Making the decision to step on stage is exciting but it can also be an anxious time.  Are you ready?  Do you have what it takes?  Should you hire a competition prep coach?

First, congratulations on your decision to take your training to the next level!  There is only a small percentage of women who are so highly committed to their fitness goals. Once you make the decision to ‘Go for it’, you will likely be advised to hire a coach.

How do you know what to look for in a coach?

The very first thing for you to define is the answer to this question:  What is your goal for your first show?

Is this a ‘bucket list’ or personal accomplishment goal and you only plan to compete one time? Or, is your goal to compete more than once and potentially earn a pro card or sponsorship?  In either case, you will want to find a coach who will keep you healthy throughout the process of competing.

There are three additional attributes to consider.  Are you ready to hire the best coach for YOU?  Here is what you should consider when looking for your perfect prep coach:

1.  Education: #DoYouEvenScience

There are so many coaches out there, it’s difficult to decide who has a program that will work best for you. Education can separate the top trainers from the posers very quickly.

When you are getting stage ready your coach will have to adjust your workouts and your nutrition over time.  The best person to do this is going to be a coach who is educated in both exercise science and nutrition.  Think about it this way:  If you want to compete in bikini you will need to focus on muscle development in specific areas of your body. Your coach needs to know how to evaluate your ability to build muscle and your body type against the judging criteria.  Your training plan needs to produce ideal development for you to reach your best potential before you step on stage. Your trainer needs to understand training for hypertrophy and conditioning.  Add to this the specific nutritional needs of a competitive bodybuilder and the role of education becomes even bigger.

Keep in mind that the barrier to entry in the training world is unfortunately very low.  A personal training certification can be earned online and over a weekend.  Check for professionals who have degrees in the fields of exercise science and nutrition.

The girl at the gym who just won her bikini show might claim that she can give you a plan to follow.  But, will the plan she followed work as well for you? What if you have a different body shape or an injury?  Will she know how to adjust your meal plan if you have food allergies or need a special diet?

You are taking a big step.  It’s worth the effort to find a true expert to help you reach your best potential.

2.  Experience: Is your coach a winner?

Who do you think is better able to help a new bikini or figure competitor: a woman who has a winning record in bikini or figure competitions or a man who once did a bodybuilding show?  I know it seems silly but the number of male bodybuilders coaching bikini and figure competitors is remarkably common.  That said, if you have the choice between an educated male bodybuilder and an uneducated bikini show winner, go with the dude.  Education trumps experience in this case.

If you can find a coach who is both educated and has experience competing and WINNING in bikini, figure or fitness model shows, she is a good bet for an ideal coach. This experienced competitor will be able to tell you what to expect at your first show from judging criteria to ideal posing.

Finding a coach who has multiple federation experiences is a bonus.  Many coaches only recommend one federation.  If you can find a coach who is familiar with more than one federation, she can help you find the best fit for you.

3. Coaching style: Do you need a ‘coach’ or a ‘cheerleader’?

There is a big difference between a coach and a cheerleader.  A coach isn’t there to motivate you.  Instead, your coach is your guide.  Providing a plan, giving feedback, and clear communication with the goal of helping you reach your best potential is the role of a coach.

Please steer clear of the competition prep coach who ignores your questions or gives you a canned answer to your concerns. “Just follow the plan” isn’t an answer.  You are investing time, effort and money in this endeavor, you deserve real answers.

Make sure that you are comfortable with both the training and communication style of your coach.  Do you prefer to train in person or online? Does your coach send you an email with your workouts or do you get your plans via an app? How often will you check in and when should you expect feedback and a change in your plan?  These are all questions to ask your prospective prep coach before signing on the dotted line.

Remember, preparing to compete in bikini, fitness model or figure is a big commitment.

You owe it to yourself to find the best coach possible to help you reach your goal.

Look for a coach with education, experience and a training style that works the best for you!

Are you planning to compete this year?

Click the picture below to download my FREE Bikini Competition Prep Guide!