How To Avoid Competition Suit Mishaps

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If you are a female competitor in the NPC, IFBB, WBFF or other bodybuilding organization, you have probably had a suit mishap at some point. Whether it’s a light colored suit which becomes muddied and stained by competition spray tan, a connector which snaps (hopefully not while you were onstage!), a suit which doesn’t adequately cover your goodie parts and caused a wardrobe malfunction, or a suit which simply doesn’t fit correctly to your body, suit issues can be quite distressing.

I know competition suits are not cheap, and I also know the frustration which comes from having issues with suits. I have personally experienced a snapped connector (it occurred backstage about 45 minutes before I hit the national stage), and a suit which was too big. For this reason, I developed certain habits which served as insurance that I would not run into any unresolvable problems on show day.

Darker, yet vibrant colors are a good way to ensure that you won’t have to deal with excessive suit staining. White suits are notorious for picking up spray tan and are next to impossible to remove. Wardrobe malfunctions can be remedied by packing an emergency kit which includes safety pins, needle and thread so you can perform last-minute fixes. Another thing which I HIGHLY recommend is to ALWAYS pack a backup suit. When my suit connector broke, I simply wore my backup suit onstage.

The fit of a suit can make all the difference between placing well and being dumped into the bottom of the bin during judging. A well-fitting suit will adequately cover your curves without throwing off your natural lines, and will accentuate your strong features while camouflaging any weak points on your body. Make sure to set aside enough time when purchasing a suit or having one custom made to allow for alterations so that you can look your best on contest day.

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Competing And Self-Worth

Team U 35+ top 5

I had an amazing time competing as an NPC Bikini competitor, and also had fun competing as an IFBB Bikini Pro, despite the fact that I didn’t place well as a Pro. However, I don’t miss the maddening prep which precedes each competition, nor the constant self-scrutiny which always surfaces during prep. Though I always want to win, I am not going to have a nervous breakdown over the fact that my placings as a Pro have been underwhelming. I don’t feel pressured to step onstage, and I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with retiring completely from competing if that is what I decide to do. Yet I still get that question, “When’s your next show?”

A number of people have mentioned that the stakes have been raised lately, due to the more muscle-bound, newer Bikini Pros. They have told me this as if I wasn’t already aware of that fact! I am well aware of who is competing in the Pro ranks, and what the ladies are bringing onstage these days. Here’s the truth: I am tired of trying to balance a very busy schedule with two-a-day cardio sessions and double training in order to prep for a contest. My attitude is that I already won. My singular goal with competing was to attain IFBB Pro status, which I did. So should I feel that my value has somehow diminished because I am not one of the handful of IFBB Bikini Pros who have decided to continue competing in the Pro ranks? If you think about it, the majority of Pros do NOT compete. There are over 400 Bikini Pros now, but only a small percentage of them choose to keep hitting the stage.

What happens when a Pro chooses to continue with competing? The stakes are raised in the Pro ranks, with stiff competition from other Pros, and a more stringent judging panel which is necessary when assessing the best physiques in the world. It can be quite intimidating, which I think is a major factor for Pros who avoid the stage the minute they go Pro. It can be rather disappointing to achieve the crowning victory of Pro status, then get slapped down because you aren’t one of the best Pros. Basically, you go from being at the top of one heap, to being at the bottom of another one.

Since life is about balance, many Pros shift their focus to career, family, and other interests. The idea of returning to the stage can be downright repellent to some Pros who finally realize what they were missing when they were in the throes of competing during their amateur days. I have heard people in the industry talk smack about Pros who “let themselves go”, which in many cases is code speak for situations in which a Pro began to finally live like a normal person. In the world of bodybuilding, being “normal” is often regarded in a negative light.

For those of you who are IFBB Pros and are feeling some remorse over not stepping on stage as a Pro, you need to stop beating yourself up about it! As long as you represent the IFBB in a classy manner, and continue to inspire and motivate through your fitness lifestyle and whatever other respectable endeavors you are involved in, you don’t have to compete. You are still a Pro, always amazing, and one of the top athletes in the bodybuilding world!

Brand New Christine Marsh Figure Suit Still Available

Christine Marsh Design FIGURE COMPETITION SUIT:

This BRAND NEW figure suit is heavily hand crystallized with clear, amethyst, green, and gold Swarovski crystals and is one of a kind. This is a blingy and gorgeous suit and the pics truly don’t do it justice! The cups will fit a full D cup and the bottoms will fit someone who wears a size zero. The original price tag is still on the suit, and sold for $1,297. This suit HAS NEVER BEEN WORN ONSTAGE and has only been tried on a few times with liners in the bottoms. It is pristine and an absolute knockout! The connectors just need to be adjusted and finished off for the lucky gal who buys this suit!

PRICE: $950

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Figure Suit Detail C

Competition Strong Trainer Directory

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Are you looking for a trainer to help you get into the best shape of your life? Please check out the NEW Competition Strong Trainer Directory, which has trainers in various locations across the U.S., Bermuda and Barbados. I am honored to be listed as one of the trainers in this directory, and am excited to watch this directory grow as more trainers and coaches are added.

Please click on this link to see my bio on this great site, and be sure to check out the other fantastic trainers listed too!

http://competitionstrong.com/trainer/stacey-naito-ca/

Finding That Perfect Suit Is Like Finding The Perfect Wedding Gown…

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Ever since I began competing in bodybuilding contests in 2009, I have had a fixation on suits. My fixation became a bit extreme during the time I was chasing after an IFBB Pro Card, and resulted in the purchase of a total of NINETEEN suits from 2009 through 2014!

