Should You Go to a (Free) Bodybuilding Seminar Before Competing?

Short answer? Yep – especially if it’s free!

Long answer. It’s a good idea, especially if you don’t know much about the sport.

There weren’t any of these going on (that I knew of!) when I first looked into bikini bodybuilding competitions in 2017. I did go see a show before competing, but that prepares you to be a spectator, not necessarily a competitor. (Totally better than nothing, however!)

Turns out this specific one probably was around as they’ve been running it annually for a decade (possibly two!). It was helpful, even for a seasoned “pro” like me (I’ve competed twice, lol).

And you can’t quite beat free!

The “right” event, lol!

The funny thing is that I ended up going on accident.

I thought I registered for a free contest prep seminar (still not sure what the difference between the two is). It said “full” on the registration page so I reached out to the event organizer directly.

Let’s get this party started!

I think I clicked over to Facebook to find out how to reach out to Peter (the presenting coach) and saw the above flyer posted on his page (which was a totally related, yet different event). The funny thing is that I couldn’t even make the original one as I’ll be out of town… I guess it was fate?

Regardless, it was a solid event and worth the hour of driving each way.

Waiting for it to get started – so far this sport is NOT known for running on time…

What the event covered

In addition to having vendor booths, there were door prizes (too bad I didn’t have any cash to pay the $1 entry, some good stuff was given away!) and even some free posing practice thrown in at the end.

My (new) friend Aili of Wicked Tan was there, so I got to put my spray tanning/hair/makeup deposit down in person – yep, $135 only covers the DEPOSIT. Worth it though… I’ve gotten all of the above done by her/her team for both previous shows and everything came out great.

I also purchased some Rawr bars – a dairy free bar that is HIGH in protein, low in sugar, with ZERO binders or fake sweeteners and organic ingredients that are minimally processed. They’re a Minnesota-based company with a pretty compelling story, so I was happy to try a new protein bar and support their small business.

I got a box of six for roughly $15. I’ve tried everything from RX (still a staple), Quest, ONE, Kind and more. It’d be interesting to compare pricing, taste, macros, etc in a roundup post in the future (note to self!).

I also met Jesse, the owner of ProteinHouse in Hudson, WI. He made me a DELICIOUS (and free!) Peanut Butter Dream protein shake – YUM! It would have totally been worth the $9 they normally charge – in fact, I could easily split it with one of my kids or a friend for more of a snack-sized treat.

They offer a protein shakes, various coffee drinks, juices, wellness shots and a full dine-in menu, but more of fast-food speed. You can also order full on prep meals by macros that are fresh and can be delivered within a ~60 mile radius.

#EarningGoals!

And I just saw they have macro-friendly desserts… watch out! A FRESH protein cookie, sounds AH-MAZING.

Decent prices, super HIGH quality ingredients that I can easily track in MyFitnessPal and great tasting. YES PLEASE! Can you come to the Forest Lake area next maybe?

Nora, we totally need to meet up here for breakfast, coffee or lunch! Can’t wait to meet you there girlfriend!

Bikini pros showing us how to pose!

The event itself covered Q&As on everything from spray tanning, to defining each competition category for men and women (including what judges are looking for when it comes to your posing/stage presence), as well as a talk by the same dude, Peter Fitschen, the coach.

I recently ordered his book off of Amazon (I would have bought it from him in-person, but again, no cash!). I’ll let you know what I think in a future review post.

Some more pros flexing their guns!

Here’s what I took notes on:

How much time should you give yourself to prep?

The short answer? More than you think you need.

Some coaches would prefer you commit to a show date and instead leave it flexible so you can see how your body responds. That doesn’t really work for me…

I on the other hand operate better with a specific goal and deadline. That’s why I recently registered for show #3, the Natural Spartan which goes down on June 10th, 2023 in Fargo, ND.

Regardless, the rationale is it really depends on how much weight you have to lose. And you might not really know what your stage weight should be the first go around, so it might be better to lean out as much as possible and then choose a show when you get close.

Again, that doesn’t work for me. Not only would my motivation be hampered by this strategy, life is just too busy for that. I need to know well in advance and then I can work backward from there, scheduling other trips and commitments in AFTER locking in show day.

how much weight should you expect to lose per week?

.5 to 1% of you body weight is what was recommended. So if you’re 150 lbs currently like me (okay 152), then anywhere between .75 to 1.5 lbs is appropriate.

While we all want to lose weight as fast as possible, losing weight too fast can actually be a bad thing. Especially if the weight that’s coming off is in the form of lean muscle, not fat… no bueno.

The other benefit of slow weight loss (or a longer prep) is that you can incorporate refeed days so you’re not just continuously cutting and getting hungrier and hungrier. I feel like that was what my first prep was like, but it’s hard to remember five years ago!

You can also practice your peak week (I had no idea what that even was until my last competition). It’s basically how you fuel your body the week prior to your competition.

There are a few different approaches and I’ve now tried two. The first (and older) way is to completely deplete your body, but from what I’ve read/heard that can cause you to look flat on stage. Also, no bueno.

The second way is to carb cycle and make adjustments to your carb, sodium and water take on the fly based on how your body is responding. Some girls even eat a cheeseburger and fries the night before the show!

Now this isn’t an area that I’m an expert in, so you’ll want to do your own research. I found this video really helpful and it looks like he (Paul Revelia) has covered the topic quite a few times on his YouTube channel.

Having a longer prep also gives you time to prepare for the unknown, like it you get sick or experience a minor injury.

This happened to me during my first prep – I rolled my ankle at six weeks out and almost pulled out altogether. I even emailed the contest organizer to see if I could get a refund if I couldn’t compete and he basically told me I was SOL and that registrations were non-refundable.

I’m glad that’s what happened though as I kept on track nutritionally, nursed my ankle and ended up being fine and competing as planned.

And of course you can just pick an earlier show if you’re on track. I’m kind of hoping that’s what happens to me this time around… there’s a show on my birthday this year (May 27th) and I’ve been secretly imagining me registering last minute because my body is so banging and getting my pro card a full year earlier than my goal.

A girl can dream…

Lastly, it’s easier to be ahead when it comes to your weight loss and slow things down than it is to try and speed things up and crash. I haven’t personally been in that situation, but it always feels like you’re down to the wire the last 2-4 weeks before a show.

Somehow it all works out though!

When should you start practicing posing?

The event organizer said he has his clients start 16 weeks out.

That surprised me, although it shouldn’t have. And it’s basically where I am right now.

Posing has never been my strong suit, so it’s where more of my effort will go this time around. I had a really good posing session with my coach yesterday morning and she gave me some little tips that should really help going forward.

Working on my front pose…

What I really loved is that she didn’t give me EVERYTHING to work on. Just my front pose with a few key things to concentrate on, a simple transition and the same thing with my back pose.

Improving my back pose…

It felt good (although my lower back, not so much!). I even remembered it this morning at the gym and really can tell a difference!

The organizer (I forgot his name) also mentioned that you should try to hold practice poses for at least 30 seconds, 60 seconds being better. Posing practice can seem like a workout in itself. And again, that lower back… ouch!

The other tip was that you shouldn’t just practice posing when you’re fresh. I.e. Add in some practice sessions after a hard workout when you’re tired and ready to hit the shower.

Pro Tip: Pose early, often, for longer than you think and especially when you’re tired.

I wrote down quite a few notes on the posing tips part (again, it’s my weak spot!), but I think I’ll leave them for another post just on that subject coming soon.

Something I plan on keeping in mind (when I don’t want to practice posing) is: You can be beat by someone with a worse physique but better posing.

The morale of this story? If you’re considering a bodybuilding competition, see if there’s a local newbie workshop in your area and learn more about the sport. And if there’s not one local, there might be a virtual version online.

If you can’t find anything, then I suggest going to a show as a spectator to dip your toe. Imagine yourself on stage as you watch the other brave souls.

And then start training, tracking your food and maybe set your sights on your own show to debut your improved package!

Have questions? Ask em in the comments and I’ll address them in a future post!

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