THE BIG DAY IS HERE FOR YOU AT LAST!!!
On Sunday I was lucky enough to be one of the feedback judges at the INBA Tasmanian Titles. What a full on, fantastic day it was! So tiring for everyone, competitors, helpers, audience and judges alike, but well worth it and hopefully a wonderful day for all involved as well! During the judging process a few things became clear that I think were overlooked by some competitors so in the hopes of helping people improve and take the next step in their journey I offer the following observations (with kindness, not criticism):
- Make sure you enter the right division for your body! There were plenty of examples of people who could have won or placed top 3 if they had been in the correct division, but as it was they were unplaced. There are many, many opportunities for you to receive advice on which division would suit you best, whether it be at posing clinics, comparing yourself to the example photos provided by the federation you are competing with, or contacting a well known person in the organization and sending them your photo and asking for their advice. You could also use such outlets when you are trying to decide if you are lean enough leading in to comp day.
- It is very hard to have a tan that is too dark! There were only one or two competitors in each division who actually had a tan that was dark enough. A deep, dark tan is a must to show off all your hard earned muscle and one that is too light detracts from your overall appearance and can cost you placings! If you aren’t sure if your tan is dark enough or not, it isn’t dark enough. Seek feedback from supporters in the audience or other people who know what they are talking about if you are in multiple divisions, and if necessary whack another coat on backstage before your next showing. On a side note for guys – faces also need to have smooth and even tan application – there were a few faces with obvious hand prints!
- You can never practice posing too much. I know you were probably told it over and over and over again and became sick of hearing it, but you must practice your posing consistently and from a long time out, no matter how tired you are or how good you think you are, or how much you hate it. The art of presenting yourself takes time, effort, practice and more practice. You need to find the best way to pose to highlight your strong points and minimize your weak points. Your posing needs to look smooth, confident, not stressed or strained, hands should be relaxed, not claws, you need to work on your mind/muscle connection so you can bring out every one of your muscles as much as possible, and you need to look relaxed and happy the whole time, whilst constantly flexing, even in the ‘relaxed’ pose. Posing training is hard work, and apart from giving you confidence on stage it can also enhance your muscle separation and density, so if you are struggling to find the time to practice then think of it as part of your training, just as important as every other exercise you do in the gym. There were a lot of people at the comp who were shaking extremely noticeably on stage and of course some of this is nerves but a lot of it is from not having practiced holding poses long enough and therefore the muscle fatiguing.
- SMILE! What a difference smiling made to people’s overall presentation! You need to practice smiling when you practice your posing; it most probably won’t just happen on stage without you thinking about it, it needs to be worked on!
- Be confident, not arrogant. Yes in the pose down put your personality out there and seek the front and centre position and go head to head with a rival if that is your style, but in line ups and comparison posing have some respect for your fellow competitors and don’t pose in front of them or try and put them off. Especially girls in bikini and fitness model where there is a line at the back waiting while an individual competitor does their T-walk – every one of you will have your special moment to shine and show off all your hard work, show some respect and don’t constantly be seeking to distract the judges from the person on the T-walk by excessive movement and attention seeking.
- Although this doesn’t actually apply to the stage, don’t be a diva backstage either. Everyone working backstage is a volunteer and is giving up their precious time to help you. Your fellow athletes are just that, fellow athletes deserving of respect and consideration. You could well make friends for life backstage, and it can certainly be one of the most fun and memorable parts of competing to share in the experience with like-minded people, so relax as much as possible, take a positive friendly attitude with you, grab heaps of photos and enjoy the ride as much as possible!
I hope these tips help out at future competitions! No matter whether you place or not, or where you place, competing can be a truly amazing experience and all you need to be is YOUR best and remember that you have accomplished something that very few people can!