View from the Press Pool

From 8:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. I was covering the Texas State Natural Championship, a natural bodybuilding competition in Austin.  Confession:  Having a media pass is pretty cool.  I got to sit behind the judges table with photographers and people from Muscular Development magazine, and also was able to go backstage to speak with some of the contestants.

There are some pretty interesting bodybuilders out there.  I’ll be writing about them later this week.  But for now, I’d like to share with you some newly discovered insights, which may be helpful if you are competing in the future.

Judges panel
Judges panel

5 Tips for Bodybuilding Competitors – From the Press Pool

  1. Have fun with the poses.  Some contestants were very focused on technique, and getting proper form for the poses.  The people who won also had good form, but looked comfortable in their bodies and as though they were having the time of their life.  When someone had stage presence all the photographers (not just the one documenting the show) would snap pictures, because everyone is just drawn to that competitor.   Also – sometimes the person with the best abs is not the person with that magical X Factor.  (Heck, they made the TV show for a reason!)

    B Barnett - having a blast posing
    B Barnett – having a blast posing
  2. Check your posing suit, or have a friend check it for you, before going on stage.  One contestant had a tag hanging out of the suit bottom in a really bad spot.  No one was looking at this person’s lat muscles or glutes; we were all staring at the tag and feeling embarrassed for the person.  (And if this happens/happened to you, like I could imagine it could happen to me, also know that no one was laughing; we were all empathizing.)
  3. Remember you are onstage, even if you are not posing.  During the first call outs some contestants stayed in the game, and held their side poses, while others just mentally checked out, and stood like they were waiting for their beer order.  (I’m guilty of this.)  But when you do this, the judges immediately write you off, and won’t consider you for a second call out.  So keep it tight!

    Keep it tight!  Even if you're not posing, you're still onstage.
    Keep it tight! Even if you’re not posing, you’re still onstage.
  4. Winning isn’t everything.  There were over 250 contestants.  Only 4 people won overall for each category.  So does that mean the other 246 people should feel bad?  Nonsense!  Don’t get me wrong – it’s ok to cry if you didn’t do as well as you hoped.  You’re human (and a little crab-deprived,)  but just remember where you were 12 weeks ago and how much strength you’ve added not just to your muscles, but to your character.  You demonstrated self discipline and tenacity.  So why show poor sportsmanship now and not show up to the night show if you didn’t get first call outs?  You’re better than that.

    Not everyone gets a trophy.  But you've only lost if you're a poor sport.
    Not everyone gets a trophy. But you’ve only lost if you’re a poor sport.
  5. If you mess up, laugh and move on.  Women slipped in their heels, guys had muscle cramps during pose downs, and people’s pins fell off.  There is no need to apologize or get angry with yourself.  Stuff happens, so just deal with the situation and move on.  Watching a person handle a situation with grace under pressure makes us root for you even more.
    Laugh a little!  We're rooting for you.
    Laugh a little! We’re rooting for you.

    Hope that helps!  See you at the next competition, either in the audience blogging or onstage next to you.  How about you?  If you have ever competed or seen a show, what tips can you suggest?

Lisa ;) (c) 2013 Lisa Traugott.  All rights reserved.  No portion of this blog, including any text, photographs, and artwork, may be reproduced or copied without written permission.

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