What to Expect when you are Expecting to Compete
There are so many little things that we have to think about when we compete. Here is my misc. list of extras...
Walking and Posing
There are multiple federations and multiple divisions within those federations. First of all please take into consideration how subjective this sport is. You will need somebody that can teach you how to walk for your federation. This should be customized to your body type and coordination. Once you learn "Your Walk", then it is best to get with a group of competitors and fine tune it. Practice your walk weekly in the off season and daily when you are coming up to a show. Practice really does make perfect. The one thing to really focus on are your transitions. Some girls are great at posing and even walking but they do not concentrate on their transitions and it makes their posing look unpolished
There are so many variables that go into Show Prep, so remember that this is a very complicated subject. Remember what we look like on stage starts in the gym and in the kitchen. So, we can not talk about Show Prep without covering Workouts & Nutrition. Team Miss Fits has a great network of trainers that specialize in show prep including but not limited to Cathy Savage Fitness, M2 coaching, HitchFit Gym, WBFF pro Rob Riches, Coach Doug's Total Body Advantage, Michael Orr, etc.
FOOD PREPARATION: (general, not show day)
Competition Prep & Travel. Like Oil and Water. Don't really Mix
So, as many of you know I travel all over the United States year round for work and to compete and traveling and contest preparation are like oil and water, they just don't mix. So, the number one question from fellow competitors is how do I do it....
The key to any successful enterprise is preparation. I prepare my food in advance. I prepare my post it notes. I also prepare my eating schedule against my travel schedule.
1. Food Preparation: Freeze Everything.
Ok, so I prepare all of my foods the day before I leave. Yes this is a very busy day. I then freeze everything except my morning meal which I make sure I eat at home. Freezing everything is very very important. I pack each food item in a sandwich bag (not storage containers they take up too much room). So, after you eat the item you can throw away the storage bag. I pack everything a six pack cooler and this keeps it perfectly cold. No need to add ice to the cooler since everything is frozen. Note: your first meal might be kind of frozen, frankly it doesn't bother me, but when the flight attendant walks down the isle I ask for a hot cup of water, place the food still in the baggie in the cup and off I go. I also travel with an extra shaker so I can place my food in that and eat it and the six pack has a place it slips in perfectly. Check out the picture below and you will see exactly what my freezer looks like post freeze. The morning I travel it is loaded in my cooler. It takes me about 10 minutes.
* Storage: All of the foods I prep are placed in zip log bags. Never mix foods because they have different expiration. My zip lock bags are the key to easy travel because as I eat something I throw the bag away. I never carry dirty stinky storage containers home. Lastly, I never pack extra food. This will encourage me to eat the extra food.
*Refrigeration on the Road: Not everything needs refrigeration. Request a fridge from the hotel but they are not always available. If there is no fridge available request extra Ice Buckets. I only ice my meats and tilapia. Take an ice bucket, place ice in the bottom of the bucket, place the meat and tilapia on the ice, cover with ice to the top of the bucket and then I place the veggies on top.
2. Prepare my Post It Notes.
I prepare post it notes for all of my meals. It is just how I stay organized. I will be posting this in competition secret weapons later this week. When I travel I prepare my post it notes with each of my meals per day per post it note. When I compete I have a competition binder that I use with everything I need in it so I place the post it notes in the front of the binder.When I open the binder the post its are stuck to the inside of the cover of the binder. This is a gentle reminder to stay on track. I used to actually label the travel containers but that was really confusing for me.
3. Prepare my Eating Schedule.
I normally eat 6 meals per day for peak week but if it is an air travel day I make it a 7 meal plan. It is the exact same amount of food just less per meal. If I plan on eating 7 meals, every 2 hours, and I miss a meal because of travel chaos I can easily combine 2 meals. Also, I will always plan a meal while I am sitting on an airplane. There is nothing worse then having some guy with potato chips crunching next to you and you still have 2 more hours before your next meal. This is how I prepare my eating schedule. I look at my flight itinerary and make sure a meal is planned during that time, then I start backing out my meals 2 hours from that flight. I include my eating schedule on my Post Its for that day.
So this is my 3 step approach to traveling while prep'ing for a fitness competition. I hope it helps.
Most importantly...Never Ever Ever check your meals. Always carry them on. If they lose your luggage you will starve.
Basic Packing List:
Printed Direction to the Hotel
Printed Registration Forms
Bathing Suits - In Baggy
Outfits - In Baggy
Jewelry in lunch bags, inside of each Suit/Outfit Bag
Makeup Kit (small just the essentials)
Tupe Tape to hold my suit bottoms down
Extra Tanner/Rubber Gloves/Buffing Pad
Scissors/Safety Pins/Sewing Kit/Tweezers
Travel Mirror & Electrical Strip
Sweats to wear with tanner
Clean sweats to wear home on the plane
Cell Phone Charger
Photo Shoot Stuff
Packing: To Backup or Not To Backup
I know that almost every coach out there is going to disagree with me on this, but I am offering this to you because of my experience. It is a common opinion amongst competitors that you should bring a backup of everything you wear on stage from swimsuits, to jewelry, to evening gowns, to sportswear outfits; but I strongly disagree and here are my 3 reasons...
1. I feel it is far more important to carry-on all of my bags when traveling; the airlines can lose your luggage. So I have to pack light and I just don't have room for all that stuff.
2. Every time I have traveled with a backup (or seen fellow competitors travel with a backup) I have second guessed my decisions. Literally, 5 minutes before walking on stage I am still asking myself if this is what I should have worn and not fully committing to it. This is one of the worse things I can do. Make a decision and own it on stage.
3. The more stuff I have with me the more stressed out I am when I can't find something. Especially when I am sharing a room with 2 other competitors. Ladies you know who you are. We can't even figure out who's stuff is who's by the time we leave after a show.
There are a number of reasons why people suggest you bring back-ups so let's talk about them.
1. What if you get tanner on your garments?
BE CAREFUL....I think the more experienced you get the less this happens. I wear white almost every show and I don't put my outfit on until I walk on stage and I take it off as soon as I walk off. I would be more likely to get mustard on it then tanner.
2. What if it breaks?
I can speak for myself (an avid seamstress and costume designer) and probably most of the seamstresses out there, if you are paying for a garment it shouldn't fall apart.
What if it does? safety pin it. Judges are 30 feet away and with the glitz and glam of the stage lights they are never going to see a safety pin.
3. What if you don't know if it is going to fit?
I agree for your first couple of shows you might not know how things fit. Even as a beginner this only ever really effected my swimsuit, so who cares if you bring a second one of those. My outfits and evening gowns were never unwearable because I was bigger or smaller then anticipated. This is where we have to be honest with each other, packing is not the issue here. You really have to be honest with yourself. The day before you leave for your show you should try everything on and if it is too small then you need to really think hard. Is it ever really going to fit. By this time you should be within a pound of your stage weight. I find that beginners are hopeful they are going to fit into it when they wake up the day of a show, like the dream time elves are going to come while you are in bed and you are going to lose 5 pounds over night. Not likely. AND....how stressful is that to have to wait to wakeup the day of a show in the hopes it will fit. Make sure everything fits before you leave when you have time to really fix the problem.
So, there is one thing that I always bring a backup of and that is shoes. I always bring 2 pairs of shoes at 2 different heights. If my legs are wobbly or the floor is slippery then I might need a shorter pair.
So these are my ideas on Backup or Not To Backup. The old adage you can never be too prepared doesn't always apply to me and I like to formulate a plan well in advance and stick to it.