This years Body Power was in some ways a Giant Leap forward and in others a little bit of a step backwards. I’m going to focus on the leaps forward, as it demonstrates the organisers are listening and are taking steps. On the whole the show was a huge success I’d say, you can see my photo-set here.
The ubiquitous USN was the central stage again, with almost non-stop give aways and a little bit of a Vegas themed slot machine action, where you could win something. Mostly people won protein bars and whey samples but was some other stuff. They had William “The Conqueror” Bonac and The West Twins, don’t get me start on those little monsters. Such cool lil bundles of energy, mad as a box of frogs those two. Along with various other athletes, there was a little grenade rivalry going on with shots being fire which was kinda fun but don’t think was serious. Speaking of Grenade they had Jamie Alderton who I’m sure thought we was stalking him. We saw him at breakfast, then in the show, then at dinner in the restaurant, then at the bar, then at the evening event and again at breakfast, it was like ummm “Hi Jay”, if he had been a woman I’d swear we would have been arrested for stalking.
The Body Power Expo
Each year there is a crop of complaints, one of the usual is the aisles are too narrow, this year the whole place was set out like city blocks (a tic-tac-toe board), so was huge vertical columns staged as Vegas strips which doubled as chill out / seating areas, and was wider horizontal alleys, easily 50% wider than previous years, this meant there was very few pile ups and “no cross” areas. Even where muscle food was showering the crowd you was still able to get by easily. This ground to a halt a few times like the queue for BodyBuilding.com which was just soooooooo long, you had to walk through the queue, a few other people had similar queues as well but no where was impossible to pass.
There was also an addition of an in-show cloak room, which was operating as a “shop and drop” kiosk, so you could do your shopping and buy everything then drop it off into storage and enjoy the rest of the show, just pick it up on the way out. I used this myself, and previous years I used to take my bags out to the normal cloak room, so step forward and very useful.
Every year I pay extra attention to the athletes who seem to go that extra mile, who genuinely love their fans. Others will bad-mouth those who don’t or are having a bad day but I prefer to focus on those who go the distance, and 3 days solid at Body Power is enough to wear anyone down.
5% Nutrition aka Rich Piana
I have said many times my views on Rich, like him or not the man loved his fans and had nothing but time for them. It was really specially to see the “5% Family” at Body Power, Martyn Ford had his missus and kid(s) at the show running around, Jens Dalsgarrd had his missus at the show, everyone seemed to be a family oriented. It was more interesting to see Martyn and Jens fooling around, and various others almost teasing each other like proper friends do. Rich always said 5%ers was his family and he was big on the camaraderie, it was really nice to see this same vibe on going. Everyone on the stand too time to chat to fans who asking questions and getting demonstrations, not a single fan was rushed or cut short. Which explains why the queue stretched back to Martyn Fords’ Gym, but everyone in the queue I spoke to seemed fine with the wait because they know they will get there time too. I even saw Jens and Martyn eat (when I say eat I mean destroy) their lunch and meals on the stand between fans rather than vanish, so fans got maximum time.
It was strange not seeing Rich there, but its good to see his legacy and family are still going strong.
Michelle Lewin and Jimmy Lewin
I was there as Michelle and Jimmy arrived on Friday, and was setting their stand up. Rather than tell fans no thanks, we’re busy setting up the stand and getting things ready, Michelle had the platform setup, while a steady but orderly queue formed. She posed with fans, did some videos, some selfies while Jimmy set things up, every time Jimmy was wanted he came over for pics and such, while searching through boxes and cases for products people wanted to buy from the One-0-One (One Zero One) clothing range.
I hung around an hour to help fans taking pics and leave Jimmy to set the stand up, and the whole time Michelle was lovely and chatty. I remember a few years ago, she was due on the stand (FitFuel) for 2 hours, and after about 3 hours, with a queue a mile long (literally) Jimmy got on a megaphone and was like “Michelle doesn’t want to leave without all you getting your pics and stuff, so we’re going to come down and everyone gather around, please have your phones ready or things to sign and just quickly in and out, sorry no time for questions” and she spent about another hour getting everyone done.
When Simeon arrived at the Body Power After Party, I had double take, he was with Mike Rachid, and I totally thought it was Jamie Foxx (dark club lights), when Simeon smiles he has that same look. Anyway Simeon spent most his time outside the VIP with the fans, chatting and taking pics and having a good time.
He was accompanied by Chanel Coco Brown who looked spectacular (see right).
At the show, he spent time talking to fans, doing video clips, shout outs and generally being a total superstar. I didn’t see him disappear for hours at a time, in fact at no point when I passed the stand he was on (Just Lift), did I see him not there with a steady queue of fan. He was always happy and smiling and a pleasure to chat too.
Paige is genuinely lovely, and at one point she even declared her love, she was dying of thirst and we (NJF and myself) kept taking her Sport Sense Water, Bang Energy and RockStar Energy to drink and a bag of MaoaM Sweets. She was seriously jet lagged, having difficulty sleeping and putting in long stints and still maintained a smile and took loads of time for her fans.
After a long day at the show on Friday, she still attended the Pink Carpet event to launch Muscle and Fitness HERS, where she in the inaugural cover girl, where she spent a great amount of the night in a rather hot looking bandage style dress posing with fans and other names. At around 1am in the morning, she was on her way out and was stopped by a fan who wanted a magazine signing and a video message, she stopped putting her stuff down to do the message. She could have very easily kept walking with her manager/friend/notsurewho and ignored them but instead she stopped.
On the Sunday she stayed an extra hour until her stands queue was essentially gone, then spent another half hour chatting and fooling around with the staff from the stand. At one point there was a young, small, slim guy and Paige was trying to pose for a photo where she was carrying him like a bride over the threshold. At various times some fans wanted to get pictures hugging paige or carrying her, and she was happy to oblige.
Flex usually has a beast of a queue and crowds form around him like no ones business, at the After Party event, Flex spent much of his time NotInTheVIP but outside chatting with fans, other Athletes incl The Dutch Giant, Clarence De Vie, Mike Rachid and varios others. He was happy posing for pics, doing autographs, video messages and generally being around the fans. After a whole day in the show hammering it, he was still happy to carry on with fans.
At one point was a conversation between multiple athletes and fans, where they was all sharing ideas, how often do you get names like Ulisses, Flex, Mike Rachid all in 1 place discussing work outs and techniques ? some lucky fans got exactly that.
The above photo was during the time Flex and Clarence was fooling around with The Dutch Giant, for such a beast of a man, Flex looked tiny next to Olivier.
The West Twins
Lucy and Jennifer West, what can you say about these two ladies, they are machines. They was bouncing around the show, running between commitments and stands, all day, then they hit the Pink Carpet event (Friday), then back in the show, then hit the After Party (Saturday) and still going 100mph on Sunday, they are absolute beasts wrapped up in a pretty bow. Everyone else who did the same looked like they was extras on the set of walking dead but these two looked ready to hit the town again Sunday evening.
Both of them was a pleasure to chat too, they stopped randomly with any fan who asked, even stopped to graphiti my t-shirt with #WestIsBest hashtag, I joked they must be tired after the weekend and had confused my t-shirt with twitter which admittedly is a terrible joke but they was polite enough to giggle.
I can also confirm those bums are spectacular up close, and the ladies love shaking them, at any moment.
The Pink Carpet M&F Hers Launch
The Pink Carpet launch for Muscle and Fitness HERS magazine was held at the Highline Bar in the Genting Casino, at the nearby Resorts World. I used to stay at the Crown Plaza alot, and it seems very bizarre still that such a huge complex fitted in there. It was a very much fun affair all around, a sound mixture of top athletes and general public and industry names. I was a little disappointed the organisers didn’t have an actual Pink Carpet, as its always a fun spot to joke about with them.
The main attractions was the lovely Paige Hathaway who as always made so much time for fans and photos, even to the point where she was a walking jet-lagged zombie at 1am and she still stopped outside of the highline bar to do a video message for a fan. The following day (Saturday) Paige was back to her sweet smiley happy self despite sleep issues, she was a trooper.
Joel Corry was flitting around between mixing and taking photos and at one point, I could have sworn he was Joe Swash, just a look on his face and the way the lighting hit, that made me have a swash-flashback. Others such as BuffBunny (Heidi Somers), Jen Selter, The West Twins (these ladies are monsters, just go go go go go, non stop bundle of energy and smiles), along with the Editor of Muscle and Fitness Carl Walker and other members of the team like Nick Orton and his daughter Lucy Orton.
There were loads more I didn’t get every ones name and so many looked different out of active wear too but I gave loads of business cards out so if a hairy apeman took your pics and you want copies do email me or comment on this thread.
The After Party
The official Body Power After Party were held at the NEC Hall 6 on the Saturday night and again were well attended Jay Alderton, Flex Lewis, Mike Rachid, The Dutch Giant Chanel Coco Brown, The West Twins, Clarence De Vie, Simeon Panda and loads more who I forgot.
There were some entertainers such as clowns, stilt walkers and various other entertainers, along with Las Vegas style Casino Games and Dodgems Car Rides. A great number of the athletes spent most their time outside of the VIP room for most of the night and socialised with fans. Flex Lewis went from a casual conversation with a few other athletes to a mile long queue for photo’s, autographs and more, and spent half his night doing that. He could have hidden away in the VIP or kept out the way instead he had spent the time.
