Bodybuilders are asked, “How do you look like that?” In truth, the biggest question is how do you afford to look like that? With the costs of tanning, traveling, registration fees and bikinis; you’re looking at a lot of money to do one show.
How much can it really cost? A lot.
Expect to spend at least $1000
Even if you choose the cheapest items on the market, and participate in a local bodybuilding show, you will spend at least $1000, and that’s low-balling it. Each organization has its own set fees, and some bodybuilding events will definitely be more expensive than others. The expenses will also vary if you are a female or male.
For example, if you did the OCB Midwest States, which is affordable compared to some bodybuilding events, the foundation of your costs are as follows:
- Sunless tanning at home—$40
- Posing suit—$300 [inexpensive] with shipping and handling
- Posing suit/bikini adhesive —$8
- Shoes— $50
- Organization card— $50
- Additional crossover fee— $30
- Polygraph — $55 [required for OCB]
- Latex gloves —$2
- Total— $585
What this list does not include
This $585 is the foundation of expenses before you pay for everything else needed to compete. This price does not include supplements, late fees, tanning bed fees, babysitting services [if you need it], hair or nail care, makeup, or jewelry. It does not cover travel expenses such as gas, airfare, cab fare, or hotel accommodations either. If you use enhancement drugs that is an entirely different cost to add to your budget.
This total does not include food, especially if you have a family that you cook separate meals for, as well. When these items are included in your bodybuilding contest prep that's a lot more money than most people expect to pay for a single bodybuilding show.
Do you need a fitness coach?
Is this your first bodybuilding show? Or are you trying to take your physique to the next level? If so, your personal trainer, posing coach or nutritionist is an additional cost, and that is high cost in some cases. A single posing session can cost anywhere from $40 to over $100+ for one hour.
For example, a guru such as George Farah is in the upwards of $4000 or more to hire. Surprised by his fees? Don’t be. His nickname is the “The Pro Maker” for a reason. Farah has turned out many Olympian level athletes including Debi Laszewski and Branch Warren.
Create a budget before investing time or money
It is not often that you will do your finances before doing a bodybuilding show, but it is necessary. Competitors back out of shows because of the lack of money, but only after spending money on pre-contest items. It is common for bodybuilding athletes to max out credit cards because they did not make a budget for their show, which is a bad idea. Credit card debt can take years to pay, and the only thing you’ll have to show for it is a trophy if you place in the top five of your class.
Do your research
Research is as important as a financial budget. Although it’s great to read articles, or listen to friends, look for products and their prices on your own. Create a budget based on these numbers then stick to it. Do this before investing any time or money into bodybuilding contest prep.