo. After he presented an award in the ring all logical reasoning and thought evaded me as I mauled several people in the crowd and knocked through a barrier in an effort to shake the hand of Arnold Schwarzenegger. My heart was pounding and I felt the adrenaline as I mercilessly plowed forward, only to come up about five feet short of greeting Arnold...maybe next year.