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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Fitness, Fun, and Food.

Now that I am working out (a lifter) it seemed only natural that I would attend the Arnold Fitness Festival. An extravagant, hectic, crowded assembly, packing the Columbus Convention Center from one end to the other. Attendees run the gamut from extremely fit to fitness challenged (I like to think of myself as fitness challenged Plus, working to physically fit light). Having never been there before I was not sure what I would see. What I did see was a little amazing, a little frightening, and a lot of entertaining.

Convention centers share several characteristics. Most are designed around a long central hall, with large rooms, with big exhibition rooms branching off at more or less regular intervals. Often these rooms have pocket style walls allowing for adjustable sizes, and numerous configurations. But, if you want to take the pulse of an event you want the long central hall. That is where everybody congregates, where all of the meetings take place.

When viewed from the proper perspective the central hall is like a combination of a parade, and a an airport terminal, mixed with a little bit of reunion, maybe family, maybe school, possibly even neighborhood. Hugs, handshakes, smiles, and laughter ring through the hall, repeated down the length of the hall, and echoing, inviting and warm, it can give you hope. This perspective is from above the fray. Climb the stairs to the upper hall, look down on the masses, and it looks happy and joyous.

Of course, the view from the main floor is a little different. Down there it is competition, survival of the fittest, a mad dash to an imaginary finish line. Competitors weaving in and out of the slow moving traffic. Down here the happiness, and pleasantries are few, fleeting, and on the fringes where nothing is moving. Soon, the flow will even grab the celebrants, sweeping them along in flood of humanity, toward the next available eddy.

Oddly enough, both views are correct. And when you go to these things you have to enjoy both. There is a sense of omnipotence looking down on the masses from an elevated position, safe and sound, but the real feel of the festival is among the throng feeling the energy of the crowd.

If you are looking for insight, and exercise tips, though, you are probably in the wrong place. The body builders are doing a job, and performing a routine, the vendors want to sell their supplements or equipment, which is fine, because that is why they came. So, don't expect any revelations. If that sounds unreasonable ask yourself what advice you expect. Work very hard, and push yourself to the very edge, and then push yourself some more. Make lifting and exercising a life style, sacrifice, toil, slave, and work, work, work, and you can be muscular beyond belief. We all know that fitness requires effort, would that it didn't, but it does. There are no shortcuts, that's why people admire body builders, not because it is easy.

If you have the opportunity go to the Fitness Expo, or anything similar, it is fun, and there are crowds, and a herd like solidarity, and all of the colors of life. People like you, and people who are nothing like you, and all of the types in between. There are exhibits, and displays and the energy of all that life crammed in such a small place.  But, if you go to the Arnold Festival in Columbus, walk 3 blocks west and hit the North Market for some hot dogs and potato chips at the "Best Wurst," you will need the protein.