Cydney Gillon’s 10 Tips for Competing in Your First Bodybuilding Show

A first-time bodybuilder competing in front of an audience can be intimidating. It’s a lot about preparing before and during a show. Six times Figure Olympia Master Cydney Gillon shared his notes on his YouTube channel on May 12, 2023 to help amateur bodybuilder best prepares for his first competition. See it below:

[Related: 2023 New York Pro Bodybuilding Show Results Tonio Burton Wins Mens Open]

Cydney Gillon’s tips for first-time competitors

Here’s a list of things to consider, followed by how Cydney Gillon covered each topic to best prepare a new bodybuilding competitor for a show:

  1. Schedule everything
  2. Tanning, Makeup, Jewelry and costumes
  3. Go to a Bodybuilding Show
  4. Frequently Asked Questions About Organizer Website & Guidelines for music
  5. Practice Posing & Show expectations
  6. Backstage Prep
  7. Lotion and exfoliation
  8. How to use pee cups
  9. Show Day Tickets and Live Stream
  10. What to do on show day

[Related: 10 Bodybuilders With Some of the Biggest Legs in the Sports History]

Schedule everything

Anything and everything that needs to be scheduled should be prioritized, according to Gillon. Whether it’s booking a hotel or Air BnB, the first step every new competitor should take as soon as possible is their preparation.

Gillon added that the location a competitor is staying in should be close to the competition venue to avoid delays caused by traffic or other transit. It is imperative for new athletes to avoid stressors that can increase cortisol before or on show day.

Solarium, makeup, jewelry and costumes

The six-time Figure Olympia champion recommends that bodybuilders know ahead of time which on-site professional artists they plan to use for their hair, makeup and tanning. Of course, athletes can handle all these aspects themselves, but if they hire others for their services, know who and where they are at the competition site in advance.

Image courtesy of @vytamin_c on Instagram

Different pageants have different guidelines for each aspect of makeup, hair and tanning, so research tanning and makeup before the show to know which tones to use. According to Gillon, using deodorant or moisturizing after showering is a big no-no as part of the tanning protocol. Learn to be comfortable with the tan smell.

Design of costumes and jewelry should be planned well in advance of the show. However, it is okay to wait to be fitted for the suit closer to the race date as cutting can affect the measurements.

Having a suit or brown shirt to layer over the clothes is essential to protect the new bodybuilding competitor’s clothes. Hand sanitizer is important for contestants who eat (to put on their fingertips) because they will not be able to wash their hands after the tan is applied.

Buying tanning sheets and towels early prevents you from laying your tanned body on white hotel sheets, which hotels charge for. Instead, place black, brown or dark sheets over the bedding the athlete plans to sleep on.

Go to a Bodybuilding Show

For first-time competitors, Gillon recommends watching a bodybuilding show to find out which category is most appealing to compete in. When it finally comes time to register for a bodybuilding competition, be prepared for the registration fees, including late fees. Organizers implement the fee guidelines in different ways. Set reminders for the prizes, which can be upwards of $100 to $200.

Image courtesy of @vytamin_c on Instagram

[Related: How to Do the Chest-Supported Row for a Bigger and Stronger Back]

Checking promoter websites for their guidelines is a valuable resource for answering questions and gathering information for the designated show. Information about makeup and sunscreen, as well as music guidelines, are usually listed on the organizers’ websites.

For example, some bodybuilding categories will only allow 45-second songs without profanity. If the music is not submitted by the due date, the competitor will likely only be allowed to use house music, which may adversely affect their posing routines.

Practice posing and showing expectations

Knowing what poses look like and practicing them in advance is important to score well on the judges’ scorecards. Gillon recommends hiring a posing coach if it’s affordable. Gillon suggests new bodybuilders start posing a year after their goal show and perform at least one posing session per month.

Image courtesy of @vytamin_c on Instagram

New competitors should be careful to temper their expectations for their first show. You don’t have to look like Mr. Olympia or Ms. Olympia on stage at your first show. Gillon continued, The first show is to get your feet wet, have a great experience, realize if this is the right category for you, [and figure out if] you really like doing this.

Backstage Prep

If a new competitor brings their trainer to their first competition, they should pay for the backstage pass, which can cost upwards of $150. If the coach can’t be there, Gillon recommends setting up a tripod backstage or in the bathroom to take check-in photos with the coach.


