The Real Co$t of Bodybuilding

The Real Co$t of Bodybuilding

*If you are my husband please don’t read this post.*  While preparing my personal taxes I stumbled across all the receipts from my first bodybuilding competition and thought you might be interested in knowing the true costs of this sport.

One of my annoying endearing personality quirks is that when I have a very strong idea in my head to do something (i.e. – run a marathon, put on a fundraiser for 700 people, lose 50 lbs via entering a bikini competition, etc.) I tend to jump right in doing very little no research first.  This annoying endearing quality drives my very budget-conscious analytical husband crazy.

Here’s how this works:

  • Chris (a very fit personal trainer):  “I’m going to enter a bikini competition in April.”
  • Lisa (BMI=borderline obese):  “I’m in.”

That was my research…

In defense of myself,  I knew the results I wanted – a bikini body.  I had no idea what was involved getting there.  Perhaps if I had known I never would have done it, and that would have been a shame, as the results went well beyond a nice physique.  I learned about nutrition, gained self confidence and started a new career path as a personal trainer.  Plus, I’ve gained so many new friends from this sport!

But if you are curious, and more analytical than “I’m in,” below is a cost breakdown for you.  ***Again, if you are my husband stop reading right now.  Ends justify the means!!!***

1st Competition Costs

Lisa Traugott - trying a deadlift
Lisa Traugott – trying a deadlift

  • Personal training sessions at commercial gym for 6 months  = $1,700
  • Gym membership fees = $180
  • Supplements = $900
  • Weird-top-secret-bodybuilder-stuff my trainer had me buy but I’m not allowed to post details about it = $350
  • Weird-top-secret-gluten-free-bison-meat-type-food above and beyond “normal” healthy food = $200

    Regular vs. Gluten Free
    Regular vs. Gluten Free
  • New wardrobe ’cause I lost 50 lbs = $200 (I shop at Walmart)
  • Posing classes (yes, you need them) = $280

    Pose class with Adela Garcia
    Pose class with Adela Garcia
  • 2 posing bikinis = $210  (I got off kind off cheap on this one used I bought off E-bay.  Some women spend $300-$600 per suit.)
  • 5″ heels = $70*  (I bought the wrong shoes so add another $90 for a total of $160)Money Shoes
  • Tanning salon – base tan + bronzer = $190
  • NPC card = $100

    NPC Card
    NPC Card
  • Entrance fee for competition= $85 per division (I just did Bikini Masters Division – that’s fancy for “old chicks”)
  • Manicure/Pedicure = $92 (Did you know that “gels” cost a bazillion times more than just a regular manicure?  Here’s where that “research” thing might have come in handy…)
  • Wax Eyebrows = $17.  (This was totally unnecessary, but when you just put $92 on your credit card to get gel nails, why not go for pretty eyebrows too?)
  • Photo shoot for the blog 3 weeks before the competition = $0.  Sponsored!!  THANK YOU CAROLINE POE PHOTOGRAPHY!!!

    Bikini Body - Thanks, trainer Daniel Rufini!
    Bikini Body – Thanks, trainer Daniel Rufini!          Caroline Poe Photography
  • Spray on tan night before the competition = $150
  • Hair and make-up day of the competition = $150
  • Tickets for my husband to see the pre-show + night show = $135
  • Total cost first competition:  $5,099 = $849/mo.
  • Having a bikini body without plastic surgery?  Priceless!
    January 2012 - 50 lbs overweight
    January 2012 – 50 lbs overweight
    12 weeks before 1st show
    12 weeks before 1st show (March 2012)

    1 week before 1st show
    1 week before 1st show (June 2012)

2nd Competition Costs

  • Personal training sessions at small gym for 3 months  = $1,350

  • Gym membership fees = $115
  • Supplements.  I had some left over; did not need weight loss ones anymore; bought online for better pricing= $200
  • Weird-top-secret-bodybuilder-stuff – N/A.  I already lost the weight = $0
  • Weird-top-secret-gluten-free-bison-meat-type-food above and beyond “normal” healthy food = $75
  • New wardrobe.  N/A.  How many jean shorts does a girl need? = $0
  • Posing classes (did not need as many) = $180
  • 2 posing bikinis.  (I wore the same ones) = $0
  • 5″ heels (I wore the same ones) = $0
  • Tanning salon – base tan + bronzer (only did it the month before the show) = $95

    My breakfast the day before the show
    My breakfast the day before the show
  • NPC card – N/A.  Good for the year = $0
  • Entrance fee for competition (entered 2 divisions this time “Masters” and “Open”) = $170
  • Manicure/Pedicure.  Kept my own nails on and just painted them = $35
  • Wax Eyebrows – N/A= $0
  • Spray on tan night before the competition-included in hair/make-up cost this time = $0
  • Hair and make-up day of the competition = $150
  • Tickets for my husband to see the pre-show + night show = $135
  • Total cost second competition:  $2,505
  • Keeping the weight off even after my high school reunion?  Priceless!

