These days, social media makes it seem like everyone is stepping on stage for a bikini competition. It’s the “in” thing to do right now. The tight 6-pack abs, perfect hair and makeup, trophies, and post-show goodies all look amazing!
However, it is an extremely demanding, expensive, and time-consuming endeavor and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. I waited for over 2 years before finally deciding to prep for my first NPC bikini competition, and I am so glad that I did!
Are you thinking about doing a bikini competition? Ask yourself the following questions before you decide whether you’re ready to step on stage:
Are you mentally ready?
For months leading up to show day, you will be tested in every aspect. Your willpower, motivation, confidence, body image, and more will all be pushed to the limit, and you have to make sure that you are ready for that.
Many girls report having body image issues as well as a damaged relationship with food as a result of competing (see “The Dark Side Of Bikini Competition“). While competing may not create those issues from nothing, if you experience them at all before you begin prep, they will likely get much worse as you get closer to show time.
Make sure that you are not using competing as a way to “get fit quick”, because 9 times out of 10, that mentality backfires. You should have great body image and a healthy relationship with food before even considering competing.
Are you physically ready?
Additionally, it is impossible to lose purely fat when you diet for a long time, so you must account for a little muscle loss down the road. You want to showcase a physique that you can be proud of, so take the time to build muscle and set yourself up for a successful bikini competition prep.
Another reason to build muscle is that the more muscle you have, the easier it is to lose fat. With that, make sure that your metabolism and hormones are healthy.
Many women who have yo-yo dieted or lost or gained a lot weight often have trouble getting their body fat down low enough for a competition. Be patient and work on your metabolic and hormonal health before you commit to a competition prep.
Research “reverse dieting” for information on how to increase your metabolism, and get your bloodwork done if you suspect any hormonal imbalances.
Additionally, you need to be physically fit enough to keep up with your training during prep. Your training and cardio intensity and/or frequency will increase over the course of prep, all while your food intake is (most likely) decreasing.
Expect it to be hard and be prepared to grind it out despite being tired, sore, hungry, frustrated etc.
Are you financially ready?
You need to be prepared to pay for your federation registration (ex: NPC card), show registration, spray tan(s), competition suit, heels, and jewelry, hair, makeup (hire someone or do it yourself and purchase supplies), a coach, supplements, and food. Not to mention traveling if you are doing non-local shows. It all adds up!
Are you doing it for the right reasons?
As a general rule, you should never do something just because someone else is, or because it’s the “cool” thing to do. You should only do things that you genuinely want to do!
So, don’t compete because you think it will look cool to your friends and social media followers, or because you want the pictures, or because you think it’s an easy way to get in shape.
Do it because you are passionate about the process and looking for a challenge. Do it because you want to test your limits and showcase your hard work. Don’t do it because it looks cool to others, or to prove others wrong.
Motivation from outside sources will not get you through the hard days of prep. They will not get you to the gym when you are lacking energy, or help you resist that cookie that doesn’t fit your macros. The motivation to be your best on stage needs to come from within!
Long story short, the stage will always be there and you should never rush into competing; wait until you are ready in every aspect, and do it for the right reasons!