Save Your Pennies: The Cost of Competing

A bodybuilding competition can surprise you with a lengthy list of costs, in comparison to other sports; it can get expensive. The following is a list of things to consider when budgeting for a bodybuilding show. While somethings are completely optional, others are not.


Gym Membership

Cost: $10-$60/month.

A basic gym will suffice, just make sure it has the essential equipment you will need to be successful.



Costs: Varies

In-Person: cost/session, Online: cost/month. While a coach or trainer is totally optional, even the best of the best have their own coaches and trainers. A competition coach/trainer with knowledge, credentials and experience is highly recommended. He or she will be able to properly guide you through the processes of training and nutrition, as well as hold you accountable for your actions. *Do your research to make sure you find the right coach for YOU!



Cost: Varies

Food that you will consume during a competition prep can add up quickly. You will most likely be eating more frequently throughout the day, consuming “cleaner” foods, as they are healthier. Your required food on show day should be factored in as well.



Cost: Varies

The use of supplements like protein powder or BCAA’s can be seen as optional, as well as vitamins. The incorporation of these things in your contest prep will be relative to you.



Cost: $200-$1,000+

Your suit design, color and fit with your overall physique can make or break how you look on stage. Check your federation guidelines to make sure your suit falls within them.




Required for the bikini and figure categories. Check your federation guidelines to make sure your heels fall within them.



Cost: Varies – Private and/or Group Seminars

By all means, you can attempt to teach yourself. However, posing is very individual to the person. A pose that looks good on someone else, may not look as good on your body, simply because everyone is unique and built differently. A posing coach will be able to help you identify poses that work for you, as well as have the insight on posing requirements for different federations & categories.


Federation Membership

Cost: $75-$150

Different federations will have different membership fees. Before you can even register for a contest, all shows require you to be a member of their federation.


Competition Entry

Cost: $50-$100

Fees are typically per class entered. Some shows may offer early bird registration.


Competition Tan

Cost: $100+

It is highly recommended that you get your tan from the onsite tanning sponsor at your show to avoid any wrong coloring or blotchiness that you may experience if you were to do it at home. The last thing you want is to have the wrong color spray tan up on stage, after working so incredibly hard for the package you brought to show day. Leave this to the pros!



Cost: $50-$100+

Can totally be done on your own, however, there is usually an onsite hair & makeup sponsor who can help with this. Perhaps you may have a friend who can help you out too – may be a cheaper option.


Stage Makeup

Cost: $75+

Stage makeup is very different from everyday makeup. Under the stage lights, you don’t want to get washed out. Therefore, stage makeup is usually a full glam look and must compliment the rest of your look. There are often official makeup artists at the show, the option of a friend doing it for you or doing it yourself. If you choose to do your own, the benefit will be that you will have this makeup to use for the rest of your shows.



Costs: $20-$80

Jewelry is personal preference. You don’t need overly expensive bling for the stage.



Cost: Varies

A manicure and pedicure is not required, but can give that nice final touch to your look.



Cost: Varies

Competing locally can keep your travel affordable. If you are not competing locally, you will want to consider the cost of the travel, hotel or host hotel for the most convenience.


Overall, competition prep is not a cheap hobby/sport. Before competing, you may want to consider saving for your show to avoid any financial stress you may endure. Again, the items on this list can be relative to your federation, goals and needs. The adrenaline rush of showcasing all of your hard work on show day, however, may make it all worth it in the end!