(Warning: This is long because it was a massively awesome weekend. Feel free to just view the photos and captions 😉 View the Vlog HERE.
I was very excited to make it back to the Olympia in Las Vegas for the second year in a row. Last year I went to meet up with Kris Gethin and his Kaged Muscle Supplements crew to announce being one of their official athletes. It’s a year later and I am still rocking away with Kaged. This year I returned to the Olympia not only as an athlete myself, but to represent one of the companies I work for namely Gripped Fitness Audio. I didn’t go to work a booth, but just to build relationships new and old. Shaking someones hand and seeing their smile goes a long ways. Everything you all see me do is much more than “business” to me, it’s all about people, relationships, and working together.
Preparation for this trip was real. Typically on a short Vegas trip people just think fun, relaxing, and great food. Not the case for me except a little of my kind of fun. I am 8 weeks out from the natural IPE World Championships. That means my workouts and nutrition had to stay on point. Not only did I bring carefully packed food and supplements with me in my Six Pack ‘Beast’ duffle I also had food shipped to meet me in Vegas at my dads house. Oh yeah, luckily enough my dad Savino lives in Vegas so I just crashed at his place. Upon arrival my first order of business was drink a protein shake and Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged and get my butt to the gym. I researched a place called ‘The Lift Factory” that looked awesome and it did not let me down. They had these amazing murals of bodybuilding kings on the wall like Phil, Cutler, Kai, and more. The atmosphere added to my intensity as I crushed Back and Triceps. As I was working out bodybuilding great Dennis Wolf was also there for a photoshoot. It was great to meet him following both our lifts. He was very friendly and sounded a lot like Arnold.
After swinging by my dads house, unloading, and cleaning up a bit it was time to hit the Olympia Expo. I knew what to expect having been last year, but this place was madness. Image every fitness brand and enthusiast from all over the world in once space. One could easily get lost and consume a whole day at the expo. Good thing I had an agenda and specific people to meet. The great thing about working with a company liked Gripped Fitness Audio is that I wasn’t aimlessly walking around ‘hoping’ to meet people. I was here to meet with Athletes we already know and have been building friendships. Immediately upon walking in the building I met with legend Flex Wheeler who was looking amazing. He loves the new Gripped V.3’s and I am honored to have him on our team. Flex was super nice. You all have to remember I am getting older here (41 now) so this is a guy I was reading about in magazines as a teenager/college. Flex is legend and here I am shaking his hand and casually chatting. Many more people to meet! I had to stop by and say hi to our friend Justin Kamb who does a lot of work with Jim Stoppani. His work ethic, personal transformation, and ‘balance’ is inspiring. I had to meet my good friend Jonni Shreve IFBB pro from Canada. He and I are on several athlete teams together and he helped advise me on getting in prime condition for the show two weeks before earning my IPE pro card. Both Justin and Jonni are apart of #TeamGripped. As I was walking around taking in the expo I surprisingly got noticed by a guy who recognized me as a IPE Pro. It was truly humbling. Richard Nguyen just won his IPE pro card and I welcome him to the family. Looking forward to sharing the stage with you next year. Lastly, but definitely not least I was delighted to meet the power duo Hidetada Yamagishi and Iris Kyle. I like to call Iris 10x as she a 10x Ms Olympia champion and currently holds the record for that title. These two are some of the nicest people I’ve met. Always so friendly. Glad to have them apart of #TeamGripped. By now my feet were killing me, but I had one more stop to make- Super League at City Athletic Club. A pleasant surprise was running into fellow Kaged Muscle Athlete and all around bad ass Nick Santonastasso. His is a strong story of determination and inspiration. In less than a week Nick will be competing in his first Men’s Physique show. Nick is a overcomer. Be like Nick! He later met and got a photo with The Rock. Stud. Stop with the excuses and do that “thing” you want and/or need to be doing.