    Goodbye size 14 jeans!Lisa Traugott - ION Studios
    Goodbye size 14 jeans!
    Lisa Traugott – ION Studios

And hey, this sport’s cheaper than golf.  How much does your sport cost?

Lisa 😉

If you like this article, check out the minute trailer for my book:

Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two. You can read more about her in her new book, “She’s Losing It!” available at Resolution Front Cover.4837209 (c) 2015 Lisa Traugott. All rights reserved. No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission. 

33 thoughts on “The Real Co$t of Bodybuilding

  1. You’re such an inspiration to me! I’ve done a similar (but much smaller) challenge in running in my first mud run and starting from scratch on training costs a lot (again, not what you’ve done, but wow! You look amazing!). I have found that backing yourself into a corner/challenge, you are pushed more to follow through. Again, you are an inspiration!

        1. OMG there’s another woman like me!! I also jump into big things without much info. I must challenge myself and work for a bright, shinny object

          I was almost paralyzed from
          Being a passenger in a high speed rollover. My back was broken in over 20 places. In the ER I thought I’m not to let the accident win. I was.going to walk (knew running was off the table) again and was going to walk a marathon by that date next yr. Did it 9 months later. Family just rolled eyes. They know me well.

          I share that because my spine was opened up from top to bottom and I have the scars to Many victims.think.their scars are disfiguring. I refuse to let the accident win. Those scars are beautiful and tell a great story. I want to be proud of them and show them to the world. What better way to do that than a.bikini competition. I’m not (yet) afraid of my back (it’s all other places) being judged against others. It belongs there.

  2. Amazing. And, hey, it’s cheaper than surgery too. I couldn’t run a quarter of a mile when I committed to my first Ragnar Relay race. Had I known what I was getting into, I never would have done it. Have been running ever since. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

    1. Amen!! It’s great you have made such progress. I never would have entered the competition if I knew how hard and expensive the first one would be. Each competition gets easier though.

    1. I didn’t use the weight loss ones until I was down to a size 4, and it was specific to my short-term competition goals. My trainer wanted me to know that I could lose weight on my own first just through diet and exercise.

  3. This is an AWESOME post. I definitely learned a ton from this! I’m going to do my first show this summer, I hope it does not cost me this much! LOL. Keep crushing it 🙂

  4. Hmm the gym is by far my most expensive ‘sport’ at about $50/month ($600 a year)
    Hockey costs me $230 a year, about $10 a game, pretty standard.
    Running in races last year I did 5 races (2 local, 1 small out of town race and the the Warrior Dash and Run For Your Lives) in all it was probably about $250
    Biking costs me nothing – I already have a bike, unless you count the cost of ice cream after a long hot ride.

    1. Ice cream? I would totally add that to my expense list! Except I’m sure my trainer would want me to add tuna or bison meat to it to make it sufficiently weird.
      I’m going to do a Zombie Run this year – I was inspired by your post 🙂

  5. I think you have to look at it this way, its not like you have lost the weight and stacked it on again. Thats what a waste would be. And if you calculate potential doctors bills and also the cost of the crappy food, you are probably out in front!

  6. The result is whoa! outstanding though. I knew about the sacrifices and the costs people put in competitions, marathon and basic physical fitness goals.
    I’d say, it’s easy to be anything else when you have a passion or a goal on one particular thing. You gonna have to pay off the piper no matter what. At least what you chose to focus has a result that builds your life and your being. It’s not just exactly a recreation.
    My passion is traveling and picture-taking. I got mad expenses too, my friend.
    Others waste their dough in video games and booze.

  7. Awesome post! Loved your writing style and the way you personalized It. I love lifting weights and I admire the women who dare to go a step ahead and go all out to compete!!! I salute you and admire you for your determination!

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