So, I thought I would write a blog to give you an insight into our busy weekend at FitXpo in Liverpool. Jason and I think that FitXpo is best described as a festival of strength sports. The event comprised of CrossFit, bodybuilding and strongman competitions as well as seminars on topics including nutrition, Q&As with many stars of strength sports, a wide variety of challenges including atlas stones and finally many, many stalls aimed at those interested in all of the above! A lot packed into one hall at Liverpool Exhibition Centre!
We waited a long time for this event, we first contacted the FitXpo team in March 2021, when the event was planned for Jul 21. This then had to be moved to Aug 21 due to... you guessed it!... COVID restrictions, however it was a relief that it was only moved by 1 month and the FitXpo were fantastic in keeping us informed of developments. We had booked an apartment for the time in Liverpool and initially feared that we may lose the money on this (well we wouldn’t have, we would have just spent that weekend in Liverpool anyway!) however fortunately and due to FitXpo’s quick communications, we were able to just change the dates at no cost, so thank you for that AirBnB host!
This was our first event of this sort, so a lot of preparations were required. Lists of bits and bobs for the stall were endless and we even marked out the space and done a dummy set up one day!
We arrived in Liverpool on the Thursday night, to find our apartment was 3 floors up in an attic, not ideal when we had brought our printing equipment with us, including a 60kg printer, which we [edit by Jason- we?] had to carry up all those stairs! Suggested event for next years England’s Strongest Man: big printer carry up flights of stairs…..no? The apartment was nice and modern, no issues, apart from no curtains in the bedroom! Who on earth does not consider curtains in the bedroom to be essential? Getting adequate sleep was going to be interesting. At least we didn’t have an early start on Friday, set up didn’t start until the afternoon.
Friday morning was spent getting in some training (squats and deadlifts) [edit by Jason- not me, I was recovering from the printer carry] at No Limits Strength and Conditioning Centre on Stanhope Street (the gym was not easy to find but the staff were so helpful – thank you!) and completing final preparations including printing our own t-shirts for our forthcoming 2 days of ‘work’. We made our way to the Exhibition Centre in the afternoon where the FitXpo staff made us feel so welcome and arranged all our passes, bands and of course our VIP After Party tickets. When we first walked into the Hall B, we were in awe! The hall was huge and there was a real buzz about the place with many other stalls and events also starting to set up, it was so exciting!
Our set up went smoothly and didn’t take us long at all; everything fitted in perfectly.; the dummy set up had not been a waste of time! There was a brief for all traders in the evening so late afternoon, we headed into Liverpool city centre with a shopping list for a few last minute bits and a visit to Nando’s. On return to the Exhibition Centre, we started to chat to other traders and spotted some familiar faces during the trader’s brief.
We were so tired on Saturday morning! We had not slept well in the no-curtain apartment 🙁 [edit by Jason- and Cheryl's snoring is horrendous]. However, we made the 10 minute drive to the Exhibition Centre by 0800 to find everything still set up perfectly and Hall B busy and filled with bundles of enthusiasm amongst traders and staff. We were excited but also so nervous!
There was so much going on, it's difficult to remember it all, but it was fab! We enjoyed having customers, finding out what designs they liked and what items were not as popular. All while England’s Strongest Woman took place right in front of our stall. Well done! From what we could see, it was a great show!
It was also great to have a walk round the other stalls and catch a few glimpses of the bodybuilding shows when we could. We stocked up on Protein Queen goods, they are delicious, with really good macros.
The World’s Strongest Couple, Sam and Sue, collected an order from us and we were delighted to finally meet them in person, along with their son Ollie, after lots of messages back and forth over the past year. Another Welsh legend, Gav Bilton was also among the first stars we took a photo with. If you haven’t met Gav and think he is a big guy, think bigger!!! Lesson learned – get bigger stock in 👍. Chatting with Dan Hipkiss was surreal as well, we listen to his podcasts and he is a fountain of knowledge in the world of strength coaching.
At the end of Saturday, we decided to reconfigure our stall a bit and then set off back to the apartment, tired however still so excited at the fact we were actually there! As traders, we were invited to the after party at Revolution de Cuba in Liverpool so after some food we got dressed up and caught an Uber to get us there. The venue was busy but we had such a good time getting to know some new friends, we stayed til 1am! [edit by Jason- I tried to get her to leave earlier]
Sunday morning came around and we were super tired and a bit hungover. None the less, we arrived at the venue in plenty time for opening and were eager to see what the day would bring. This time we had England’s Strongest Man taking place right in front of our stall, MC’d by Dale McPherson, another Strongman personality we had been looking forward to meeting after being in contact previously.
Following the after party, we were a bit more confident in approaching the stars for photo opportunities. First up was US strongman Evan Singleton, followed by women’s deadlift world record holder Lucy Underdown. It was great to chat to English strongman Graham Hicks and his wife and then we couldn’t believe when 2019 World’s Strongest Man Oleksii Novikov walked into the hall and had a look at our stock! Later on, we discovered a suitcase belonging to Oleskii had been left behind at our stall! So we dutifully saved the day and reunited the giant Ukranian with his luggage, via the fantastic FitXpo staff.
Next up for photos were the wonderful Andrea Thompson, British strongwoman and finally the team from Cerberus Strength; a neighbouring stall who we had been chatting with over the couple of days. We both checked out a few stalls again and purchased a raft of protein products, energy drinks and more.
We were exhausted by the end of Day 2! However so pleased with what we had achieved! We packed up ready for the long drive back to Northumberland with smiles all round. Luckily the AirBnB host had given us a free extension so we could check out once we were finished on Sunday evening, so we returned back to the apartment for the 60kg printer [edit by Jason- Cheryl did help this time] and all our gear; she had made up a tiny bit for the lack of curtains!
Its now been a month since the event and we have certainly seen a rise in business and social media following as a result of having the chance to get our name out there. In addition, we had a fantastic weekend and as powerlifters ourselves and fans of all strength sports, we thoroughly enjoyed all that was there, so thank you FitXpo!