It’s alluring in all aspects. Your tan, make-up, hair, your physique, and the constant gratification of people telling you that you look amazing. It’s easy to get caught up in all the hype of show day. Its ONE day and about 10-20 minutes of total stage time if you’re lucky. ONE day you’ve worked your ass off to get to get to. One day that adds up to hours of training and cardio, hundreds of prepped meals, measuring food down to the gram for every meal, and pushing your mind and your body to the limit. From an outsider looking in show day and competing in a bodybuilding show can seem intriguing, fun, and exciting. But what you probably don’t know is what it takes to get to show day. Here are some thing you should know before you decide to compete!
What is your “Why”
I don’t mean when your friends, co-workers, or family ask you why you compete, or why you cant eat ‘X” food, or why you have to bring your food scale to a family dinner. I mean, on a Thursday at 6pm you have to get back to the gym for another training session, miss out on hanging out with friends to get in another posing session in, measure out your food for the rest of the night and the next day. This is where your “why” should come in.
There are some competitors that started because their training got boring and they wanted to feel apart of something again. Let me tell you training is the easy part of prep its the constant mind games and mental fortitude and constantly being food focused that makes prep hard. And then there are some that compete for the fame, for followers, likes, money, and sponsorships. While this may be full filling at first, your love for the sport will slowly dwindle because you wont always win, people wont always approve of your physique, and you’ll spend more money in the sport then you will make. Theres nothing wrong with wanting to improve your training or wanting to be apart of a sport, or for wanting to win, but just make sure its for the right reasons!
Get ready to spend a SHIT TON of Money
If there was one thing that was a wake call for myself, it was how much competing actually cost in its totality. Let’s use the bikini division for example.
- Coaching: $500-$1500
If you want to be successful in the sport you need to hire a coach that knows what the hell they’re doing. And I don’t mean this “one girl” you know that did a show and did well. I mean an EXPERT in the industry, someone thats worked with a multitude of competitors, that has years or even decades of experience in bodybuilding, and a plus would be having some type of nutrition/ kinesiology degree. Coaches can cost anywhere from $500-$1500 per season depending on how long you work with and how much they charge per month.
2. Federation card: $50-$100
Depending on what and how many federations you compete in, you have to pay for a membership for that federation. Amateurs/Novice usually average about $50-$70 per card and pro cards are about 100. Which you have to renew in order to keep your pro status, so although you may not be competing every year you still have to keep your membership updated.
3. Show Registration:$30-$150
This can vary widely depending on how the federation, many classes/ divisions you are competing in, and depending on how big the show is and the level you compete at. Local shows typically are cheaper than national level shows and pro classes are more expensive than novice divisions.
4. Suit: $300-$1,000
Ladies, this will blow your mind if you haven’t competed before. SUITS. ARE. SO. FU*KIN. EXPENSIVE. Companies have a lot of options now, where they even provide rental suits but even those are expensive. If its your first show and its local I wouldn’t go all out and spend 600-1000 dollars on a blinged out suit. But if you’re competing at a national or regional show you need to stand out against 100-500 other girls so you want a blinged out suit thats going to sparkle on stage!
5. Jewelry & Shoes: $50-$300
Again depending on the companies you use this can vary widely. But you do need to invest a big sparkly bracelet, pair of earrings, and a ring or two! Don’t forget those posing heels girls!
6. Tan, Make-up, Hair: $100-3$00
Show day essentials! Venue tans usually are around 100-150 these are nice because you don’t have to worry about the color of the tan, application, and touch ups becuase a company will come in and do that for you. If you want to save money on this you can buy tanning products like Pro Tan and Jantana, but you have to apply these yourself, and have someone help you in the places that you cant reach ( if ya know what I mean),make sure the color looks good, and touch-ups through-out the day.
7. Show day Travel: $100-$400
Whether you’re flying or driving thats going to cost money and then hotel as well. Usually the show promotor will have a discount code for a certain hotel which is nice, but that by no means makes it “cheap”. I try to find shows that are close to me or where other family members live that way you can save money on a hotel!
Competing isn’t for the light-hearted
Most likely than not, you’re going to lose. Especially if its your first time competing. Not to say there isn’t a chance of winning because that has definitely happened. But just like any sport it takes years of training to build up a foundation that makes your physique competitive at the pro level. If you just started training I would wait about 2-3 years to build a solid foundation before you decide to go into prep mode. I had been lifting for about 3-4 years before I even considered competing and it was one of the best decisions to wait until I built a physique that was competitive in my division.
You are going to be hungry. Its inevitable especially the closer you get to show day. Food focus is the game and I mean like you’re always worrying about how much carb you should have for X meal or if you should save it for later because you might be hungry. Social events give you a little bit of anxiety because they typically are revolved around food. You just have to push through the fact that its going to suck. As a lot of people in the bodybuilding world say “You gotta embrace the suck!”.
The Pros Outweigh the Cons
At least for me. Yes I just gave you a bazillion reasons why competing can suck at times, but if its something you love to do and you’re passionate about then it all makes it worth it. You get to meet so many amazing positive people, make new friends, and you learn sooo much about yourself in the process. Competing has defiantly changed my life for the better, its made me more confident, hard working, and its also made me realize how much potential I have!