Competing is a Luxury

People always ask, "do you win money for doing these shows?"

The answer is no.

YOU pay to compete, it's an investment to say the least. I bust my ass working full time, and with my hard earned money, I spend a lot in this sport!

These price ranges may vary but this is an average estimate. Also, some of the big first time purchases can be used again in future shows.

Average cost per show: $1,500- 3,000

Coach/trainer $400-800

I highly recommend a coach. Although it's your responsibility to do all the hard work, having a coach still holds you accountable. A coach should provide your lifting schedule, food intake, cardio, questions/feedback, and support. Choose a coach who is a certified personal trainer and experienced in body building shows. I am happy to have my coach as my friend and fellow competitor as well!

(Robbie Quinn- Classic Physique)

Gym membership $25-50/month

Working out from home is great, but it's nice to have a place to separate your training and home life. The gym should offer a wide variety of equipment, cardio machines, extra bands/weights, and room for stretching/posing.

(I'm team Anytime Fitness!)

Posing coach $50-100

I highly recommend a posing coach for your first show. Posing in the bikini division is a major part of what the judges are looking at. It can make or break you. Anyone can have a great physique, but it needs to be shown off and displayed properly. Online sessions or in-person sessions are both a good option. Personally, posing to me has always felt natural and comfortable!

Jessie Scheiffer IFBB Pro (check out her instagram page)

My very first posing session (no prior experience)

My posing before my 3rd NPC bikini competition

Bikini $200-600

A sparkly bikini is all you'll be wearing on stage. I believe the quality of a bikini can be easily be seen! If you're on a budget, there are plenty of "sale suits" or bikini competitors that even sell their used suits. Another option is to purchase a plain suit and bedazzle it yourself. I tend to go with a moderate/high price range on bikini choice. Try picking a suit that compliments your hair color and skin tone.

My favorite company is Toxic Angelz Bikinis, go check them out!

Stage heels $50-100

Clear and bedazzled sparkly VERY high heels is what you'll be posing in during your routine. I opted for an ankle strap, for extra support. Get comfortable in these!

Jewelry $25-75

Think big, sparkly, over the top jewelry! Large dangle earrings, double cuffed rhinestone bracelets, and a ring are usually worn. Just make sure it isn't too cheap that it will break!


Supplements/vitamins $100-200/month

These are optional. Supplements are just that, to supplement; they aren't magic. I typically spend my money in protein powder, protein bars, pre-workouts, BCAA's, fat burners, multivitamins, and digestive aides. Do your research, quality in supplements is important.

Hotel $150-200/night

Typically there is a "host hotel" for the competitors to stay at a discounted rate. This is the most convenient because it will be where you get your spray tan, check ins, and the venue or very close to. Air BnB is another option too!

- Miscellaneous travel costs if the show isn't local (airfare etc)

Spray tan $100-150

Do yourself a favor and pay the money to get a spray tan by the promoted company for the show. An awful self-spray tan can be pointed out on stage. Exfoliate and shave that peach fuzz off your entire body; follow the pre-tan directions the company provides.

Hair & makeup $75-150

Luckily for me, my sister is a hair stylist and was nice enough to do mine for my shows.

You can hire a hair and makeup artist for the day, that way you can get glammed and pampered! Show makeup is a lot of fun, over dramatic & intense! If you want to do makeup yourself, just make sure your face color matches your dark spray tanned. Hair extensions are a good option, even if you have longer hair; it will add it more volume!

Stage photography $40-125

Most shows have a hired team of professional photographers that will take pictures of you backstage, on stage, and even video your stage time. I always recommend at least purchasing stage shots! These are always great to have! Yes, your family and friends will be able to take pictures/videos, but the quality of them will surely be lacking.

Extra amenities $100-200

A set of black sheets and towels so the spray tan didn't ruin the hotels, they will charge you if they get ruined! A silk robe to wear backstage over your bikini. Manicure and pedicure, a massage during peak week to relax, tickets ahead of time for people coming to your show are all things to consider.

NPC Card $125/year

This is required to compete in any NPC show. The card is good for the calendar year, not fiscal year. So even if you compete in the fall, you will have to renew it again in the spring for the next year.

Show registration about $100 per class plus $50-75 extra for crossover/compete in 2 classes

If it's your first show, I recommend competing in both Novice and Open Bikini classes. I did this at my first show because I wanted to have the extra stage time and experience. If you have not won an Overall, some shows will let you continue to compete in the Novice class.

All in all, when deciding to compete be sure to have the funding available! Even if you have to buy things as you go.

I love this sport, I love what it's about. Winning hard earned trophies and continuing to improve myself at each show is enough of a reward for me. Hopefully earning my pro card one day!


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© 2017 by  Katie Zale