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PhillyDude's Olympia Weekend Spectacular

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by phillydude, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    OK... so for those who don't know, I went out to Las Vegas to check out Olympia Weekend first hand this year, and in addition to meeting many of the competitors, I brought home bags and bags of swag... some of the best new products on the market for the fitness industry.

    I'm going to try and highlight some of my thoughts on everything in the next few weeks, and I thought I would start with some "Best Of" awards this week... but before I do, I want to make it clear that I am not endorsing any company or product, only giving my honest opinion. And in deference to the sponsors of John Stone Fitness, I'm not going to post any reviews of competitive products here... on days when I do write about supplements, I'll substitute some photos from the event instead. You can follow all of my posts on Facebook at UltimateFitnessLifestyles.

    My vote for the "Best Booth" has to go to the fine folks at Shredz (www.Shredz.com). This wasn't just a trade show exhibit... it was a party all weekend long (and they also hosted a real party off-site as well). From the massive amounts of volume coming from their DJ and hype man, to the massive amounts of product being freely distributed (I brought home a t-shirt and a wrist watch), to the massive amounts of people crowded around (and blocking the aisles), it was the place to be. ‪#‎shredz‬ ‪#‎shredzarmy‬ ‪#‎iamshredz‬
     
  2. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Continuing with this week's theme for my Olympia Weekend coverage, I'm going to have to give the award for "Best Guests" to Gorilla Wear (www.gorillawear.com/usa). Not only did their show promotion feature a lottery where you could win real cash (I was only off by ONE number for a $50 prize), but it seemed like every hour they had a top bodybuilder in their booth, posing for pics and greeting their fans. Dennis Wolf, Dennis James, and even the legend Flex Wheeler were "in the house," and the swag bag Gorilla Wear gave out was definitely a keeper.
     
  3. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    In the category of "Best Entertainment," I'm going to have to go with Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals (http://www.hitechpharma.com/). While their product line may not be on everyone's must-have list, they certainly went all out on providing a spectacle. The highlight was hiring the Michael Jackson tribute artist who performs at one of the Las Vegas casinos to do several shows a day right in their booth. In addition they had professional wrestlers, contortionists, and pole dancers, providing a non-stop distraction.
     
  4. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Today I'd like to present a "Best Of" to someone who didn't even have a booth at the show. I got the chance to talk to Bradley Martyn (https://bradleymartyn.com) for a few minutes in a quiet corner of the expo, and I was struck by how genuinely nice and thoughtful he was... I've always enjoyed his YouTube videos, and it was gratifying to learn that he's a quality individual in real life as well, so he gets the award for "Best Encounter." ‪#‎bradleymartyn‬ ‪#‎bmfit‬
     
    #4 phillydude, Oct 1, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  5. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    We're getting major storms here in the Mid-Atlantic, and power was out for most of the night yesterday, so this update is a little late but one I was looking forward to all week. My award for "Best Personality" has to go to Mike Tornabene, i.e. Dom Mazetti, of BroScienceLife (http://shop.brosciencelife.co/). Yes, they had a booth selling BroSupps, and yes, Mike was "in character" all weekend, meeting and greeting fans. I was surprised that his business partner Gian Hunjan was (as usual) behind the camera... in this case, taking photos for the thousands of people who lined up for a shot with Dom. Both of them were great to meet, and it was one of the highlights of Olympia Weekend for me. ‪#‎BroScienceLife‬ ‪#‎BroSupps‬
     
  6. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    This week we're going to focus on food... there were plenty of companies at Olympia Weekend offering either "better-for-you" versions of traditional products, or new takes on ways to get your daily nutrition. And this morning, I made myself a batch of Mancakes (www.eatmancakes.com) to see if they were worth the hype (and the price).

    At the Olympia, they had people making pancakes at the booth (as well as a massively large man dressed as a lumberjack), but I wanted to test them at home. So today I tried the buttermilk flavor and topped them with their "high-fiber" syrup. The batter mixed up pretty easily (the ingredients include gluten-free oats, garbanzo and fava beans, almonds, flax seed, and whey protein) and they cooked up like typical pancakes. The syrup was sweet but not overpowering (the website says that a serving of Mancakes with their syrup provides about 60% of your daily fiber requirements).

    As far as the taste... well, I'm not going to say that they were on the same level as the fluffy stack you would get at IHOP. They were more dense, and definitely had a different texture and flavor. They might not be your "ideal" version of pancakes, but they were still pretty good, and with the healthy ingredients they are probably better for you than a lot of other choices on the market.

    But at $27 a bag for the pancake mix, and another $13 a bottle for the syrup, I couldn't justify spending that much to make breakfast. I'll stay with my current protein pancake recipe (that uses stuff I've already got in my pantry)... although I will be sure to make up a batch of the "Maple Bacon" flavored Mancakes (since they gave me the sample) at some point in the future.
     
  7. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Continuing in the food category... over the past few days, I've been sampling a number of different products that were given out at the Olympia Weekend expo. And one of them was Moxie Munch (www.moxiemunch.com). Now I really like the idea of whey protein in a non-shake format... so I thought I would really like this crisp snack.

