Getting ready for your first bodybuilding competition is a big deal. If you have never done one before knowing what to expect will be difficult. It is best to make sure you have a clear idea in your mind about how the day will go, for your peace of mind. After all, you have enough to think about already. Luckily, this article is here to help. You don’t have to head off to the competition blind, it is perfectly fine to need help. This short article contains all the information you need to make the day run as smoothly as possible.

Getting ready for your first bodybuilding competition

Make sure you have the correct trunks:

When selecting your trunks, you need to make sure you are buying the correct kind. They must fit you comfortably hiding your private areas from view, but still allowing as much of your muscular physique to be seen as possible. Each competition may have their own rules about what style or color of trunk you are supposed to wear, but that isn’t often the case. If you are unsure what your trunks are supposed to look like you can use this website for a general idea on style and price.

 Make sure you have a good routine

Make sure you have a good routine:

Your routine doesn’t just apply to keep you in shape for the competition, it is your routine during the competition. By getting yourself into a comfortable so much of the competition day can be done on autopilot. You want to be able to focus on doing your best, not all the little details that don’t matter so much. If you can do your routine without having to overthink it, you are far less likely to make a mistake. Be confident in what you are doing and you will do it better, and more comfortably. Being stressed constantly is not good for your mental health, but it can also present you poorly on competition day. You want to seem as confident and well put together as possible. Leave your insecurity and self-doubt at the door.

Practice your poses

Practice your poses:

Your poses are very important, of course. That’s why practicing them as often as possible beforehand is so important. It may seem a bit silly to you, but practicing them in front of a mirror and on camera can be very beneficial. You will see yourself much better on a camera. When looking in the mirror we tend to see what we want to see, by filming yourself and watching it back you will be able to critique yourself far better. It is also important to practice your poses so you don’t overdo it on the day. Just like when stretching to gain a further range of movement, you need to practice your poses so you can do them better and more comfortably. It takes time and practice, you cant just turn up on the day and hope to do them perfectly.

 Don't forget your tan

Don’t forget your tan:

Don’t forget to bring your tan with you. Tanning regularly is great, but you need to tan and oil up on the day as much as you feel comfortable with. The reason bodybuilders wear tan is because our eyes are attracted to the darker colors much more. The darker you are, the leaner you will look. This is especially prominent around your abdominal muscles. You could choose to just tan your chest and abdomen, but you would look goofy. It is better to just tan all over. Some people choose to go very dark, which in theory can make them look much better, but the choice is up to you. If you go too dark you run the risk of offending someone. It is often a subject of contention in the bodybuilding community.

The day before

The day before:

The day before a competition there are a few things to take care of. First, you need to be sure you have your poses and your routine down. You need to make sure you have your trunks, your tanning oil, know where the competition is and ensure you will arrive on time. You also need to be very careful about what you eat and drink. To look the leanest you can, you will want to avoid as much water as you feel comfortable with. Drinking water will make your skin looser and can hide your abs. You will want to eat high carb foods that are also low in fat. Many people choose to eat baked potatoes for this reason. Don’t be tempted to eat pasta and rice, whilst these are high carb low fat they are also full of water. To cook both pasta and rice they must absorb as much water as possible to be edible. This is a common trap new bodybuilders fall into.

You can find an interesting article about carb loading (what to eat) before the competition right here:

On the day

On the day:

When you wake up, it is fine to have a small cup of water, enough to make you feel hydrated. But that’s it. You will be fine going to the competition with just one small cup of water, you can drink a lot after the competition is over. When you arrive, it is a good idea to load up on some of those potatoes mentioned earlier and get to work. Don’t exhaust yourself so much that you cant pose, but you do want to push yourself hard. Your muscles need to be tense and tight for the competition. An hour or two before the competition starts it is time to start loading up on sugars. Drinking fruit juices and eating jam is perfect. The sugar will flow through your veins causing them to bulge. This will make you look ripped for the competition. Now it is just steady exercise until it is time for the judging to start.

Judging criteria

Judging criteria:

Bodybuilding competitions are typically judged on the following criteria. As this is your first time, you should be aiming to just get a feel for the competition scene. Expecting to win can lead to disappointment, it is still possible to win, just unlikely. Keep the following criteria in mind for the judging period:

  • Mass
  • Definition
  • Proportion
  • Symmetry
  • Stage presence


Hopefully, this article has given you a good idea of what to expect. Your first competition can be very overwhelming and that’s okay. If you use this article as a guide you will do fine. It will take a few competitions before you get the hang of things. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect.