An Afternoon at the Arnold


Let me preface this by saying I am probably the worst person ever to recap the Arnold. Yoga is as intense as I get, and I consider doing lunges while watching television a victory. What I’m trying to say is that fitness expos aren’t my thing.

If I haven’t lost you, let’s delve into my personal account of the Arnold this past weekend. Now, why would a couch potato like me even get tickets to such an event? For one reason. My oldest friend, Kristin, was invited to work at the X-Pole/Bad Kitty booth, and I wanted to support her.

Kristin is a professional pole instructor/pole enthusiast. For you naysayers, believe me when I say the sport is incredibly physical and demands an absurd level of strength. She’s given me a handful of lessons, and it was no joke. I was sore for days.

There are people who can’t get past the negative connotation, but the pole community has made great strides in being taken seriously–like at the Arnold this year.

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But let me back up a bit.

Kristin’s shift was on Sunday, but with the threat of “Winter Storm Titan” hitting us, I panicked, and went on Saturday lest the tickets go to waste. My husband was supposed to come along, but after a bit of a mishap, the lovely Cherise escorted me instead. From there it was issue after issue–the biggest being parking. I did not wish to pay $20 to park, but neither did anyone else, so we spent an hour gridlocked downtown looking for a reasonable rate. Somehow, I got corralled into a parking garage and stopped caring. I would have paid $50 to get out of the effing car.

Delirious, but free from our metal prison, we walked to the Convention Center. Though we didn’t luck out on parking, we did luck out on the weather. The Capital City was a beauty that day.

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Once we got inside our destination, we ran into a sizable crowd:

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There were 700 booths and 175,000 attendees that weekend, so why was I surprised by the horde? Oh yes, because I didn’t plan ahead.

We squeezed through the crush to watch a jump rope competition and stumbled upon the X-Pole demonstration. These ladies put on an incredible show of strength and skill, and I was hellbent on finding their booth–I had to see where Kristin would be spending her day. So we fought our way into the main room of the expo and ended up in a claustrophobic situation.



Navigating through the throng was a challenge, and we kept getting stuck in queues that would randomly appear. It also didn’t help that we went to the wrong area (why didn’t we grab a map). We were at the opposite side of where we should have been, and it had taken so long to get there. I could have wept in frustration (and hunger), but we gathered strength from free samples of protein drinks and bars. I maintained sanity by taking the odd snapshot during our trek back to the correct side of the building.

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What felt like an hour later, we found the Bad Kitty/X-Pole booth. Success!


Kristin was there in spirit.

We took a breather from the chaos, and Cherise read up on the various X-Pole offerings and features.

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Mission completed, we struggled towards an exit to hunt down sustenance. Here’s some friendly advice, don’t go to the expo hangry–you become a bigger brat than usual.

Looking back, I wish I had planned better. The Arnold website offers an interactive map as well as helpful tips. Learn from my mistakes! Go early, scout parking in advance, and come with a plan. It’s no wonder we ended up frustrated and wandering aimlessly. We also missed out on some cool demos and events because of our naïveté. So in hindsight, foresight was important. Don’t be like me, or this guy:


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