For a lot of people the New Year brings about an opportunity for a fresh start. The New Year is a time that people often wait for to start off what could be considered a new lease on life. Well, if you watch the news, or believe in the hype, that would be what a lot of folks would buy into. Hell, I myself (as a self-admitted fatty) use that time to make a few new resolutions. Like a lot of people I make a point to stop the bad eating that I normally do. It may not be healthy, but, in a world where pizza exists, it’s hard to get excited about things like kale. yes, I said it. It may be good for you, but, it is not the tastiest of foods in the veggie world. But, with the closing of the year, we here in Southern California are promised an event that helps us live up to those new resolutions. Resolutions to get in shape and to eat healthier may sound like tag lines (and for a lot of folks they are), but for folks like myself. I am doing my best to live up this promise. While we hear about the amount of gym memberships skyrocketing as early as January 2nd, in just as short a time a lot of folks fall of the bandwagon. Undeterred and hoping to change that, I was looking forward to this new year with enthusiasm. But, perhaps, the battle wouldn’t be as difficult as it would be. Perhaps, I and a lot of other motivated individuals will have some help though and that’s where an event that I know and love come into play.
Every January the Los Angeles Convention Center is graced with an event that helps recovering fatties such as myself to get motivated, get pumped and to push themselves harder than ever before. This event, for an entire weekend (in this case, the first weekend of the year) becomes a hotspot for all things relating to fitness and physical self-improvement. Once again one of my favorite shows of the year has come to town, and this time there’s even bigger hype surrounding the show. While this may sound silly (especially if you have been to any one of the Fit Expos and have seen the massive amount of people that attend this show), there was a certain hype to this show that went above and beyond what it normally is. Perhaps it was the fact that 2016 came and went on a bit of a sour note that this show and the new year was very anticipated. Well, at least it was for me anyways. And judging by the thousands of people that would end up piling into the convention center, it looks like we were all on the same wavelength. But, with the Fit Expo a mere week away (and change) from Christmas, there was plenty to be excited about. With the end of the year fast approaching there was one big thing that we could all look forward to, and whether or not it was a reboot of some sorts is left up to the individual. The Fit Expo a show that after a year of waiting, was finally ready to hit Los Angeles, and I couldn’t be happier. What a way to start out the new year. Or was it? Could it be that this show would be a bust? Could it be that my drive for getting fit would be stopped at the gates to the Convention Center? In a word. No.
Just like last year, I wouldn’t be going to the show alone. Thankfully, I have a great team of people that I work with, and I was going with some of our team members (Daynie, Cristal and of course, Ily) who are all fitness fanatics and were just as stoked as I was to go. I would have gone either way, but, there’s something about going on an adventure with your crew that just gets the juices flowing. Maybe I’m just getting old, but, the kids these days call it #squadgoals. It may be some new slang, but, to be honest I kinda like it. And if you were to have seen us walking into the convention center that day, then you’d totally understand. The funny thing is that everyone else was walking into the show the same way. And, unlike I was, they were wearing some sort of spandex or yoga pants. While I choose not to wear anything like that (probably from the fact that I try to keep my impressive physique to myself as much as I can. I mean, there is only so much positive attention I can get in one day), it is entertaining to see just how happy everyone is. The buzz outside the convention center is a tad on the minimum, with only a few food trucks serving as a quick way to grab a bite. But, walk through the front doors of the South Hall (where the show takes place) and through the main doorways up the stairs and you find a world of difference. The commotion around the entire hall was just phenomenal, and truly what my crew and I were expecting. If you had never been to a Fit Expo before, then this show in LA (every January) is a wonderful introduction. If you, like me are interested in learning more about nutrition and strength conditioning, as well as meeting some of the biggest names in the fitness industry, then this is the place for you. It’s all here, and to top it off, there is plenty to see that it almost takes the full two days to see it all.
One thing I always like seeing are the new products that the supplement and fitness companies bring with them. I remember last year Quest Nutrition was there in force, and boy did they make an impression. With one of the biggest booths at the show, and front and center as soon as you walk in, one of the things that caught my eye was the Quest (Nutrition) ice cream truck. Yes, you read that right. While it may seem ludicrous on one hand, I mean, it’s an ice cream truck folks. It’s things like that, that catch the eye of a foodie such as myself. Of course, they weren’t giving away regular old ice cream though. Oh no. This ice cream was Quest Nutrition ice cream that is packed with protein and goodness. If I wasn’t with my team mates, I may have just hung out at that booth the entire day. Hell, if you ever take a moment to check out the Quest website, there is an entire page devoted to recipes that you can use their supplements in. It is fantastic, and for a person that wants to learn more about the possibilities of using protein powder, being at a show like this is a real eye opener. This year though, I wondered if Quest would be there, and if they would do anything as crazy as that this time around. Well, while they didn’t bring an ice cream truck to the show, they did occupy the same location that they did the last time. And, just like last year, there was a ton of giveaways for fans of the products and for people wanting to see what they were all about. In fact, that is one of the things that was bigger than ever. The giveaways.
