It is tradition to get a photo in front of the Arnold statue!
The Arnold Classic 2022
The Arnold Classic is one of my favorite events I attend every year. It has been a tradition of mine since becoming a personal trainer. Each year, I pick out my cute athleisure outfit and gear up to attend as many strong man competitions, wait in line at the expo for hours on end, and prepare to be dehydrated from drinking nothing but protein samples. There is something about being in the body building and strongman atmosphere that invigorates me. Not only are all the people in the fitness community fun and motivating; but each person has a fitness story that has brought them to this huge convention. To say that something in the fitness world has changed their life is probably an understatement. And being around these like-minded people just hits me at my core.
I want to share a recap of my experience at the Arnold this year in hopes you might attend in years to come. As many of you know, I love to travel so much and tackle as many adventures as possible. Columbus is soon going to be the home base for Fit + Fearless training, so I can't wait to experience more hidden gems the city has to offer.
I spent Friday morning with virtual clients then it was off to the gym. I am in the midst of training longer endurance runs, so this morning I clocked in five miles at Lifetime Easton Town Center. From downtown Columbus, this was a short 12 minute drive. The Lifetime at Easton is a standard club; it has a nice spa and cafe, huge pool, and an upstairs fully equipped training center with 2-3 group fitness studios. I was able to lift after my run and take the morning slow.
Before heading back to the hotel to snatch my husband, I drove to Road Runner Sports. Road Runner is a running store dedicated to helping you find you perfect running shoe. They do this by conducting fit assessments and running tests. It sounds hard, but it is fairly easy and they capture a lot of useful information about your gait, foot pronation, and more. I've been coming here for years and I needed to return a pair of shoes that weren't working for me (quick tip... stick to the shoes you know work instead of choosing shoes that are "cute"). If you're part of Road Runners VIP program, they allow you to return your running shoes up to 90 days of purchase. This is awesome perk to their program along with merchandize discounts and rewards cash you can redeem when shopping. I ended up purchasing Charlotte's Web CBD and I am amazed at how well this CBD works. My sleep this entire week has been incredibly deep and sound. I am obsessed with it.
I drove back to the Short North (a district in downtown Columbus full of art, eats and life) to pick up my husband and we walked to Brassica for lunch. Brassica is one of my favorite healthy fast casual restaurants. When you walk into Brassica, you have the option to build your own bowl (like Chipotle) but make it Mediterranean food. You can build amazing salads and bowls filled with hummus, chicken, falafel, loads of pickled vegetables, and pita. The bowls are big and filling. I always feel amazing after eating food from Brassica.
Brassica | My bowl (top left) and Mike's bowl (bottom right)
Friday afternoon was spent running errands; checking on our house progress, getting my eyebrows tinted, and picking up our race packets to name a few. One of my favorite stops was at the official Rogue warehouse. I've passed this building on the drive to Columbus countless times, and it's shameful for me to admit that this was my first time inside! We were blown away with their gym which displayed almost every piece of equipment they sell. From racks, to cable machines, cages, sleds.. I could go on and on. I ended up purchasing a landmine attachment and left the warehouse a happy girl.
Inside the Rogue Warehouse
Friday evening, we ate dinner at Town Hall located in the building we were staying in (The Moxy Hotel). Town Hall originated in Cleveland and opened their second location in Columbus. Town Hall has a really unique concept. They strive to be extremely health conscious in regards to their menu items and sourcing; but they still enjoy the lively, bar-scene social atmosphere. I love when restaurants cater to all individuals and make healthy eating approachable for everyone. Some of their menu highlights include:
an entire bone broth menu; bone broth is a super protein and collagen rich drink with tons of vitamins and minerals. You can chose beef or chicken bone broth and add in different vegetables.
smoothies full of additives you don't find everywhere such a MCT oil, spirulina, matcha, collagen and vegan protein options.
keto options! we tried the keto chicken wings that were fabulous.
I got the chopped salad with salmon and it was fabulous. After we ate dinner, we ventured to Standard Hall for one last drink. This is my favorite bar in Columbus!
