Becoming a Fitness Competitor by Kristi Wills
At about 2 a.m., you're flipping through the channels of your t.v. because you can’t sleep. Then, you're really wide-awake, when you land on a sports channel that has girls flipping across a stage doing extraordinary strength moves and showing impressive flexibility. These girls then come out in two-piece suits, high heels, and in your eyes, have flawless physiques. They're looking confident and looking like they are having the time of their life. Your wheels start turning and you start thinking..that's what I’d like to do! Many fitness competitors, including myself, have begun competing because of the fitness shows that have been shown on t.v. during non prime times or have been covered in magazines. Unfortunately, there are still many talented girls who do not go for their dream because they simply do not know where to start or they become overwhelmed with all that it entails. Hopefully with this article, I will be able to answer some of their questions and give beginners a better understanding of what a fitness competition is all about.
To begin with, I highly suggest you watch or attend a local fitness show. Take notes and try to talk to some of the competitors. If it looks like something you would like to get involved with, make an appointment with a company that trains fitness competitors. Personally, I work with Cathy Savage from Savage Choreography, which is located in Walpole, MA. She works with competitors from all over the US and even parts of Canada. With today's technology, it doesn't matter where you live! You will need to be assessed so you know what areas you need to work on, what federations you should compete in, and when you will be ready to do you first show. You will also need to have a nutritional plan that is geared toward a fitness competitor, not a bodybuilder. Fitness competitors have to be conscious of skin tone, hair, and nails, so they have to ensure they are getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.
Next, you need to create your music for your fitness routine. You should try to come up with a theme, have about 5 different songs, have sound effects, and have your music professionally mixed. You will need to have a costume, and if you're just starting out, I suggest you buy a used one. If you are planning on having one made, allow for 3-6 months. Your costume should match your theme!
You also need to have a two-piece suit and some federations, like the NPC, also require a one-piece suit. Again, if you're just starting out, you may want to buy used ones. For a year, everything I had was used. I then set up a “fitness fund” so that when I reached the National level, I was able to purchase suits and costumes designed for me. Some competitors only do one show and realize it’s not for them. That is why it’s best at first to buy used costumes and suits before you drop $1,000.00!
Once you have your music, set up an appointment with
a choreographer. Again, I use Cathy Savage. She also videotapes routines
for her clients all over the US and parts of Canada. Enroll in yoga,
pilates, or core board classes to increase your current flexibility
or purchase a stretch or yoga videotape if you can’t find a good class.
Always engage in daily stretches. Make sure you budget your time accordingly
for your weight training and routine practice. I always practice my
routine on my non-weight training days. Trust me, the fitness routine
is a workout in itself!
You also need to purchase tanning products and bikini bite. The tanning products you use and the amounts you use, vary depending on your skin type and tone. Because I am on the lighter side, I have 3 Mystic Tan sessions, and then I have about 4 coats of Pro Tan on me before I step on the stage. You need to be very dark due to the stage lighting. You should always practice with your tanning products before your first show, as some of them may give you a green tint or they may not take to your skin. You will want to purchase bikini bite, which is a roll-on glue. This helps keep your suits in place as you walk on stage and do all of your turns. It helps prevent those unwanted wedgies! Have someone apply it for you, so that you know that your suit is even in the back and on the sides.
Also, make an appointment with a professional make-up artist to learn how to apply make-up for a stage. Personally, I recommend MAC cosmetics. You will also want to wear some jewelry that will add to your suits, such as earrings or a bracelet. For the routine round, if you have long hair you can put it into a ponytail since it’s the athletic round. For the physique rounds, you may want to add clips or barrettes, and either wear your hair down, with curls, or in an updo. If you are doing a one-piece and a two-piece round, vary your hairstyle for each round. I highly suggest you get your nails done and that you go with a French Manicure. You don't want to use too bright of a color because it will distract the judges from looking at your physique. With the right hair, make-up, and jewelry, you can show off your physique in a very glamorous and feminine way!
all of the above in mind, one can see that there is a lot to learn before
you step on stage. However, with the right resources and dependable
advice, you can reach for your goal. Remember that every show is a learning
experience whether you perform at the local, national, or professional
level. You learn a lot, not only from your own experiences, but also
from the experiences of the other competitors. During my first show,
my tanning was off, my costume didn't fit right, and I had no idea how
to do my make-up! Even so, with all the glitches, the most important
lesson I learned was that fitness shows are for me and competing is
where I belong . I am so glad that a few years ago, I had a sleepless
night, and there was nothing on t.v., except a fitness show!