I was standing in line for the much coveted (and free) protein bars when I first knew something big was about to happen. Seven tall security guards in yellow shirts pushed their way through the crowd shouting, “MOVE to the side people!!! Everyone move!! You guys are not close enough together!! Move it!! MOVE IT!!” I scrunched my body the best I could as I prepared to be in close proximity with my fellow Quest lovers. As we packed together the security guards started placing a rope in front of us while 4, or maybe 5, people from The National Guard arrived. They were all on high alert and I tensed up as I started to realize that the one mission my husband gave me for this weekend was about to come true. “You better try to meet Arnold!” he’d say over and over in the months leading up to this trip. “I’ll try…” I would always reply with severe uncertainty in my voice. It seemed like a highly unlikely task…until this moment. (And people when I say “Arnold” I do mean THAT Arnold. The “I’ll be back/Hasta La Vista/Get to the the chopper” Arnold.)
Once it registered that a billion security guards wouldn’t just be there for any old average Joe I pulled out my camera and started recording. What I’m about to transcribe to you is that recording. Warning: Read this knowing that I’m not particularly proud of reverting to my 8 year old fan-girl self in this moment…but then again it was freaking Arnold. The video shows a narrow view of the huge crowd that surrounded me while I tried to zoom my camera in the close distance to where I saw Arnold getting a picture with one of the vendors. It wasn’t until he started make his way in my direction when the camera goes a little shaky and sideways.
“Oh my God,” you can hear me say.
After that I completely forgot that I was recording at all. You get a quick glimpse of Arnold right next to me before you hear another and much louder, “Oh MY GOD!” This is when the camera goes full haywire and in all directions. This was also the moment I got to touch his hand for a brief second. What follows is several high-pitched yelps from me and Kellie that upon further review we still can not conclude as to what we were saying to each other. We sounded like a bunch of chipmunks on crack. We were clearly dying of excitement. I lost my cool guys. I legit lost my cool. It was good to know though, for future reference of course, how I reacted to a person so famous. I turned into a fumbly adolescent. I’m hoping to have my dignity more in tact for the next famous person.
If you would’ve told me even a year ago that I would travel to Ohio to go to The Arnold Classic Sports Festival I might have doubted you. (I say might because my friends and I have been known to take the occasional random road trip…but those were mainly concerts.) BUT since my mental shift to becoming more healthy took over and once I found out what the expo actually was, I had to go!
I first heard about The Arnold expo several months ago when it was brought up in the Fit Like Flint Challenge group that I participated in. When one of my best friends, who I affectionately refer to as my “big sis”, Kelley, mentioned that: A.) she was going to be there and B.) thought it would be fun if I helped with makeup for her and another girl that I looked up to, Laura, I was sold! I was also SUPER excited about it! Those that read my blog know how much I love makeup so this sounded like the perfect trip for me. Fitness + Makeup + Friend time = LOVE! After I was sold on it I recruited my friend Kellie to make the 7 hour drive with me and we counted down the days until we left together!!
We drove down on Wednesday and were greeted by Kelley and the super gracious Laura who let us stay at her house for the trip. It was awesome that I felt like we all clicked right away and even though it was my first time actually meeting her in person, it was like we had been friends for years. She let us stay in her home gym area and for those 4 nights it felt like home. <3
Day 1. The first full day.
The first full day we were down there Kellie and I couldn’t help but to wake up a little earlier and primp for the day ahead. We were excited to wear our new “You’ve been struck by a SWOLE criminal” tanks to cheer on Nicole! Notice that we both added a touch of blue to our makeup to coordinate. Kellie also curled my hair, which I just loved. She’s amazing and I wish I had her around all of the time.
I have never before had the privilege of getting to see someone compete in a Bodybuilding competition prior to The Arnold. The fact that we had someone to cheer for from our group made it SO exciting! After driving to the convention center, taking forever to find any decent parking, running through a hotel lobby in the wrong direction, and then right direction, we made it to the ballroom where it was being held in the knick of time. It was easy finding our little matching shirt group and Nicole cheering section , which I loved!
