If you have ever thought about competing in the future, but are not even sure where to begin - I got you covered!
It is asked all of the time what I wished I would have known before deciding to pursue my first competition and I really had to think back and what I not only struggled with, but what would have made my life at the time a little easier too.
Most of the time there are some growing pains and learning curves when it comes to being a competitor.
My hope is to help guide you and give you advice so that if you decide that you really want to do this for yourself, you can face it head on to be successful on your journey to the stage.
You will have to be dedicated to the process and trust it.
You will have to have a strong reason for wanting to compete because there are going to be days that you will not want to eat your meals you have prepped. Along with days where you would rather curl up in bed rather than train and give it your all in your workouts.
I found that I had to get really clear on my reason for competing. Everyone's reason will be different and there are no right or wrong answers for this, but it can't just be as simple as "I want to get dolled up and be on stage." That just won't cut it.
Ask yourself what it will mean to you to compete.
2. Learn to Manage your Expectations
When prepping for a competition, it will be different for every single person.
Some will have a prep where it is a daily struggle but they find that the training and having something to focus on keeps them grounded from everything crazy going on in their personal life. They thrive off of structure.
Others may find that their prep is a little more natural for them to adjust to depending on how much they were already making this body building lifestyle more of a habit to begin.
You might not win your first show on stage, I know I didn't. I learned from it though and it made me humble myself and let me know the areas that I didn't focus enough on during prep.
3. Competing is Expensive
I don't care who you are, this sport is expensive at the end of the day.
You can save money where ever possible, but you are still going to have to pay for something along the way. It's more of a matter of what you are willing to spend and what is important to you.
The judges will judge you on your whole package. From your head to your toes. Looks and all.
- Trainer/Prep Coach
- Posing Coach
- Hair, Make up, & Nails
- Registration & Card
- Diet & Food
The cost like I said will vary greatly from person to person. It comes down to your needs and wants.
4. Have a Good Relationship with Food to Start
Competing is taking your nutrition and training to the next level in most cases.
If you do not have a good relationship with food right now, you will end up doing more harm than good for yourself.
I have seen girls become anorexic and even obese after competing because of their relationship with food before, during, and after they compete.
Don't do it to yourself and take it from someone who struggled with emotionally eating for a long time.... the stage will always be there. You have to focus on creating healthy habits with food first. Period.
I can't tell you how many times I wanted to compete and I would start a prep for myself only to quit because my relationship with food was not healthy. I wouldn't see the progress I needed and wanted in time so I had to stop and get right with the food I was eating before thinking about competing.
5. Determine How Long it Will Take
A prep timeline will be different for every single person.
This all depends on how lean and conditioned you are already and how long it will take your body to change to be stage ready.
It is recommended to be lifting for at least a year before competing and each federation has certain criteria that they are looking for when judging you. If you have already picked out which federation to compete in, you will be able to make a better call and see what you need to work on and what look the judges are looking for.
An average prep for most people are 12-16 weeks. However, some can be longer as needed for someone and how well they can stick to their plan.
6. Prepare to be Lonely
As much as there is the hype around it and you seeing everyone commenting on everyone's pictures and videos from their show day, there are a lot of haters and people who don't understand why you would compete in the first place...
My closest family members and friends questioned me, and told me not to lose any more weight and told me I was beautiful as I was. I know this was coming from a place of them not understanding why I wanted to compete and the fact that they would never do it themselves.
Even though it hurt a little at first, I had to keep showing up for myself because of why I wanted this.
Surround yourself with those who support you and want to compete themselves. It will help on those days everyone else doesn't want to see you succeed at your goals. Promise.
If you are not already, join us in my First Time Competitors Group on Facebook!
Lots of great people who want to see you succeed and can help you get ready.
7. Posing is Key
Even though you are only on stage for a short time compared to the amount of time that you have prepared for this, your posing will make or break your placing.
How you showcase all of your hard work the second you step on that stage, you are being judged.
Practice until it becomes second nature to you. That way when you get nervous on stage and draw a blank you will be on autopilot.
There are too many times where I had wished I had practiced my routine and different scenarios more.
Get a coach to help because they can ensure you are making the right choices to showcase your body with the right angles for what the judges are looking for.
8. Sacrifices Will Have to be Made
This sport takes lots of time in the gym and outside of the gym.
You will have to prep your meals, practice posing, and try and get enough sleep so that you can do it all over again the next day.
Sometimes you will have to say no to going out with your friends because you might be tempted to go off of your plan, or have to use that time to do other things at home.
You will have to remind yourself of why you started and how important it is for you.
9. Avoid Competition Rebound
Have a plan in place for after you step on stage before you step on stage.
Too many times we focus on getting to the stage that we forget what happens after and we want to slow down.
It's okay to rest, but what most forget is that after you have dieted for a competition like this, it will take time to bring yourself back up to maintenance calories and normalcy before your next competition if you decide to compete again.
If you just fall off of a plan and eat and train however you want, you will gain everything back really quickly and you will not like it....
Have plan that helps you to come back to your maintenance and to continue to improve for your next goal.
10. Competing is Not for Everyone
If you struggle with a healthy lifestyle, struggle with change, struggle with challenge and sticking to a plan - this is not for you.
That's okay if it is not for you too. It won't be for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that.
There have even been times where someone competed and then after said they would not do it again. Sometimes you won't know until you start to go through a prep and realize your heart is not in it.
If you are thinking about prepping for a competition and want to see what it is like to, download my Free 7 Day Bikini Body Plan below!