The first time you decide you want to try competitive bodybuilding, the thought of stepping on stage alone is stressful enough. Once you’ve decided on a coach, picked a show, have been dieting for ten weeks, hate everyone in sight, have problems concentrating, you’re about to hit third base and start hauling ass to home plate. No one informed me that you would then have a ton of decisions to make, appointments to schedule, applications to fill out or registration forms to send in. During this time, I really felt like I had no clue what I was doing and carb cycling did not help my emotional state AT ALL. These are a few tips and tricks I have picked up along the way that helped me make peak week and show day much easier – which have nothing to do with meals or weights.
1. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BIKINI EARLY
There are dozens upon dozens of local and online ways to purchase bikinis. It has always been my preference to purchase from a local designer because I can have her measure me for the suit, see the suit on me and make sure the fit is correct. Picking the color, connectors and bling is important because it is part of your presentation on stage. Make sure to pick a color that is complimentary to your complexion and connectors that follow the flow of your physique. Some local designers may keep an inventory to either try on for ideas of what you will like or they even let you buy off the rack. Or, if you are competing on a tight budget, some designers will rent the suit to you for the show. Whatever way you decide to get a bikini, make sure that it is done at least 8 – 10 weeks prior to the show date. Keep in mind that some popular designers might have a waiting list or she needs longer than 8 weeks to make the bikini. The moral of the story is that being proactive to purchase or rent your bikini is necessary. Do your homework and choose wisely because this is an important aspect of your presentation of many weeks and months of your hard work.
2. DON’T FORGET THE BLING AND HOOKER HEELS!
Once you have picked out the bikini color, crystals, connectors and coverage, it’s time to get the matching bling and shoes. It’s the details like large dangly earrings and fake crystal bracelets so big that they will make you sink to the bottom of the pool, which get easily overlooked. Don’t leave details to the last minute. You know what your suit looks like, get the matching bling online or even at my favorite place, Charming Charlie’s. It doesn’t matter where you get the gaudy jewelry, just make sure you have one less thing on your To-Do list during peak week.
Unless you’re starting competitive bodybuilding in women’s physique, you will need the tall clear heels to practice in. Amazon is a great place to find different sizes and styles that are stage appropriate. A good rule of thumb is to start practicing posing about 8 weeks prior to stepping on stage. If you dedicate about an hour every day to your posing, when you step on stage it will be muscle memory. Trust me when I tell you, I was shaking like a leaf when I stepped on stage, literally visibly shaking. If I hadn’t practiced so much I would have frozen. Sometimes the nerves can get the best of you and its best to prepare yourself as much as you possibly can.
3. LOOK FOR EARLY REGISTRATION
Some shows offer discounts to competitors who register for the show prior to certain deadlines. My lifting partner and I had decided to compete and chose the same first show. We both found out after the deadline had passed that if we had registered a month ahead of time, we could have saved ourselves about $75.00. You know, the cost of the make-up artist or the cost of the monumental cheat meal I was planning on inhaling after the show. Research the show, you might shrink some of the extravagant costs of competing.
4. BEAUTY TAKES TIME
I fully admit that during peak week I was a brat. I didn’t want to do any part of my beauty prep myself because I was tired and lazy. Because of this, I had a lot of appointments to make – not everyone will be the same, but this was my list: manicure, pedicure, hair blow dry, shaving, tanning and makeup. In case nobody has told you, all the hair on your body from the neck down is going to be shaved. This takes a decent amount of time and some help is required. I would make sure to coordinate all the appointments with salons, tanning and makeup artists about a month in advance. Again, it’s less you have to remember when you start to get more brainless and less patience. As crazy as this sounds, it’s a great idea to have back up places you would like to use. I’ve had salons call me at the last minute to cancel appointments during peak week!
I used to organize the appointments by making sure to schedule only one, or at most two, per day according to what needed to be done. I’d get my nails and toes done when my gym activity stopped and I had more free time after work. Next, I’d get my curly out of control hair blown dry the day before check-in and have my mom or my boyfriend, now fiancé, help me shave. I’d make sure to have my tanning appointment at a convenient time after check-in the night before the show. The appointments for the show sponsored tanning fill up quickly! Make sure to book the appointment as soon as you know you are registering for the show. The make-up artist I would make the appointment to be done about an hour before I had to be at the athlete meeting prior to pre-judging. I have known girls to get their hair done the morning of the show with their makeup, but I preferred to touch up with a hair iron and get more sleep.
As you learn what you prefer, you will develop your own routine and your own schedule of events during peak week. I hope what I have learned will help everyone as much as it has helped me. Please let me know if they do!! And the best of luck to all those ladies stepping on stage!