Gillon packs as much of her stuff as possible a few weeks before she leaves for the show to ensure she doesn’t forget anything. Having an extra pair of shoes and super glue is important to be prepared for anything that might happen to your competitors’ shoes on the day of the show. Cones, irons, hairspray and everything needed for hair should also be packed. Having food packed backstage is also something to think about.

Lotion and exfoliation

Gillion believes it’s important to know your skin protocols before getting a tan in the final weeks before a show. Gillon exfoliates and creams fortnightly to keep the skin hydrated.

Make sure the skin is nice and supple, conditioned and healthy throughout the prep as the skin can sometimes get a little dry as you strip out fats and macronutrients [that are needed to keep the skin moisturized and hydrated].

How to use pee cups

Gillon says a pee cup is used after tanning, so be careful when using one to protect the tan. An athlete can buy a pee cup or use a regular disposable cup from the bathroom.

To avoid mishaps, sit at the end of the toilet, separate your cheeks, and then allow your pelvis to pee down that way. Then take the tissue and pat [to prevent the pee from splattering]. Hold it there, take another tissue, pat it and drop it in the toilet.

Gillon suggests using headphones that don’t sit on the head and hair, but only go into the ears to protect the athlete’s hair. Cushions can help some contestants relax as they sit down and wait to go on stage.

Athlete check-ins, show day tickets, live stream info

The day before the show, the bodybuilder should check the athlete’s check-in schedule to ensure they are eligible for competition. Athletes who have not checked in to the exhibition will be removed from the list.

Image courtesy of @vytamin_c on Instagram

The prices for competing usually go up on the day of the competition. If there is a live stream of the competition, that information is usually available the day before or the day before the show, which is useful for any family members or friends to watch the show if they cannot attend in person.

What to do on show day

On the exhibition day, the athlete must:

  • Wear loose, dark clothing (coat or tanning suit)
  • Wear dark shoes (the ones that can be easily slipped on and off that don’t interfere with the tan on the feet)
  • Have your stage number packed and memorized
  • Have the food packed
  • Don’t walk around; sit to rest your legs
  • Know the show schedule; when each division competes
  • Come backstage early (at least 30-45 minutes before the performance)
  • Breathe; deep breaths before going on stage, shake out the nerves.
  • Maintain good sportsmanship regardless of placement

Last but not least, said Gillon, It is not a golf tournament. Tell your family they can scream as loud as they want when you go on stage, take your time and have fun.

Featured image: @vytamin_c on Instagram

Related Posts

a photo of a man doing a squat and bodybuilder Tom Platz

I Tried Tom Platz’s Leg Workout — Here’s What Happened

Famed for his massive leg development, bodybuilding legend Tom Platz is considered one of the greatest leg trainers of all time. He started his competitive bodybuilding career…

Ronnie Coleman Bodybuilding Career, Competition History and Biography

Ronnie Coleman Bodybuilding Career, Competition History and Biography

When you think about the bodybuilding landscape of the late 90s and early 2000s, one name rises above all others: Ronnie Coleman. For nearly a decade, The…

A healthy way to eat eggs for bodybuilders and athletes

A healthy way to eat eggs for bodybuilders and athletes

Eggs are a constant source of research and differing opinions because they are such a staple food for millions of us, but much of the information written…

Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Career, Competition History and Biography

Arnold Schwarzenegger Bodybuilding Career, Competition History and Biography

People around the world have their own thoughts when they hear the name Arnold Schwarzenegger. Most people may know him as the star of blockbusters like Conan…

2023 New York Pro Preview, Competitor List and Top Names to Watch – Fitness Volt

2023 New York Pro Preview, Competitor List and Top Names to Watch – Fitness Volt

The 2023 New York Pro takes place this weekend and serves as the third most important event on the IFBB Pro League calendar. With Blessing Awodibu gone…

Nick Walker Reveals Training Structure, The Role Of Science And Drugs In Bodybuilding - Fitness Volt

Nick Walker Reveals Training Structure, The Role Of Science And Drugs In Bodybuilding – Fitness Volt

American bodybuilder Nick Walker is one of the precursors of the coming one 2023 Mr. Olympia competition. After placing third at the previous event, he will look…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *