1 – Are you ready to compete?

If you really struggle during the off season scheduling your training and being consistent with your nutrition regime, then have a good think about what you’re letting yourself in for.

Prepping for a contest requires dedication on a consistent basis,day in day out for months on end. Each athlete is different, however the final weeks can be both physically and mentally tough when bodyfat is super low.

You’ll be hungry a lot. Feel crap at times,but look great (for those who get lean enough).

2 – Give yourself enough time

Unless you’re at a very lean starting point 12 week preps are a thing of the past.

Stubborn pockets of bodyfat holding areas can take extra weeks or even months to tap into. I’ve never heard of anyone being ‘too ripped’ unless the criteria of the class requires a more ‘smoother’ appearance (i.e. Bikini, Figure, Men’s Physique in a lot of federations).

3 – Avoid ‘predicting’ your stage weight

Avoid obsessing about what weight you will be onstage. Chances are when you reach your predicted weight you’ll still have more bodyfat to drop.

It’s great to see that your waist getting smaller each week, but also expect t shirts and clothes in general to feel a little more loose.

4 – Practice your poses

You don’t need to be the most graceful of movers, however practice practice practice your mandatory poses.
Hire someone experienced if needed.

Knowing how to present your physique properly to show off your strengths and hide your weaknesses can make a difference to your final placings.

5 – Listen to one person

Others may ask you how you are prepping and give their opinion on what to do or what ‘they’ would do.

Listening to too many people just leads to frustration and temptation to try too many things that may hold you back.

Hire a reputable contest prep coach or have that ‘go to’ person who has the experience and focus on what they have to say not Big Dave from the local gym who’s never even been to a show.

6 – Don’t compare yourself to others

It’s natural to check out your potential competition on instagram & facebook etc, however their pics could be filtered,taken at a certain angle, in a perfect light, or they could just be posting their strongest poses.

People who do this regularly tend to look a LOT less impressive when seen on the stage.

7 – Tan & Shaving

Guys start shaving your body hair a few months before the show. Only needs to be once a week to allow your skin to adjust (to avoid cuts & rashes and yes you’ll need to shave down below too as you don’t want any unsightly hair poking out at the side of your trunks onstage!).

Start prepping your skin daily a few weeks before the contest (exfoliate during shower/bath and then moisturise. This will allow your chosen tan to absorb into the skin better).

Some federations allow instant tan i.e. Dreamtan where you can apply a light layer the night before and then another layer backstage, however please check with your chosen federation’s rules.

Other tans may need to be applied a day or two before the contest.

Think of it as painting a wall at home.

You’ll apply one coat at a time and allow a few hours between coats with an aim to create a smooth even finish.

Only apply a little bit of tan to the face and avoid tanning your palms and soles of your feet.

No deodorant or moisturiser 24 hours prior to tanning as this can alter your skin’s ph levels making the tan green.
Moisturiser will just prevent this type of tan from absorbing into the skin.

8 – Find a balance

Contest prep, especially the final weeks can consume you but still make an effort to spend time with family, friends.

You don’t have to live like a monk during prep and can still go on holiday/weekend breaks etc.
It just takes a little planning ahead.

9 – Don’t be a &@£*

As selfish as prep can be, and when things get tough when you don’t have as much patience with things, remember it’s your choice to do this.
No one is forcing you to compete.
Life doesn’t always revolve around you.

10 – Enjoy the journey and the experience!

Enjoy the process.

Aim to be consistent week in week out and give it your all.
When you’re onstage (and once showday/backstage nerves are out of the way) you will feel a ‘buzz’ that I can’t describe.

Of course everyone wants to win, but don’t beat yourself up if you don’t place where you want to.

If you can step onstage knowing you’ve given it your all you’ll feel proud of achieving your best shape so far.

No matter which level you compete at we are always striving to improve, and that’s the great thing about this sport!

**Pic is TeamLees client Yikai Shao who scooped a class win, Overall and Best Presentation at his first contest in 2016 **