When I was asked to help with Champions Weekend this year, I jumped at the chance. It’s always a treat to spend time with the people who have truly been touched by the program, and I knew that meeting our 2011 Body-for-LIFE Champions would be a very special experience. These are the people who bring Body-for-LIFE to life, literally. I have had so many opportunities to meet Champions over the years, and it is really what makes this job worthwhile.
As we have done in past years, we planned Champions Weekend at the same time that the Arnold Fitness Expo is in Columbus, OH (also EAS’ headquarters). This just adds another element of excitement and inspiration to the entire event. Another important part of the weekend is to give our 2011 Champions the opportunity to share their stories on camera, get to know each other as a group, and celebrate each other’s transformations. At the beginning, we told our 2011 Champions that this weekend is all about them. They’ve already proven that they are living the BFL lifestyle, and after all their hard work, they deserve a chance to blow off steam and have a great time. While we had plenty of Myoplex bars and shakes on hand at all times, they were free to indulge in any of their favorite “free” day foods if they choose to. No matter how much cheesecake was consumed, I knew the workout the EAS trainer Rob (a.k.a. Dr. Evil) was planning on taking them through on Saturday morning was sure to make up for that and then some (more on that workout later!).
We kicked off Champions Weekend on Friday, March 2 with one-on-one camera interviews. This was each Champ’s chance to share his/her Body-for-LIFE story, and answer a variety of questions all about his/her transformations, workouts, favorite foods, what motivated him/her, plus current and future goals and more. Once we made it through these interviews, our camera team followed the Champs through the rest of the weekend for a lot of fun and unscripted footage. Call it the “The Champions of Body-for-LIFE Reality Show”, if you will. Once this is all edited, the interviews and recap of the entire weekend will be posted to www.bodyforlife.com.
Even though I’ve been involved with EAS and BFL for almost 15 years, I always learn something new and inspiring each time I interview a Champ. I come home with new workout tips, new recipes and even more motivation than ever before. What was very interesting this time, is that, the majority of the Champs I interviewed had discovered Body-for-LIFE previously (some even as far back as 1999). Some had competed in previous Challenges and done quite well. For various reasons, life can get in the way sometimes, but Body-for-LIFE was a program that worked well for them, and once they did Body-for-LIFE, it was always a program they returned to (versus trying a different diet) because they knew they would see results. The key to their winning transformations in 2011 was that they had more desire and motivation than they ever had before. And it paid off!
After a full day of one-on-one interviews, it was time to give our 2011 Champions a chance to get to know each other over a laidback dinner. They bonded immediately! It was an early night, since we had a full day planned for them on Saturday. Everyone met first thing Saturday morning to head over to the EAS headquarters for a group workout with EAS trainer Rob Williams. Rob took each Champ through a weight-lifting exercise, while explaining proper form for the camera. Soon it was time for the group workout. Rob started the Champs out with some stretches, and then he took them through a series of plyometric, core strength and weight moves with kettlebells. Within minutes, the Champs were working as hard as they could to complete the series, with Rob cheering them on. At one point, Rob decided that Bryant Scott deserved a bit more of a challenge, and switched his 55-pound kettlebells out for 70-pounds ones. Bryant powered through, even with the heavier weight. Everyone was sweating and close to exhaustion, but determined to prove to Rob that they could handle anything he could throw at them. It may have been at this point that Rob earned the nickname Dr. Evil. By the end of the workout, the Champs were lying on the floor, trying to catch their breath but smiling and joking with Rob. Soon they were gathered around him, asking him more questions about various exercises and other workouts and requesting his contact information so that they could keep in touch with him. For many Champs, this workout was one of the highlights of the weekend.
After the workout, the Champs were given some time to recover, shower and eat a little lunch before we all headed to the Arnold Fitness Expo. The EAS booth always draws a crowd with its monstrous LED screens, pumping music, sports-themed games, product giveaways and plenty of action. The Champs took the stage and were officially introduced to the crowd. They answered a variety of questions from the audience about Body-for-LIFE while their life-sized before and after pictures were flashed on the huge screens above the booth. At that point, they were free to explore the Arnold Fitness Expo, but not before the chance to mingle with EAS athlete and Arizona Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald as he waited to take the stage and wow the crowd at the EAS booth. After a couple hours of exploring the Arnold Fitness Expo, the Champs gathered back at the EAS booth. It was a full (and fun) day that culminated in a special celebratory dinner that evening. Everyone enjoyed steaks and cheesecake… they had certainly earned the right to indulge after that morning’s workout! We toasted to the Champs and their accomplishments, and although they had all just met each other the day before, it was clear that lasting friendships were formed. As a group, they were excited to support each other in all their future goals, plus they were motivated to reach out to the Body-for-LIFE community and help others with their transformations. Our 2011 Body-for-LIFE Champions might have started this weekend as individuals but they left this weekend as a team. As always, it was an honor to get to know these newest Champions, and we look forward to seeing them again in the future.
And that's exactly how it happened, especially the Dr. Evil (Rob) almost killed us all part ;-) There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about how blessed I am to have been selected to be a part of the Champions Weekend, and to have had the opportunity to meet the real Champions, my new friends! Each of us chose a better path to a healthier life... each of us chose the EAS Body-for-LIFE life!
I cannot believe it has already been a year since then. Yet how profound and everlasting the impact was on all of our minds and consciences. One moment, one day, one week, each instant more important than its predecessor. There are many purposes to thank you even in this current day but the main reason that I would like to bring forth is simply for being there to help all of us. You have had such an impact on me that I will be forever grateful for your assistance. I am a better man because of all of you at BFL and EAS. Body-for-Life I pray will always be an ever present program for individuals to find inspiration, courage and hope to achieve their dreams.
If only we could of had more time to spend with eachother. We came as strangers and left as family. Needless to say, I miss you all and hope you are doing well. May the new 2012 champions bonding time and experiences be just as fulfilling as our own. Much love to you all!
Bryant Scott-BFL 11' Champ