Going to a Fitness Expo (LA Fit Expo 2017)

Every year, our experience at the Los Angeles Fit Expo (and IHRSA… and IDEA…) is different. It’s reflective of what is going on in the fitness industry. Some years, you’ll see more drastic changes in the landscape based on what’s popular with different health and wellness trends. There are also always dozens of booths that represent brand new companies. The world of fitness is so interesting because you generally have very passionate people who are involved for two reasons. 

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The first group was born and raised in an active and healthy lifestyle. No matter where they were, it’d be hard to escape physical activity and clean eating. Think of what it must have been like growing up as Hunter Labrada, son of the famous bodybuilder Lee Labrada, for example. We can relate to this group really well.

The second group consists of individuals who may or may not have played sports casually growing up, or may have competed and fell off of their training without ever returning. They ended up going to school for business and found themselves bored out of their mind in their cubicle. They decided to boldly start a second career path out of nowhere or slowly begin teaching group fitness classes at the gym they’ve been going to to get back in shape. The lack of fitness in their life has left them with so much energy that they decide to start their own clothing company and get a booth at the Fit Expo because they want to share what they do so badly. As a result, there are (as we previously mentioned) dozens of booths that you’ve never heard of that contain people and companies that haven’t revolutionized anything, but they’re still making a positive impact, even if it’s a small one. 

When we do our walk around the expo hall, we look at every single booth, although 90% of the time it’s just a quick glance. You’ll know when something you’re interested in really catches your eye, but as we mentioned, there are so many of the same products (tops and bottoms for workout apparel) that you can avoid a lot. The other 10% of booths are people or companies that you know because you’ve met them before, used their products, reached out to them online, etc. A lot of those booths have really long lines because they’re established, successful, and offer samples of their products. They’re successful because they’ve done something more for the fitness industry. They’ve made a personal impact on your life and you want to meet them in person. 

We had fun, saw some old faces and some new, tried some new products that were absolutely awful and probably won’t ever hit the shelves, and got to experience others that will be extremely successful. It’s a changing landscape, but it’s never been the path to choose if you’re trying to become rich, so most of the vendors are here to make a positive impact in someone’s life because fitness made their life better and as a result, they want to share that gift. 

This year, we decided to spend a little more time at Optimum Nutrition‘s “booth” than at others because they’re making some major changes this year. Even though ON has been around for 30 years, and been successful as one of the top three supplement brands during that time, they’re recognizing areas and products that are lacking in the industry. Instead of making a ton of money selling tee shirts, which is a plausible scenario, they’re trying to introduce new products and the two that we think are unique are featured in pictures below. Here are a few words about them. 

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When you’ve been eating for as long as you can remember… a quick aside. We weren’t allowed fast food growing up. Mom made a protein with carbs and vegetables every night. We had pasta Thursday nights and that was as dirty as our caloric intakes ever got. When you grow up on that and continue that throughout your athletic career, there aren’t many options for tasty treats. Sure, you can go grab ice cream, but you might be overwhelmed with feelings of regret after the fact. Protein bars have always been the closest healthy baked-good-esque treat option, but they’re really not anywhere close to an actual dessert. Enter the cake bite. The problem it solves in the fitness industry? Texture. Yes, it tastes like a baked good but far more importantly, eating it feels like eating a baked good. 

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Opti Fit is more of a weight management line from ON. A lot of our clients and members don’t want to take whey protein because they have a very negative association with the word supplement and it’s extremely difficult to convince some of them to take the same product that you’re taking, since they see you as superhuman. Opti Fit should help manage weight issues for that part of the population and since it’s a line with multiple products and not just protein, coaches can be creative in figuring out how to successfully immerse it into someone’s current lifestyle. 

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A big thank you to Juan Esguerra of Iron Fortitude Photography for coming out and capturing these moments. Also, we’d like to apologize to everyone at the expo since we ate the last three cake bites. We tried sharing them, but people might have been a bit too freaked out taking candy from a stranger. You can even see the ladies below fighting over that last pack before we stole it, and ate them all. Stay hungry and fit!  

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