    I got two flavors: Honey BBQ and Apple Pie, and tried the "savory" flavor first. Not bad... it could have used a little more seasoning, but the taste and texture were much like you would expect... like if you crossed BBQ potato chips (taste) with crispy cheese curls (texture). I would be tempted to grab these out of a vending machine instead of those other options (although at over $3.00 per bag, there are many more cost-efficient ways of getting 20 grams of protein).

    But the Apple Pie flavor really was a "miss" in my opinion. I was expecting something like a churro... cinnamon and sugar and light and flaky. But after those initial flavors faded in a few seconds, what was left was like chewing on dry vanilla protein powder. Definitely not a pleasant taste, and I couldn't even finish the bag. Still, the market for "protein chip"-type snacks is growing, and maybe with some tweaking Moxie Munch will catch on. For now, however, I'll be waiting for something more palatable.
     
  8. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    One of the coolest things about the Olympia Expo is the opportunity to try new products before they hit the market, and that was the case with Strong Snax (www.StrongSnax.com), which are set to be released to the general public in about a week.

    These tasty, chewy "gummies" are a different kind of protein treat... and they are absolutely fantastic! I tried the Sour Apple flavor (they also are available in Citrus, Mixed Berry, and Blue Raspberry) and while not as intense as a Jolly Rancher, the taste was great and the texture was firm (more like a "Jujifruit" candy than a traditional gummy bear... in fact, the shape was similar to the berry variety of the candy).

    With 21 grams of protein per bag (at only 150 calories), all natural/gluten free, and low in sugar, this is exactly the kind of product I've been looking for when I want something sweet... something other than a dense, chocolate-coated protein bar. And since there are like thirty pieces in the package, you can spread the treat out over a longer period of time (I can picture these in a bowl on my desk at close reach while I work).

    Finally, the price is reasonable at around $2.50 per bag (if you order by the case from their website)... so you can be sure that I'll be enjoying these again! I recommend that you try them too!
     
  9. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    I'm not a big fan of protein bars, as most of them are just candy bars dressed up to be healthy (unless of course I am craving a candy bar, in which case they are better than the real thing). But the Gourmet Cheesecake bars from ANSI (www.ansinutrition.com) caught my eye at the Expo so I had to give them a try.

    Two flavors: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (there's also a Strawberry, which I did not sample)... but to be honest, I couldn't tell the difference between them. They were chewy and dense, with that protein bar texture that gives your jaw a workout when you eat them. No chocolate coating on the outside, which in my view was a plus, but not a lot of "cheesecake" flavor either... in fact, not a lot of flavor at all.

    At about $2.35 each if you buy the box, they are in the middle of the range, price-wise, but I probably wouldn't spring for them if there was an option I liked more available on the same shelf (and really wanted a "candy bar.")
     
  10. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    OK... here's something that really makes me angry. This week, I started to review another set of food products (I'm going to wait to say the company's name) and spent a few minutes looking at their labeling, because it seemed a bit confusing... and I was right.

    This particular brand of protein bars says in big letters on the front "25 Grams of Protein"... and then in equally large letters, "145 Calories per Serving." Except if you look at the nutrition facts (in much smaller print) you'll find out that one bar is considered TWO servings. To get those 25g of protein, you're actually eating 290 calories. Kinda sneaky.

    But what set me off was, at the very top of their website, there's a "petition" you can sign to "Help Stop Food Labeling Deception." I swear I'm not making this up... https://www.change.org/p/dark-chocolate-food-labeling-tell-the-fda-to-stop-the-deception

    So shame on you, NuGo (www.NuGoNutrition.com) for deceiving the customer on the packaging of your "STRONGER" variety of protein bars by doing the "bait and switch" with the calories-to-protein ratio on your labels, and then asking for more clarity in the language on your competitors products.
     
    #10 phillydude, Oct 17, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015
  11. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

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    Nice catch Phil!
     
  12. volleyball

    volleyball Pickled

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    For the record, the site appears to be http://www.nugonutrition.com, not just nugo.com; the latter took me to a site that I didn't linger on but didn't look kosher for work at first glance. :o
     
  13. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    Nice catch, VB!
     
  14. phillydude

    phillydude Don't Never Give Up.

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    I'm going to shift the focus for the next few reviews to the concept of "energy"... something we can all probably use more of to get us through the day! There were a lot of companies offering samples of energy products at the Olympia Expo, but I declined to partake at the time for fear of having one too many. Fortunately, several brands either gave me samples to bring home, or sent them to me by mail after the event was over.

    One product that I really liked were the chocolate chews from Compete (www.competenrg.com). With a texture and taste like a Tootsie Roll, I found the slight boost of energy they provided to be just enough to shake off that tired feeling I sometimes get in the middle of the day. Probably not enough to replace the morning coffee... but just fine in the late afternoon as I was able to get to sleep with no trouble later in the evening.

    The only problem I had with the Compete energy bites was that they tasted so good I wanted to have eat than the two "chews" that was recommended for the dosage! A box of six retails for around $4.50, so about a buck and a half per serving puts it in line with other energy products on the market... and I would consider buying them, although their online store locator doesn't show availability in any major retail stores in my area.

    I was told at the Expo that the product was being "rebranded" with a new logo, but it looks like their website still has all the same materials (the packaging in the pictures still matches what I have in my hands, and not what I was shown at their booth). So it seems that Compete is still a work in progress, but worth checking out if you can find them!
     

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