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Bikini Competitor Strategies for Success: 5 Must-Follow Tips

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Considering stepping on stage for the first time as a bikini competitor? Read up on the top 5 ways to prime yourself for success on heels!

Talk to any bikini competitor and they’ll tell you one thing: Competition is not for the faint of heart. Between the grueling training, restrictive diet, and mental stamina required to keep yourself sane, there’s a whole lot about prep that’s not fun. At the same time, completely transforming your body and strutting all that hard work on stage is, for many women, a great way to boost confidence, increase motivation, and build the type of discipline that will make you successful in life as well as in fitness.

If you’re shy, self-conscious, clumsy, or just not a natural performer, the thought of becoming a bikini competitor may be daunting. You undoubtedly have questions about everything from which league to compete in to where to get your hair and makeup done. Not to fear! There are plenty of experts out there – from fellow bikini competitors to coaches to judges – who actually want to see you do well in the sport and are more than willing to help. Also, if there’s one thing you take to heart . . . do your research! Preparation is the key to success as a bikini competitor, and a little knowledge goes a long way.

Here are five of the most critical things to bear in mind as you start your bikini competitor journey. With these tips under your belt, you’ll be in a great position to begin your contest prep and ultimately place well on show day!

1.   Figure Out Your Purpose for Competing.

When asked why they compete, some people say, “To take home that first place trophy, of course!” The problem? The results are really out of your hands as a bikini competitor. There are so many variables beyond your control, including the judges’ preferences, other competitors, and any number of unexpected events that could occur on show day. Thus, the best way to ensure your success in the world of bikini competition is to simply focus on you.

It may sound cliche, but concentrating on how to build a better you is essential. Start by writing down your purpose for competing (and there may be more than one). Whether it’s to lose body fat, build your training business, get sponsored, or just have fun doing something different, having that be your goal will enable you to win regardless of the show’s actual outcome. Contest prep can be a little like an emotional rollercoaster, so use that purpose to help keep you motivated and fight through the tough times.

2.   Identify the Organization That Best Suits You.

There are several organizations that you can enter as a bikini competitor. Each of them has its own vibe, personality, rules, and regulations, so again, be sure to do your research! Pick an organization that best suits your goals. A few of the major organizations are the National Physique Committee (NPC), the only amateur organization in the United States recognized by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB); World Beauty Fitness & Fashion Inc. (WBFF); and the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA).


3.   Go to a Local Show.

Attend a local show at least once before you decide to jump headfirst into the bikini competitor life. Ideally, you’ll attend a few shows hosted by different organizations to get a sense of which is the right fit for you. Do your due diligence by talking to the show promoter and other local competitors about the pros and cons of competing in that organization. There are no silly questions, so don’t be afraid to seek out insider insights from those in the know.

In addition to sussing out which organization suits you best, also pay attention to how the competition works. What poses are required or frowned upon? How is the lighting? Where do the competitors enter and exit the stage? How many competitors will you likely be going up against and, more importantly, how is their conditioning? What traits do the winning competitors have? Knowing these things upfront will help you be a better informed and ultimately more successful bikini competitor.

4.   Find a Good Prep Coach.

If this will be your first time taking the stage as a bikini competitor, think twice (and then a third time) about whether it’s wise to roll solo. There are indeed some competitors who succeed being “self-taught” and “self-made.” But these are the minority of competitors, particularly as the sport grows in popularity. Having a prep coach – provided you hire the right one – can be incredibly helpful if not essential to achieving your goals.

Yes, that’s right, who you hire really matters! The best coaches are the ones who can objectively assess your physique, tweak your diet and training regimens for optimal results, and advise you on the ins and outs of competition. Ask other local competitors who they have worked with in the past and who has a good reputation. If you simply go with the first so-called expert who approaches you at the gym, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

Hiring a prep coach is like hiring a wedding planner. You need someone who’s going to help you map out every detail so that things fall perfectly into line on show day. Make a list of questions to ask and even try to speak with some of your potential new coach’s clients. Will they be training you online or in person? What’s their workout philosophy? Have they ever competed before themselves? This is someone you’re going to be living with for the next several weeks at minimum, so be sure you’re completely comfortable with the coach’s approach and knowledge base.

5.   Plan Out Your Expenses.

Bikini competitions are not cheap. There’s nothing worse than getting midway through your prep season only to realize that you haven’t budgeted well and actually can’t afford to do the show after all. Below are the major items that you need to ensure you have covered, along with the typical costs you’ll incur for each:

Competition prep coach: $500-900 (although veteran, top-of-the-line coaches can charge anywhere from $1,000-$2,000)
NPC membership card: $120
Registration for the show: $100
Hotel (if it’s not a local competition): $150 per night (at least)
Rental car, plane ticket, and other travel expenses: $500-$750
Competition suit: $350-550 (although some high-end designer suits can run upwards of $1,000)
Jewelry: $25-100
Approved heels: $30-75
Show day tan: $150
Hair and makeup: $200
Tickets for friends and family to watch the show: $35-50 per attendee
Stage photos: $100-250

Bear in mind that these figures are rough estimates and DO NOT include the cost of your prep food and supplements for the months preceding the competition. That said, if you continue on as a bikini competitor you’ll find that some of the items don’t have to be purchased again and others (e.g., hotel room) can be cut by pooling with fellow competitors.


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