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So, you want to be a professional bodybuilder?
Tamara Ribiero-Bailey IFBB Figure Pro Bodybuilder

So, you want to be a professional bodybuilder? (Pt2)

by Tamara Ribiero-Bailey IFBB Figure Pro Bodybuilder

Congratulations!! Despite all of the possible pitfalls and obstacles I spoke about in Part 1, you’ve made the decision to step onto the physique competition stage. You’re fairly sure you’re up to the hours of meal prep, rigid dieting and the grueling workouts – in fact, you’re actually looking forward to pushing your mind and body to the limit, and then pushing some more. You’ve stocked up on your protein, BCAA’s, and your vitamins. Maybe you’re even lucky enough to have landed a sponsor, sugar daddy or sugar mommy. You’re psyched to fill your social media pages with posts and photos of your competition prep meals and your weight training and cardio grind and of course all the relevant fitness clichés - #nopainnogain #beastmode, #strongissexy #thestruggleisreal etc etc.

So that’s great, you’re well on your way. I mean, once you have all that down, the rest takes care of itself right? Ahh, if only…..

1. Presentation is key!!

So many athletes walk away from a competition plotting the death of the judges - “dey tieeeff!!” Because after all, conditioning, symmetry, V-taper, 10-pack abs – everything “on fleek”! That might actually be true, but many athletes don’t realize that the competitor who takes the win doesn’t always have the best body. When judges are faced with very similar physiques in a lineup, they must find a way to separate them – this is where they start to focus on the small details. This is why on-stage presentation is such a crucial aspect of contest preparation, but sadly, is so often neglected or left for the last minute.

2. Posing Practice

All of the categories in the sport require the athletes to execute mandatory poses on stage, in some cases both individually and in a lineup. Some categories, like Men’s Bodybuilding and Women’s Physique also have free posing rounds. Women’s Figure, Bikini and Men’s Physique are required to do individual presentations or “T-walks”. These rounds are also very critical, because that’s the time you get to let your unique personality shine, to catch the judges’ attention and stand out from your competitors. Smile! Show confidence! Strut around that stage like it’s on sale and your protein runs out tonight! Ladies, practice walking in your heels so that come show time, it won’t look like it’s your first day at MJU (Moko Jumbie University).

Instead of Googling Caitlyn Jenner, do some research on your category and make sure you know the mandatory poses. In between looking at videos of cats being frightened by cucumbers and episodes of Lip Sync Battle, scour You Tube for clips of experienced athletes free posing and T-walking in competition, then practice practice practice!

3. Suit Selection

You’ve spent months working hard and sacrificing so much to hone and refine every detail of your physique, but if you’re wearing the wrong suit, all of this can go down the drain. You need to put advance thought into your contest wear, especially you ladies! Just like the mandatory poses, there are criteria for competition wear depending on your category, but you still have room to show some individuality. Girls, step away from your Bedazzler – get your suit custom made.

While these can be costly, now is not the time to be “penny wise and pound foolish” – you need a suit that fits your body properly and is decorated by someone who knows what they’re doing. Choose a colour that flatters your skin tone and hair colour. Men’s physique athletes, make sure your trunks are the right length and bodybuilders, please, leave the pampers for Junior!!

4. The Extras

So let’s face it – this sport is about aesthetics. You’re going to be judged on the way you look, and that doesn’t stop with your body alone! Like I said before, it’s the total package that will give you that edge.

You’re going to have to get a spray tan, so start exfoliating your skin at least 3 weeks prior to your show so it goes on evenly. Hair removal is a must, but you need to do your waxing at least 2 days before to allow your skin to settle down. Ladies, pay attention to that bikini line! It’s also a good idea to get a facial about 3 weeks before so your skin is glowing on show day. Book a trial with your hairstylist and makeup artist well before the competition to try out different looks. Get your nails done, and fellas, getting a pedicure doesn’t make you less of a man! Find a good barber and make sure you look well groomed. Remember, all eyes will be on you!

So if all of this still doesn’t faze you, then you’re halfway there – see you on stage!!

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