What Does a Bodybuilding Competition Consist of? + 2 Week Out Update

Quick 2 week out update, and then I’ll get into the details of show day!

We continued on with my 120g carb back to back refeeds this weekend, then went back down to my low carb macros for Monday and Tuesday. But in a turn of events, Adam has decided to start increasing my carbs way sooner than expected into this show. We are increasing from 70g to 100g for Wednesday and Thursday, and then checking in Friday to see what our next move will be. We are looking tight and ready for Anaheim, so we are using these next few days + peak week to fill out, come in fuller, and to also use this time as a bit of a diet break leading into Junior Nationals as well. One show at a time, but the national stage is our main focus this season, and since I am already Nationally Qualified, this Anaheim show is mainly for some extra stage time in front of the Muscle Contest judges and a good warm up that my friends and family can enjoy with me. I am VERY excited about this show, and the level of competition that will show up!

Weight: 134.6 lbs

Height: 5’11”


Now, I want to talk about what goes on during show day. This is mainly for people who have never competed before, or are simply curious about what goes on back stage and under those bright stage lights.

I’ll be talking from the perspective of the bikini division, since that’s the only one I have personal experience with.

So, whether it was 12 weeks or 36, prep has lead us all to the stage on this day. Y’all know about my prep, and what I’ve been doing for the last 2 years (if you’ve been reading and keeping up with this blog that long), so I will skip all of the prep details leading up to show day, and jump right into the big day itself.


If this is a one day show, and is local to you, you can obviously commute, otherwise, there is always a host hotel paired with the show you can book a room at, or you can choose another hotel or Airbnb of your choosing. If you’re getting a hotel, I always suggest getting a room for the night before AND the night of the show, even if you plan on leaving to go home post show. Having the room the day of gives you a calm, quiet place to relax in between prejudging and finals. Plus if the show runs late, and you’re super tired, you can always decide to stay that night and head home in the morning.

If this is a National Show, normally they are 2 days, possibly even more if they are doing each division on their own day like North Americans. For the National Shows, the host hotel is also normally the actual event location as well, which makes things A LOT easier and smoother to navigate the weekend. But, the downside is that these hotels, although very nice and convenient, are also very expensive. Especially considering you will need the room for at least 3 days. One for the day before (normally Thursday), for check ins and first coat of tan. One for day 1 of the show, and then one for day 2 as well. If I remember correctly, the Junior Nationals host hotel/venue for the weekend ran about $600 for 3 days. There is normally a second host hotel option at the national level as well, because there’s so many competitors, but again, you don’t have to stay here. You can find a close hotel, or I’m even trying an Airbnb close to the venue this year.


Each show will have their own tan sponsor. If you’re using the host tan, you have to schedule your appointments ahead of time. You can set up your tan with any tan company you’d like, as long as you set it up, and schedule with them ahead of time.

One day show: Schedule first coat the day before, and then the second the morning of.

Two day show: Schedule first coat the day before, and then the second and third coats each morning of show day.

The host tan company will also be back stage all day to do touch ups, and for glazing. Touch ups are for when/if you accidentally spill something on yourself, pee on yourself, sweat too much, or anything else that could have fucked up your tan. They will have their special tools and mits to help fix any mishaps that may happen (to the best of their ability). Glazing is for right before your class is about to go on, and is just an oil type spray to go over your tan to help you shine and catch the light on your muscles better. One thing to be careful about if you are NOT using the host tan company; if you plan to get touched up by them backstage, if their tanning products are a different shade, or hue of tan than yours, it may look odd. So I would maybe be careful in that aspect.

If you’re doing your own tan, like I am this year, you will just bring your own tanning touch up stuff with you backstage as well. But since I know I am using ProTan, and the show I am doing is also using ProTan, they can tough me up backstage with no interference of color.

I will be doing a separate blog on the DIY Tanning Kit once I use it, as well as all the prep for the tan, and upkeep for it as well.

Morning of The Show

In the past, if prejudging is at 9am, I would normally be up around 5:30am.

5:30 – Wake up. Drink 20oz of water, have my first meal, then send check in pictures to my coach.

