How To Choose Your Next Show
By Dr. Stacey Naito, IFBB Pro
If you compete then you know that prepping for a contest keeps you focused on a singular goal. But what happens when that show is over and your placings compel you to shift your strategy? Financial considerations, geographical logistics and time needed to improve on your physique are variables which can come into play. This is true regardless of whether you are an Amateur competitor or a Pro.
Whatever you do, refrain from jeopardizing your financial security or your job security and only do those shows which you can truly afford. If you need to work on building muscle, leaning out, or improving balance or symmetry, you need to be realistic and give yourself enough time to make those changes before you hit the stage again. If you know that you have weak points with your presentation (posing, competition color, suit selection, makeup, hair), make sure that you correct these issues so that you bring a noticeably improved package to the stage.
If you are competing locally and have yet to qualify at the national level,I always advise selecting a national qualifier for your next show. If you are near the bottom of the barrel, choose an event which is at least 12 weeks out so that you have enough time to make improvements. If you are nationally qualified but have never stepped on the national stage before, you might want to compete in a local or regional event in a metropolitan area so that you get more of a feel for how a large scale show is organized. It is important to bear in mind that national level events have stiff competition, so make sure you practice your posing and get everything lined up in time for the national stage.
Master’s level competitors always face a bit of a disadvantage because of their age, so I always advise them to confine their national appearances to pro qualifiers which feature Master’s divisions. Keep in mind that a Pro Card is a Pro Card, regardless of whether you get it as an open or a master’s competitor. I also advise master’s competitors to enter as many divisions as possible to increase their chances.
For Pros, it might be a good idea to consider Pro events in different parts of the country so that you are seen by different IFBB judging panels. This also enables you to increase your exposure and fan base. If you or your sponsors can handle the expense of international contests, you may consider traveling out of the country. If you are chasing after an Olympia qualification, you could stack shows so that you increase your chances of getting into the top five and getting points.
Whatever level you compete at, remember to have fun and enjoy the journey!