Checklist for Doing An International Bodybuilding Competition
If you are a bodybuilder and are considering doing an international competition, this post is for you! You can do a bodybuilding competition anywhere in the world, so why not do that? It’s a great way to keep motivated to stay fit and your reward is a vacation in an exotic new country.
In addition to training extensively and eating really, really, unbelievably clean, which I’ve written quite a bit about in other blog posts, there are other tasks to doing an international competition. I’ve made a nifty checklist to help with this.
Checklist for International Bodybuilding Competition
- Get passports. This is a longer process than you’d think. You can’t just show up to the post office to fill out the paperwork. Apparently you have to book an appointment weeks in advance, keeping in mind that once the paperwork is done, you still have another 6 weeks for everything to be processed. You also need to get passport photos, birth certificates and both parents physically present to sign for the kids (unless you have a very compelling reason why only one parent can come).
- Check Calendar. Timing is important if you are going to make this a competition/vacation. The show was on Sunday, so I made sure to fly out on Friday, that way I had some wiggle room if there was a travel delay. It’s also important to make sure you have enough time AFTER the competition to tour the country so you can have your cheat meals and not feel like you’re missing out on once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to experience local cuisine and culture.
- Book flight. Round trip tickets cost about $500. It helps that the competition is in July, which is the off season for Costa Rica. We had a ton of unused mileage points and were able to apply all of them, making it $80 total for roundtrip family of four. Kuddos to my husband for dealing with the points!
- Book accommodations. My husband loves to research this stuff. It drives me crazy how much analysis he does. But I must admit…the places he found here are AMAZING! We tend to go through VRBOs because I like the flexibility of having a kitchen so I can cook my food, at least some of the time.
The rates here are about $150-$200 per night. Also, try to find a place with a gym so you can get that final workout done.
- Competition registration. Oh boy, was this my nemesis! A lot of registrations can be done online and you can use a credit card to pay. This form had to be printed out and you could mail a check or credit card info to the main Musclemania hub in California. And somehow my registration and payment got lost, so I was panicking two days before the flight, tying in Google Translator to try to get in touch with the promoter in Costa Rica. Fortunately, the promoter, Ernesto, got back to me and thankfully handled it. I scanned my registration print outs and paid when I arrived. My advice to athletes is to make copies of everything just in case you have an issue and follow up until you know you are set.
- Check electricity and cell phone info. If you are travelling to some countries your electronics won’t plug in without an adapter. Good information to know before you show up! Fortunately, Costa Rica doesn’t need adapters. But we did have to purchase a SIMS card with a local number for my cell phone to work right and to get access to Uber.
- What to pack: Food.
If you are a bodybuilder, you know that you live out of Tupperware and have your fish and rice and asparagus with you at all times. You have peanut butter for your rice cake and a gallon of water. Guess what? You can’t have any of that on an international flight. Quest Protein makes individual protein packets, so I brought those plus an empty shaker cup and purchased water once I got past security. Salads are sold pretty much every airport concession stand, so I just got it dry (without dressing) and munched on the plane. When I arrived we found a local grocery store where I was able to buy what I needed.
- What to pack: Stage Outfit.
A big fear of mine was that my suitcase would be lost (no doubt hanging out with my original registration form) and I would be naked on stage. For this reason, all outfits were in my carry on backpack that I measured three times to make sure it was small enough for the airline space requirements. The sports model division has three rounds: dress, bikini and sports outfit/theme costume. It has been a dream of mine to pretend to be a Victoria’s Secret model and wear wings, so that’s what I had to attempt to bring on the plane. Fortunately, my wings were collapsible and I kept the dowels in a separate, larger suitcase. Anyway, the backpack had my three outfits plus a backup posing bikini in case there was a wardrobe malfunction. It also had my boots, posing heels, hair extensions and costume jewelry, makeup and all the directions to the event and contact numbers printed out in case internet didn’t work.
- Check the Weather:
When you think of Costa Rica, what do you see? Sunny beaches? Bikini clad women holding cocktails? I’ll bet you weren’t thinking ‘rainy season’, were you? That’s why it’s good to check out the local weather. We had to pack rain ponchos and umbrellas, and it’s good we did because every afternoon between 3pm-5pm it POURED!
- What to pack: The rest of it. Always bring resistance bands. They may or may not have dumbbells backstage to pump. My bands were packed with the rest of my stuff in the regular suitcase, which I shared with my husband. (I figured if my suitcase got lost, I could always do pushups backstage.) My kids brought their important toys in a backpack and clothes went into their shared suitcase. We also packed an empty duffle bag in case we went crazy buying souvenirs.
- Tanning. The competition here didn’t have a tanning vendor so my trainer gave me a bottle of base coat spray tan, which had to be packed in my regular suitcase (liquid).
I also bought latex gloves and sponges, and brought a dark towel from home plus dark sweats and long sleeve shirt to cover up the sheets and pillows at the hotel. We did one coat the night before and then two more coats the next day. It wasn’t as dark as the typical spray on tan at a show, but looked really good overall and smelled a lot better than the hardcore stuff.
Before you go onstage you usually oil your muscles. I brought a jar of Sweet Sweat with me and lightly rubbed it in. I also kept a small towel with it to wipe my hands and take off excess before my costume change. This also had to be packed with my regular suitcase.
Hope this info helps! Now go out and win some trophies to bring back home.
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