Mention the word “FREE” and people will suddenly scramble to participate, whether it requires standing in line, being part of a contest, or simply showing up at an expo or convention. Fitness and bodybuilding expos are certainly no exception. I still get a kick out of expo attendees who lose control of their impulses and ingest EVERY drink and food item which is offered to them to sample. The inevitable result is an expo hall full of supercharged, jittery, bloated fans who either quickly learn that such abandon is not the wisest thing, or foolishly repeat the behavior the following day.
Some attendees have become wise to the hazards of consuming samples and instead know how to collect samples to take home. My perspective is usually from behind a table at which I am working, where I observe the excitement and frequent frenetic energy of people who act like kids in a candy store while at expos. They will open up their bags and look at me expectantly to see what it is that I am about to give them. In that sense, it is very much like trick-or-treating. I have definitely experienced the wonder of dumping all my samples onto a hotel bed at the end of the expo day and assessing what I collected, much like a pirate with a bounty. It’s extremely enjoyable and visually interesting to look at all the packaging, and it certainly feels like a victory to amass a huge collection of free stuff.
Some people have the technique of collecting samples down to an art. On the rare occasion when I was at an expo and not actually working at a booth, I collected roller bags full of samples and full size products EACH DAY, which was a great way to learn about the different products and companies. I had to laugh when I saw my friend IFBB Men’s Physique Pro Dr. Brian Epstein’s haul from the Olympia Expo on September 19th and 20th, because he collected roughly the same amount of stuff that I used to accumulate during a large expo like Olympia, L.A. Fit Expo or the Arnold. Go Brian!
I have one caveat which is that if you have any health concerns, such as high blood pressure, neurological disorders, diabetes, etc., then you need to find out the ingredients in the samples you collect, and if any substances are unsuitable for you, avoid supplements which contain them.