In this blog, I want to let you guys into my world a little bit. Often I get questions about what it is I do all the time. Do I sit in my office, smoking cigars and staring up at my old magazine covers? Or do I work out all day and just do a little work when I feel like it? I thought it might be interesting to run down what I've done and where I've gone in the last month so you have a more accurate idea of how I spend my time.
But first up, I have to congratulate Team Gaspari athlete and my friend Flex Lewis on solidifying his status as the absolute best bodybuilder under 212 pounds in the world. Going into the Olympia, there was talk that David Henry would possibly get his title back. But Flex worked so hard and made so many improvements over the past year that he was able to knock out Henry even in the back shots with his total package of back muscularity, shredded glutes and hams, and of course we can't forget; the biggest and best calves in the 212 division. Flex already had amazing shape, symmetry, and condition on his side, and now he's added more size to become that much more formidable. Three weeks later, Flex traveled to Prague for one more dominating win. I consider Flex Lewis to be the Phil Heath of the 212 division, because I honestly don't see anybody beating him for a long time. The crazy thing is, he is still a work in progress. He's brought up his chest and back thickness significantly, and once those two areas are complete; Flex will be just about unbeatable.
So that's where I will start the month, out in Las Vegas for the 2013 Olympia Weekend. I spent that weekend at the Gaspari Nutrition booth, meeting with various domestic and international distributors of my products, watching the show, and even managed to visit a few local nutrition retail stores in Las Vegas.
From there, I headed off to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico for two days with two of my best customers: Danny from Nutrition Systems in Australia, and Andy from Body Temple in the U.K. This was actually a mini vacation and a chance to relax. We went deep-sea fishing for marlin. We caught Mahi-mahi and tuna, and then I managed to reel in an 80-pound sailfish! Watching it fight and leap out of the water was a cool experience I won't forget. Our boat actually caught two sailfish. Our boat captain was pretty shocked, because even getting one on a trip is a rare occasion.
I flew back to our offices in New Jersey for just one day. Usually my days at the office are non-stop meetings. Then it was time to leave again, this time to Toronto for the CHFA (Canadian Health Food Association) supplement trade show, which is the largest in that country. I worked our Gaspari Nutrition booth, and had dinner with the people from Popeye's, a major retail chain in Canada that distributes our products.
It was back home for two more days at the office before a longer trip to Madrid, Spain for the Arnold Classic Europe. In addition to being at our booth, I also headed out to visit several stores in the Madrid area to see what our brand presence was. As for the contest itself, it was a controversial win for Phil Heath over Kai Greene. Kai had tightened up considerably since the Mr. Olympia, while Phil was a little bit off his best. I love Phil's physique, but as an IFBB judge myself I would have given Kai the nod. Normally Phil beats Kai in the front poses with his superior chest and shoulder thickness. Not this time - Kai had really filled out those areas. Kai from the back, especially when he nails his peak, is very hard to beat. But the main factor was condition - Kai's was better. It's so interesting to see how much physiques can change from one show to the next, in this case only two weeks apart.
I headed back home for a couple days before I left for a week in Florida. And no, I wasn't there to lounge around on the beach working on my tan! This was a five-day tour of Southeast Florida visiting all my top accounts. Each of the top stores also had held a 'Train with Rich Gaspari' raffle contest where they worked out with me and also received $250 in product. Team Gaspari athlete Hidetada Yamagishi was also along for this tour. We kept a very tight schedule that week. Every day I trained with the contest winner at 8 AM, then we would visit between 4-7 retail stores before a three-hour demo at 5 P.M, signing autographs, taking pictures with fans, and of course talking about Gaspari Nutrition products.
So in one month I went from Las Vegas, to Cabo, to Toronto, Madrid, and Florida. This is the first chance I've had to catch my breath and write about it. People ask me how I manage to keep up this crazy pace of traveling like I do year-round. The answer is, I love what I do. I love meeting new people, I love meeting the people who sell Gaspari products, and I am proud of my brand. When you have all that, it's really not work to fly all around the world and constantly be on the road, as much as I do miss my home and my kids. It's my name on the company and on my products, so being hands-on and representing Gaspari Nutrition in person is simply what makes sense to me. It's a hectic schedule to be sure, but I wouldn't have it any other way.