A question I get from newbies looking to get into competing is how do I pick my shows. I’m going to be honest. Because I’m still new at this NPC competition thing AND it’s probably not going to be my full time job (as I love my job as a Digital News Director for a media company), there is no real strategy behind which shows I do.
At the beginning, the most important thing for someone new is to get out there and simply DO a show. The more shows you do, the more comfortable you’ll be on stage — and this is important. The judges look at your body, but they also look at how confident your are — plus, if you aren’t standing properly, you may not be showing off your muscles in the best way. Believe me, it looks easy, but the stage part doesn’t come naturally for many of us. I get super nervous and I suck on stage. I forget to smile, I rush through my poses, I shake, I look down at my feet…you name it, I do it. I’m amazed I haven’t tripped yet.
Another reason to do a show is that it keeps you on track. You have a reason to stay on plan because you are counting down to a goal. So once I pick my show, I work hard because I don't want to look bad on stage.
For the shows….there are tons of them. Here is the link to the 2014 NPC Bikini Competition Schedule. As you can see, there are a lot of shows. If you were crazy (and maybe rich as it does cost money to compete), you could do a show every weekend. And this schedule doesn’t even include the bigger national shows.
My first few shows were close to home so that I could save money. My first show was in San Diego, my second one was in Tahoe and my third one was in Sacramento. At that time, I was living in Sacramento (now I live in Phoenix) so I could drive to all these shows.
In California, I was lucky as there were a number of shows in the San Francisco and LA area. This year I’m in Phoenix and there are only two in my area all year long. But that’s okay. If I’m going to travel to a show, I’m going to pick some that are in interesting places like Florida and make a long weekend out of it. I figure it will be a reward for working hard during training.
A FEW TIPS FOR PICKING YOUR SHOW:
No matter which show you pick, make sure you run it by your coach if you have one. They have been in the industry longer than you have and might have some recommendations as well.
- If possible, pick a show that your coach can attend. This way they can help you through your first show. I didn’t have this luxury, but I ran into this amazing girl (a fellow competitor) named Kristie at the show who helped me out.
- Look at your personal schedule and make sure you don’t have any birthdays or weddings the week before — that way you can totally focus and not run the risk of being tempted into eating something “bad” so close to show date.
- Look for shows that have your class. I’m over 35 so I always look for a show that has a “masters class.” My 40-year-old butt is not going to look good compared to a 21 year old’s no matter how hard I train.
- Try to stay in the host hotel especially if the host hotel is connected to the venue. This will save you time on show day and give you a place to hang out between pre and final judging.
These are just guidelines as there are always exceptions to the rules. I’m considering doing a show in London in 2014 that only has one bikini class – open (so all ages). I know I won’t place, but it’s one of my dreams to compete in in Europe for some reason. I’m going to consider it a “fun” show just for practice.