(Fellow IPE Pro Richard Nguyen)
Now let me tell you about Super League. It’s a different type of competition. It’s not a fitness competition or a traditional powerlifting competition. They have teams who lift a lot of weight, many times, for the entire body. It looked absolutely brutal. It took place at Vegas’ 5 star gym City Athletic Club home of the infamous J-bells (those sick round DB’s). I came here not to watch the competition, though I definitely checked it out, but to meet with a very special person. While waiting on that meeting I had to check out the Super League area and all it’s toys. This is part of the “my kind of fun” I mentioned early on. Most of the equipment was especially fabricated for this gym including the J-weights. After the dust settled at Super League I, Michael Wittig, was the only one left standing…because it was getting late and everybody else went home. Then it was time for my meeting with the one and only Kai Greene. I look forward to doing some big work with him and his team this year. Kai was very soft spoken, but every word he said was thoughtful and inspiring. What touched me the most about Kai was seeing him truly care about people and invest his time into their lives.
(J-Bells, City Athletic)
(Super League last man standing)
That was just Day 1. It was late by the time I literally crawled into bed and then 4 hours later it was time for another BIG day in Vegas.
Saturday morning (Day 2) came quick and I got myself back to City Athletic for a 7am seminar being put on by Kris Gethin and his friends Jag Chima and Chris Cavallini. These guys spoke some great truths that not only spoke to me, but all in attendance. They didn’t get paid to show up and hold this seminar, but it was done out of their passion to feed people with positivity. This is one of the reasons I am proud to be a Kaged Muscle Athlete. The highlight of all this for me was meeting and talking with a handful of individuals who correspond with me on social media. It was great meeting you all. Since I was already at a 5-star gym I walked my tired A upstairs and hit a chest, delt, and hiit workout. This was done on 4 hrs of sleep. Special thanks to Chris Cavallini, the owner of Nutrition Solutions, for showing me a few hiit ideas which I indeed rocked. Once I was finished with my workout Super League was gearing up to start for the day. Before leaving I ran into Gripped Fitness Athlete Martyn Ford. This guy is not only massive, but massively hard working and friendly. I’ve had the opportunity to work with him in a few capacities and he is always top. Then I was very excited to meet Mike O’Hearn. I have followed and looked up to him for a long time. He was Titan in both American Gladiator runs and also one of the most photographed fitness models of our time. King of covers. An Uber ride later and it was back to the Olympia expo madness. This time around I was able to meet Jim Stoppani, Jason Poston, and….wait for it….Franco Columbu. I started getting into weight lifting as a teenager with Arnold’s Encyclopedia and the film “Pumping Iron”. Franco had an amazing physique and was one of Arnold’s best friends. Flex Magazine wrote a short little blurb about me in their June ‘92 issue (when I was 16) with Arnold and Franco on the cover. By this time my body and mind were shutting down. It was time to get back to my dad’s house to eat, shower, and rest. I was able to spend some quality time with my dad and catch up on rest.
(Kris Gethin seminar at City Athletic. I am in the back far right)
(Dad and I)
This morning and my final day in Vegas was go time. The main reason I came was to manage a photo shoot with Gripped Fitness Audio athletes to showcase the new V.3 model wireless headphones. You can check them out at GrippedFitnessAudio.com and use my code Wittig10 to save 10% 😉 So it was back to City Athletic (Yes, this is a popular place) to meet up with photographer Mike Reid (from Boise, ID) at 7:30am. Between 8:30am and 12noon we shot some amazing photos with David Henry, Hidetada, Roelly and Quincy Winklaar, Ryan Terry and of course I had a few taken myself. I can’t wait to see the final shots from today. What I saw off the camera looked amazing. Before we packed up I ran into Sergi Constance who was super nice and hit a few poses with me. This was a pose down that I lost ha. I want to thank the good people at Gripped Fitness Audio for sponsoring me to attend the Olympia this year and represent them. I want to thank all the amazing athletes, friends, and individuals I met in this whirlwind of 3 days. As I sit here on my final flight home I can’t wait to see my families faces in the morning. I have missed them all.
Well, that was my Vegas trip. Sorry this is so long. Watch for my Vlog of all this coming soon. Back to the gring. I am just under 8 weeks out from the IPE World Championships. Follow my daily prep on Snapchat and IG Story (WittigWorks both).
-Wittig, ISSA CPT
IPE Natural Pro
Kaged Muscle Athlete
Gripped Fitness Audio Athlete
All socials: WittigWorks