Everything you need to do before a show: spray tan, hair, makeup, posing, nails, depletion, shoes, jewelry, peak week, pulling water.
So much goes into show prep that goes far beyond conditioning and training. Peak week is the week before a show when any last minute changes can be made. It’s critical to power through this and to not screw up. Especially this close to a show. Water intake or critical. Usually you increase water from 1 gallon to 2 or more for days 7-5 the tapering off to no water the night and morning of the show.
Some people choose to use diuretics to help them loose any last bit of water retention. Some people do salt loading water pulling but I haven’t done this so I can’t comment on how it works.
Spray tanning is also an essential part of the competition process. This is so important to get it done professionally and using who sponsors the show generally is a good source. You want to be dark so that you don’t looked washed out on stage. The last thing you want it to look pale and undefined once on the stage with all those bright lights.
You also don’t want to be orange or red. Use a credible company and make sure they’re able to apply enough coats and one that provides touch ups before you go on stage and oils you up.
My first show the Tanning company was AMAZING. So professional and did the first coat two days before and then again the next day and then the day of. They offered barrier cream for both my hands and toes. Huge plus because ya women spend a lot of money on getting our nails done for the show. And helped glue on my suit and touched me up and did last minute touch ups before going on stage with a spot roller to be sure our suits stayed clean for both the pre judging and finale.
My second show I didn’t have as professional experience as I had at my first show. They did the first coat the night before then touch ups the day of. But it felt more like corralling cattle and no privacy whatsoever. Very unprofessional I thought. The touch ups the day of the show they used the spray guns again instead of a spot roller and so all of the competitors suits got tanning solution all over them. They also didn’t offer barrier cream for our nails and now that I think about it didn’t change the paper in the tanning tents so all the competitors feet for Black from all the excess solution we had to stand in while being sprayed. So that was different too. In hind sight maybe if I brought Sran wrap for my suit like other competitors did. It probably wouldn’t have been such a big deal the day of the show. They also didn’t offer Bikini Bite (Suit Glue). Just the little things I remember.
I saw many competitors use self tanning sprays and other companies who don’t normally spray for bodybuilding shows and I promise you it was stressful for them and the colour wasn’t the same as the other competitors and it wasn’t always the way you wanted to be standing out on stage.
I am certified as a spray tan technician and I wouldn’t want the stress of spraying myself. And notice all the things that maybe other competitors wouldn’t notice.
I think we as competitors have enough to worry about without having the stress about your tan. I love the option of having Tanning companies at the shows so if a problem arises they are there to help you.
Competition tans rage from $90USD to $150 USD. That I’m aware of anyhow.
Hair & Make-up
Hair for women is a huge investment too. Make sure you get it done by someone who knows what they’re doing. Make sure they use product that will last all day. Most shows are an all day thing. Getting up at 4am for Hair is not unheard of. You hair needs to be able to still look good at 9pm that night or later.
Hair can cost upwards of $150 USD for one show.
Lots of people have different ideas on how women should wear their hair. Especially as a bikini competitor. I was taught that the longer the hair the better. I added hair extensions into my hair for both shows. And I thought I had long hair haha. But it added a few inches and definitely thickness. This is pricey. I used real hair and the initial investment of the Hair alone was about $400 USD and $100 to have it tapped in. This was so with proper care i could keep the Hair in and just pay an additional $100 a month to have the extensions “moved up”. I was also told to have my hair with some beach waves. But not curly. Also to have it mostly down.
But I have seen many bikini competitors look stunning with short short hair and all hair styles in between. I’m just sharing what I have been taught.
Makeup is the same cost. Roughly $150 USD and I’ve had both airbrush makeup and regular. Both were great applications. I’d also stress the importance of hiring someone who knows how to work with the dark colour of the tan and expertise with stage lighting and the effects on the makeup.
Make up is definitely done different from state to state too. As you can see from my picture.
Most Tanning companies only spray your face once. If at all so your body is dark dark and your face colour is much lighter. They need to be able to blend it well and have your makeup dark enough so you’re not washed out under the bright stage lights.
Most companies offering competition Hair and make up have package deals and offer both which is great for not having to make two different appointments the morning of a show.
Posing is likely the most important thing right after conditioning. If you don’t know how to pose and showcase your body the day of the show. All that hard work can be overlooked because the judges can’t see it. A simple forgetting to keep you abs engaged while turning from a front to a back pose can be the difference between placing or not.
Posing is not easy. Seasoned Athletes make it look so easy. But try putting on the required 5” heels and then make it look good. It’s hard.
