You have pushed your limits at the gym and have decided to take on a fitness competition. You’ve done your research on what bikini competition prep entails, talked to other competitors and maybe attended a show. Your ideal show date has been chosen and you have even thought about the post-contest treat you want to have. Before you embark on such an ambitious goal, you should also consider the expense that such an endeavor will cost you in a couple different respects.
In comparison to other sports, bodybuilding can get expensive. Even with some more affordable options available, expect your bank account to take a hit. The following is a list of things to consider when budgeting for a bodybuilding show. Some things are totally optional and others are not.
Bikini Competition Prep Budget
Cost: In-person=$100-150/session, online=$350+/month
This is the first and crucial thing to have. Even the pros and best coaches in the world have trainers and coaches of their own. It’s easy to know all the information and knowledge about bodybuilding and nutrition, but it’s hard to really apply it to ourselves and hold ourselves accountable. Get a coach, one who has experience working with fitness competitors (not just having completed themselves!). A competition coach will guide you through the processes of nutrition, training, posing, and all the essentials that come with competing (and there is a LOT more to it then just training and diet!).
With condo gyms becoming better these days you might be able skip the gym membership. Keep in mind you do need some essentials like squat rack, cable machine, various dumbbell and barbell weights. Otherwise, a basic gym will do the trick for training. Just make sure they have the equipment you need for workouts from your coach.
Cost: Group seminars =$30-50, private lessons =$60-120/hr
You could technically attempt to teach yourself with YouTube, which is free. The issue here lies that its not as easy as it sounds, and different federations/ categories have different requirements. Take at least a few sessions with a posing coach to really nail it!
The food you eat on a competition prep adds up quickly. Even if you eat clean before you start a prep, you will start eating a lot more whole foods and protein, plus eating more frequently. The cost of your grocery list goes up. You also need to buy separate foods on show day and factor in post show meals/treats.
You could go overboard and spend hundreds of dollars each month. It’s best to stick to the basics and ones that have evidence it works (ie. protein powder, omega-3, BCAA, vitamins).
Suits can range from $300-$1000+. The fit of your suit can make or break how your physique looks on stage, so borrowing a suit may not be the best option. You can also buy an affordable plain suit, then add the bling yourself to offset costs.
A simple clear heel will do, no need to get fancy with jewels. Check your federation guidelines on height of the heel as that will vary.
Different federations will have different membership fees. All shows require you to be a member of their federation before you can compete or register for a contest.
Competition Entry Fees
Costs are typically per class entered. On occasion, there may be discounts for early bird registration.
This is something I HIGHLY recommend you leave to the pros. Show day there is usually an onsite tanner to give you that perfect stage glow. Let the professionals take care of that to avoid that disastrous at home tanning attempts, looking blotchy.
Can definitely be done on your own, however, the onsite makeup person can help with this.
Your makeup must be very dark to match the tan. Having a professional do it is nice for a perfect match. If you buy your own, this make up will last all of your shows. Often there are official makeup artists for the shows to help you out with this.
Jewelry is to your desired taste. You can choose to wear rings, bracelets and earrings, however, you don’t need to purchase expensive bling.
Not mandatory, but gives a nice final touch to your look leaving your nails in good shape.
Getting a Brazilian wax for the tiny suits leaves you careless, but not necessary. Some opt for home hair removal to save a penny.
Usually there is a host hotel where the athletes meeting, registration, tanning and makeup are done right at the venue. Staying there gives you ease when you get your final look together.
Varies depending on how far you live from the show. Competing in local shows keeps your travel affordable, but the dates may not work with your schedule.
Tickets for family/friends
Fitness competitions are not cheap to watch, but its important to have a team of cheerleaders there who have seen you through the process.
Many venues now have regulations on not permitting cameras in beside the official photographer. The event photographer will usually offer packages with all of the pictures they take of you during the show. Those stage shots may be worth it!
If you plan on competing down the road, it is beneficial to get the video with the judge’s voice over telling you what to work on for your off season to improve.
You worked really hard to get to that stage shape so you may want to capture it for remembering. Schedule a personal fitness photo shoot. Definitely not necessary.
– Chiropractor/physiotherapist/massage to help muscles cope with the high levels of training and/or help rehab from injury or soreness
– Bikini bite/glaze for show day (often provided by tanners)
– Dumbbells/resistance bands for show day to pump up backstage
All in all, bikini competition prep is not a cheap hobby, but the rush, adrenaline and the amazing experience may be worth every penny for you. If you are comfortable with working out on your own, then you may save some money by hiring a knowledgeable bikini competition prep coach online (click on the link!) for a fraction of the cost of seeing one in person. If you need more assistance and looking to train with a fitness competition coach in person, we would be happy to meet with you at our downtown Toronto studio. In any case, bikini competition prep is a journey you should be ready for, so plan ahead and you will succeed!