By Mark Campbell and Jessika Lafontaine Campbell

You have trained hard for what seems forever. You have dieted for at least 16 weeks. You have invested time, money, and a ton of effort. The last 2688 hours have been devoted to working, training, eating, sleeping, food prep, and posing. Sometimes the daily routine can seem tough. It all comes down to one day…show day! We wanted to share the most of what we have learned by competing and the years of coaching competitors. These are our top suggestions for ensuring you have an amazing experience!


Before you even begin the journey.

People chose to compete for various reasons and some have never even seen a show. Enjoying a show as a spectator will give you a really good idea of how a show runs. Prejudging is done in the morning with the Finals in the evening. The two events are quite different for the competitor as the morning show is judging. You will see first-hand the mandatory poses and T walks. You will see how the judges will call someone to center and have competitors trade spots as they line up so all judges can see. The evening show is a bit more exciting as bodybuilding and physique competitors will be showcasing their routines and pose downs. The evening show is hosted by an emcee and all winners are awarded their trophies. This is typically when family and friends come out to support, but they’re welcome at the earlier show to support and cheer also.

It’s important to have a solid commitment or purpose to compete keeping it close the entire journey. Giving 100% from the start always produces your best results.


Practice and Prepare.

Get a coach! Reduce the stress of the unknown and find a qualified coach! To have someone to ensure you’re posed to showcase your hard work and to have them in your corner on show day.

Begin practicing your mandatory poses early on in your prep. As you gain experience you will be able to enter your poses more quickly and gracefully adding overall confidence for stage. Any good coach will work with you on your technique and help cue you when needed. In our experience, it helps to also practice without a mirror. You don’t get one on stage to pose in front of and it will help you learn how the pose is supposed to feel.

Ladies, buy your heels early and wear those 5” bad boys all the time to break them in! There is nothing worse than seeing a competitor come out with an amazing package, and they can’t walk in heels! Practice your poses in them. Do housework in them! Be one with the heels. It’s also a good idea to order your suits, jewellery, tanning earlier on. By having these things done earlier in your prep it will give you less stress at show time and more time to focus on other things.

Attend the federation’s prep camp! What a great opportunity to practice mandatories with PRO athletes and judges on hand. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about the specific show day, poses, and regulations. In addition, you will meet fellow athletes or familiar faces back stage!

Tell everyone you’re going to compete! That aids with accountability and definitely keeps you from seeming odd with the amount of food and frequency of meals.


Team work makes the dream work.

If you are being coached by somebody who doesn’t offer a team support system, create your own! Enlist friends to do cardio or workouts with you. Form friendships with other competitors before, during, and after the show. Nobody understands competition quite like a fellow competitor. It makes the journey more enjoyable. Your friends and family will be your biggest fans. Lean on them for support and encourage them all to attend your show. There is no better feeling being on stage and hearing your friends and loved ones cheer your name! Most organizations operate with the help of volunteers. They are an integral part of the show’s success. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who would like to be behind the scenes and become involved?

Attitude is Altitude.

Your positive attitude and outlook on the day of the show should be equal to that of the whole journey. This is a choice YOU made. Sometimes there’s delays when the certified panel of judges are ensuring the fairest decision is made regarding placement. Be patient! Don’t lose your smile or get tense, it won’t help behind OR on stage.

This is it. The moment you have be10407685_10152392860685373_7266716410097707368_nen waiting for. You are about to step out on stage under the bright lights. All eyes on you, in a bathing suit, having your physique judged that you have worked so hard for. Enjoy every moment on stage!! It goes by in a blink of an eye and then it’s over! Have fun! Pose hard yet get into each pose quickly and smooth. Don’t forget to look at the judges and smile. We know, you are tired and probably thirsty and can’t wait to eat that co
okie back stage but
live in the now! Enjoy this moment. Be confident that you’ve done all you can to bring your best package from head to toe. You can do this! Fake it till you make it.


The journey beyond.

Building season is so important for your next competition! Stay on track (or really close to it).


Make a plan and set a goal. It’s really hard to come off of prep and have the freedom to eat what you want and when you want. Some diets have been strict for long enough that you crave some less-than-healthy choices. When you over-indulge in this state, you risk losing the physical conditioning you worked so hard for.  Fuel your body with nutrient dense food and use those superfoods to charge your workouts. You will have a lot of strength back and now is the best to time to make those illusive gains.

It’s a lifestyle.

Competition is not a destination but a journey. Embrace all aspects of the training during your off season and you’re on season. Be an advocate of good health for your family and friends. Be inspiring! We can’t wait to see you shine on stage on your show day!!

Mark Campbell and Jessika Lafontaine Campbell are elite personal trainers and contest prep coaches and are the owner and operators of Marked Improvement in Edmonton, AB.


Mathew Park

About Mathew Park

Mathew Park, NAIT PFT Diploma, NASM; CPT, CES, PES, is a passionate entrepreneur, speaker, author, WNBF Pro Bodybuilder and Lover of Life!

INBF Canada • Prove Yourself Naturally