Choosing a show


Course Overview:

Now that you have decided which route you will take in coaching, you can choose a show.  This is a great way to stay accountable to your goals.  It gives you a target to shoot for.

Review the federations and choose the one that best suits you.  The Bikini Competition Academy is most familiar with the NPC so we will talk mostly about NPC contests and rules as we continue in the academy.  Here is the NPC contest schedule for 2020.

The first step in choosing a show is to determine if you have a good enough foundation of muscle to be competitive.  If you are coached, you can discuss this with your coach as your best resource for evaluating your readiness for a show.  If you are uncoached you can look at photos of NPC competitors and compare their level of muscle mass to what you have.  We recommend looking at the top 5 in each class and the bikini overall.  These are the best of the show.  Here is the top 5 from my first competition:

2017 NPC Natural Indianapolis

Click here to see NPC photos from recent contests.


As we recommended at the beginning of the academy, attend a show.  It is very important you experience the atmosphere and see the athletes, judges, and posing before you decide to step on stage.  Make sure you attend both prejudging and finals.

When you are ready, compete in an NPC competition.  If you want to further your competing career, look for competitions that are “National Qualifiers.”  If you place in this type of show you can become nationally qualified to compete for an IFBB Pro card status.

Once you compete, your next steps will depend on how you placed.  Even if you placed well, spend some time at the local level learning the ropes.  Once you are comfortable locally, branch out and compete in neighboring states.  This will allow you to network and gives you experience with other judging panels.  It also improves your stage presence which is critical at the National level.

When you and/or your coach feels you are competitive to compete Nationally, and you are Nationally Qualified, you can proceed to a National-Level show.  This is your opportunity to earn an IFBB Pro card status.

Other considerations when choosing a contest

Consider the date of the show when choosing a competition.  If you have enough muscle mass, you can proceed with planning your show strategy.  Find a few local shows near you and then look at the dates.  You must allow 12-16 weeks to prep for the show by dropping body fat safely while maintaining your hard-earned muscle mass.  If you are coached, your coach will tell you when you are ready and will tell you how long your prep will be.  It is different for every competitor based on their physique.

When looking at the date of the show, make sure it does not occur after a big event in your life.  Doing show prep during an event like a wedding or vacation will be difficult nutritionally and you do not want to increase your stress level while losing body fat.

Remember to factor in the cost and travel to make sure you are ready to commit to a show before you register.  We will cover registering soon.

Lessons in this Course: