|2010 Olympia Experience
Going to events such as the 2010 Olympia always has you leaving with a
lot to ponder. What have you been doing? What is your worth? What will
you do differently once you return home? For me, the Olympia was a
reality check. Many of us are the big dogs when it comes to training at
our local gyms. Some of us lay claim to fancy fitness centers while
others train at more hardcore establishments. Whatever the case, you
feel big and strong at your home gym. Once you enter The Cage, all
those preconceived notions fly out the window. Now you're a nobody.
Once you step foot inside The Cage and walk past the likes of Ox or
Kuclo, you realize that you are actually pretty petite. These guys are
the real deal. Every time I leave such an event, I always head home
with a few tips and tricks from some of the greatest athletes in our
sport. All the new advice leaves me salivating at the opportunity to go
back home and train again. To say it lights a fire under my ass is a
huge understatement. The spirit and the mood that Animal represents are
incredible. It makes you step your game up to levels you couldn't even
fathom. You leave with a brand new sense of dedication and enough
motivation to last you until the next event. I've trained twice since
I've been back from Vegas. I trained harder and got more out of those
two sessions than I have in the last few weeks combined. I love it.
The camaraderie inside The Cage gives everyone a sense of belonging.
You may feel small and feeble when standing next to Big Al, but he'll
surely shoot the shit with you as if he's your best friend. And it
definitely feels that way. I've been fortunate enough to go to the
Arnold Classic for two years in a row and now the Olympia. Each time
I've met new friends and I've had a great time catching up with old
ones. Though I may only see some of these men a few times a year, the
FORVM holds us close together and when we finally meet again, it's like
we never left. We met at the breakfast buffet every morning. Eventually
the hostess pegged us “The Animals,” and she would immediately point us
in the direction of the rest of our group. We'd take one plate and fill
it up with good, clean food like eggs, oatmeal and fruit. Round two was
dirty food like pancakes, French toast, croissants, and cakes.
Delicious. Hey, you gotta enjoy yourself, right? It's Vegas!
There's an energy that The Cage gives off that no other booth can
touch. You feel the electricity course through your veins as soon as
you enter. The pros are hanging out with the fans, blending in and
having a good time. It's not like other booths, where you stand in line
for 30 minutes just to get a quick handshake and snap a quick picture.
The Animal athletes are there for each and every fan. People are always
shocked to find out that they can just go up to their favorite athlete
and talk shop for a few minutes. This is what Animal is all about. It's
a brotherhood. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
The Cage also produces some of the most incredible exhibitions I've
ever seen. Some of the biggest, strongest men square off in The Cage to
pull/press some ridiculously stupid weight. Sgt. Rock and Big D were
the highlight of the weekend. It was an old vs. new deadlifting
exhibition. Rock put on his best ever Cage exhibition, while Big D
pulled 50lb more than his previous best, topping off at 776lb.
Incredible. Nick Winters and Tiny Meeker also put on great events, with
Nick squatting 500lb for 20 deep reps and Tiny making his 800lb bench
press look easy. Grant Higa also provided a very entertaining
exhibition with a log press. He demonstrated his Strongman abilities in
a very well-informed session. I'm proud to have these people aboard our
Aside from watching some enormous athletes throwing around weight like
nobody's business, I also took some time to sell products in The Shop.
It's great to interact and talk with customers about our brand. They
all have different stories about how they first heard of Animal, and
it's impressive to see how big our brand is and how far it reaches. I
sold products and shirts to men and women ranging in age from 18 to 60.
It's mind boggling to see how much of an impact Animal has on the
lifting community. Props to Animal for creating a way of life rather
than just a few ordinary supplements.
Agent O was revealed in The Cage. Wow. This stuff is the real deal. The
days are long and strenuous while working the Animal booth. Being on
your feet all day can really drag you down. I took a few servings of
Agent O to get me going again and damn, it did the trick. This stuff
amped me up and made me want to jump into some of the exhibitions,
joining in on the fun by tossing around 3x my bodyweight. I couldn't
wait to get the gym and train at night. I packed a few extra samples in
my gym bag for later.
Topping off the Olympia weekend, our very own Erik “The House”
Fankhouser made his Olympia debut on stage, holding his own against the
best in the world. Everyone applauded him when he made his appearance
in The Cage on Saturday afternoon. Despite everything on this mind, he
still made time to interact with fans and spend a few hours signing his
poster for all those who asked. He's one of the best overall men in the
sport and I'm glad to brush shoulders alongside The House.
Back in NJ. Back to the daily grind. Vegas was great, but now it's time
to get down to business. After seeing everyone at the Olympia Expo, I
have some work to do.