Competing costs some serious coin

Wait just a darn minute!

Don’t you just get in shape, throw on a bikini, and stand on a stage?

Bodybuilding is in the same category as weddings, funerals, and babies. They all seem pretty straight forward at first, and then all of the sudden, you ‘need‘ things you never knew existed.

One of the things I wish I had known before I started was how much it would cost, literally. As in dollars and cents. Yes it costs discipline, time, energy, and focus, but it costs quite a few hard earned loonies and twoonies as well!

There are a million and one things you can spend your money on. When I first started on this journey, I had not idea what were the MUSTS and what were the optionals.

Things to spend money on.


This is a must. You need a good coach that has trained many competitors successfully. Don’t train with someone who is ‘just getting into’ training competitors. Imagine you decide to completely redo your house; take it down to the foundation and start over. I have a sense you would do more than Google things and ask your buddy to help you out on the weekends.

You are the house, so hire an expert builder. Heck, just hire Joe. He’s the best.

Bikini and Shoes

You have a fabulous coach, your physique is awesome and you’re going to show off your hard work; but not ALL of it.

Enter the bedazzled bikini and stripper heels.

There are tons bikini of designers out there, in all price ranges. Set a price range that you can afford and do not budge. If you can afford and want to spend $5,000 on a bikini, go for it. If you can only afford $150 there are great options in that price range as well. Set your price and then set your expectations.

Another option is borrowing or renting a suit. It may seem odd,  but I promise you that come comp day you are not going to care. Spending a few minutes hand washing a suit that saves you hundreds of dollars suddenly seems like a great idea.

Shoes can also be bought second hand, borrowed, or bought at around $45 brand new. They shouldn’t be so bedazzled that they compete with your fabulous arse for attention!


If your tan is not spot on all your hard work may go unnoticed or diminished. Spend the money on preparing your skin as per your tanning instructions, this includes waxing, and pay for the professionals to do the heavy lifting. The show will most likely have a recommended studio to work with you the days leading up to the show. Call and check out pricing a couple months before and ask what you need to do to prepare your skin for the coats of fabulous oompah oomph-ness!


If there is a posing workshop or classes in your area, spend your time and money on the classes. Do your research to ensure that the instruction comes from someone who is well versed in the judging criteria for the federation you are competing in and start quarter turning. Posing makes or breaks a competitor. You will be standing on stage for anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes holding your poses.

And you’re supposed to smile the whole time.

Getting professional help in presentation is a must!

Some Supplements

Your fabulous coach is going to have recommendations for what you need for supplements. Do what they say and don’t worry about what your bodybuilding friends are or are not taking. Your diet may require you to take different supplements due to what you are or are not eating.

Nothing out performs hard work, a clean diet, discipline and time.

Not even the latest and greatest pre-workout drink.

How to save money on the ‘fun’ things.

  • Coolers.
    Some coolers can cost hundreds of dollars. While it is nice to have everything cool and compartmentalized, I am also find with an ice pack and a $12 insulated lunch bag. Besides, it is smaller too!
  • New clothes.
    Going to second hand stores, leggings, wraps, and skirts are going to be your best friend when it comes to stretching the life of your wardrobe. Buy one new piece as you need it and don’t get rid of clothes that are too big the month of your competition. When you un-diet yourself, you are going to want those clothes again.
  • Jewelry.
    Keep it simple. Earrings and a fabulous sparkly ring goes a long way. You want your jewelry to accent your beauty, not be the focal point. Shopping online is always a great option as there are fabulous deals to be had. Leverage discount websites, second hand stores, or your friends’ wardrobes!
  • Hair and makeup.
    Have a friend do it for you or go to a beauty school to get it done.
  • Travel.
    Choose a local show close to home.
  • ‘Fun Food’
    Sticking to simple foods like fruits, vegetables, and meat keeps your grocery bill low. Skip the low carb, high price grocery items.

How do you keep costs down while competing?

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!


  1. But you know you will enjoy spending every penny on your 1st, 2nd and so forth competition. 😉

    In regards to the tan, I saw Kierston from Candy Fit…they were putting on some really dark color cream that’s supposed to ‘tan’ you but comes off super easy. Might check it out. Some of those girls… why they put it on so dark when they are white girls… you got me. Looked so unnatural. Don’t forget to add in spa costs… well, cuz I think all us workout girls deserve a good body massage once in a while. 😉

  2. Excellent information! Having an experienced coach makes all the difference in the world.

    To save money, I learned how to do my own stage makeup from a consultant at a MAC counter in Nordstrom. I still have the paper she on which she wrote all the products and steps to apply them.

    I spend money on the full nail set and pedi, partly because it’s a treat for me after months of hard work. But I know quite a few ladies who use glue-on nails from Target, and they seem to work fine.

  3. Great post, D!! It does cost a pretty penny to compete…I try to take the “cheaper chicken” route when I can 🙂


  4. I nearly died when I looked up a posing coach. My trainer doesn’t teach female posing, and there’s only one posing coach in Sydney. She charges something ludicrous like $700 for two one hour sessions?? I’m hoping I can find something a little bit cheaper in London, haha, or I’m gonna be saving up for a loooong time before I can get my butt on stage!

  5. Great article! I’m getting ready to do my first competition and this was extremely helpful – thank you!

  6. Excellent!
    Yep, I felt like I should spring a little on my bikini and my coach.
    I’m definitely following your advice on clothes. I tend to spend most of my days in my workout clothes and just “dress” them up with a sweater, wrap, and ballet flats for heading out. =) AND You are sooo right! I have found some really wonderous finds at the thrift stores, including the high price and quality workout brands and dress clothes. It’s nice to treat myself to a nice new top or skirt and not break the bank!!!

    Finding new food loves too – like fresh ginger root! Doesn’t hurt my diet and I discovered I love it on my nightly white fish. 😉
    Love this post!!

  7. And that’s not all! If you do fitness add in a fitness costume, music and choreography.. and there’s another $1000 🙁

Speak Your Mind


Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.