Pre Contest Jitters

So you’re coming up to your first Fitness Comp, and you’re not sure what to expect?

Competing in Body sculpting contests is a very overwhelming, yet rewarding experience. None of us seem to know what to expect, which is completely normal. Some people get very excited about it, some people get very anxious about it. Below I’m going to outline what to expect at your first contest.

CONTEST PREP – Diet/Training

Obviously you’re already putting in the work with your dieting and training, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be considering competing. Now getting to lower ends of the body fat presents many challenges as it is, without the competition itself. Getting to a lower body fat requires for the most part, calorie restriction/reduction and an increase in training load/energy expenditure, which puts you in an overall energy restricted state, which is required to lose weight. When you enter an energy restricted state, your body starts to do things to fight you on it. Some common diet related symptoms are – Lower Energy, Increased Tiredness, Decreased Libido, Anxiety, Mood Swings, Depression etc. These aren’t going to happen for certain, but it does happen for a lot of people and it’s not by any means uncommon. For females it can even lead to the cessation of the menstrual cycle, which is not healthy by any means in the long term. But this is a separate topic and I won’t go over it here.

We’ve spent weeks/months/years getting ready for this/these contests all to stand on stage for a short period of time. It sounds crazy to people who don’t do/aren’t interested in it, but you can’t expect someone who doesn’t do it to understand it. Competing is a very fun and rewarding experience.


In the last leg of your contest prep, this is when the nerves, jitters and stresses kick in. You are going to tell yourself quite frequently that you’re not going to be ready, and other times you’re going to be chuffed with how you look. What we need to understand is that how we perceive ourselves is not how we actually look. We think we’re fatter than what we are, we think we’re skinnier than what we are etc. This is why it’s important to have a coach to guide you through the process to ensure you’re not taking drastic measures to get ‘bigger’ or ‘leaner’ when it’s not even required. This can lead to anxiety and depression which usually results in food related binge episodes, which only sets you back further. Again, having a coach who is supportive is going to help you immensely through this process. If you have a good coach, they will  be able to constantly re-assure you that you’re looking great and you are stressing over nothing. If you’re doing everything that’s required of you, you are going to be fine and that’s what you need to keep telling yourself. If you are experiencing any of this, remember that it is not uncommon and even some of the worlds top professionals in this sport suffer it.

The next thing I want to address is comparing yourself to other people/competitors. I always tell people that there is absolutely no point getting worked up over how other people look. Focus on what you can control, which is how YOU are going to look. Don’t base your worth on a comparison to someone else’s physique. We all have different strong points/weak points, genetics, approaches etc. Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a lot of people who post photos on their social media that don’t necessarily prove how they actually look. We look at them in an edited photo with makeup and tans on whilst we view ourselves in our natural state. Tanning, pumping up and stage lighting make a HUGE difference so there is absolutely no point comparing yourself to someone else on social media leading into show day. It will just cause you to be more stressed, leading to a possible loss/fading of your condition to your physique as stress releases a hormone called cortisol which effects our bodies in a negative way.

Up next is show day. Now Show Day is a very overwhelming experience, especially if you haven’t competed before. You get backstage, you see what you’re up against, you see everyone doing different things to you, and the doubt sets in. Should I be drinking this water, should I be eating different foods, should I be resting etc. The most important thing here is that if you have a plan from your coach, STICK TO IT. Don’t change your plans based on what other people are doing. This is why it’s pointless and just downright stupid going around during the day/lead up to a show asking what people are doing. Every one is different and have completely different bodies physiologically, so what you’re doing is not going to the same as what someone else is doing. I personally have had clients go through other competitors social media and ask what they’re doing diet and training wise, and I don’t think it’s a good idea because it shows that you don’t really trust your coach and you’ll most likely start doubting yourself and your coach, which will again is going to lead to more stress and a loss of condition.

On show day, be relaxed, but pay attention as well. You don’t want to be running around like a headless chook, but you do want to make sure you’re keeping an eye on things so you don’t miss out on eating at the right time, getting your tan and make up sorted and most importantly missing your division. I’ve seen people miss their divisions and it’s very frustrating because all they had to do was pay attention and they would have known, so essentially they have just dieted for nothing. So stay switched on.

Now for the most important thing of all. Have fun! You haven’t prepared for weeks/months/years to have a crap day and get upset because you didn’t place or do as well as you may have thought. Like I said competing is a very rewarding experience, and you should be enjoying every moment of it.

So in conclusion, stay relaxed, do what your coach tells you, trust the process and ENJOY YOURSELF.


HFS Personal Training

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