How to stay relaxed on a competition day by Kaisa Piippo
Yikes, it is THE day! But fear not. I’m going to give you some advice that helped me and other girls at my show to stay calm before hitting the stage.
I was well prepared for my first show. I had read every magazine possible, read every Hard Fitness article about competing and surfed way too many hours on message boards on the internet (good pastime when waiting for your next meal). I had packed most of my things needed for the competition almost a week ahead and even baked chocolate chip cookies for girls backstage. I was as ready as ready can be. So here’s my checklist for you to make sure you can be ready too!
A week before the show
-Start making a list of the goodies you need when you travel (check out Amy Peters’ list on Hard Fitness issue #1)
-Write down your competition day’s schedule (hour to hour) and put it on your refrigerator door. This helps you with planning and you’ll memorize it easily.
-Make a list of the things you need to buy and get them as soon as possible. No reason to delay this because you want to be able to relax towards the end of the week.
-Decide on your competition hairstyle, make-up, jewelry etc. Don’t leave it to the last few days!
-If you have an assistant who will help you on competition day, go through the last week’s and competition day’s schedule with her. She should be organized enough so you can trust her completely and concentrate on mentally preparing for your time on the stage.
-Make time for relaxation. It’s time to start mentally preparing for the show: stress will raise your cortisol levels and make you retain water. Try to create a stress-free environment at home with music you love, stretching and so on.
A couple of days before the show
-Pack everything you need for the show except food. If you’re flying, make sure your suits, shoes, makeup etc. that you need on competition day is in your carry-on!
-Label your food containers with tape you can write on so you know which meal is which. For example: “Saturday meal 1, 6:00am: oats 1 cup”. You don’t want to go measuring everything on the day when there’s so much other stuff to think about.
-Pamper yourself with a funny movie or your favorite episode of a tv show that makes you laugh. This relieves stress.
At the location (hotel or where ever you’re staying)
-If you have an assistant, let her take care of the mandatory things like making sure you have distilled water around at all times, your schedule is point on, your competition color is dark enough. You shouldn’t need to be running around like a chicken with its head cut off – you should be lying on a bed with your eyes close, legs up the wall just relaxing and waiting for the assistant to tell you when to do something.
-Go through your poses. Imagine the moment you’re on the stage: how you will feel totally confident, your condition is right on, you can present the best you possible. Smile! Flexing a little will harden you up and bring out detail.
-Make sure you have all your competition day belongings in a small bag or a in a small pull behind luggage (won’t stain your competition color). Suits in Ziploc bags, jewelry etc. for different rounds in their own ziploc bags. You want to find everything easily when you’re backstage, so organize your bag so that you won’t need to go through all your things when trying to find a safety pin.
-Make sure you have double alarm clocks for the next morning if you’re a sleepyhead.
-Relax, relax, relax! And sleep well – it will help you stay focused on your big day.
-Today: be early. No matter where you go, be early so you don’t have to rush! It’s better to be on time and have to wait, you never know what might happen.
-If you have makeup and hair booked, this is the time to go through the day in your mind. If you can, close your eyes for 10 minutes and go through every detail of the day from putting your suits on to getting off the stage. When it’s time to get on the stage, you feel like you did it once already.
-Arrive to the competition location at least 30 minutes before the athletes’ meeting.
-Be nice to the other girls backstage. Everyone’s competing against themselves and this is their show too. This is NOT the time to be bitchy. You don’t need to talk to anyone, but if someone talks to you, don’t make yourself a fool by acting like a queen of the world. It’s much more fun to compete in good spirits.
-Glue your suits on time, put your shoes on and pump up. This is a good time to take a little space of your own and focus totally on yourself. If music helps, put on your music player and listen to an uplifting song that makes you want to dance.
-Get on the stage and have fun! You have been dieting, lifting, doing cardio and challenging yourself for this moment for many weeks. This moment is worth smiling and enjoying. You’re making your dream come true, so get on there and SHINE!
About the Author...
I am an enthusiastic and goal-oriented
23 year old future figure competitor from Finland. Currently I'm
getting ready for my first figure competition in April 2006 in
Finland. I have been training for the competition for nearly two
years. While preparing for my first show I have been living in
hot and sunny Arizona. Since it's hard for a foreigner to get
a permission to work in the States, I have been studying the fitness
industry and lifestyle 24/7. It doesn't always take the competition
experience to learn about the sport because being around it teaches
a lot too! By all the knowledge I've gathered I now feel confident
on stepping on the stage and learning some more about fitness,
this time by experiencing the competition excitement myself.
So how to learn fitness in theory? For most of
my knowledge I can thank Pakkotoisto.com,
energetic NPC fitness athlete Katie
Madden and of course the ever informative Hard