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Chefs ready with thousands of pounds of protein for Arnold Sports Festival athletes

COLUMBUS (WCMH) -- A big weekend is ahead in Columbus as the Arnold Sports Festival is about to kick off.

Hotels are booked and restaurants will be packed, and athletes are arriving for the annual event.

Inside the Hilton hotel kitchen downtown there's two thousand pounds of chicken, 700 pounds of salmon and 40,000 eggs getting prepared for athletes this weekend

"This is their livelihood - their body is how they make their living," says Bill Glover, executive chef at Hilton Columbus Downtown.

As a host hotel, Glover says his kitchen stays pretty busy feeding all the athletes,

"More athletes go to this than the Olympics, so that gives you an idea of how many folks need their nutritional value to be met," he says.

Some competitors have diet-specific requirements.

"So we'll sell them chicken by the ounce, lean beef, salmon, tuna, tilapia, chicken, like, it's all over the map and the vegetables and all the things that go along with it, so it's pretty cool in that regard, we get inundated with these folks and we love it! It's a fun weekend and something new and exciting for us to do once a year the Arnold is here!" Chef Glover says.

Thousands of athletes are traveling from around the country right here to Columbus to compete, like Alicia Bell from Toronto.

"It just got really real when I came to check in and I'm beyond thrilled to be here and have the opportunity to compete on such a big stage," Bell says.

The main room will be filled with judges and spectators, and on Wednesday the stage was reinforced to handle the weights for the competitions.

All hands are on deck at the Hilton.

"We'll have people from accounting helping us clear tables Saturday night, so it's kind of a cool thing we do, we all pull together and we plan on this for months. We execute, we have some history behind us, we look forward to this event! It's here again and we'll look forward to Sunday when it's all over," Chef Glover.

The Arnold Classic kicks off Thursday with the first event beginning at 10 a.m.


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