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Steve Orton: The rise and fall of BodyPower Expo

The BodyPower Expo co-founder reveals what happened behind the scenes at the UK’s biggest fitness event to lead to its unprecedented success and spectacular decline, what he witnessed UK start-ups Gymshark and Grenade do to become global brands, and whether he believes there’s still a business and consumer appetite for mass-participation and niche health and wellbeing events
Steve Orton
Steve Orton

Steve Orton is the owner of Twenty3Wellness, a consultancy advising multiple brands and individuals, having spent 15 years as a leading figure in the UK health, fitness and wellness industry as a founder, commercial consultant and advisor. He is also an events organiser, co-founding the recording-breaking fitness show BodyPower, and most recently PerformX Live, the B2B fitness, wellbeing and human performance exhibition. Follow him on Instagram.

What happened behind the scenes at BodyPower Expo

If you want to know what’s happening in the fitness industry in the UK you need to speak to Steve Orton.

As one of its most high-profile, respected and popular figures what Orton doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.

He rose to prominence after co-founding BodyPower Expo, the one-time largest fitness exhibition in the UK, steering its rapid growth and success behind the scenes by securing the biggest and best fitness brands as exhibitors, as well as bringing world-famous bodybuilders and athletes through the doors each year.

Having left BodyPower in 2021 Orton co-founded PerformX, a business-to-business fitness, wellbeing and human performance exhibition held each year at the iconic Tobacco Dock in east London, and established Twenty3Wellness, a consultancy that provides advice to fitness industry brands and individuals to build their business and increase their exposure.

In our wide-ranging conversation Steve reveals the real reason why he felt forced to quit BodyPower, and details what he believes was ultimately responsible for the fall of the once unmissable expo, as brands, exhibitors and attendees turned their backs on the event, after years of unprecedented growth.

He also reveals what it was like to be there at the very start of the story for two of the biggest and most successfully British brands of the last decade: the athleisure phenomenon Gymshark, and sports nutrition pioneer Grenade. Orton reveals how these brands found their feet at BodyPower and what he saw them do from his court-side seat that enabled these two brands became global leaders in their respective fields.

Why I had no choice but to leave BodyPower

How Gymshark and Grenade made it

The demand for fitness events is still growing

Live events remain a big brand extension opportunity

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