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What to Expect on Show Day

After many years of hard work Bulk Ambassador Tammie Sarkozy on stage winner her competition.

Your Show Day will go something like this...

An early wakeup for hair, makeup, and or/tan.

If you have hair and makeup booked there will be a professional team (usually at the venue) ready to get you glammed and glossy. The majority of shows provide these services now and I 100% recommend you book in with them.

Don't attempt to do the makeup yourself. I’ve seen a lot of disasters and it’s not worth it.

Stage makeup is not your regular 'do'. Your skin tone is 10x darker and a shade of chocolate that will not be easy to find in your regular foundation. It’s best to let the Pros take care of you.

Bulk Ambassador Ella Martyn looking stunning competing on stage.
It’s not often you will look like a muscular god/goddess strutting your stuff like a supermodel on stage. Make the most of the day, spoil yourself.

Arrive at the venue early.

I've been to many shows where backstage is so crammed you are literally squeezed into a corner and have to sit on your bag.

I recommend getting in early to get a good spot and have some space (if it allows).

Set yourself up near a power point. I can guarantee your phone will go dead and it can also come in handy to have power for your hair straightener to touch up.

You'll see mirrors, probably lots of sheets of plastic covering the floors and walls to protect the surface from lots of grubby little tanned hands and feet.

There's a good chance the toilet seats will be covered in Gladwrap too. Tan is messy.

Your first show is an eye fest. You've never seen so many tanned, shiny, half-naked bodies in all your life. Depending on the show, you might have both semi-naked males and females crammed backstage together.

This is normal and you know what? You are now one of them.

Backstage a group of bronzed bodybuilders are preparing to get on stage and compete.
You are now one of them! Embrace your first backstage experiences but don’t take your eyes off the real prize.

Familiarise yourself with the schedule.

There is usually a running order of the day taped on the walls.

Running orders will change continually. What you heard the day before is probably not what is happening on the day.

Best to take a photo of the latest running order so you have it handy.

Times will still change again over the day (it's unpredictable how long each category runs for in any show) so keep an ear out one hour out from your scheduled time. This is when you need to focus and start getting ready.

You'll be eating specific meals over the day.

Of course, what you eat depends on your overall plan with your coach but generally, they involve low fibre, high carb, small meals.

You'll see lots of rice cakes, peanut butter and honey (a very popular choice), Gatorade, lollies and Salt and Vinegar chips (to name a few classic examples).

Many federations provide a table of food that is SUPER handy (pizza, lollies, cake, mars bars). However, always take your own because it is NOT a good idea to rely on anyone else on your big day. Be over-prepared.

Also, keep your willpower strong, eat what you're told, don't go snacking on the provided food just coz it’s there (another mistake I made at my first show... yep, I learnt everything the hard way).

Three delicious looking pizzas ready to be eaten by starving bodybuilders after the show.
Stay strong and disciplined. With the finish line in sight, you don’t want to trip over the final hurdle. Stick to your plan and enjoy that extra-large pizza after the show.

30-60mins before showtime... it’s time to get your body prepped!

Your physique is hopefully in its best condition. It's lean and you can see every single muscle without a drop of fat. Your skin is almost transparent you are so conditioned. But those muscles are flat. They haven't had a decent hit of carbs in quite some time so... it’s time to 'pump up'!

It’s time to inject some of that precious glycogen into the body. Combine the carbs with some push-ups and high rep work and BOOM. Watch those muscles EXPLODE!

It's like magic. You've gone from flat and tired to completely jacked, full and looking strong, ready to step on stage and blow the eyeballs out of the judge’s heads.

High rep lateral raises, rows, ab work and good old faithful push-ups (nothing trumps these for a full-body pump) will be the popular choices to get the blood flowing and muscles bursting.

Some shows provide 'pump up' equipment but again, be prepared and take your own resistance bands. I don't recommend taking anything you aren't prepared to lose. There's a good chance they will disappear.

About 15-20mins before your division, you'll be called backstage.

There’s always a guy/girl with a clipboard making sure everyone is where they need to be. There's always one straggler and these guys do a good job at herding everyone backstage when it's time.

Some backstage areas allow you to take your coach, some don't. Make sure you know exactly what you're doing either way.

Backstage you will keep practising your posing, pumping up and mentally preparing yourself.

You'll see your competition. I can guarantee if it’s your first show, you'll probably freak out. Everyone (most) looks good backstage. Hear this, you don't know how people look until they're up there posing. Don't let it intimidate you.

I can tell you some of the best bodies are disgraceful posers and destroy their chances.

It’s easy to be distracted by how great everyone else looks and forget about how amazing YOU look. We are our worst critiques.

