If you’re reading this, you’re probably wanting to compete or have competed somewhere down the line. The biggest and most important question to ask yourself is…
Why do you want to compete?
Answers may vary here. People compete for a whole bunch of reasons; to challenge themselves, to get a routine going or to see their full physical potential. But a lot of times, people believe that being THAT shredded will bring them an unmatched happiness and joy in life. Don’t get me wrong – in my first competition prep that’s exactly how I felt, but it only brought me momentary happiness. Dropping the weight, seeing definition – I had pushed myself to a new level, physically speaking. But mentally… well that’s a monster that’s bigger than the actual competition itself. I didn’t know how to prepare for that at all.
Knowledge is power
Before you decide to compete, educate yourself. Knowledge is power. Knowledge is the key in getting yourself past that finish line, over the mental bullshit thereafter and onto a great off season. Whether this source of knowledge be through a coach or through your own reading – equip yourself with information on nutrition (biggest factor here) and what approach to dieting/training suits you best.
In saying that though, you don’t necessarily have to have a coach. The fact is that some people do their own preps and that’s completely fine. The difference being that they’ve equipped themselves with enough experience and knowledge (and have probably gone through the process themselves so many times) to do so. If this is your absolute first time, I suggest seeking advice – regardless. Whether that be in the form of a coach or a previous (and highly experienced) competitor or through your own research. Gather the advice that you need and hit the ground running.
Finding the right coach
This part is the tricky part. How do you know who, through the multitude of coaches (offline and online), will be the right fit for you? You can’t just walk down to your local gym and say ‘HEY TRAIN ME’, it doesn’t really work like that. I recently took a deep dive into what makes a great coach and why it’s so important to find someone that fits you and your goals here. It’s worth the read! Trust me.
The mental effects of competing
You’ve probably seen the aftermath of competing well and truly laid out on social media. It’s bloody hard to say the least. Harder than the preparation required prior to the competition and the actual competition itself. For months on end, you’re working your arse off, sticking to a strict regime and sacrificing all sorts of things, sometimes even your social life. And within a split second, all that’s driving you is gone. That one sole moment that’s been fueling your motivation and drive has disappeared – just in one day. And like how any human being would and should feel, you’ll probably feel lost. It’s only natural. Where do your goals lie, now that the one you’ve been working for, for about 5+ months is done and dusted?
I recently opened up about the mental health issues that I personally experienced after my very first fitness show here – it’s something that you should definitely consider before taking your first step in competing. I wish I had the strength and courage then that I have now, to speak up and to speak out.
Competing is expensive
Apart from the mental repercussions of competing, among the glitz and glam, competing is actually very expensive. Through-the-nose expensive! But I guess that comes as no surprise. Let’s split this into three sections and base this on a 20 week prep, just as an example.
- Pre competition costs
- Coach (20 weeks, $80 a week = $1,600)
- Food (20 weeks, $80 a week = $1,600)
- Bikini ($200)
- Shoes ($150)
- Training Session (20 weeks, 1 per week, $50 each = $1,000)
- Posing classes ($20, 10 sessions = $200)
- Registration (Including Federation fee and categories that you want to compete in = $360)
- Supplements (this can vary, but based on protein, creatine, l-carnitine, diuretics, hormone balancers etc. roughly $600)
- Competition day
- Hair ($100)
- Make up ($100)
- Tan ($100)
- Post competition
- Coaching ($50 each week after comp, 8 weeks for reverse diet = $400)
- Food ($80 a week, $640)
That’s a total of $7,050. Roughly speaking. For example, if you wanted private posing sessions, this could cost you an extra $50 upwards. These costs are different for everyone but as like most things in life, there are alternatives that can reduce some of these costs. I’m thinking the next time I do compete (not a for a while), I’ll do a cross comparison in pricing and how I saved just that bit extra with my second competition.
So competing… is it worth it?
Yes and no. Or in Australian terms ‘yeah nah’ or ‘nah yeah’. Simple enough right? Yes – the true fact is that it feels absolutely amazing being on that stage achieving what I did physically. But mentally, it left me quite drained but to be fair I wasn’t prepared at all nor did I have the knowledge to support myself. The next time I do compete (which won’t be for a while), I’ll be better equipped with knowledge and mentally prepared for the potential negative repurcussions thereafter. It’s a learning process, and with no regrets I’m happy to have gone through it. Everyone’s experiences are different, the least I can do is share mine.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be deep diving into the nitty gritty of this post, expanding on the overall costs, what’s involved in a bikini contest preparation and of course, the negative repercussions. Stay tuned ladies!