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Contest Prep 101 With Kelly Ryan.

Today I will be speaking briefly about those who may be trying to enter their first contest and what they need, to have a good first experience.

Part 1 | Part 2

Hello, and welcome to Contest Prep 101. I will be sharing with you the easy steps to take to become a fitness or figure competitor.

Let my eight years of experience save you the headache and stress of wondering if you've got what it takes to compete. We all have that competitor deep down inside, so unleash your inner self and join me for the next twelve months to learn what it takes to step on stage.

This first edition of Contest Prep 101 is the pace setter for the next twelve months worth of info. So without further or do, let's get down to brass tacks and get started on your journey to the fitness/figure stage.

To Do List

Picking A Show

    First you must pick a show or competition. Picking a show will rely on a couple of things.

    Timing Is Everything

      First, the date of the show must give you enough time to prepare your body and routine without stressing either one out completely. I have had many clients tell me they want to do their first show within a six week period, but don't have their body in shape, nor a routine ready to practice.

      This is a very bad idea. The best thing is to give yourself more than enough time to prepare, so pick a show that is at least 12-16 weeks away.

    Location, Location, Location

      Next choose a show that is in your local area. You can find a poster for any local NPC show in your neighborhood gyms. You may also contact the NPC (National Physique Committee), which is the amateur organization that feeds into the IFBB Pro Division, by visiting the online website

      Search for the events going on within your state and then by your local area. Contact the NPC promoter on the poster or website listing and introduce yourself by saying you wish to compete in one of his/hers upcoming shows.

      Click To Enlarge.
      Backstage At The 2001 Fitness International.

      By choosing a show in your local area you will also be cutting down a huge portion of expenses tied in with competitions like travel, hotel and airfare.

      It is rare that a first time competitor will already have a sponsor so cutting back on expenses will make your first experience a more positive one.

Register For An NPC Card

    Next and once you have chosen a date and contacted the NPC promoter in your area, you must get signed up and register for an NPC card. If you have already been competing, then you know what I am talking about. The NPC organization has a registration fee to become a member.

    Once you have registered, and paid your fee, you are now set for the year. The only fee you have to worry about is the fee to enter whatever show you decide to do.

Scope Out The Competition

    Lastly, I would suggest that you start attending as many local NPC shows in your area as possible to see what the local level of competition is like. It is best to research as much as possible before competing.


      Learn about the judging criteria, the style of costumes and swimsuits worn by the competitors. These fitness costumes and suits are not off the rack, so you will also take that into consideration.

    NPC Fitness Rules And Mandatory Moves!
    In answer to the questions probably asked the most - the NPC women's fitness rules and scoring procedures and how one can qualify to be an IFBB professional fitness competitor? What moves are required?
    [ Click here to learn more. ]

      Here are two companies I would recommend:

      These are the only companies I have ever worked with. CJ has made my fitness costumes and suits since 1998 when I turned professional.

    Click To Enlarge.
    Kelly In Action.

      I recently wore Jagwear's suits for the first time at the Arnold Classic. I love each of their designs! Don't mess around and order the best. Your first impression is the strongest most memorable one.


This concludes the first edition of Contest Prep 101. I look forward to seeing all of you next time, when we will be discussing the next step, hiring a trainer and routine coach.

Part 1 | Part 2