The moments leading up to Nicole’s arrival on stage were filled with anxious excitement. The crowd in general was more quiet in nature, which I didn’t expect, that was until the girl we all came to see, Number 19, hit the stage! Out of all of the people there, and there were a lot and from all over the world, she had the most vocal support group for sure! Before they announced her number I could feel the anticipation surrounding our little group. We all wanted her to do awesome because we saw a piece of all of the blood, sweat, and tears that she put into this. She deserved to do great and great she did.
She looked so confident and gorgeous when she walked out on that stage! Her smile never waned and she looked as though she was born to do this. She seemed genuinely happy up there and it was contagious.
After her section she walked over to our group and talked before we all decided to gather for a picture. This picture. BAM.
You guys, I felt like I was meeting a celebrity. This was amazing and really eye opening for me to see in person and up close. She placed 13th out of 21 girls which is awesome, but she was tops to us! I know I speak for most of the girls there saying that I felt lucky to get to be able to be in this moment.
Before I left for this trip I was talking to big sis Kelley and told her that I was praying not to have one of my embarrassing “Anna moments” while meeting all of her friends. Apparently that was too much to ask for…At least this moment was a quick one but after our group picture we all lined up to get some free samples they were handing out. I entered my email and happily grabbed the cookies and cream protein powder and then a little shaker and started to walk pretty far away before the person working the booth stopped me and said that the shakers needed to be paid for…Sooooo I accidentally almost STOLE SOMETHING right off the bat. :smacks head: To be fair not too many people heard or saw this spectacle and this was the worst thing I did all weekend so I’ll take it!
The competition ended and we all parted ways for awhile so Kellie and I set out to explore the area around Columbus a little more. Our first stop was this mall area that pretty much had everything including a Sephora, which was our first stop. (You aren’t surprised, are you?) We were there for quite a bit so we could look and lust after all of the fun things and pretty colors. I walked out of there with just a lip scrub and gloss. This was a win for me. Next we hit up “World of Beer” which is another place that largely appealed to us and also was somewhere that I have heard about but never been to. They had a pretty great selection of beer:
Including my favorite beer in the world, Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. Yummmm. It’s delish. I don’t know why but the aftertaste reminds me of a buttered roll. Not sure if that’s a thing.
Kellie and I poked around for a bit before we got the text to meet up with Kelley and Laura for dinner! We ended up walking from the car to the restaurant all while snow was falling. When we got inside we saw that up the stairs and to the right was an assortment of people that I had been dying to meet…and guys. I got a little nervous. We walked up the stairs and right away Rachel Flint, who is one of my idols, walked up to us and gave us a hug!! I looked around and there was all of her team and her beautiful sponsored athletes sitting there. It was a sea of pretty people and I had an internal panic moment before I was welcomed with more warm hi’s and hugs. Being honest here guys, I was a little starstruck. At least I didn’t have a meeting-Arnold-banshee moment. I was meeting so many of the women that inspire me on a daily basis and even thinking about it now I was just so dang happy to be there. Day one couldn’t have ended any better and I went to bed excited to see what adventures the next day would bring!!
The second full day that we were in Ohio was the first full day of the expo! Kelley and Laura were working at the Fit Like Flint booth so it was also the first day I got to do their makeup, which was super fun. I got to use my RCMA Makeup VK Palette #11 which had a variety of colors for different skin-tones and also has been known for it’s high pigmentation. I used this for the foundation and concealer.
I also found it easiest to mix the appropriate colors ahead of time with a little spatula and a paw palette to get it easier to work with and the right color. I could get into major detail about the makeup for this but I’m going to have to save that for another post because I have a feeling that this one is going to be long enough as it is…BUT look out for that because I took pictures and Kelley and Laura looked gorgeous (as usual)! Here’s a picture of their makeup the first day and shows how pretty they looked on their way to the expo:
They made me so proud. haha
After the early morning makeup call Kellie and I got a quick 30 minute circuit workout in that she found from Pinterest and we got ready for our day ahead of us! Going into the first day of the expo we didn’t know quite what to expect so we got all ready again and headed out to convention center. It was so nice going to an expo where it was socially acceptable to wear sweatpants and workout tanks all of the time. Talk about comfort!! I also had to wear my new Fit Like Flint “Live in your gym clothes” off the shoulder shirt. It’s my new favorite and this was the perfect place to whip that out!
After another full adventure of trying to find parking near the convention center, failing at that with epic proportions, and then driving to a place to take a bus downtown, we finally made it to the convention center where everything was being held. We walked in and looked for the line to pick up some of our will call tickets. Once we discovered that we’d be waiting for forever we split my tickets I had and decided to wait in line later, we were too excited to see what the center had in store for us!!
We walked in and were surrounded by thousands of people and SO many things to look at!! Me, being one that hates pushing my way to get through a crowded place, grabbed on to Kellie and followed her. That’s why I need friends like the ones I have, guys. They get me where I need to be and she was literally my shoulder to lean on. haha We headed straight for the Fit Like Flint booth to make sure that we could get these really cute pink and black zip up sweatshirts that will make an appearance later AND a couple sweaty bands. We also wanted to say hi again to our new friends and our ladies that were rocking that booth!! I got a picture with one of my new favorite people in the world, Colleen. She was SO sweet and told me that she reads my blog which had me on cloud 9!! I looked up to HER and SHE reads MY blog!! I’m still so happy over that. 🙂 Shout to to Colleen!!!
I also had to get a picture with Nicole because she’s just so amazing!!!!
After we got our new goodies we made our way all around to scope out some of the free goodies we heard so much about and check out who was all there. We stopped by the Shields of Strength booth and Kellie got me and her matching necklaces which I’ve kept wearing since! I just adore it. <3 They also had a picture station so obviously we had to get one showing off how strong we were!! Haha Kidding…a guy lifted it for us and took the picture with Kellie’s phone and then pretended to walk away with said phone. We laughed. It was grand.
Across the way we saw a booth for the company called “Mancakes” (yep, you read that right) that was giving away samples of their protein pancakes. They also had one of the tallest men that I’ve ever seen in my life up close annddd a handsome ripped guy. I’m about 5’7″ and these guys made me look short which never happens…Woof!
After this picture I started to stick to the more husband-friendly pictures. I got a random picture with another tall someone dressed as Darth Vader. That would make Dan proud!!
And then I got another one I thought he’d certainly like. By the way I totally loved the movie Deadpool and plan on seeing it again. I also got Dan a workout shirt at this booth that said, “Maximum effort.” It made me laugh.
We walked around a TON and stopped by all of the booths that we liked to grab some free samples. We actually got several different samples this weekend and I have been slowly trying everything out this past week!! So far so good on everything!! Who doesn’t love free stuff??!
Kellie and I got tired of the large crowds and decided to check out some of the events after awhile of being there. First we sat down and watched the cheerleading competition. Those girls sure knew how to flip and jump which was so impressive to me! We then started walking around again and noticed the Arnold Strongman Classic that everyone seemed to be focusing on. When we got there the guys were lifting around 925lbs and that number was growing. Holy cats were they strong and really working!!! We made it to the other side of the viewing area when we saw Arnold go on stage and you knew it was getting serious. I was so excited because me and Kellie witnessed, from pretty dang close to the side of the stage, Eddie Hall breaking a world record for deadlifts! He was lifting 1,026 I believe which made the bar look like it was going to break in half it was so much weight! His legs were shaking like crazy and whole crowd was growing with the shouts as he got higher and higher. It was a pretty darn amazing moment and just one of the many reasons that I was so glad to be there this weekend. I found a video on Youtube that shows the lift up close: Eddie Hall – Deadlift 465kg
Pretty dang cool.
Although we had a jam packed day filled with awesome moments it didn’t compare to dinner that night!! This night for dinner we went to a place called Gordon Biersch and we got to meet so many of the awesome ladies that make up our fantastic women’s fitness support group. This group that I’m in is beyond encouraging and it’s so refreshing finding a group of people with similar interests and kind personalities that all got together in one place. It was crazy because all these women were from all over!! We were from Wisconsin but just sitting even near us was a person from Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, Oklahoma, Hawaii, and many more!! It was so cool that all of us made it there to meet those that support and encourage each other daily!! I had such a blast that night talking to those around me and getting to see the Fit Like Flint crew again. It’s like they handpicked some of the sweetest ladies from every where and got them all together. This was another moment that I felt so blessed to be apart of and truly enjoyed!!!
