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The 2012 Olympia Expo in Las Vegas was bigger than ever! Technically billed as "Ultimate Nutrition presents Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend 2012," this premier bodybuilding event attracted participants, exhibitors, athletes and attendees from around the world. Held this year on September 28 and 29 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Olympia is the Superbowl of the fitness industry. In addition to the competitions and demonstrations, the Olympia Expo gives fans and fitness gurus a chance to meet their fitness icons and try new products.
Bodybuilding.com was a major sponsor of this event, and I was proud to be part of Team Bodybuilding.com. Every hour they had high-end fitness celebrities and athletes appearing to promote their upcoming release which is scheduled for late December or early January (P.S. keep an eye out - it will be awesome!) The line of people waiting to meet us and learn about bodybuilding was non-stop, right from the beginning of the Expo on Friday until it closed on Saturday. We gave out over 7,500 free t-shirts and thousands of free samples, provided a rotation of fitness celebrities, and accomplished so much more. It was an honor for me to be part of the team for such an amazing company!
The Life of a Professional Wheelchair Bodybuilder
I arrived in Vegas on Tuesday, September 25 to get ready for a photo shoot that Bodybuilding.com had arranged for Wednesday morning at 7:00 a.m. Regardless of what time these events were scheduled, I stuck to my training regimen and got up every morning at 4:00 a.m. to do my cardio training. I am just two weeks from appearing at the International Federation of Body Building (IFBB) Houston Pro Show on October 13. This is only the second time that they have officially added an IFBB Professional Wheelchair Division. I want to continue to represent my sport of wheelchair bodybuilding so I will not make any excuses as to why I cannot get in a workout. Regardless of what else goes on in life, a professional competitor is only judged based on appearance on the day of competition. NO EXCUSES!
Then I was filmed for hours as part of a Bodybuilding.com Fitness 360 Video. We covered my diet, supplements, training, and much more. I didn't hold back during the shoot and was shrugging 500 pounds for reps and doing some insane amount of weight because that's how I roll! Later that afternoon I had another photo shoot for Bodybuilding.com with their new B-Elite Series Performance Apparel.
Finally it was time for the Expo to begin on Friday. Team Bodybuilding.com gathered and appeared at the Expo together as a Team. For years there has been talk about Bodybuilding.com having a team. The team was revealed in January of 2011. But this time, everything was put together and we all wore different outfits from the Bodybuilding.com new line of performance apparel, B Elite. I was asked to wear the long sleeve shirt and I was worried at first because I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion, but I was happily surprised to find out that I didn't even sweat the entire day. The fit of these clothes was awesome, and Bryna DeLuca did an amazing job on the B Elite Clothing line!
Our booth was flooded both Friday and Saturday with fans and people from around the world. It was pure madness at times with people coming at the booth from all angles. The line never let up. People waited over two hours to see us. Even when the expo ended, there was still a massive line. I can’t say how thrilled I was to know that professional bodybuilding has such a hard-core fan base. I was happy to meet with everyone, tell my story, and let the world know even more about the sport of professional wheelchair bodybuilding.
The fans and everybody else at the Expo were amazing! I talked to so many people there and was inspired to become even better in my profession and make an even bigger impact. Every day, I feel it is a blessing to be able to encourage so many people, both in wheelchairs and those struggling against other adversities in their lives. Without fans like you, our profession doesn’t mean anything, so THANK YOU!
Thank You to Bodybuilding.com for Helping Me to Inspire Others
The Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend is close to my heart because the 2008 event was the first fitness expo I attended, and that is where everything really began to take off for me. I went to Olympia in 2008 simply to network and seek sponsorship for the first IFBB Pro Wheelchair Division I was organizing. In the process I met Mick Skinner. Mick recognized my talent and signed me up to be part of Bodybuilding.com one week after that. Since that time my life has changed dramatically for the better. If it wasn’t for Mick and Bodybuilding.com, I would not be able to touch so many lives with my message to inspire and motivate others. Nor would so many people know about the sport of wheelchair bodybuilding, which is my passion.
The Next Step for Wheelchair Bodybuilding
As you can see, the Olympia Expo has impacted my life in numerous ways and set in motion a chain of events that has impacted many other people around the world – just like a small rock thrown into water that starts off a ripple effect. I can’t thank Mick Skinner enough for giving me the chance to be part of the Bodybuilding.com team. If he hadn’t been one of the first to believe in me, the doors and opportunities would never have opened like they did. I thank God for giving me the inner courage to walk through those doors and become what I am today, and for allowing me this opportunity to return His gifts by serving as an inspiration to others.
Next up, I will be flying out on Friday to guest pose on Saturday, October 6 at the 2012 NPC Washington Ironman Bodybuilding, Fitness, Figure, Physique and Bikini Championships in Snoqualmie, Washington. I fly home on Sunday and then head right out again on Wednesday October 10 to Houston, TX to get ready to compete at the 2012 IFBB Pro Wheelchair Championships on Saturday October 13. And there is so much more after that.
I will continue to train, to promote and represent wheelchair bodybuilding and wheelchair ballroom dancing with all my heart. I believe there is a story to be told and I have been chosen to tell it. I am honored to be able to speak to others, to provide whatever motivation I can, and to inspire others to achieve what they didn’t think they could. If my life can serve as an example for others to go beyond the limits they have set on themselves, if they are able to unleash the beast within themselves, then it will truly have been worth the struggle. I can’t wait to see what is waiting around the next corner.