Town Hall: Keto Chicken Appetizer (left) and Chopped Salad w. Salmon (right)
Commence the official day at the Arnold Classic! Mike and I woke up pretty early to get a quick workout in, then we were off to the Arnold. We stayed at the Moxy located in the Short North, so we were able to easily walk to the convention center. We paid $10 extra to get the VIP tickets and it was worth every penny. We got to get in line at the big vendors before the crowds got crazy. Because we opted for the VIP tickets (you must purchase online before the Arnold weekend) we were done by 1:00 PM! That is the earliest I've ever been done at the Arnold. Here are some highlights:
Favorite Protein: Chike Nutrition had a great line of protein coffee. The caffeine amount was around 125, and the protein was made of whey. Personally, I loved the original flavor and the chocolate peanut butter. We ended up purchasing a bag for a discounted price.
Protein Runner Up: Vade Nutrition: We enjoyed learning about Vade's concept. The protein comes pre-portioned into packages that look like tide pods. These packages dissolve in water once you throw it in your shaker bottle. Of course, I was curious and concerned with what I would be drinking; but these packages are made from the same food binders that hold your vitamins and supplements in. I really liked the chocolate whey and Mike liked the vegan line.
Favorite Pre-Workout: Vade Nutrition I LOVED the pre-workout Vade brought to the table. With the same concept, the product comes pre-portioned. I loved the taste of the pre-workout; it didn't taste "chemically". I ended up purchasing some of this pre-workout. Caution: there is around 260 mg of caffeine per serving. Since it is pre-portioned, it will be hard to consume "half" of the amount.
Favorite Protein Bar: Outright Bars uses whey protein and simple ingredients.
Other Notable Mentions: PB2 for powdered peanut butter (all the protein, no fat), Professor Nutz for real peanut butter that tastes fabulous, Quevos for chips made from egg whites, and Rogue for the best equipment.
At the Arnold, we were able to watch many competitions as well. My favorite was witnessing a 75-year old man deadlift 400lbs with a bar that was 2.5 inches in diameter ( the competition tested grip more than anything). This "ageless viking" crushed all of his competitors. We watched female competitions like bag tossing and decline bench pressing. We also witnessed the first "slap competition" which I felt was ridiculous.
In all, The Arnold Classic is always worth the trip, in my opinion. The amount of networking, learning, freebies and entertainment is priceless. That night, we ventured to Del Mar for dinner. This restaurant was located in the short north. I would deem it as upscale but comfortable! We enjoyed the seafood and drinks. After dinner, we enjoyed one last cocktail at Lincoln Social.
Del Mar food (left + middle) and Lincoln Social (right)
On our last day, we woke up and walked back to the convention center to race the Arnold Classic 5K. There are two options; the pump and run or just the 5K. We chose to do just the 5K, as the bench press competition started at 6:30 AM and costed about $50 extra. We opted for the later and raced at 9:15 AM. The race was great as we whirled around Columbus. There were a few hills and it was a bit windy. Tons of people signed up and the vibes were great. I would do this race again in a heartbeat. They did not have any food or extra refreshments (**Cough cough, beer**) afterwards unlike other 5K races. Post run, we headed to the gym to get our lift in before the long drive home. The trip was fabulous and the Arnold Classic lives up to the hype!
During this trip, I realized how important it is to start your day with nutrient dense, high protein meals. On Friday, I worked all morning and went straight into my workout which made me fast until noon (when I got up at 6:00am). I was very tired and unmotivated during my workout because of how depleted I felt. Saturday was no different; I woke up early to get a workout in before the Arnold. As we were walking there, I realized I hadn't had any food and I wasn't planning to slow down to eat at the Arnold. So, we stopped at a bagel shop and I bought a single egg white and smoked salmon. It fueled me until I started to try samples at the Arnold later in the day.
This inspired me to compile my favorite breakfast recipes than make me energized and feel amazing throughout the day. Here are my favorite hight protein, low sugar and carb recipes:
Sunny Side Breakfast Bowl
Fat: Olive Oil + Eggs
Fiber: Brown Rice
This recipe was made to incorporate the perfect amount of carbs, fats and proteins! I typically love eating this post-workout as the protein aids in recovery; the brown rice is a "slower digesting" carb to keep me energized for the rest of my day, and the fat content keeps me full all afternoon.
Protein: Eggs + Egg Whites
Fat: Goat Cheese
Fiber: Tomatoes and Mushrooms
Micronutrients: Herbs (Sage, Parsley, Oregano)
I love this omelet because of the all the herbs! Sage is good for brain health and has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties. Parsley promotes good breath. Oregano is an antimicrobial and antioxidant!
If you try any of these recipes, please share your thoughts and hashtag #fitandfearlesstraining #fitandfearless . I hope this article inspires you to attend the next Arnold Classic and enjoy all the competitions, free samples, and body building atmosphere!