Everyone wants to make a big splash the first time they step on stage to compete. From the moment that I started bodybuilding over 23 years ago I knew that I wanted to compete, and everything I did in the gym was geared toward the day when I would appear on stage to fight it out in the physique world. I never gave a second thought to what competitive strategy I might employ to eventually make the biggest impact and move up the competitive ladder. These days if you want to earn one of the coveted IFBB Pro cards, then it is wise to give some thought and planning to which shows to do so that you can get the kind of forward momentum it takes to make it to the IFBB Pro ranks.
The sad facts are that not many competitors make it to the National level in the NPC, let alone make it to the pros. However this doesn’t mean that every competitor shouldn’t give a little thought to which shows to do and how each might try to move up the competitive ladder.
My suggestions for most people are based on two critical elements, having a great experience at any show, and challenging yourself always. For most, this usually means compete when and where you can as long as you have the a good chance to have some fun. This also means that you shouldn’t compete in a show just because you think you can win it. Winning shows is a great thing, but remember there is only one winner in any show, which means most of the competitors who do shows lose. So the value most competitors get out of a show will come from some intrinsic elements you derive from your competitive process, what you learn about yourself and your body, and finally what relationships you form while competing. All these things will determine if you made a good competition selection and consequently either encourage you to compete again or not.
If there are any competitive certainties in the world of bodybuilding, bikini and figure, they are these: you can’t do anything about who shows up to a show to compete against you, and you can’t do anything about what the judges think of your physique. So in the end analysis, it makes sense to do shows that add something to your life, give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and for you to challenge yourself so that you know exactly what you need to do to be better next time you step on stage and compete. Make your competition choices based on what value you will get out of each experience and not whether you want a trophy. Most likely if you are having a lot of fun competing, learning and growing as a competitor, that you will probably look up and find after a few contests that you have a nice collection of trophies anyways.