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What to Expect at a Figure and Bikini Competition

What to Expect at a Figure and Bikini Competition


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I remember my first competition years ago. All the dieting, exercising, getting up at 5 in the morning just to squeeze that extra cardio in, suit selection, and practicing in heels... none of it prepared me for what actually happened the day of the competition. I hadn't a clue! I also hadn't any friends in the field yet so I was running pretty blind. Now after having a few competitions behind I feel more confident about what to expect and thought I would share with those of you looking to compete. While every figure and bikini competition is run a little differently, there are several things that stay pretty standard.

Hopefully by this point you've nailed down your diet and exercise plan to get you stage ready. If you haven't, be sure to check out my Bikini Competition Diet and Exercise EBook and Meal Planner to confidently bring you to the show day without any guesswork.

Now on to the "other" stuff that no one tells you about...


Sometime before the actual event, you will need to register with the competition organizer that you plan on competing with. Oftentimes the host will have a website or Facebook page that outlines the information for the competition - where it will be held, what classes are available, how to register, and where to stay if you are coming from out of town. At this time you will need to choose what classes you would like to compete in, such as figure, bikini, or fitness. Many organizations allow you to compete in more than one (i.e. fitness and figure).

Registration is oftentimes closed a few weeks prior to the show. Therefore be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time to register, get plane tickets and a rental car if you're coming in from out of town.

Also during this time you will decide whether or not the host has tanning services and makeup professionals available for your use. If you are going to use these services you will need to schedule appointments with them well in advance to ensure you secure a time slot. Tanning in particular is well worth it if available. Schedule time the night before the show to have your spray tan completed. It will save your hours of time, and especially the frustration, of having to apply it yourself.


For single day events the sign-in is usually very early in the morning. Sometimes even at 6am. Here they will confirm your registration, confirm your height, give you your stage number, and let you know about the layout of the venue. You'll find out where the dressing rooms are, where the "pump up" rooms are (there may only be one if a smaller venue), and what the schedule is. Take advantage of this time with the organizers to introduce yourself and if you're a first-timer, tell them so! Organizers love to have first time competitors and are more than happy to give you any extra tips that might help you through the day. Running a show is a business, and their customers are the competitors. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

That being said, if at all possible, try to learn as much as you can about the event prior to the day of the competition. Call the event organizers and ask for the names of other competitors that you may be able to network with. Or find them on Facebook or on this site. :) (shameless plug) Most competitors are extremely happy to help newbies. Reach out and connect.

You should come to the event location with everything you need for the day. A cooler of food, extra sweats, backup competition suit, make-up, tan touch-up, hairdryer and curling iron, competition shoes, flipflops, bikini bite, competition glaze, jewelry, handheld mirror, exercise bands, safety pins, ipod and water. You'll likely feel like you need a pickup truck just to haul all this stuff, but it's worth it to have more than you needed rather than be stuck missing something important.


There will be some sort of a competitors meeting where the competition organizers will walk the competitors through the schedule, perform any rehersals if necessary, go over the do's, don'ts, and overall expectations. Again, this is your chance to ask questions. While it might feel a little intimidating being surrounded by dozens of other competitors, some of which that are quite seasoned, remember that they all started at some point, just like you. They understand what it's like to not know the ropes and are generally very empathetic.

In a multi-day event the competitors meeting may be held the day before you go on stage. You should receive that full schedule upon registration or check-in.


In between the competitors meeting and prejudging you will have time to ready yourself for the stage. Depending on the class you are in, this could be a very short period of time or a very long one. I called it "hurry up and wait" at one show I attended. There was this frenzy of activity and a sense of urgency at the competitors meeting, and then hours of standing around waiting to be called on stage. One other competition I went to I fortunately was completely prepped when I walked through the door, which was a good thing because I had only five minutes from the end of the competitors meeting to actually walking on stage!

Take home point - BE READY. Do as much as you can prior to even showing up at the venue. The prejudging is typcially where all the actual judging takes place so you want to be your absolute best for that few minutes up on stage.


This is where you'll strut your stuff. You should already know the walk and poses the organization requires - hopefully you've actually practiced it often at home and visualized it in your head all morning. Make sure you're loose, warmed up, and calm. Take it slow as there is a tendancy to speed things up when you're nervous. Make eye contact with the judges and the audience. Show confidence, poise, and professionalism.

They may call everyone out in a group for some posing, then call you out one by one, and then once again as a group where they will continue to compare and contrast competitors. This is a long process and you will likely get tired. But don't let down your showmanship for one second! You've worked too hard!


After the prejudging is over you will likely have several hours to relax before the night show. Eat a little, take a nap, and then prep yourself again for the night show.

You will see that most competitors are much more relaxed when they come back to the venue as the hard part is done and the real fun now begins.

The events will follow much the same pattern as they did for the prejudging but will be in a compressed time format. There will be more time focused on building crowd excitement and anticipation, and you will have more of an opportunity to show off.

The finalists will be announced and if you're in them, you'll be called out to the stage once again for the final pose-down. As always, give them your best!


After the competition it's party time! Most of your sister competitors will likely being going out for dinner and drinks. Join them and rejoice. You've done it.

Author: Kristin Shaffer

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