I was excited because I got to sit across from Ashley who started the challenges the same time as I did!! She was super sweet so we had to get another picture:
Kelley and I also had to get our famous hugging picture that we have been doing for OVER 10 years now…how crazy is that? I love this lady so much. This weekend wouldn’t have happened without her and I’m so grateful.
Anndddddd obviously I talked to my new favorite person Colleen for a bit AND got to sit next to Nicole which made me feel special. They really are the best people ever and my life inspirations!! I hope to be half of the person that these ladies are one day!!
The night ended on such another high and Kellie and I kept talking about how great it was that we got to meet so many awesome people. If it looked like I was having a blast the whole time I was gone of Facebook…it was because I totally was!!!
I feel like the morning picture of Kellie and I was obligatory at this point…also…we TOTALLY matched outfits that day. We were those friends and I didn’t even care. haha We both got to wear our matching pink and black zip ups paired with our new necklaces!!
Today was the day that we got to see our friend MEGHAN!!! We were so excited!!! She was also one of my bridesmaids in my wedding and I hadn’t seen her and Kelley since then so I was beyond happy!! Right away we headed over to Kelley being all extroverted and working it at her booth so that Meghan could say hi too!! That’s when we discovered we were “Twinning” with Colleen….or more as we decided “Tripleting!” Also, coffee in hand. I needed it by that day!
I also got a picture of just me and Laura!!! She looked SO cute every single day we were there!!! Love her style:
We all then decided to get the new I <3 Squats shirt that we all NEEDED and then we’d really really really match!!!!!
At this time I ALSO discovered that at the NLA booth where I had bought my pre-workout they day before had Jessie Hilgenberg!!! For those that do not know who she is should go look her up because she is incredible!! Not only is she super fit but she’s amazingly helpful and has programs to help and support people. Besides the fact that she’s gorgeous! We waited in the line to meet her and as we got closer and closer I started to get a little nervous. She’s like Superwoman to me. Once we got up to meet her I asked for a picture with her and she said, “Look at you in all your Fit Like Flint apparel! I love them!” I uttered a, “Me too!” and smiled. That’s when she gave me the mother of all compliments: she told me that she liked my makeup. That was huge coming from her!! I’ve watched a ton of her videos on YouTube including, but not limited to, her doing her makeup before her shows! She was soooo sweet and now I just want to get everything she’s ever put out. haha
We walked around some more and met Arnold as I mentioned earlier which was a HUGE moment from the weekend. The crowd was a little intense again so we just waited for the things that we REALLY wanted. I feel like a lot of the vendors actually gave out more free things this day as opposed to Friday. When I mentioned this to Kelley she said it was most likely because they had to feel out the crowd and make the samples last. If we would have been there Sunday we might have gotten even more things because they’d just be giving it away at that point! Once we had all that we could with the crowd we went over to watch the cheerleaders again. The music that they had and the energy level was envious at that moment. Kellie and I were starting to get pooped from the full week of festivities. We decided to grab a little Subway for lunch and sat near one of the doors. This is where we met Arnold for the second time that day!! Kellie walked over to the door to get better reception on her phone and that’s right when Arnold started walking toward one of the doors with maybe 3 security guards with him. There was significantly less entourage with him at that moment. Kellie was right by him when he walked by and she stuck her hand out surprised and he shook it!!! We all got excited again before we got another wind to take on the crowds and try to get more free samples. This day started to die down for us and we ended up going back a little earlier than before because we were exhausted.
After that it was sleep and the long drive home the next day. I was so sad to see it end but I definitely want to go back next year!! The people that I met and the things that I saw had a great impact on my mindset and I’m back harder than before working toward all that I hope to achieve. This weekend left me with a new purpose and new long term goals to work toward. So to everyone that I met and inspired me I want to thank you immensely! You’ve helped me more than you know!!! And to those of you that are still reading this novel of a blog post: Thank you!!!!!!!!
And for anyone that’s looking to join a new challenge group full of supportive women you have until Monday to sign up for the “Go LOVE Yourself” challenge!! It’s a 6 week group focused on 3 goals that you set for yourself to be the best and happiest you possible! Instead of a physical transformation challenge where you compete against others, they launched a 6 week challenge where you compete against YOU! If you want any further information feel free to check it out at www.fitlikeflint.com or feel free to contact me with any questions you’d have about it!! <3
Hope everyone is wonderful!!