So you're thinking of entering your first Bodybuilding competition?  Horleys' Athletes Janelle Cheesman (INBA Bikini & Sports Model), and Ricky Kee-Sue (INBA Classic Physique) fill you in on the top 5 things to consider before you step on stage. 


1.  What competition will you enter?
It may seem obvious, but to enter a Bodybuilding competition you need a competition to enter. There are many different bodybuilding federations you can compete in, so the first step should be to do your research in order to choose which federation is the best fit for you.  Things to consider include competition dates, locations, what categories and bodybuilding divisions are offered, and what the federations' requirements are.

Each federation has divisions and categories that cater to different body shapes.  Do you have enough muscle mass for bodybuilding, or is your body more suited to physique, figure or bikini?  If you're a natural athlete, would you prefer to enter a drug tested competition?  Choose a federation and category that best suits your body type, and make sure you give yourself plenty of time to prepare.

2.  Do you have a diet plan?
Now that you've chosen the competition in which you're going to compete, it's time to start your diet.  Dieting for a bodybuilding competition is different to simply ‘going on a diet’.  You now have a deadline to lose your excess body fat, and hiring a competition coach/nutritionist who specialises in bodybuilding prep will help ensure you sculpt your body in time.

Bodybuilding competitors, regardless of their gender and the category they're entering, need to follow a strict diet that consists of personalised calories with an optimal ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat to lose body fat while maintaining muscle mass.  This is the hardest part of competition prep, as it means weighing food, prepping meals in advance and eating out of plastic containers, all while fighting your cravings and urges to devour fast food.  A diet coach will help keep you accountable and take the uncertainty and stress away from doing it yourself.

3.  What will your training schedule look like?
While training isn't as important as nutrition, it's still a vital part.  Your training needs to include weights and cardio.  It pays to have a coach or personal trainer who can assist you with a training plan, but this isn't essential.  Prepping for a bodybuilding competition often means you'll be training every day - sometimes twice.  Prepare yourself for early mornings and late nights at the gym, as it's all part of the process.  It's also important to take good quality supplements to aid your training, such as protein powder and branch chain amino acids and more.

4.  How will you present yourself?
Now that you have a plan of attack for your diet and training, it's time to figure out what you're going to do to show off all your hard work on competition day.  This is important because you could have the best body on stage, but if your posing and stage presence isn't up to scratch the judges will certainly notice.

Believe it or not, Bodybuilding competitions aren't solely about the body.  Judges are looking for the full package, which includes stage presence, posing, skin tone, hair and make-up, jewellery, shoes and your posing suit.  Hire a posing coach if possible, and practice posing often so when you get on stage you can show off all your hard work!

5.  Can you afford to compete?
Bodybuilding isn't a cheap sport.  There are many things you need to pay for that will burn a hole in your pocket so you need to ensure you can actually afford to compete before you start your prep.

Things you'll need to pay for include your coach/nutritionist, personal trainer, supplements, registration fees as well as travel costs and accommodation if your competition is out of town.  You'll also fork out hundreds of dollars for your posing suit, spray tans, hair, makeup, posing heels, nails - the list goes on.  Expect your weekly food bill to cost more too.


Are you ready to enter your first bodybuilding competition?
Entering a bodybuilding competition takes a lot of preparation, sacrifice, will power, and money, but it’s also very rewarding after all the hard work you put in, and an experience you’ll never forget! 

Horleys are proud sponsors of the INBA South Pacific Natural Physique Championships, and INBA Universe.  Check out Horleys' Elite range of supplements used by bodybuilding competitors here.

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