I have discovered in my short time as a competitor that you must have a lot more things in your suitcase at a figure competition than meets the common eye. The tiniest things will make the biggest impact on your back-stage preparation and on-stage presentation.
You want to present your BEST total package at a figure contest. This means not only your physique and suits, but also your hair, makeup, skin-tone, etc. Trust me, you do not want to go to your next show without the following items in your suitcase!
Your OWN Mirror:
Backstage at a figure competition is similar to a college dormitory or sorority house bathroom! Girls are fighting for mirror-space and once they have their spots, they are not moving 'til they are ready to go up on-stage.
You will find this especially common for those girls who have not brought their physiques up to par, they will bicker and argue and "hate" on other competitors backstage. This is why I strongly recommend having your own hand-held mirror for touching up your makeup.
While I am on the subject, you really should come to the show with your hair styled and makeup already applied, so that all you need to do is touch-up! It will save you time and you will appreciate the time you can spend with your feet elevated to rid yourself of any leftover water under the skin. The less time on your feet will equal better definition in your legs.
Latex Gloves (Powder-Free):
You will want to have a few pair of gloves to wear for paint touch ups and you will want to wear the gloves for helping others oil-up and oiling yourself. Trust me, the judges do not like to see orange hands or nails!
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Plus, once your hands get full of paint and oil, it is very difficult to get it off without stripping the paint from the backsides of your hands and wrists. The judges do not like to see white hands either!
You will want a hand-towel to help remove excess oil, paint, etc. I always like to wipe off the inside of my competition shoes, to make sure they are dry and free of excess oil.
Slipping in your heels is NOT attractive!
Your Own Suit Glue:
Competition suits barely cover anything anymore! Since you need to make sure you are "secured" in your suits, make sure to bring some suit glue!
Bikini Bite is easy to find and easy to use - even on yourself. Would you want a stranger borrowing your glue? Probably not. Remember to bring your own glue. Also bring a plastic baggie to store the suit glue in so it doesn't get on anything else in your suitcase.
Touch Up Paint:
Since taking your suits on and off has a tendency to rub some paint off, I have discovered that it is best to saturate a sponge with the paint you are using and put it in a plastic ziplock bag. I do however, bring an extra bottle of paint just in case I really mess myself up!
Make sure you bring enough and then MORE, just in case the show is running behind schedule. You want to have more than enough food for carbing up just in case you are looking flat or the show is running behind schedule. The majority of figure competitors bring rice cakes, granola cereal, peanut butter, jelly or jam, sushi with soy sauce, and then you have the junk-loaders who bring jelly beans, maple syrup, candy bars, and pizza.
Many competitors even bring a mini-cooler with them so they are able to store enough food for the entire day!
Hairspray & Other Hair Products:
This is obvious why, but I will explain regardless. A travel-sized hairspray is small so it will not take up much space, and you will need to re-apply the finishing touch on your hair after changing in and out of suits, and pumping up a couple of times. Also, the new gloss products and serum products will help keep flyaways in place and add a beautiful shine on-stage that will draw the eyes of the judges and audience to you!
Kleenex And/Or Paper Towels:
These always come in handy. Whether you have the sniffles, need to blot your lipstick, blot shine from your makeup, etc. Also, I have been to shows where the bathrooms run out of toilet paper, you will be thankful that you brought Kleenex! You will not regret having Kleenex in your suitcase!
Sewing Kit & Scissors:
You will want to have a mini-sewing kit and a scissors just in case you have a suit malfunction! Scissors come in handy to cut the excess from the straps of your suits.
You will want to have your own bungee cord with handles for your pump-up. Again, remember the sorority girls and how they don't want to share? It is the same way in the pump-up room.
Not to mention, everyone wants the 12-20 lb. dumbbells - there are usually only a couple of sets. If you are at a big show, there is a large possibility that you will not get a chance with the dumbbells for your pump up!
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Chapstick, Vaseline, & Dental Floss:
I am aware that most competitors dehydrate themselves for competitions - you will also not want to forget to bring Chapstick, Vaseline, and Dental Floss. Your lips are probably going to be chapped; it will be a good idea to have chapstick to wear under your lipstick.
Also, you will need Vaseline so your lips are not stuck to your teeth when you smile. Another thing you will need is dental floss; however, if you are dehydrated you will need it more than anyone else, since you are eating such DRY carbs to fill out, it will most likely become stuck between your teeth, and you will want to floss to ensure that nothing is between your pearly whites for the judges or photographers to see!
Do Not Bring...
I also thought I would add a list of things NOT to bring backstage:
Blanket & Pillow:
Okay ladies, you have dieted and trained for a long time but really, you can wait a few more hours to lie down to nap! Get pumped to show off your hard work and flawless physique! Enjoy yourself backstage and make new friends, take photos, and make memories! You deserve it!
I am sure many would argue with me on this one but I feel that when you are at a show you are there to compete, not talk on your phone. It is distracting to others.
Cooler With Alcohol In It:
I know many competitors sip red wine before competing; BUT, I have been at a show where we finally got through pre-judging and there were a few competitors cracking open some beers back-stage! I laughed but wondered how they could diet for such a long time and then can't wait a few more hours until the night show was over!
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This is a big no-no and will get you disqualified at most shows; however, just so you are aware that cooking spray results in a HUGE mess on walls and mirrors and is not easy to clean up. But that is not the least of the problems, what people do not realize is that when sprayed, the mist will end up on the floor and people can slip and fall down and become injured!
Even if you do not wear your heels backstage it is a threat because your bare-feet get greasy and then you put your feet in your heels... a tragedy waiting to happen ladies! Stick to using the muscle sheen or posing gel.
I know it is nice and comforting to have your boyfriend, husband, or trainer backstage; however, most women do not want to be changing suits and gluing them on in front of male strangers! Have some respect for your fellow competitors!
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Sure It Would Be Nice To Have Them Along,
But Have Some Respect For Your Fellow Competitors.
Each competitor has her own niche, and has to bring her own special things to help her make it through a competition. This list is just a few of the things that really make a difference to improve your competition performance and experience. Some girls go over the edge; showing up to a competition with rollers in their hair and a shower robe on with slippers. Others show up with their suits on tied up and glued into place!
If you are there in time for the meeting prior to the competition, there is no reason to show up like either of these two examples. You need to show up ready to compete, but you will still have to touch-up and primp yourself before you actually walk out on-stage. Remember to have everything you need for yourself, a competition day is not one to be relying on others! Good luck!
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Rebecca Lynn Slatt placed 2nd at the 2006 IFBB North American Championships.