5:45 – Start fixing my hair (shoutout to my Mom, because she has done my hair for 90% of my shows. Thanks Mom!)

6:15-6:30ish – Go get my second coat of tan at the time I scheduled.

6:45-6:50ish – Finish hair, and do makeup (I normally do my own makeup).

If you are getting your makeup done by an artist, keep in mind the timing you would like. I like my shit to be done and ready early and ahead of time, even though bikini goes on last, and I am the LAST of the last in Class H, my makeup and hair is done by the time Prejudging starts. Others are a little more lax, and may not get their makeup done until around 11 or so. Just keep in mind, you have no idea when you’ll be going on with your class, so you don’t want to be cutting it too close to stage time. Err on the side of caution and get it done early.

8:00 – Athlete meeting, and meal 2

9:00 – Prejudging starts. Men’s bodybuilding goes on first, then the rest of the divisions follow in which ever order that show decides, but bikini will 9/10 be last, so set up camp and relax. it could be hours.

During this time, you can either set up back stage somewhere, get comfortable, and wait until your class, or you can go back to your hotel to relax there if you want. I always suggest having tabs on someone in the audience who can let you know when you need to start heading back if you’re going to leave the premises. –If you miss your class, that’s it. No money back. No do overs. And it looks very bad to the judges. DO NOT miss your class.–

Because Bikini has a lot of time to kill, make sure you’re keeping in contact with your coach; sending progress pictures, updating protocol, meal timing, and water intake based on how long it’ll be till your class goes on, and just keeping them updated on how you’re feeling, and what’s going on. It’s also super helpful when your coach is actually AT the show for all these things to be immediate. Adam is always amazing in this regard. I believe since we started working together, he has been to all of my shows, except one. And it was because my show was the same weekend as Jr. Nats, when he was there with a ton of our team. He’s even flying out to California for my show in Anaheim coming up! He makes my life easier, and I am forever grateful for his level of involvement in my preps.

Ok, lets just say that Bikini Class A has started going on at noon. I would have started to head back over once Figure was finishing up. Normally, once your division is about to go on, this is when you all are getting your final tan touch ups, and getting glazed. Once you are glazed, you should not be sitting, leaning, or touching anything that could rub your glaze off and make you look like you have a skid mark on your tan.

Pump Up

Fast forward to Class F (2 classes before mine, H); this will be around the time I start pumping up. I would say a good 15-20 minute pump up session is ideal before stepping on stage. And trust me, at the national level, you will have A LOT of time to do this back stage (bring your own bands to pump up). If you’re at a smaller show, I would start pumping up maybe as soon as Bikini starts, because it will run a lot quicker (use your better judgment, timing wise). Along with pumping up, I would say about 1 class before you go on, or about 15 minutes or so before, I would eat your pump up candy/snack. My go to has always been half of a Reese’s Fast Break. But some people do sour candy, rice cakes and PB, normal Reese’s, or even wine sometimes. Whatever floats your boat and gets you a good pump.

Show Time

Let’s assume Class H is stepping on stage now around 1pm. There will be someone back stage constantly yelling out which classes need to be lining up, and will have you all ready and in numerical order before hand (keep pumping up in line). You run through your routine in line, you’re getting anxious and excited, and cheering your friends on as they go on before you. Now it’s your time! They call your number, and you step on stage, and hit that center box with your front pose. You go through your routine, and bam! 10-12 seconds later, you are heading back to the diagonal line where the rest of your class is lined up. Once your whole class has gone, and are back in line on either side of the stage, you will be holding your pose, and waiting as the judges deliberate on who they’re going to bring back out first.

Call Outs

So the way Call Outs work is that the judges go through all their notes from your individual routines, and deliberate amongst each other to decide which girls have brought the best overall physiques out of the class. They are looking for overall symmetry, good proportions, even tan, good complexion and overall look, including hair and makeup, and presentation.

