8 Things I Wish I Knew Before My First Figure Competition

The good, the bad, and THE SPRAY TAN

Boss Workouts Shape and Burn

There is nothing better than show day. It’s a culmination of months of dieting and hard training. We all have our personal reasons for choosing to compete and living the lifestyle of a fitness competitor. You are a brave and determined woman for deciding to train. Remember to enjoy the process and make plenty of friends along the way. When preparing for my first show, I made the terrible mistake of competing without a coach!

Here are 8 things I learned the hard way:

1. Don’t Take A Shower

Your skin color and complexion are much darker off the stage than they are under the lights. I assumed the tanning protocol was the same as getting a spray tan at the salon. After five hours, I showered, and my competition color went down the drain—literally. I remained ignorant of this fact until the next morning at the athletes meeting, and everyone else was so much darker than me. After I had begged and cried to get sprayed again, people stopped calling me “the pale girl.” I blended into the haze of tanner and oil with everyone else. Oh, until I turned green….

2. Looking Like The Grinch

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use a cheap spray tanner! When I got excited, my PH balance changed and turned the product green. I looked like a piece of asparagus in heels and a purple bikini. When I showed the guy who owned the tanning company, he got out a spray bottle and a rolling brush and started rolling me down like he was painting a wall. As my height class was being called to line up, he yelled, “Hold still, I need to get your armpits!” Always use the tanning company that partners with the show. Information on how to make an appointment for your spray tan, hair, and makeup application will be on your entry form.

3. Plastic Posing Heels Are Small

Ladies, if you are going to purchase a pair of clear plastic heels for the first time, order a size larger. The plastic tends to make the shoes fit tight and narrow. If you find that they are still a little too tight, use a blow dryer to get the plastic hot and shove them on your feet and let the plastic cool (sounds fun, right?). Show heels should be 5 inches in height and come with either an ankle strap, heel strap, or no strap at all. Choose the style that you feel the most comfortable when walking and posing.


4. Wear Flip Flops

Shows take hours, and I mean HOURS! Do not put on your heels until you finish pumping and before you go into the “grease pit.” Your ankles will swell into “cankles” and judges do not like “cankles.” Bring a yoga mat and lay on your back, keeping your feet propped up to prevent swelling. Over the years, I have even seen competitors bring ice packs to reduce swelling and improve definition.

5. Get A Posing Coach

Being a trainer and physiologist, I was able to design my fitness program. However, despite my best efforts, I could not figure out how to pose. I watched dozens of YouTube videos and thought I was all that in a bag of [kale] chips. I was very wrong. People kept asking me, “Is this your first show?” Embarrassing! Afterward, I hired a coach who taught me how to pose correctly. And boy! It made all the difference! A knowledgeable coach should help you accentuate your strong points while camouflaging your weaknesses.

6. People Are Going To See You Naked

Between all the waxing, spray tanning, suit gluing, and changing in the locker room’s, people are going to see you naked, and you will see others naked. Just get over it. Besides, let’s be real, compeition suits don’t leave much to the imagination. Show promoters do a good job of keeping men and women changing areas separate for this reason.


7. Do Not Use Spray Glue

Roll-on glue is perfectly sufficient for keeping your suit in place. A lot of tanning companies will do this for you in the grease pit. Ask them to glue your suit bottom in the front and the back to prevent an embarrassing accident on stage. However, do not make the same mistake and use super duty spray glue. It will remove your skin, and glue your crack shut. And NOBODY wants that!

8. The Grease Pit

I had no idea what the Grease Pit was until my first show. They’re going to rub you down with posing oil, glue your suit, and touch up your tan. Be careful and put your heels on before entering the grease pit. Also, bring a towel to wipe off the bottom of your heels. It will be slippery from the tornado of posing oil and tanning products.


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