On Friday the 15th of May I had the privilege for the first time to be in front of the camera representing Monster Supplements as their new spokesperson at the 2015 Body Power Expo at the NEC Birmingham. It's the first time for some 10 years that I have been to an expo so I was looking forward to seeing how the industry had, if at all, moved on and to what direction it was going.
My task for the day was to interview the top brands sponsored athletes and to also reacquaint myself with the industry as a whole.
Interviewing the athletes in these events is always tricky and time consuming but luckily I still had the MP charm to get pretty much all the interviews I needed.
During the Expo I spent time off camera observing the nature of the event and I have to say it was clear to see that the athletes at the stands representing their brands were mostly from the new emerging physique, model, figure and bikini athletes. Yes of course we had the top professional body builders there which was great to see of course; such as the big names like Kia Green, Phil Heath, Kevin Leverone, Branch Warren and Rich Gaspari however for me in my 10 year absence the most apparent change I saw was now the physique class athletes not only representing the top brands in the industry but the fan base and lines of people just wanting pictures and autographs. Also, this has an impact on the type of consumer and new demographic within the industry as from my observation it was clear to see a mass of people investing in the idea of building the type of physique that is for them attainable and carries with it the ultimate healthy lifestyle choice.
It was quite apparent to me from attending this event that this is also related heavily to the power of the new era of social media that is ever growing as these physique athletes even though are lesser known than the famous top professional bodybuilders in terms of magazine coverage regarding the big competitions such as the Mr Olympia and Arnold Classic they are generating huge fan bases from You Tube,Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. A prime example of this is the Hodge Twins who have never competed in a physique or bodybuilding contest let alone won anything yet they had the biggest following of any exhibits at the Gym Shark wear stand it was quite incredible to see these two You Tube stars that I actually like a lot and who incidentally were in great shape for this Expo, these guys would be frowned upon by the hard core bodybuilding community but were there taking the limelight.
So after a great day I can definitely say the one thing I took from the Expo from an industry point of view is that it is changing and growing in another direction where I personally see the physique class athletes becoming the big stars of the future at these events which was once a bodybuilding dominated culture.
The highlight of the day for me I have to say was my interview with Kevin Leverone; on a personal level Kevin is my favourite all time bodybuilder and person in the sport. So let me just explain a little as to why this guy is so cool; as I turned the corner to see Kevin's impressive stand for his new Kevin Leverones signature range of supplements, I could see Kevin there and the line of people waiting to see him was huge and I thought straight away I have no chance of an interview here, not only because of the line of people, but also I had no time slot booked with his press officer even with my press pass hanging around my neck!
I didn't even think about it I just couldn't help myself as I had to take a chance so I walked over to the press officer there and presented myself and Kevin was listening whilst signing autographs and as the press officer was in the middle of telling me no, Kevin intervening asking me over.
We had a good chat and I told him my background and how it would make my day to take a short on the spot interview. We hit it off and he said 'let's do it here now man on the spot' ( no pressure lol), what a guy! There was no reason to do that for me but he did and he was as I have always known him to be a great interviewee and I am extremely grateful to him.
There is nothing better when your idol of a sport you have followed and worked within for 30 years lives up to every reason why he is your idol , so that made my day. Thank you Mr Kevin Leverone; success couldn't come to a nicer guy and one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.
To end I would like to say it was great to be representing Monster Supplements as their spokesperson for the day and I am grateful to them for the opportunity.
Also a big shout out and thank you to my team partner and camera man for the day Jack Gray of the Monster team, he was great and was under a lot of pressure as we only had one take opportunities within all the hustle with no scripts to adhere to, so great job Jack.
You can check out the videos from the day right here on the Monster Supplements YouTube channel: Youtube.com/monstersupplements
Finally thank you to all the athletes and brands for allowing us to film them on the day we really appreciate it and you all represented brilliantly.
Kevin Leverone; Kevin Leverone Signature Range Branch Warren; Gapari Nutrition Rich Gaspari; Gaspari Nutrition Roger Snipes; PhD Nutrition Steve Cook; Optimum Nutrition Ryan John-Babtiste; Optimum Nutrition Williams Falade; Reflex Jon Paul Vital; Optimum Nutrition Ben Mudge ; Reflex Sian Elizabeth Toal; PhD Nutrition