Once they have decided their top 5, they will call out their numbers (in no particular order) and they will line back up in a line in front of the judges. This is what we call, First Call Outs. This is what you want as a competitor. Sometimes judges can also bring out even 6-8 women in first call outs, so when this happens it will be tough to know who the true top 5 are until the night show. While you are lined up with the other women, they will tell you to “face the rear”, in which case you will transition to your back pose, and hold this pose until they tell you to face front again. In which case, you will transition back to your front pose. These are what we call, Comparisons. They will also periodically call out numbers and have you switch places, so that they can see different people next to each other. When they’re done having a good look at first call outs, they will Thank you and have you file off stage, where you are done until Finals. (Tip: You want to be moved to the center during comparisons, but this does not always mean you placed first. It is however, a good indication of top 3.)

The judges will then call out a second group of girls (Second Call Outs), and do the same exact thing. This will continue until all girls have been called out. So Second Call Outs normally means you’re in the top 10, but it also just depends on how many were called out for First and Second Call Outs.

In Between Prejudging and Finals

Once you have filed off stage and are done with prejudging, I normally check in with my coach and loved ones and let them know how I did, and how it went.

From there, depending on your protocol, you could head out to get a steak and baked potato or burger and fries or something, or head back to your hotel to eat your next prepped meal. Either way, yay food! But the main thing we do in between is REST! I literally go back to my room, eat my next meal, drink some water, and lie in bed and take a nap until I need to head back to the venue for finals.


Most of the time Finals are set to start at 5pm. But I’ve had shows where this was the case, and I didn’t even step off stage for prejudging until after that time already. In which case, they will still break for an hour so the judges can take a break, and then resume for Finals after that. I should also mention, obviously if this is a one day show, prejudging and finals are on the same day. If this is a National Show and two days, Prejudging will be on day 1, while Finals will be the following day, still starting around 5pm.

For Day 2 Finals, the women will have to do their hair and makeup for a second time, as well as get a third coat of tan in the morning. I normally rinse off after prejudging the day before, and then get a fresh coat Saturday morning.

The order at Finals will be the same as at prejudging, so bikini will still go last if you were last in the morning.

The night show usually runs a little quicker than prejudging since you don’t have to go through your individual routines again. Even if you did not place, please make sure to go to the night show. It looks very bad to not come back for finals, and you honestly never know what could happen. Girls have been in second call outs and ended up being bumped up to 5th place before, but if you’re not there to accept, then you don’t get placed at all. Also, just in case you were wondering, yes, the tanning company will be backstage during finals for touch ups as well.

As far as stage time goes, if you weren’t in First Call Outs, they will have everyone announced and walk across stage to hit their front pose, and then file off stage to be done for the night. After this is done, the First Call Outs from your class will be brought back out and maybe go through comparisons one more time, then sent back to the diagonal like prejudging. Then starting with 5th place, they will call out your number to place you. When your number is called, you will walk out to the assigned placing in front of your trophy, or given a medal, then hold your front pose until every one is placed. Then they will ask for a group photo, and you can file off and you’re done for the night!

They do this class by class just like prejudging. Finals is called The Night Show because it is just that; at night. And it can be a LOOONG night let me tell you. I one time stepped on stage for finals at 1 in the morning. That’s the shitty part about being in the tallest height class, the waiting, and having to peak all day long.

Post Show

Now that finals are over, it’s time to celebrate! Regardless of placing, I normally go out to a good restaurant for a decent meal and a dessert. Sometimes that dessert comes the minute I step off stage in the form of cookies or doughnuts. 😉 It all depends on how far off my next show is, and what my coach thinks our next move should be on how hard I hit the food. I normally can’t even eat that much anyways because I end up tapping out before my food even gets to my table from too much brown bread from Cheesecake Factory. haha! But like I said, don’t go too crazy or you’ll definitely feel sick and bloated if you do. I think after this coming show I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy some cookies from How Sweet to Cheat and PDX Cookies, and then go to Cheesecake Factory for some appetizers and some cheesecake for sure. Then back on it for Junior Nationals two weeks later.

I’m going to be doing a separate blog post entirely on the actual Post Show events and experiences that can go on at a later date.

Hopefully this was helpful to those of you who are new to competing, or simply just lost when you hear competitors talking about show day stuff. Let me know if you have any questions, or are wondering about anything else. I always need more blog topics!


— C —


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