Steve Jobs, andNelson Mandela didn’t become the best at what they did or achieve amazing featsby staying the same. They worked, strove, and experienced failure and setbacksmany times before becoming the people we now revere them for being.
Competition allowsus to feel the pride that comes from accomplishment, of having to work forsomething and finally seeing the outcome of those efforts.
Competition bringsan amazing opportunity for self-improvement and developing your confidence.Life works better if we have goals and a sense of competition, both withinourselves driving us to be better and when participating in a fitness competition.
Competition isnecessary because striving for a particular outcome, despite troubles orsetbacks along the way, encourages perseverance and persistence.
It does not alwaysmean winning first place and not getting a placing is okay.
As a judge andCoach for many years I am often asked by competitors to give feedback and I loveit when I am contacted, as this feedback can guide the competitor’s futurepreparation and goal setting. My feedback almost always comes back to thefollowing 5 steps.
1. What are the judges looking for?
When you chooseyour competition event and federation examine the specific event and categoryrequirements on the federation web site. There is usually detailed information you candownload and you can also view past event photos and video footage.
These competitionguidelines will list the various categories and the criteria for eachcategory. It’s a good idea to sit downwith your coach and discuss where you will fit best and then adjust yourtraining and stage preparation accordingly.
By identifyingwhat the judges are looking for, you can work on these aspects which may bedifferent for each competition. For example in a federation that is looking fora more muscular look then focus on emphasising particular poses that highlightyour most muscular body parts, or perhaps you are entering a competition with atheme wear round, then take time in choosing an amazing costume that will wowthe crowd! By familiarising yourself with specific criteria you know where tofocus your time and energy for each specific competition.
Training for ashow takes more than hard work and dedication, it takes lifestyle changes andcommitment to the sport, as well as proper education and coaching. Make sureyou set a reasonable timeline for a show, have a strong support system and aknowledgeable coach or trainer in your corner.
2. Stage presence and beautypreparation
In most physiquecompetitions, the best body wins, but in bikini and fitness there is moreemphasis on the best overall stage presentation.
My biggest tip isto command attention as soon as you walk onstage. Your aim should be to drawthe eyes of the judges toward you throughout the assessment rounds. You need tobe aware that the judges are always observing you until you leave the stage.
In the comparisonrounds which comprise the quarter turns, the judges want to see you stand in aflattering pose that best showcases your body. In the front pose, you will havea wide stance with your weight shifted onto one leg, a hand on one hip, and theother hand placed to your side. You should also work on side and back poses toaccentuate your best points.
What the judgesare attracted to are the particular poses you choose, your smile, your gaze,bikini and a beautiful hair style, make up and a flawless tan.
Another importantaspect of presentation is the bikini itself. If the colour, shape and cut ofyour bikini is not flattering, your score will suffer. The right bikini foryour body can create a more glamorous and flattering look, and make asignificant difference in your score.
3. Final week organisation
Thefinal week leading up to your show is a time when emotions run high and stresslevels take over your normal calm personality, but it does not have to be thisway.
Beautyappointments take time and it is important to book in advance and write theseinto your day by day plan for the final week. Appointments should include haircolour, waxing, tanning and also hair and make-up styling for competition day.
Practise posing! I can’t stressthis enough. Even though I have won competitions, I still practise a lot in theweek leading up to a competition as I feel it gets me into the right headspaceto step on stage. It is also vital to start your posing at least 4-6 monthsprior to your competition date as it takes many lessons to learn a routine andposes to suit your body. It’ll be worththe extra time and effort, I promise!
4. Focus on your plan
Stay off of forums & avoidasking strangers for advice. Rookie mistake number one. Do not spend yournights looking up questions on forums such as:
“How many cheat meals are okay for prep?”
“How many fat burners should I take and which ones?”
“What’s the best calorie range for a bikini competitor?”
Please just don’tdo this. It will not help you whatsoever because these people will provide youbiased, generalised information based on their own experiences, not your body’sneeds.
This is why youneed to hire a coach you trust. Take only their advice throughout the entiretyof your prep. Find someone you trust that tailors everything to your specificneeds.
5. Post Competition GoalSetting and Importance of Reverse Dieting
First and foremost(especially if you are new to competing) make sure you are guided on whattraining to do post competition. This ensures an easy transition to your nextgoal and enables you to have a structured training plan to follow. You canrelax knowing that you have an enjoyable training program that will keep youmotivated and looking forward to each session.
After a competitionit can be hard to enjoy clean eating, especially if you followed a strict diet.Try to avoid looking at food as something to be feared and instead, use yourknowledge about nutrition and what makes your body feel good. By having areverse diet for example, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about becauseyou’re taking a calorie increase slowly without becoming obsessive and stressedabout what you eat.
Take Home Message
When you step off stage keep in mind that it isn't all about winning! You have no control over the judge’s opinions or who shows up to compete against you. Regardless of your scoring or placing you should be extremely proud of yourself for committing to months of preparation, stepping on that stage, and giving it all you’ve got.
We can sometimes get caught in a cycle of negative thinking if we do not achieve a placing.
Without competition, there is no race, there is no journey, and there is no celebration when you’ve done more than you ever thought possible – so don’t give up if you come home without a trophy. Re-assess your preparation and look ahead to future goals.
Contact the judges for feedback, make notes with your coach and then formulate a new plan to take you to the next level that you want to achieve.
You can achieve anything you set your mind to!
Written by: Amelia Ricci
Amelia Ricci is a Coach with over 10 years experience Judging, Competing and Creating Champions.
As a 2 x Fitness Model Champion and mentor to Australia's successful fitness and bikini models Amelia enjoys working in her business Living Beauty Fitness. Amelia can be contacted at www.livingbeauty.com.au