Local restaurants beef up menus to prepare for the Arnold Sports Festival

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As the Arnold Sports Festival prepares to open tomorrow, local restaurants and chefs expect to go through tons of food to fuel the muscle-bound bodies that are competing in town.

There is no exaggeration when it comes to the amount of food purchased and prepared for this weekend’s Arnold Sports Festival. Athletes come to the show to lift weights but they also come with huge appetites.

Athletes from all over the world are here this weekend in Columbus to compete in elite bodybuilding competitions.

“I’m from France so it’s a long trip,” said competitor David Kono.

Some have already weighed and checked in.

“I compete tomorrow in Figure Master Class C and Figure Open Class E,” said competitor Caroline Sawadzi.

But before the competition starts, it’s time to eat and these athletes take what goes into their bodies very, very seriously.

“I eat a lot of carbs, protein, fat… Good fats,” said Sawadzi.

“We call this a ‘carb up’ so it’s all about eating carbs and filing the body up with carbs,” said Kono.

Vegetables, rice, chicken and assortment of other foods are on the menu.

“Over this course of this weekend, we will go through literally a ton, like 2,000 pounds,” said Bill Glover, executive chef at the Gallerie Bar and Bistro in the Hilton Columbus Downtown Hotel.

The hotel will host many of the athletes this weekend and its restaurant is bound to stay busy.

“We structure our whole menus towards that need so when they come in they can order things exactly how they want it by the weight that they need to satisfy their nutritional diet,” said Glover.

Glover said, for the most part, the nutritional diet of the athletes competing this weekend is clean with no oils, salts or butter, but sometimes there are exceptions.

“We had a gentleman one year that came in and ordered four 8-ounce cheeseburgers with a pound of fries and I thought it was a typo. A pound of fries, not to mention the cheeseburgers, were a little abnormal but he ate that for lunch,” he said.

The restaurant plans to stay busy all weekend starting at 6am until they shut off their ovens at midnight.

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