During the year of 2013 I competed quite a few times.  It was extremely enlightening as to what I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy about how a particular competition was run.  This 2014 offseason has expanded on those thoughts as I’ve had the pleasure of being a coach to a great group of people and play the spectator at the competitions.

I’ve been to a multitude of different bodybuilding leagues competitions and here are my takeaways on the five things that will ensure that I will NEVER compete in your show….ever:

1.) They’ve hired/grabbed volunteer judges that know nothing about bodybuilding.

Right after the night show of my second competition of the 2013 season I walked up and asked a judge why I had taken second.  This is standard operating procedure for a competitor so that you can improve on weak-points. Additionally, I was fairly certain I should have won and wanted to know why my own judgement was off (sometimes you can look totally different from the mirror when you’re on the stage).  He looks at me with this blank stare not remembering who I was (I was just in the overall….) and then proceeds to say…”I’m not sure”. I walked up to the next in line and the judge proceeded to tell me “because he looked bigger”. Granted that wasn’t a bad reason if they really knew what they were talking about, but the guys conditioning was easily in the > 10% bodyfat range. The other pro bodybuilder judges proceeded to tell me I won by a fair margin, but I ultimately lost because a handful of un-knowledgeable judges. Listen, employ people that will give everyone fair treatment and know what makes a great physique. Don’t have them playing politics or be clueless.

2.) It’s super uncoordinated.

A well run show is amazing. Everything starts on time and ends on time. However, when the show is uncoordinated and your supporters end up wasting half their day sitting in an empty auditorium, it can suck. In addition, for competitors that utilize water manipulation, sodium, etc….it can blast their physique if you’re pushing them on an hour after they are supposed to.

Coordinators…listen up.  I want to get on that stage, show the audience the hardwork I’ve put in and get out as quickly as I can so I can grab my 2 slices of chocolate cheesecake from the cheesecake factory.  Let’s not make the show run from 8 AM to 10 PM with useless filler or holdups because you didn’t plan ahead.

3.) They outlaw tanning (or something similar) the day of the show.

My first competition I ever did I got to the show and whipped out the old dream tan. Even though it was completely legal to use (according to the rules/flyer/etc.) the head judge had a personal vendetta against that shit and tried to outlaw it right before the show. I had to argue for myself and everyone else to be able to use it and he picked a hissy fit the entire time about the stuff “Oh it’s too messy, it looks like shit, etc. Well next time…freaking outlaw it BEFORE the show. Don’t let me put on a coat the night before and walk into a ban hammer.

When most competitors go to a show…especially when they are at the end of their season…are pretty emotional people.  We’re likely stressed out about the show already and ruining our focused minds with unnecessary changes makes it that much more difficult.

4.) They rush the prejudging.

This goes back to the “giving everyone a fair chance” bit. People work their ASS off to get ready for a show. Not to mention, if it’s their first time they’ll be nervous as hell. Don’t put them on stage, immediately move the perceived biggest/leanest to center and have them do 1 full rotation then push them off stage. Give EVERYONE a fair chance. Even if it’s NOT a close call…make it feel like it is! Someone may have worked an entire year to get to that stage and you let them get up there for 3 minutes and kick them off? Fuck that…at least let them use it to practice and ENJOY the show. This is something you also have to work into the schedule. Don’t cram everything so you don’t feel pressured to rush them off the stage. Ya ya…I know the show is sometimes about the money for the promoter, but make the competitors feel good up there and think they stand a chance against the BBC.

NPC competition side chest pose.

5.) Don’t give them any information post show.

This coincides with both the judging comments/score cards as well as pictures. If they leave not knowing where they stood that blows. In addition, if a competitor doesn’t know where to look for their pictures…that sucks too. Advertise that judges are willing to comment post judging and that the pictures are at such and such domain. Announce this BEFORE the prejudging.