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The Fit Expo 2005
Sunday, February 22 — The Fit Expo as Aerobic Workout

salsa dancing

12:00 p.m. I start off the day with the "Fiesta Latina" class taught by Luly Mitchell. Honestly, after yesterday, I am exhausted and the last thing I feel like doing is working out, but ten minutes into the class I am so glad I forced myself to go! The moves are easy and fun, so I just let my brain go on vacation and allow my body to move. Of course, that's easy to do with the spicy, Latin-flavored steps. As an extra-added treat, the session begins and ends with a performance by a couple of professional Salsa dancers. The workout and performance leave me exhilarated and ready for the Expo's final day.

(Article continued below.)

1:00 p.m. While I spent the 2004 Fit Expo consuming way too many protein bar samples, and this year's Expo consuming way too many energy drinks, I am glad to see that real food is being represented in one form or another. Two healthy fast food chains — Subway, and the smaller, up-and-coming Sharky's — have booths where they are offering coupons and a guide to their lower fat and lower carb menu selections. But the booth that has the most appeal to me is Vital Choice Seafood. The company is owned by two ex-fishermen and they are handing out samples of their wild salmon. I love salmon anyhow, but theirs is exceptional! The cooked samples of their flash frozen salmon are great, but I'm even more impressed with their canned salmon, which is the best I've ever had. Even the Tibetan Tea girls a few booths down are raving about it. Before the Expo ends, I make sure to take advantage of the inevitable "special" that's one of the perks of events like these and buy a case. As I wander around the Convention Center, surrounded by healthy food and diet supplements, I can't help but notice the candy machine sitting in the hallway, flashing its temptations at the Expo attendees. I wonder how many people sneak a bag (or two) of cookies or chips.

don't touch that button!

Gunter Schlierkamp 1:30 p.m. There are a whole bunch of events going on at the same time, and I am going to see how many of them I can hit — sort of like speed dating, only with lectures. The first one I visit is "Gunter's Guide to a Great Body," featuring bodybuilder Gunter Schlierkamp. The main reason I am attending is because I can't believe that there is actually a bodybuilder named Gunter — I thought it was just a cliché! But Schlierkamp is no mere cliché - he is a former Mr. Universe and one of the top rankers in the highly competitive Mr. Olympia competitions. He is also a very nice guy whose knowledge about his field is so ingrained that it seems like second nature. But I can only spend a few minutes listening to Gunter answering questions about training. I am off to my next lecture:

craig titus and kelly ryan 1:45 p.m. Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan are fitness pros with 20 years of experience between them. He is well known on the IFBB circuit; she is one of the world's top fitness competitors. They are also a happily married couple. It's amazing how much better they look in person than they do in photos, especially Ryan. But then, it's probably impossible to capture Ryan's engaging personality in a still photograph — you know when she enters the room, even if you aren't looking in her direction. For those of you who might think there's a certain romance to being a fitness couple, one look at these two tells you that the romance certainly isn't in the training — their physiques reveal that their workouts have to be very, very different! But I can only listen to them discuss their love for exercise and each other for a little while, and then I'm off to yet another lecture:

ryan benson after and before

2:00 p.m. I go from listening to two fitness winners to the Biggest Loser: Ryan Benson, the winner of the TV reality show, The Biggest Loser, that is. I'm staying for the whole session this time, since his story is so compelling. He's also funny — "I lost weight the old fashioned way," he tells us. "I went on a reality show." Benson's identity for most of his life was the fat, funny guy, but underneath the friendly exterior was a long history of secret eating, compulsive behavior and yo-yo dieting that pushed his weight well over the 300 pound mark. He had hypertension and was pre-diabetic. To show the huge difference between Ryan then and now, he pulls out a life-sized cardboard cutout of himself. Amazingly, he never saw that Buddha-like figure in the mirror, and the first time he viewed the photo of himself, he was in shock. The miracle is not that he lost the weight on The Biggest Loser, but that he has kept it off and still plans to lose a few more pounds. He reveals that his weight loss really began from within. His trainer, Jillian, encouraged him to visualize himself as who he wanted to be, and he capitalized on the small successes, which began to add up. Small goals seemed far more achievable than being overwhelmed by the big picture. He also found the support system, in the form of his trainer and his teammates, helpful. Now at home, he uses Overeaters Anonymous to help him come to grips with his eating compulsions, and continues to work out to stay in shape. Benson's still the funny, friendly guy he always was... just not fat!

3:00 p.m. I head off to the Rumi Yoga class for a dose of Asanas and serenity. The session is both humorous and spiritually oriented. We are urged into our best form, but as soon as we are done with each pose, we are instructed to "forget what just happened!" — in other words, stay in the present. The instructor repeats this often, and soon it is ingrained in my mind. "Forget what just happened!" promises to become a catch phrase for any time I become stressed out or over excited (at the very least, saying it to myself makes me laugh). I feel revitalized after the session is over. The Rumi Yoga class is more than a mere athletic exercise — something that is often forgotten these days when it comes to Yoga.

pump n jump 4:00 p.m. There is a calmness to my fresh burst of energy, so I have mixed feelings about attending the "Camp 24/ Pump n' Jump" class with Larisa Yaghoobov. I'm sure that leaping around is going to shake me out of my stillness so I decide to just take a few photos instead. The workout alternates intervals of jumping rope with toning and looks like the kind of activity I probably would have enjoyed on day one of the Expo. But it's near the end of day three and I am winding down.

4:45 p.m. The Expo itself is winding down and exhibitors are starting to break down their booths and pack up their wares. I go in search of a particularly delicious whey protein shake only to find that the distributors have already left the building. It's been a long weekend and everyone's exhausted. Well, everyone, that is, except for the people at the JavaFit booth. They're still going strong. One girl even shows off her high kick. But the JavaFit way of energizing is not for me, not this evening. What I'm really looking forward to is a refreshing, revitalizing night's sleep!

JavaFit Girl

Back to Start >> Intro to the Fit Expo 2005 >> Page 2, 3, 4

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