By Dakota Meyers, Contributing Writer
The Arnold Classic is a fitness convention held in Columbus, Ohio every year during the first week of March by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Athletes from all around the world come to compete and present their skills during this three-day event. Each year, this convention hosts one of the largest powerlifting meets of the year, with many of the words best powerlifters competing.
Not only are there countless numbers of competitions throughout the event including bodybuilding shows, powerlifting meets and MMA meets, but fitness companies also set up booths to display their products or services. Companies with products varying from clothing and accessories to supplement and food distributors set up booths with their athletes and models on hand to persuade customers.
One well-known company in the bodybuilding and powerlifting world is ‘Animal.’ Every year, Animal uses their booth slot at the convention to set up “The Cage.” Placed inside the cage is a squat rack, along with benches for bench press competitions. ‘Animal’ then invites their sponsored lifters, many of whom are the best and strongest in the country and world, to compete.
Inside this cage, the athletes create one of the most unique lifting environments on the planet. Pete Rubish, an Animal sponsored athlete, described the expirence as “surreal.” Rubish also said, “Being inside an enclosed area surrounded by the strongest men in the world who are there solely to watch you and support you is something that is not like anything else out there.”
Shown on the right is myself with one of my favorite UFC fighters, Travis Browne (#9 ranked heavyweight, 18-6-1). He was a truly genuine guy who seemed to have no issue with standing and talking with me for a few minutes. It was an unreal experience to be able to chat about lifting and fighting with a man who is climbing his way to the top of the sport.
Personally, I am very involved in the fitness industry. I stay up to date with new companies and athletes who are making names for themselves. Meeting my favorite lifters and forming relationships with them is extremely motivating and inspiring. Their words of wisdom and encouragement keep me going, as their comments replay in my mind daily.
Unless involved in a large event like The Arnold Classic, powerlifting does not get very much attention from the mainstream media. This is because most athletes see the gym and working out as a tool to improve their performance on the field or court, whereas powerlifters excel in this area and treat strength training as their sport and area to perform.
Because of these types of conventions, along with the internet, powerlifting is rapidly growing. Now, with social media outlets, even individuals who are less interested in fitness are able to see some of the strongest men and women in the world lift the heaviest weights in history.
Powerlifters performing at a high level provides great entertainment. It shows kids and young adults that fitness and weight lifting can be fun and addictive when done correctly and consistently. With the sport becoming increasingly popular, it has the potential to help America’s growing obesity epidemic and can also promote better health throughout the country.
The Arnold Classic is a great resource for lifters and fans like myself to visit with and meet athletes. Being able to talk face to face with these individuals that we, as fans, hold on a high level brings an entirely different understanding of what their lives entail. Conversations about their training, diet and everyday life allows other athletes to reach their goals.
Hearing how the best in the world prepare to take on daily challenges presents new training ideas, as well as ways to be a better overall athlete. It also takes those athletes from a celebrity in our minds, to a real person whom we can relate to and have a conversation with.