The Costs (The Hidden and Not So Hidden) of Competing

Have you looked at the women who are on stage at a figure competition? You are looking at the culmination of weeks of training, dieting, and conditioning. Every athlete has traversed down their own path to end up on that stage for that moment of judgment. They glow. They are radiant. They are the epitome of beauty athleticism and poise. Sweaty shorts and tanks have been replaced by a glistening, custom-made bikini that accentuates a conditioned and perfectly bronzed body. Tennis shoes have been replaced by 5 inch Lucite heels that make calves pop. Perfectly coiffed hair replaces pulled-down baseball caps. Dainty accessories pull everything together. She looks like a million bucks. How much did she spend? What is the cost to stand on that stage?

The costs to compete start well before you are standing on stage. This article will reveal some of the costs to compete, some costs you may not have considered, and how to make it work on a budget. Remember, the numbers presented here represent your potential costs. They may fluctuate based on how frequently you need to make the purchase, where you live, the resources that you have available to you, and how resourceful you are!

1. Food – $200-$300

You have to eat and you are going to eat frequently. You monthly budget may increase depending on your needs and whether you are buying as an individual or are making it a part of the family budget. If you prefer to partake of leaner cuts of meat, that is definitely going to increase your budget. Other protein sources may be more budget-friendly. This is what makes chicken ideal. It is versatile, inexpensive, and lean. If you are on a budget be mindful of those ‘mini-trips’ that you make during the month. Those add to your budget, too. Trips to your local warehouse store or wholesale butcher can save you money.

2. Plastic Containers and Plastic Baggies – $5-$15

Stock-up! You are going to need them. If you don’t already have a quality plastic wear with tops, you may want to consider purchasing a set, or two, to prepare and store your meals. Once you are pre-contest and dieting, you must always have your meals at the ready. Dollar stores sometimes have great sets for, you guessed it, a dollar!

3. Supplements – $50-100

Some athletes may use as little as a protein powder and multivitamin. While others may use an assortment or products like: BCAAs, glutamine, nitric oxide products to support workouts while dieting. This may be purchased bi-monthly, instead of monthly. The point is not to leave this cost out of your budget. Check the Muscle and Strength Store for deals on your supplement needs!

4. Trainer and Nutritionist – $200-Thousands

You may have a trainer that you work with a few times per week, regularly. Or you may opt to work with someone who will handle all aspects of your competition as a complete package. Some trainers will offer a full pre-contest package that includes: workout plan and adjustments, cardio plan and adjustments, meal plan with adjustments, etc. for one fee. You can also purchase some services a la carte. If you already work with a trainer you may already get some of those services. Or, if you feel confident, you may choose to prepare for your contest alone.

5. Annual Organizational Fees – $90

Check with your organization for the annual cost of being a member. If you compete in more than more organization, you will have additional fees to pay.

6. Registration Fees – $70-$140+

Organizational fees are separate from your show registration fees. You must pay per division (i.e. bodybuilding, figure, or bikini) that you compete in. For example, in figure you can compete in the ‘open class’ and you can also compete in the ‘Master’s Divisions’. To do so, you must pay for each opportunity to step on stage.

7. Show tickets – $25-$125+

How many members are coming from your circle of family and friends? Are there members that you are going to be purchasing tickets for? That has to be included your budget.

8. Show DVD – $80-$100

Some shows will offer professionally edited DVDs of the morning and evening shows. This is an optional cost. But it can be helpful to have a live record of your competition. You can analyze it and make improvements the next time you compete. Or you can just keep it for prosperity.

9. Show Day Pictures – $100

Every show has a photographer who is taking pictures of each athlete. The photos are used to help the judges to remember who you are and to help make their decisions. The photos are usually posted on-line. They are dynamic, crisp, and colorful. The quality of these pictures is better than most snapshots that a friend or family member can capture from the audience. And you can use the images as you choose. The prices of thee photos will vary from photographer to photographer and show to show. This is another optional purchase.

17. Family, Friends, and Time

Prepping for a competition requires sacrifice. You may be the best time manager, but there are going to be some things that simply will have to wait as you get closer to your time on stage.  Depending on where you are, physically, you may be doubling your time in the gym to get in those extra sets, reps, and cardio sessions. You may forgo a few social events to ‘stay in the zone’ or because your decreasing energy levels may not allow it. Some athletes will even admit that they are not the best company when they are dieting and getting closer to a show. While this is not a monetary cost it is certainly one not to ignore.

How much you invest into your pre-contest preparation is entirely up to you. But these are just a few budgetary considerations. It is not an easy feat and is the reason why many athletes seek sponsorships to offset the cost of competing. Do not let the numbers detour you. Be creative and ask for help if you need it. You never know who will be willing to support you in your endeavors.

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