Join us as Anthony Alayon interviews Ben Tatar, a legend in the fitness world known for his records and insights, shared through Iron Man Magazine and beyond.

This blog post offers a glimpse into the evolution of the prestigious Olympia event, from its intimate beginnings to its current status as a global fitness extravaganza in Las Vegas.

Tatar discusses the impact of social media, the thrill of celebrity sightings, and the dynamic atmosphere that attracts enthusiasts from around the world.

Delve into the heart of bodybuilding’s most celebrated competition through the eyes of someone who’s not just witnessed but shaped its history.

Anthony Alayon: For those who don’t know you that well, can you tell us about some of your achievements in the iron world?

Ben Tatar: To quote the Biography of me in Iron Man Magazine:

“Ben Tatar has been contributing to IRON MAN for more than a decade. He holds a record at the Arnold Sports Festival for doing 40 pullups wearing a 50-pound vest. He also has performed a record 810-pound bench press lockout-out–the most weight for his height and weight in the world– and has benched 455.

He has written hundreds of training articles and is a reporter for IM” I also have been in many different magazines, wrote ebooks and done media at many different events.

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Anthony Alayon: Ben you have been reporting, covering and doing interviews on the biggest events for a very long time. How has the Olympia changed in 2015 compared to when you first started going?

Ben Tatar: Well, when I first started going to the Olympia, there were hardly any fans! You could see the biggest celebrities and your friends without thinking about the crowds.

I saw the Olympia event as this little paradise that was relatively unknown. However, social media has totally changed that; the Olympia is constantly marketed everywhere! In the past being published in magazines was a really big deal, so people really wanted to be discovered at these events.

Although this mentality still exists, it’s much more digitally focused. The Olympia convention is also enormous today! Back then the fitness industry was more like a family where there were less people and everyone was friends with everyone.

Today the industry is gigantic with many different events going on throughout the day and there are over 1000 booths.

Anthony Alayon: What celebrity appearance surprised you the most?

Ben Tatar: Seeing Floyd Mayweather. He’s one of the biggest names in the world today. I never knew Floyd was coming until the day he showed up. He has never been to one of these big conventions before.

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Anthony Alayon: Can you explain to the readers what makes the Olympia so special?

Ben Tatar: I will list ten things:

1) If you’re into bodybuilding, the Olympia is the highest prize of any event in the world. Winning Mr. Olympia has more prestige than winning the Arnold Classic in the sport of bodybuilding. That’s why the people who are into bodybuilding consider the Olympia event and everything surrounding it to be the biggest of all.

2) The Olympia is in Las Vegas. There is so much to do.

3) Most females have told me the Olympia is their favorite event. When they go to expos in South America or Europe, they notice that the conventions are a bit downscale and that they don’t know as many people. They love that it is in Las Vegas.

4) The Olympia isn’t the most crowded event as that belongs to the FIBO in Germany which has over 1 million fans! The Olympia isn’t as crowded as the Arnold in Columbus which has over 200,000 fans! However, the Olympia has over 1000 booths with less than 50,000 fans. This at least means you can walk around the Expo without getting stuck in crowded traffic jams.

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5) The Olympia brings in the biggest celebrities. Some names include: Ronda Rousey, Floyd Mayweather, all the UFC Champions, Pro Athletes, John Cena, Carmen Electra, Hulk Hogan, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Jersey Shore Cast, Action Hero movie stars and many more.

6) Even if you aren’t into celebrities, the Olympia has tons of events. Many martial art events are going on during the day. There are other fitness shows going on like the “The Ultimate Fitness Training Guru,” and tons of competitions. These competitions are open to people of all ages. This means that nobody really gets bored.

7) Guys love the many attractive females who are drawn to the fitness expo.

8) The Olympia is a freak show. There are so many 350lbs lean monsters all under one roof.

9) There are tons of fitness challenges and fun games around the expo. People love this and all the supplement deals.

10) For me, the Olympia weekend is history because I know so many people. These surprises each year keep my motivation fresh. Although I like the history, each event is unique and like no other.

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Anthony Alayon: What night life surrounds the Olympia weekend in Las Vegas?

Ben Tatar: The Olympia is in Las Vegas so there is a lot to do. The biggest surprise at the Olympia this year was Rich and Sara Piana’s wedding. Their wedding guest included 350lbs ripped monsters, celebrities,female muscle freaks and lots of models.

After the wedding on Thursday night, I went to Surrender night club. What’s interesting about today is that the booths now promote their own VIP parties.

For example, the Shredz booth had a party at the ballroom right after the Expo at Encore with all the models and celebrities from Shredz. Some of the world’s greatest powerlifters of all time like Ed Coan and Rhino had their own gym opening on Friday right after the expo.

The XS Phil Heath after party happens in Vegas on Saturday night and you could hang with Carmello Anthony from the NBA at the Veneitian. Hey, you could jump off the tallest tower in America like I did in past years or attend a pool party at Wet Republic.

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Anthony Alayon: How would you compare this year’s Olympia to last year’s?

Ben Tatar: Last year the Olympia had way more companies and booths in attendance. This year the Olympia charged companies a lot more for booth space, so many companies backed out.

Last year’s Olympia had a lot more people at the booths and even more competitions. This year’s Olympia dropped some competitions such as sumo wrestling, the world’s greatest athlete competition, the powerhouse challenge and arm wrestling.

The Olympia from a public perspective, definitely took some steps back this year.

Anthony Alayon: Who gets the freak award?

Ben Tatar: This is the hardest question to answer because the top freaks are much improved and win in their own way. I’m going to give it to actor Marytn Ford who will be in Undisputed 4. He is close to 7 feet tall and still very muscular! There are freaks bigger than he, but they are a lot shorter.

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Anthony Alayon: What were the best and worst parts?

Ben Tatar: The best part is that the Olympia has so much to offer without being ridiculously crowded. The worst part is dealing with marketing agendas when you want to connect at a deeper level.

Anthony Alayon: In closing is there anything you would like to say?

Ben Tatar: Anthony, thank you so much for the interview. For those reading this interview I hope to see you down the road.


By Anthony Alayon