What is the ideal schedule for a bodybuilder on the day of a show? I’m about to do my first contest, and I’d like to make sure I maintain my condition and don’t mentally “peak” too early. Do you have any dos and don’ts for those final hours before going onstage?



Of course, you want to be well prepared on the day of the show—and an important part of this is to be relaxed. If you’ve done the correct training and dieting to get into the best shape possible, you’re well on your way.

You’ll have practiced and rehearsed your mandatory poses and the quarter-turns, as well as your routine to music for the finals. You will have removed body hair and organized your final spray tanning to be done either early on the day of the show or on the morning before the contest. You’ve made sure that the posing trunks fit your dieted-down body and aren’t baggy.

Amateurs, by now you should have purchased your NPC card and have it printed out or on your phone, ready to show at check-in. You’ve registered for the show, of course, and you have your bag packed and ready to go.

Items you should have in your bag include trunks, as well as a spare pair in case something happens to the first; oil for your body (vegetable oil is better than mineral oil); towels; water; a CD with your posing music, along with a duplicate; light dumbbells or bands to pump up; your NPC card, along with an ID if you’re competing in the teen or masters division; and some cash, in case you decide to add a class at the last minute.

You should also pack food. It should be the same foods you’ve been eating throughout your prep, as you don’t want to change this on the morning of the competition.

Dexter backstage olympia
Erica Schultz

Make sure that you get up early so you don’t have to rush. Have a light first meal to avoid a bloated or distended stomach. Do not eliminate water intake completely, as this is very dangerous; drink small amounts of water when you feel thirsty.

After you arrive at the venue, you’ll check in and get your number. Set it to memory! Attend any appointments (such as tanning) and the competitors’ meeting. Listen to instructions and note the order of the show. Don’t do a complete workout backstage. You’re better off relaxing with your legs elevated until close to competition time, then do a quick pump. Do not over-oil, either, as you need only a light sheen. Finally, when you’re onstage, smile and enjoy the experience.


In bikini and figure, are there certain body parts you’d deem especially important—something that cannot be “off” and still allow you to win? I understand symmetry and development of all body parts is judged, of course, but I also wonder if something like glutes can cost you a show.



The condition and look of an athlete’s glutes can definitely make—or break—a physique, no matter what division you’re in. You want your glutes to look rounded, rm, and complementary in size to your upper body.

In judging contests, what I’ve been seeing fairly often are glutes that are too muscular and thick for the division that the athlete is competing in. When you look at your rear pose, your glutes should stand out—but not overpower your upper body.


Judges Sandy Williamson and Steve Weinberger