Sponsored Content, Photo Courtesy of the Arnold Sports Festival

The biggest weekend in fitness is just around the corner and you’re still packing for the trip? What are you waiting for?! Do it… DO IT, NOW! If you want to crush your enemies… err, enjoy the Arnold more than everyone else, then you’d better start checking these off your list:


The Arnold is like Halloween for Bodybuilders. It’s the largest health & fitness expo in the country… 900 BOOTHS! You’re going to be handed more samples and swag than you can imagine. This is where new brands come to make a mark and get you to remember them, plus the veterans are only getting bigger each year. Nobody is sending you home empty handed from the Arnold. Definitely make sure to stop by the Quest booth – they’ll be giving out protein bars, protein chips, AND shakes made from their new Cookies & Cream protein powder… which is basically a Muscle McFlurry. Grow a third arm before hitting their booth, or else BRING A BAG!

FLEX Arnold pic2


This place is gonna be like Disneyland by noon. The main hall pretty much reaches muscle failure by 2pm, so if you wanna keep it efficient this weekend, don’t hit snooze. Plan ahead, have a map, and know the general flow of what you want to see. Get to your favorites first, even if it means an extra few laps around the hall.


You’ll catch some fun activities while roaming the main hall, but the bigger night events are for ticket holders only… and they’re selling fast! Keep one night open to be spontaneous if you wish, but putting off buying tickets until the last minute is going to backfire, leaving you bored, left out, and feeling like the weekend has been wasted.  


I know you’re banking on free shakes, bars, and a factory’s worth of supplemental surprises, but eating only that stuff all day long isn’t going to sit well… for you or anyone else within sniffing distance. Plus you’ve gotta wait in line every time you want a free sample. And no one controls your macro-intake but you, right?


This event is actually the “Arnold Sports Festival,” not just the Arnold Classic, so you can bet there’s plenty of ass kicking far beyond the typical physique competitions. Make sure you take the time to look around. From martial arts to pole fitness and "world jump rope" to fencing, even armwrestling, the Arnold is like a talent show on steroids (but hopefully without actual steroids).


Click "NEXT PAGE" for tips 6-11 >>


Columbus isn’t known for hot nightclubs, so we’re not telling you to expect Vegas… but the city is halfway between East-coast and the Mid-west, with plenty of unique things to see and do (if you’ve got extra time). Many of the people coming this weekend are true icons and celebrities, so some of the locals may be particularly interested in what you’re actually doing there. And let’s face it… Columbus isn’t exactly recognized for fitness, either, so odds are you’re gonna look pretty buff. There will never be a better time to try some of those new dance moves! 


And not because it’s sunny… oh, how you will wish… but keep some shades on your head, ready to drop on at a moment’s notice. Otherwise you’ll probably be caught staring at some super shredded and insanely hot people, most of them directly in front of you!


Everyone on stage is going to have a nice golden glow because it’s flattering to the physique. Get yourself a tan, especially if you’re looking to mingle with the locals; it just adds to the aura. When in Rome…


Don’t forget to scope the town out for a good local gym. Just because you’re not in a showcase doesn’t mean it’s a weekend to go soft. If you want to let off some steam (Bennett), keep these 24-hour spots in mind: Beyond Limits Training (614-824-2639), Metro Fitness North (614-431-9999), and Planet Fitness (614-262-6004). This IS a massive fitness expo weekend though, after all, so you’d best call the gyms ahead of time to check for any limited hours or certain restrictions.


Columbus isn’t north enough to suffer the most severe lake-effect snow like Cleveland is, but that doesn’t mean Mother Nature won’t whirl up a doozy just to make this weekend extra special. Bring the layers you’ll need to survive weather in the mid-20’s and be warned: blizzards can come out of nowhere. Major airliners are also notorious for overbooking flights, as a statistically profitable safeguard to guarantee they fill as many seats as possible, so an influx of this many people to a relatively small city like Columbus on a regular, non-holiday weekend is already bound to bottleneck the exit strategy on Monday morning. Combine that with a surprise snowstorm and you’d better have made some good friends in Columbus, because you’ll be sticking around there for a while.  

Or, if all the airplanes are full, you can always GET TO THE CHOPPER!!!

11. SEE Arnold Schwarzenegger

And not some goofy, costumed version… see the man himself! There’s no signing tables or photo booths with him, but Arnold will be around the VIP lunch area at 1, after which he walks across the expo floor saying hi to everyone he passes. Keep your eyes open!

Those are your 11 Survival Tips to guarantee you do this trip to the Arnold justice. Especially for first-timers… remember your earliest days working out and screwing up from not knowing any better? Well, now you do. See you at the party, Richter!

This content was supplied by our sponsor and does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions or strategies of FLEX’s editorial staff.