It’s been one whirlwind of a weekend here in Columbus, Ohio as 8 of my teammates stepped on stage to compete in the Arnold Sports Festival.
My flight was supposed to depart this morning at 11 AM but due to the never ending winter of 2014 – it has since been cancelled and rebooked for 7 tonight; I am now stationed at a nearby Starbucks drooling over the encased bakery goods…
I got here super late Wednesday night. I think I finally checked in to my DoubleTree hotel at around 11:30. A few notes about my stay at DoubleTree; Although REALLY close to Veterans Memorial (where a lot of the events are held), they charge you for everything. No free wifi, no business center, no breakfast. On Thursday, there was a leak on the 4th floor and our water (including showers and toilets), were turned off for about 3 hours. When we called to ask if there was something they could do for our inconvenience they offered us breakfast at the hotel restaurant (which we declined since my roommate was competing and I’m in prep mode) or a day of free parking (which is $22/day). Although this was better than nothing, we were never really issued an apology and were made to feel like we were inconveniencing them with our ask of customer service. With that said, the major upside to this hotel is the gym. Literally, beside maybe a hotel gym I’ve seen in Vegas, this was the most loaded workout facility I’ve ever seen! Squat racks, full dumbbells, weight machines (even a lat pulldown) – great place to spin your wheels and let off some steam. I ended up grabbing a workout everyday in Ohio, except Saturday as the hours were a little wacky (9am-4pm).
On to the main events… Thursday was a BIG day for Team Motiv8n’U Elite. We had our 7 bikini athletes step on stage with some of the best amateurs in the world. 3 out of our 7 girls placed top ten in prejudging (including a first callout) and were invited back to compete at the finals on Saturday. The classes were huge – I think Class A had about 70 girls alone. Overall, I would have to say the judges seemed to go for more of a fuller package – just a little bit different than the local shows. The day was really long for everyone including our glam fairies doing their work on makeup and hair and with my official job as taping the girls into their suits (no one wants to see a body part exposed on stage).
Friday morning, our physique competitor, Ivan Iniguez, competed and got called back for the final show later that night. I’m so proud of Ivan for competing. Not only was this his FIRST show but he also nabbed a top 10 spot – a true victory!
The majority of Friday was spent at the Expo. If you’ve never been to the Arnold, picture hundreds and hundreds of fitness companies in one room showcasing their products and often time flying out their sponsored athletes to meet and greet the thousands of fans in attendance. I was able to get a sneak peak of MANY of the pro athletes I have come to admire and I even got to meet a few in person!
Most of the lines to do meet and greets were 1-2 hours long but every once and a while you would get lucky enough to jump in a line that was quick moving. At the Better Bodies booth, we walked right past IFBB Bikini Pro Nathalia Melo and Tawna Eubanks, and were able to spend some 1:1 time with them asking questions and chatting about competing. Both women were BEYOND nice and gorgeous in person! I picked up a pair of camouflage leggings at the booth (which btw are awesome quality and really cute) and left with wide eyes looking for our next encounter.
It didn’t take long, right around the corner at the BSN booth, the line to see Amanda Latona (the queen of glutes) was whittled down and 10 minutes later we were chatting away with the gorgeous bikini pro. She literally took time to meet each of her fans, to speak with them, and take pictures. She was competing on Saturday and I could only imagine how tired she must have felt due to prep week – but she didn’t let that slow her down or turn away anyone. I really admire her and her presence in this industry.
Saturday – our group journeyed back to the Expo to hit some final booths, but more importantly to see our 3 girls compete in Finals. I remember feeling pretty confused on Thursday about the callouts and why certain girls didn’t make the top 10 – but Saturday the girls proved beyond doubt why they were on that stage. The breakdown for Team Motiv8n’u –
Bikini A: Ashley Sisko, 5th place (and her FIRST competition)
Bikini C: Heather Hayes, 7th place (2nd competition ever)
Bikini D: Jessica Bish, 7th place
I am SO proud of these amazing ladies for putting in months of hard work and having the courage to compete at such a large show. There will be great things ahead for all 8 competitors and I cannot wait to watch their journey.
Well that’s about it! Beside the cold and snow the trip was amazing and I feel invigorated. 4 weeks until I hit the stage and I’m ready to put my head down and get the work done.
Until next time…