There are some funny photo’s from Flex and the Ducth Giant talking, at at one point flex was shouting “I can’t hear you” holding his hand to his ear because the other dude was so big, there’s photos of them messing about and having a giggle.
Around 1,000 people attended the after party, and by all accounts it was a good night for all.
Stand Out Stands
As has become tradition I single out a few stands which are worthy of a mention, on this occasion there are a few Rockstars, and some loud Bangs in there too.
Rockstar energy was keeping everyone hydrated as was Hemp Water, Bang Energy and Sport Sense.
Sport Sense Water
I was really impressed with Sport Sense water, a Polish Artesian Water, which has a neutral 7.4ph and limited supply and what really impressed me was the bottle is bio-degradable, in around 15 yrs it turns into mush and minerals and is absorbed into the soil. Which means even if they end up in landfill or the oceans the bottle will eventually vanish. IF we can’t ensure they don’t end up in the wrong places, we can ensure they ain’t around for 100s of years.
Year after year for the last 4-5 years at Body Power NOCCO has been knocking the ball out of the park with their drinks, and starting last year their protein bars / mousse via Barebells, and this year is no exception. Who knew those crazy swedes could create absolutely amazing tasting drinks. My conclusion is, the fact they are not at all cheap, is the reason they are low calorie, low sugar, and taste amazing, because they haven’t made it to a price, they have made them to a taste, regardless of the price.
I don’t think there was a single product I sampled by NOCCO or Barebells which wasn’t delicious and I would happily make myself ill gorging on them, its so bad I refused to start this year because last year I ate and ate and ate them.
Bang Energy are BCAA and Amino based energy drinks, and their Cherry and Vanilla flavour one tastes EXACTLY like a cherry sherbet dib-dab, they also had a small army of promo-girls half of which was clearly insane.
At under 10kcal per 500ml these was also a really top end product.
RockStar Energy drinks was a traditional caffeine, ginseng, b-vits based energy drink, and their new mixed berry flavour drink is outstanding. Unlike many other similar drinks this doesn’t get sickly, and at under 30kcals a can (500ml) its quite a lightweight too. I think this is because of the 5% fruit juices.
All four of the above companies (Nocco, Bang, Rockstar and Sport Sense) really stood out in the drinks sector.
Food wise the BareBells as above, their new range of protein shakes, the Banana and Chocolate was amazing but also the stand with the Vac Fried Broccoli Crisp was delicious, shame they are so expensive, around £3 for a standard sized bag 🙁 but they was outstanding and way better than potato chips.
There were so many yummy products to try, but those are the ones which stuck out in my mind.
There was a number people who I was hoping would be there or have been missed from previous years. For me Lacy Kay Summers who is always a delight, Jade Katy is is a home town (Manchester) babe.
I was hoping the Vegas theme would have brought more of the American Names, the guy I missed the most was CT Fletcher who has just had Heart Surgery, by that I mean a heart transplant, the man is recovering well but certainly missed, get well CT, and Its Still Your Mother Fucking Set brother.
Eddie “The Beast” Hall was missing as was the Xplosive Ape stand, which I have bought about 20+ t-shirts off every year, which meant Krzysztof Radzikowski wasn’t around either, however Donna Moore was on the SBD Stand but all 3 are usually on Xplosive Ape, sadly missed.
I was also hoping with Hathor Bjornsson, Zydrunas Savickas, Laurence Shahlaei, Terry Hollands, and various other big names that Brian Shaw who is also a really nice guy would also be there, could you imagine Zydrunas, Hall, Thor, Brian and Kazmeier all under one roof, little too much to hope for I guess.
Some others like Robert Oberst wasn’t there, despite his shit-talking about England and his heel like behaviour at UK events he’s a sound bloke, and very friendly.
I wasn’t expecting to meet Colin Bryce, oddly I’ve never met him, I’ve met nearly everyone else but never come across Colin, so when I saw him on the SBD Stand, I literally made a bee-line for him. We had a little chat, about Giants (as in the really big people, not Giants the contest).
Really cool guy, and later I heard him shout Steven.co.uk as I went by, so joked that’s my new name then. Will be looking forward to seeing Colin on the 15th September for the Manchester Finals of Giants Live which could be Eddie Halls final outing.
I also ran into bunch of Bikini Competitors, including Cesca (mtb_bunny) who lovely and tried at hand at the Classic Strongman event Thors Hammer Hold and to be fair, she held it up for about 45-50 seconds, which is longer than I saw quite a men do it for, and she declared that 4 wines made her do it. She was a trooper though and really fun, a few of the other competitors was really chilled and nice too.
A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.