By Kasia Sitarz (@kasiasitarz)
With seven years of Pro fitness and Bikini competition experience under my belt, as well as time spent judging national fitness and bodybuilding competitions, I believe that I have come to understand what it truly takes to step out on stage.
I’ve also learned that competing is not for everyone. It takes a lot of sacrifice, willpower, dedication, and an in-depth understanding of how your body works. If you are considering competing for the first time, here are a few pointers to help make your decision a little bit easier.
What is Your End Goal?
One of the first things you should think about is the reason you want to compete. Will the stage be a weight-loss motivator, a confidence-builder, or a limit-pusher? Or perhaps you’re already a fitness industry professional and you’re looking for new ways to build your business, name, and brand. Whatever your reason, it’s important to identify it and ensure it’s strong enough to see you down the long, sometimes dark, path to the stage.
Behind The Scenes of Competing
Regardless of the organization you decide to compete with, there will always be steps and costs involved. Be sure to research organization choices online or talk to others who have previously competed before deciding who to register with. Once you have that big decision out of the way, consider which category is best suited for you: Bodybuilding, Fitness, Bikini, etc. Most organizations will host open entry-level competitions for beginners, which allow you to get a better understanding of how the process works, and also experience the judging panel, scores, and expectations. I also highly recommend seeking out professional coaching in nutrition, training, and posing for your best shot at success. Lastly, it’s important to remember that unless you are a sponsored athlete, food, supplements, coaches, outfits, and show entry costs will come out of your own wallet, and they can add up quickly.
When You Should Give Competing a Pass
If you have any underlying conditions, such as an eating disorder, competing may not be the right choice for you at this point in time. Take care of yourself first, and make sure that if and when you do decide to compete, you are doing it for the right reasons. There are a lot of pressures associated with competing and the fitness industry as a whole, such as having the right look and eating a certain way, so it’s important that you come to understand your body and identify any limitations you may have.
If you’ve read all of these points and still think that competing sounds like the perfect fit for you, just remember not to be too hard on yourself. You may work your butt off, look your best, and feel your best, but that’s no guarantee that you’ll place where you, your family, friends, or trainer think you should — which is why it’s so important that you compete only for yourself! You’ll be the one who’s getting up early to do grinding morning workouts, staying up late to prep food, forking over the cash for seemingly endless costs, and saying “no” to social events so that you can train, sleep, or eat properly. You’ll have to push your body, mind, and training to extreme new levels, but I promise if you do decide to compete, that moment on stage will be so exhilarating and rewarding that your hard work will instantly feel worthwhile. Ultimately, the choice is yours!