Every year, I wonder about what companies will be at the show and what giveaways they will have for the audience. This year did not disappoint. With many more companies just like Quest (such as Muscle Pharm, Stance Supplements and Bang Energy to name a few) there were plenty of options available for people to try out. These supplements are for the benefit of one’s body, and allowing people to try the many varieties and see what works best for them is genius. Who doesn’t love free stuff? It’s definitely incentive to want to try a lot of these products there and later on. The best part though, is being able to interact with some of the reps and personalities that actually use these items. A lot of the reps there are extremely helpful, and unlike going to a single store, it’s easy to interact with a variety of representatives and see what has worked for them personally. If that makes no sense, think of it this way. I remember once as a young lad my dad gave me a bit of advice. This was a advice that I have always used on my travels, and something that has helped me weed out the better of places to go to. He said (and I’m paraphrasing), “If there are a lot of people inside, then it’s probably good.” He was referring to restaurants. When I would go to any restaurants whenever I was traveling, and in particular in a place that I had never been to, I always look for a place that has a fair amount of people inside. In the day and age of Yelp, this may be different than it once was, but, the principal I use is the same when it comes to supplements. Who else would you ask about what works than the people that are using them. I love coming to shows like this primarily to get to talk to the people there. Being around all of those like minded people is encouraging, and considering the time that it takes place in, is a welcome place to be.
On top of the many food, drink and supplement companies, there are also the celebrity personalities. Some of these people were there to promote themselves or new products. However, the best part of all of that is getting the chance to meet them in their element. Just seeing the long lines of people waiting to see fitness icons such as Rich Piana, Dexter Jackson (former Mr. Olympia), Lexy Pantera (famous dancer, owner and founder of LexTwerkOut) and Valeria Orisini (model, internet icon and entrepreneur now promoting her newest line of fitness products) showed just how devoted fans of this lifestyle are. Probably the best part of seeing them in person is seeing how they interacted with those fans. You could tell that people were not only motivated, but, inspired to be there. It was also nice to see some of them on the stages nearby (for some of them) leading workout classes or even fit and body competitions. The dance and cardio classes got a lot of people moving once they started rocking. Hell, at one point one of the members of our crew disappeared while we were walking by. While we were looking around for her we noticed that she had run off into one of these cardio classes and she was working up a sweat with about thirty other people. If something like that doesn’t motivate you, then you might want to see if you still have a pulse. I know even I was ready to start grooving to the beat. Well, that was until the whole segment ended a minute or two afterwards and sadly I missed my chance. For those that want to be a part of such a thing though, there are classes that run throughout the day. And for the daring, there are also lifting and strength competitions to be enter. It must be said that if you are looking for anything related to health and fitness, you will find it. Without even trying I found a sign up booth for entering a dodgeball tournament (and if you really want to, be part of the World Dodgeball Society). Truth be told, if there is a physical activity that involves working up a sweat and doesn’t include walking up a mountain, chances are that you will find your calling here. There was even a course for folks to try the American Ninja challenge. Yes, it’s true. There is anything and everything to do here and it’s pretty special.
I know at this point your thinking that the Fit Expo may just a flash in the pan. A show that shines bright, but, doesn’t go beyond this one event. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. While this show may be the first one of the year, it certainly isn’t the only one that they hold. In fact, upon leaving the show, there was a massive banner showing the dates for the upcoming Fit Expo in Anaheim. Granted, it’s in August, but, for those that look, there are also shows in San Jose, Ft. Lauderdale (Florida), Chicago and Philidelphia. So, if you’re reading this and would love to know how and when you can be a part of the next event, rest assured, that this show has gone beyond Los Angeles and there are a few other opportunities for you to be a part of it. For those on the East Coast especially, those added dates are a welcome addition.
I can’t help but gush about this event and how much fun I have going to the show every year. It feels as though every year since I have started going there has been more people that come along with me. Having friends come along as part of the event (and in some cases participating in the show itself) makes it an experience unlike any other. I think after having gone to the Fit Expo at the beginning of the year, it’s pretty safe to say that I will be holding off on the double-bacon cheeseburgers and helping myself to food that’s a little more health conscious. Whether or not the people at the show made the same decision is up in the air. But, if the positive vibes that ran through the showfloor was any indication, there are going to be a lot more healthy people walking around Southern California. I know for myself though, there was no better way to kick off the year. Fun, friends (including some new ones) and a lot of goodies to take home all add up to 2017 already being an incredible year. Let’s hope my team and I can make it to many more to come. Here’s to the next one!!
Words and Photos By Daniel Navarrete
For more information on The Fit Expo and any of their upcoming events check out their website at http://thefitexpo.com/
This article was prepared or accomplished by Daniel Navarrete in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spektrum Magazine, or its affiliates.