Fitness Competition Considerations

by Kari Sullivan, Certified Personal Trainer

For many of us, life is crazy. As if it weren’t crazy enough, a handful of us animals decide to take on a sport and really give it our all. It becomes an outlet, a passion that we long to succeed in. For me, that sport has become bodybuilding. It seems to be gaining popularity and so I wanted to touch on two important elements regarding the sport that you should consider before committing. 

There is the stage, and there is reality. You must be confident that you can separate the two. Leaning out for a show can bring you to an unhealthy body fat percentage. For an athletic female, for example, that’s really anything below 12 percent, and come stage time you may settle in around 10 percent or less. You look phenomenal, but it’s not realistic because you can’t stay at such a low body fat percentage. Coming back up to a healthy percentage, say 15 percent (still extremely fit), is something that some can’t handle. Would you be able to handle it? You have to be able to handle it.

Next, can you afford it? Competing is expensive! To start, there are the supplements that you should very carefully consider buying so that your body can keep up with repairing itself after each intense training session. As a female, competition bikinis and figure suits range from $250-$1,000. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, you will need that fabulous spray tan that makes you look like an alien next to your family, but is absolutely necessary for the stage. Day-of spray tans usually cost $100-$200 with touch ups. Hair and makeup? That’s another $200. Nails and pedicure? $65-$75. Professional photos while you have that smashing body? $300-$1,200. Hotels, travel expenses, oh… and food… how could I forget food?! You will spend your paycheck on food, and Tupperware. Between supplements and food, you can expect to spend around $100-$150 per week, for just you. After 12+ weeks of training, that alone is $1,200-$1,800. And don’t forget, you still have your regular life to support:  rent, utilities, gym membership…oy!

The last factor to consider in regards to competing is to hire someone who can guide you through proper nutrition and a solid training plan. You’ll have enough to worry about and letting someone guide you makes it all that much easier. 

Bodybuilding can be a rewarding (and challenging) endeavor both personally and physically. If it is something that interests you, consider these questions and commit!