As part of the general fitness boom, more women than ever before are working hard to achieve the body they want, and taking to the stage to prove it. Have you heard of the bikini fitness competition? It’s like a regular bikini contest, but the women taking part probably have a better six-pack than you!
A bikini fitness competition isn’t like your average beauty pageant, and doesn’t adhere to the exact same ‘ideal’ body standards either. So peel back the surface, and what are they really like? What does it take to get to the top, and what does it take to win? Here are 8 things that might surprise you…
1. Your suit ain’t cheap!
Well, the first thing you’ll be needing is what fitness bikini fanatics call a ‘suit’. And while you might have been practicing at home in your favourite beach wear, that just wouldn’t cut it in a competition. You’re going to have to buy one custom made, and they’re anything but cheap.
Would you believe us if we told you that they cost anywhere up to £1000? It’s true. They’re custom made to fit you perfectly, and in a cut that suits you best (e.g. Brazilian, ‘Pro’, ‘Moderate’…) It might not exactly justify the price, but these custom suits come with hidden pockets and padded inserts to make life just a little easier.
2. You’ll be needing glue.
Why? Because your routine involves all sorts of moves and poses: hands on hips, turns and flicks, struts, squats and more. Now this isn’t acrobatics, admittedly. But have you ever tried doing squats and struts when you’re wearing a bikini? Because what happens is that the more you move, the more likely you’ll be to pop out of what you’re wearing.
This isn’t a wet T-shirt contest, it’s serious, and that’s the last thing you want to happen! Even with a custom-fit suit, you’ll be in danger of popping out. That’s because before any competition you’ll be losing weight and trying to gain muscle. So to stop any unfortunate accidents before you can order another suit, competitors just use glue. There are even bikini fitness specific brands out there (like ‘Bikini Bite’!)
3. It’s more about the fitness than the bikini
A bikini fitness competition isn’t just a rebranded bikini contest. There are bikinis involved- obviously- but the competitors have genuinely put in the time and effort to get strong, get fit, and be proud of their bodies. That’s reflected in the standards that the judges use. It’s not all about traditional beauty standards, because it’s about six-packs and biceps too, which the women involved work hard for. We’re talking real bodybuilding here.
4. A bikini fitness competition takes real training
You know how ‘pole fitness’ became a thing not long ago? It’s because people realised that it took genuine strength to be a pole dancer. In much the same way, you need real strength and fitness to take part in a fitness bikini competition. There’s one pose in particular (the rear pose) where you have to stick out your butt, but keep your back ramrod straight. It asks real questions of your lower back- give it a go yourself!
5. You’ll be close to OD’ing on spray tan…
So, first things first, spray tan is a necessity for bikini fitness even if you don’t like the stuff. Why? Because it helps your muscles stand out. Now, you might think that one coat of paint is enough, but it’s not. You’re going to need at least three, maybe even four. Remember, you’re going for the bronzed Greek goddess look, and it really doesn’t work if you’re pale! You’ll have to apply it over the course of a day or two just prior to competition, with a few hours in between each ‘coat’. You’re going to stain your pillows, sheets and clothes orange for the foreseeable future.
6. You’re going to be thirsty
So you’ve heard of water weight, right? Cutting down on water weight before a competition is just as important as getting layer after layer of spray tan, for much the same reason: cutting out on that last bit of bloat is going to make your six-pack really pop. To get rid of as much water as possible, contestants take diuretics in the few days leading up to their performance, and drink as little as possible too.
7. Spray tan isn’t the only thing you’re slathered in
On top of the spray tan, and on top of your suit, there’s yet another thing you’ll be doused in: oil! Think back to the days when Arnie was a bodybuilder: sure he had huge biceps, but the other thing you would have noticed is how shiny he was. That’s because he was covered in oil.
Fitness bikini competitions are no exception, and each contestant gets absolutely pasted with the stuff before they walk out. It’s all part of the pre-contest ritual: first the makeup and hair, then the bikini glue, then the oil. Almost seems like a spa treatment!
8. Competitors cut and bulk like the rest of us!
In the month or so leading up to a big show, competitors restrict their diet by eating so called zero calorie foods and drinks, plenty of celery, and plenty of lettuce. But then in the few days before the competition, they load up on carbs as much as humanly possible- all to help their muscles pop that little bit more. The binge doesn’t stop after the contest, either, as most competitors load up on takeaways and high-calorie junk food to make up for a month’s lost time!
So there you go. Bet you didn’t know it took all that to get ahead in a bikini fitness competition!