I knew that competing would be an investment (beyond sweat and tears) but I really had no understanding of just how much I would spend leading up to the big day. Mind you, I am competing in a medium sized show and the prize is a trophy and recognition… not some big fancy cardboard check with $25,000 scribbled on it. <<<Although that is in my future game plan.
I want to share my experience with competing and what it has cost me so that you can make the right decision and determine whether the monetary investment is worth it to you, if you need to budget/save up for this, or if you want to wait until you financially have more freedom before you spend more than you realize.
It’s all fun and games until you have to fork over a lot of pretty pennies to win a trophy. These are things you can expect to pay for along the way and I share my six sneaky ways to save!
Personal Trainer $30-60/session
I train with Keith 4 times per week (the rest on my own) and at over $60 per session my cost for training over 16 weeks would be about $5,000. I am blessed to work for Fitness 4 All and get free training in exchange for managing social media and promotions. I could never have afforded hiring Keith even though his expertise is worth every penny. This is one area that I suggest you DO NOT skimp on. It will make all the difference when you get on stage!
My supplements from start to finish have cost me approximately $700 (not all pictured here.) If you want to see what I have used along the way, I have a detailed post on that here. Of course, you don’t have to use any supplements, but fatty oils, ZMA, Beta-A and Aminos have really helped me with muscle soreness. I think it’s important to note that recovery and getting proper nutrition is really important and worth your money.
Competition Entry Fee $50+
You will have to pay an entry fee to compete in almost every competition. My entry fee was $100.
NPC card $120
For each federation (NPC, UFE, NGA, IFBB, etc) you might have to pay a fee to be eligible to compete. The NPC card cost is $120 and expires each year.
Competition Hair/Makeup $100+
You can normally select a hair/makeup service at the event you are competing in but you also have the option to hire someone else or do your own hair. I am using the event’s host hair and makeup services for convenience. My cost here is $150 for fake eyelashes, full stage makeup, hair styling and touch-up. Hair and makeup take an hour and a half, but I don’t even have to leave my hotel.
Competition Suit $150+
A good suit isn’t cheap and a cheap suit isn’t good. This is an area where you shouldn’t skimp… on detail. (Fabric will be skimpy! Hello Brazil cut!) You can have a custom suit made for you that still looks high end and flattering for your body starting at $150. I chose Angel Competition Bikinis because the quality is amazing and the price is affordable. If you need help selecting a suit that is best for you, I have a post on that here as well as a coupon code to use on acbikinis.com. My suit was $350 and I am sooooooo impressed!
Competition Spray Tan $100+
You have the option to have your spray tan done anywhere and will probably be able to save a lot of money doing so, but it might benefit you for convenience and color reasons to use the even host spray tanning service. If you don’t, your color could look green/yellow/gray next to all the competitors who did use the host service even if your color looks great on you. It’s also very convenient to get sprayed right at your competition location AND have the option to have touchups done. Tans can be ruined so easily! I am using the host service Liquid Sun Rayz and the cost is $150.
You can find clear heels on Amazon for a great price! Mine were just $18 and fit great. I love that mine have a suede sole so my feet don’t slip around.
If you are traveling for your competition, you will probably be staying for the weekend so budget for multiple nights. Also plan for gas, toll road costs, and food while away. Our travel expenses will be about $250.
Posing Coach/Clinic $100+
You might want to hire a posing coach if it is your first competition and pricing can range depending on travel and time you need with your coach. I attended a posing clinic and my cost was $90. It was very well worth it!
You are going to want some basic jewelry for stage! Keep it simple with just a bracelet and earrings and make sure they really sparkle! My jewelry was FREE because I won the raffle at my posing clinic… see I told you it was worth it! P.S. If you read my post on choosing your perfect suit, you can use my code to get competition jewelry free with your order as a special thank you from Angel Competition Bikinis!
There will be a few minor things that you might want to purchase like Bikini Bite so your suit stays put, a robe to wear around backstage, etc. None of these are absolutely necessary but recommended.
You might want to pamper yourself and get your nails done the week before you compete. I am doing my own so there is no cost!
Hair Touchup $60+
The week of your competition, you will want to get your roots/color touched up, a fresh trim and possibly a blowout or glaze. You want your hair to shine on stage! My cost for color, glaze and trim will be about $150.
Bikini Waxing $35+
You don’t have to get waxed, but if you would rather wax versus shave, plan on this small cost.
Show Tickets $10+ each
For your competition, your guests will need to purchase tickets to pre-judging AND finals separately. You will probably have the option to get a backstage pass or special seating which will cost extra. I paid for tickets for friends and family so our cost was $310.
Stage Shots/Video $20+
Your event will likely have the option for you to purchase stage shots and a video of you competing. I say splurge and buy it! You have worked hard and this is such a great moment to celebrate and remember.
Total cost estimate: 6,655
What I have spent/expect to spend by the end: 2,150
So now you might be terrified to compete. Don’t be. The good news is that there are ways to save!
$neaky $ix to $ave
Stay local- You don’t have to choose a competition that requires travel and hotel booking. By staying local, you can save a few hundred dollars! If you must travel, ask the hotel about any special discounts for your event.
DIY some things- Notice I am doing my own manicure and pedicure because I know they are small details and I can do a fine job myself. This allows me to spend bigger cash on the important stuff like my hair and makeup or tan. Those need to be top notch so I don’t trust that I can perfect my stage makeup. If you wanted to try, you could always schedule a makeup consultation at a MAC store or Sephora to learn and do your own makeup the day of.
Use coupons- Keep your eyes peeled for sales and coupon codes to use online. Supplements can be purchased during sales and you can use free shipping codes. You may even find that your heels are on sale on Amazon. Take advantage of the deals!
Don’t over bling your suit- You can use some simple tricks to make sure your suit looks amazing without adding extra cost of bling. I share this trick in this post about choosing the perfect competition suit for you.
Borrow- Don’t be afraid to ask a friend if you can borrow her robe or heels if they fit. Jewelry is also a great thing to borrow to save some extra money!
Shop in bulk- Take advantage of a Costco membership or buying in bulk for certain grocery items since you will meal prep in bulk. You can buy big containers of almonds, large bags of chicken, pounds of oats, or even a load of spinach and just freeze what you don’t need yet. It will help to lower your grocery bill.
I hope this post shed some light for you! Don’t be scared to compete if it’s something you really want to do. Any passions we have usually cost something; whether you run marathons or love to scrapbook. Go for it if you love it!
If you have any questions about competing, please don’t hesitate to reach out on social media or email!