Most posing sessions cost athletes $50 USD an hour and lots of athletes use many many sessions to try to perfect this art.
Make sure you hire someone who is good at it. Some athletes have to modify posing because of injury or because other poses look better at highlighting their body’s as opposed to what looks good for another athletes.
Looking back at my first show I look at my posing and I’m embarrassed haha. Not because I had a bad posing coach because I had one of the best. It’s because I’m a Military girl and the posing heels I bought were my first pair of heels I’ve purchased since likely high school. I didn’t know how to walk in them well and after standing back stage for hours before my 30 seconds of fame on stage I was tired. And because I have a bad back it made it hard and I promise you it showed in my routine.
You only get seconds to impress the judges. You don’t want to distract them by bad posing and not have them just focus in on on your conditioning.
By my second show I was smart. I learned from my first show and wore my 5” heels daily around the house. Vacuuming or cleaning the kitchen. Walking up and down the stairs or even doing meal prep in them. I wanted to be confident in these shoes and not look back and cringe at my walk like I did at my first show.
I used the same coach for posing and with a more confident walk and new found appreciation for 5” heels. I was able to focus on my posing and body positioning and not the walk as well. This made a night and day difference.
Nails are just another way to showcase your body. Having a fresh manicure and pedicure just puts the finishing touches on Your look.
I personally like having A French tip on my toes and hands. Make sure you hands are freshly manicured and not due for a fill. Toes last so much longer. But be smart and make sure they don’t look bad.
I was told not to wear solid coloured polish on your hands and feet but I’m not sure this is a rule per say but the whole point of bodybuilding is to focus on your conditioning so keeping the focus on your body is more the main goal. Just try not to pull attention from that. Again, you only have so long to impress the judges. And one told me once that once they see something on stage. They can’t unsee it and can’t not judge on everything they see. Don’t give them reasons to judge poorly on stuff that doesn’t matter.
Nails too have costs. Manicure and Pedicures can cost upwards of $100USD.
In the days leading up to a show athletes make more dramatic physique changes than most people make over the course of a given year.
In order for depletion before a competition to be successful competitors needs to be of low body fat to begin with. For men that will be around 6-8 percent body fat, and for women, approximately 13-15 percent body fat.
Your body fat stores should be low enough that you already sport a six-pack. Your six-pack doesn’t need to pop, but all six abdominals should be clearly visible in the mirror while flexing. If they are not, keep training and eating clean, and revisit this protocol when you’re ready for the finishing touches.
Depletion is an art form, make sure you find someone who knows how to do this. Daily check ins are important. Learning how to manipulate your fluid levels so you look as good as possible for your big day. You don’t always nail this process your first go around. Some coaches have you do a trial run before the official show to see how your body responds to certain things.
Water intake and reduction alone will have you see a dramatic change in appearance.
The first step is increase your water up to a set amount, 2 liters higher than your normal daily intake.
Then you will cut your water in half from the high level of the previous days. Then, on the day before and of your big event, you’ll take water consumption out of your plan. Many physique athletes cut their water to nothing, but in my opinion this is extreme. I would recommend using a coach that is watching your fluid intakes to make sure your body is okay and functioning properly.
Basically, the amount of water you consume determines how your body handles fluid balance. When your body takes in access water, your body will just flush it out. By drinking a higher amount of water you trick your body into flushing more when you cut back, which results in your muscles looking tighter.
The combined effects of carb-loading, salt avoidance, and water depletion will suck as much fluid into the muscle tissue as possible. In the end, your muscles are going to be fuller, rounder, and harder. You’ll see definition you never knew you had!
Shoes are an important part of a bikini competitors stage presence. 5” clear shoes are mandatory. I was taught not to have an ankle strap as to not cut the leg line to your toes but I see all styles out there. I guess my advice would be to listen to your coach and do what they suggest.
I see more and more that athletes are purchasing clear 5” shoes with bling all over them. I’ve also heard that these are a no-no. Again, it takes away from your main package on stage. Why have twinkling jewels on your shoes if you want the judges to be focusing on your conditioning. Again, you only get such a short time to showcase what you’ve worked on for months, or even years. My shoes were cheap. Maybe. $30 USD. Thanks to amazon GET BRAND NAMES.
Stage jewlery is also a must. Bikini competitors wear long earrings all blinged out with matching bracelets. I was taught one wrist with a thin band and the other one with a thick band. Also, one ring. You can usually purchase sets that include all pieces for your competition. I believe I paid $75 USD for all my jewlery. No necklaces are required because our suits have bling on the neck straps.