FAQs: My Advice for Aspiring Bikini Competitors
I get questions all the time about how to get started competing in the fitness industry. In this post I will go over: How to get started, how to find/select a coach, what to expect, and the post-show experience. Competing is a very rewarding experience, physically and mentally, if done the proper way! If the wrong approach is taken, it can be a pretty big disaster. The difference lies in your planning.
How to Get Started:
The most important question is: Why do you want to compete? I never, EVER think it’s a good idea to jump into a competition prep as a way to “get in shape”. Sure, it’s motivating, but the competing lifestyle isn’t a sustainable lifestyle to jump into right away. I always recommend getting into the routine of a pretty regimented nutrition plan first. Now you might be thinking.. I eat healthy foods, so I’m ready to dive into it. I’d strongly suggest getting started on a meal plan for your body, to learn the proper portion sizes and macros (protein/carbs/fats) for your individual body. Have a clear understanding of what is considered a balanced meal plan for yourself – one that you can maintain every single day. No matter your current shape, start there. Trust me, it makes the process a lot easier, and it’ll help you a LOT come post show. Give yourself enough time. There are ALWAYS upcoming shows, and there’s no need to rush it.
How to Find/Select a Coach:
Having a Coach to guide you through a competition prep is essential. Do your research! Make sure the person you’re working with is someone you can trust. Schedule a consultation with coaches you are considering to get information on what their competition prep entails. Make sure their program is based on YOUR body, not just a cookie-cutter plan that they hand out to every single person. Make sure the program is HEALTHY. I can’t stress this enough. Usually a competition prep is 12 weeks. Coaches that have you eating fish and asparagus 6 times a day the whole 12 weeks are NOT coaches you should be working with. I never completely cut my carbs out. I eat complex carbs like oats and sweet potato up until my show day. The goal is to get to your best physique, but it should always be in a healthy way! Following a plan that’s putting your health at risk is not worth any physique on stage. Taking extremes will only hurt you post show, with a damaged metabolism. Not worth it! Your health should be your main priority, always.
What To Expect:
Typically a competition prep is 12 weeks. In that 12 weeks you can expect to be at the gym 6-7 days a week. It’s not just a walk on the treadmill and leave type of workout. It’s intense and it’s tiring to be perfectly honest. You need to be committed to getting it done no matter what. Missing workouts, or messing up a meal plan is only going to hurt your results. Some of the foods that you love and enjoy that may very well be fine for everyday life, may not be foods you end up eating for the duration of your prep. Make sure you have the funds to compete! Swimsuits, tanning, hair, makeup, jewelry.. it all adds up. Add that on top of the price of a coach, and it’s not the least expensive sport in the world by any means. Making sure you comfortably have the extra funds to put towards competing will make the experience a lot less stressful and enjoyable.
The Post Show Experience:
Post show is a situation a lot of people struggle with. The common idea is to buy a big stash of cookies, candy, cake, chips, ice cream, you name it. You’ve worked so hard, and you’re in amazing shape, there’s no way you’re going to lose it by finally eating those things just for one night, right? WRONG. It’s actually incredibly easy to put a lot of weight on fast. Your body is used to the intense workouts, increased cardio and strict meal plan. On top of that, most competitors cut water and sodium during the week of their show to rid the excess water covering the muscles. By throwing foods loaded with refined sugar, simple carbohydrates and fats into your body after intense dieting, restricting water and cutting sodium.. your body is going to soak it all in and hold on to it all. If you DO decide to have those treat meals.. be prepared for increased water retention and bloating that may last for several days to a week. The important thing is to get back to good eating habits and the gym ASAP. If you continue to eat whatever you want, and not workout.. you’re going to put weight on pretty fast.
What do I do post show?
I personally do not indulge in crazy meals after a show. I will go out to dinner – usually steak is my go-to, but really I never go crazy. I slowly add water and sodium back in the days following a show to deter the water retention affects. I add foods back into my meal plan slowly. I take a couple days off from the gym but then I get right back to it. *Reverse dieting is essential post-show. All of my competition clients get specific post-show guidance, which includes reverse dieting instructions.
I mentioned before that I highly recommend getting into a regimented diet plan prior to competing. Someone who does a show and doesn’t have an understanding of their normal everyday meal plan is going to feel quite lost after their show. Suddenly they can eat the foods they restricted for the past 3 months and they find themselves binging on it all. It leads to weight gain, and going from the best shape you’ve ever been in in your life, to gaining weight in mere days is mentally hard to deal with. It can leave you in a pretty dark place.. for a long time.
Competing is a fun, rewarding experience physically and mentally if approached the proper way. Do your research and planning before diving head first into it. There are always upcoming shows, so there’s no rush! A well planned prep is MUCH better than a spur of the moment decision.
For coaching inquires about competition prep, CONTACT ME or EMAIL ME directly! Shaunna.firstname.lastname@example.org