Former 7 time Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger on stage with contestants.
It’s easy to be distracted by how great everyone else looks and forget about how amazing YOU look. We are our worst critiques. So don’t be intimated, go out there with confidence and give it your best.

Now it’s showtime.

The guy/girl with the clipboard will line you all up in order of your rego numbers pinned to your stage suit/bikini.

You will walk in single file towards the stage curtain.

From there, another clipboard guy/girl (aka Clipboard Angel) will tell you exactly when it’s time for you to grace the stage. I’m getting excited just writing this!

The adrenaline is pumping, and you don't know if you're nervous or excited, but it's here! You're about to take your first step on that stage, into the lights, in front of the crowd!

Depending on your federation you will enter the stage in a certain walk (T-walk, spotlight walk etc) as an introduction to you on stage. Some shows all competitors walk out in a single file and form a line.

You will know well in advance how you are to enter the stage so you will be prepared. If there are any last-minute changes, they will be announced at the briefing.

Bulk Ambassador Lindsay Perry flexing hard on stage.
It’s showtime. Embrace every single moment you are up there. It's everything you have worked for and it'll be over before you know it.

Stay focus and present in the moment.

Once everyone is on stage, the MC will call certain numbers or lines forward to the front of the stage to do quarter turns.

This is where the majority of the judging is done. The judges are assessing best symmetry, who is most suitable to the division and who stands out with that wow factor.

Often the judges will switch competitors to compare. Sometimes it’s a close call and they need to analyse who fits the criteria best by comparing the top few.

Sometimes the first place is a clear winner, and the judges move them to the side to compare 2nd and 3rd. It happens a lot, don't let it throw you.

Everyone at some point will do quarter turns to ensure every athlete has their time on stage.

At every moment on stage, you will be told what to do, so stay present and alert, and of course, keep smiling.

Depending on the federation, they may place top 3-5 immediately.

Some shows have a pre-judging round then finals a few hours later. Some shows have multiple divisions like theme-wear or sportswear where you will receive placings after your last round.

It's important you understand the show format, so you are aware of what is required of you.

In my first show, I placed first in my division and almost went home. I didn't know there was an Overall round (or even knew what that was). Lucky there was a Clipboard Angel who stopped me.

Bulk Ambassador Trent Baynes with a smile from ear to ear on stage has he wins 1st place at the INCA VIC men's fitness division.
Be present in the moment and remember BIG smile!

Take photos, all day, of every moment.

It’s such an experience and it’s easy to forget and wish you had taken more.

For some, this is the only day in your life you will ever look that way. You want those memories.

Towards the end of Show Day, you'll see tonnes of people slamming donuts and chocolate into their mouths.

Don't be them.

Be in control and save it for a nice dinner. You've had a big day, you deserve it.

Talk to your Coach about Post Comp (this should be a discussion from day 1 of hiring them).

It's important you know your plan of action moving forward so you are prepared.

Bulk Ambassador Jackson Peos about to tuck into a stack of delicious looking pancakes.
After a big day on stage, it is finally time to get stuck into your favourite cheat meal. Enjoy it you’ve earned it but try not to overdo it! Reverse dieting can be just as important as your cut to get onto the stage.

Final advice for the day:

  • Be over-prepared. Pack your bags the night before in a suitcase. A suitcase is easy to organise. Nothing worse than continually scrummaging through a sports bag and your stuff going everywhere.
  • Take a phone charger.
  • Know exactly what you are doing and where you need to be every moment of the day.
  • Pose, pose, pose! Practice your posing as much as possible.
  • Make friends. This is your chance to connect with people who have the exact same interest as you. Some of my best friends are people I have met on Show Day.
  • Keep in your own lane. People will be doing different things for their prep that day. Let them do them and you do you. There are many different ways to do this, and your Coach will have chosen the best way for you.
  • Embrace and be present. The day will be long. I can't tell you how many people I hear complaining about how long the day is. I don't understand... this is the day you have been planning for so long! Soak it up, be totally present and enjoy it! Waiting around is part of it all and an opportunity for you to take a breath, focus or mingle.

Stay energised all Show Day.

The lead up to Show Day can have you feeling rundown for days or weeks post comp. To help your body recover and get back to the bouncing ball of energy you were pre-comp, I recommend:

Bulk Nutrients Expert - Tammie Sarkozy

Tammie Sarkozy

Tammie's a highly motivated WBFF Pro Fitness model and a passionate women’s bodybuilding & posing coach plus a qualified Sports Nutritionist.

She loves nothing more than helping women move better, feel stronger, and unlock their inner potential.

More about Tammie Sarkozy

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