Competing in a bodybuilding show is not an easy task. If you plan on doing a show make sure you’re mentally, physically, financially ready and have time to dedicate yourself. Here are some things I’ve experienced over my years of competing that I’d like to share with you that may give you insight on the best way to approach your first bodybuilding show.
1. Am I ready to do a show?
One of the first things you might want to consider is whether or not you’ve put in enough years of training. Today a lot of new competitors decide to step on stage and have only been training a year or sometimes less. Many of them think that if they can get on the right gear they can dominate their class coming out on top and maybe even getting their pro card after just 2 years of competing. This is pretty ridiculous considering the amount of time most bodybuilders in the past have dedicated to the sport and their passion for weight training. I myself trained the majority of my adolescent years and young adult life and in fact was suggested by a friend who is a pro now to compete.
Even after that I still took another couple of years to work on building enough muscle and ended up competing in a small show. I would suggest putting in at least 5 years of weight training if you don’t have years of weight training already. This way you can begin to sculpt a physique that you want to display on stage. For those of you who were athletes like myself and have molded a physique in some form already, you may want to just take a look at where your weaknesses may be and improve on those before deciding to enter a show. This could take less time depending on how aggressively you approach it.
2. How long do I have to diet prior to stepping on stage?
The length of time needed to diet before show time can vary depending on each individual. If you’re competing as a bodybuilder and have spent a lot of time putting on extra body weight you may require anywhere from 13 weeks or more to come down for your first show. However, if you tend to drop weight fast 13 weeks could be a bit long so my advice is to do a mock diet prior to actually competing to see how fast your body responds.
Let’s say for instance you decide to compete 2 years from now, you would decide to diet now giving you ample time to test things out. This is a good way to experiment and make a lot of mistakes that won’t really count.
3. What are the judges look for?
I’ve been competing for over 15 years and it’s always changing. A good way to find out is to attend as many shows as you can and see whose in the first call outs. A lot of times different promoters are rewarding different types of physiques when it comes to their judging criteria. The very best advice I can give you is to stay true to yourself – never sell out and make sure you are first and foremost happy with your physique.
4. Should I join a team before competing?
If you know of a fitness team or offered to become apart of one that is prevalent in the shows, this would be a good idea. Many competitors from all categories have benefited from becoming part of a team that is notorious for producing winners.
5. How much money does it take to do a show?
This can vary. Women’s categories require a bit more in the grooming department (hair, nails, make-up, wardrobe, etc) whereas men require trunks. Overall, the shows can get costly for everyone. Show fees could be a couple hundred just to compete and that doesn’t include multiple classes. Food and supplements for the duration of the diet can run well over $1,000 or more depending on how advanced your supplementation is. If you’re really a high roller and hire a coach or trainer, finances skyrocket. So just be prepared to save in advance.
6. Am I going to win my first show?
Probably not even though I did and my second show too. But you never know. If you’re hard working and genetically gifted and everybody loves you – you very may well. If you don’t happen to win just keep plugging away and don’t take it too personal. A lot of times the judges may want to see you come back or they’ve already had their eye on somebody else who has competed before.
7. What do I do after the show is over?
After eating everything on the menu after your show, you should do what I’ve done which is try to get photo shoots while you’re in shape and network. The pictures can be of great use for you in the future if you ever decide to model or seek sponsorship, you have them.
So there it is in a nutshell. The world of bodybuilding has changed a lot over the past 10 years and has become an instant gratification type of obsession. If you’re in it for the right reasons you’ll never be disappointed as I haven’t and gratification will always be yours.