Here is the breakdown of all the suits I bought each year:

2009:
Luli Fama off-the-rack suit – Bought through Victoria’s Secret Catalog. Wore for my first contest.
Royal blue Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at Tournament of Champions.
White and silver Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at Border States.
Black Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at NPC Nationals.
Lilac Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at Excalibur.

2010:
Slate blue hologram print Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at Emerald Cup.
Purple leopard print Fresh Peaches custom suit – Never wore this one.
Zebra print Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at Team Universe.
Tiger print Fresh Peaches custom suit – Never wore this one.
Deep blue shatterglass effect Fresh Peaches custom suit – Wore this at USA, Jr. USA, IFBB North American, NPC Nationals.

2011:
Blue Maison Lyle custom suit – Never wore this one.
Peacock custom suit made by me – Wore this at Team Universe, Master’s Nationals, IFBB North American, NPC Nationals.

2012:
Peach Tamee Marie cusstom suit – Never wore this one.
Red CJ’s Elite custom suit – Wore this at NPC Pittsburgh, Team Universe, Master’s Nationals.
Green CJ’s Elite custom suit – Wore this at IFBB North American. (I also wore this at both Pro contests I did in 2014).

2013:
Light blue CJ’s Elite custom suit – Wore this at NPC Metropolitan.
Tangerine CJ’s Elite custom suit – Wore this at Team Universe, Sac Pro.
Iris blue Jagware competition suit – Wore this at Irongames Pro.

2014:
Gold Ravish Sands custom suit – Wore this at Dennis James Classic Pro, Nor Cal Pro.
Bikini Front
I no longer have a fixation on buying the “perfect” suit and have sold most of my suits. However, there are a few suits I will never get rid of, for various reasons:
Zebra print Fresh Peaches custom suit – This suit turned out to be great for photo shoots.
Tiger print Fresh Peaches custom suit – This suit also turned out to be great for photo shoots.

This was from IFBB North American in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012.  I hadn't seen this image until now!  That was an amazing contest for me, in which I took a First Place Finish in Open Bikini C, beating out 27 other young ladies.  I was 45 there!

This was from IFBB North American in Cleveland, Ohio in 2012. I hadn’t seen this image until now! That was an amazing contest for me, in which I took a First Place Finish in Open Bikini C, beating out 27 other young ladies. I was 45 there!

Peacock custom suit made by me – I have this suit in a shadowbox because I am very proud of the fact that I made this myself and took three first place national finishes in this suit.
Green CJ’s Elite custom suit – This is now my backup suit for IFBB Pro events.
Tangerine CJ’s Elite custom suit – I won my IFBB Pro Card in this suit and will never get rid of it due to its sentimental value. In addition, this is my main suit for IFBB Pro events.

I completely understand now the quest for a perfect suit can turn into an obsession! Over the years I managed to buy suits in green, various shades of blue, white, black, lilac, blue-purple, animal prints, peacock, peach, tangerine, red, and gold! Sometimes colors which look amazing on some competitors might not look as good on you, or maybe the color is perfect, but the cut isn’t quite right. I enjoyed trying out different colors and suitmakers, but I don’t think it was sensible at all for me to buy so many suits! Clearly I was a bit fickle about competition suits, hence the constant switching from one suit to another.

The entire process of selecting a suit is quite similar to the process of hunting for the perfect wedding gown. Yet even when I was searching for a wedding gown, I didn’t invest nearly as much time in that search, partially because I abhor shopping, but also because I was on a very limited budget when I shopped for a wedding gown. It was 1998 and I was in medical school, living off medical school loans, and paying for the entire wedding. What is amazing to me is that I have paid more for some competition suits than I paid for my wedding dress!

Believe it or not, I am still pondering the idea of having just “one more suit” made, but I keep pushing the idea aside because I know that would be frivolous. I know several competitors who struggle with the same suit frenzy that I have dealt with over the past eight years. Instead of spending major coin buying a bunch of different suits, you might want to consider just buying a couple of suits, one main suit and a backup suit. Your impulse may be to choose a favorite color to wear onstage, but make sure that the color/shade you choose looks good with your complexion and hair color! I have made that mistake a couple of times and ended up looking less than my best as a result. If you are indecisive, the massive selection of fabrics and connectors can be dizzying, so take your time when trying to decide on all the details. My absolute favorite suit designer is CJ’s Elite, not only because her suits always fit like a dream, but also because she has an extensive fabric and connector selection and is an amazing woman.

For those of you who want to try to save some money, a good option is to purchase used suits from a fellow competitor. I have two bikini division suits and a figure division suit for sale on my contest prep site: http://cutcurves.com/Storefront.php

Gorgeous Figure Competition Suit For Sale, Never Worn Onstage

Christine Marsh Design FIGURE COMPETITION SUIT:

This BRAND NEW figure suit is heavily hand crystallized with clear, amethyst, green, and gold Swarovski crystals and is one of a kind. This is a blingy and gorgeous suit and the pics truly don’t do it justice! The cups will fit a full D cup and the bottoms will fit someone who wears a size zero. The original price tag is still on the suit, and sold for $1,297. This suit HAS NEVER BEEN WORN ONSTAGE and has only been tried on a few times with liners in the bottoms. It is pristine and an absolute knockout! The connectors just need to be adjusted and finished off for the lucky gal who buys this suit!

PRICE: $950

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Figure Suit Detail C

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Posing Essentials For NPC Figure And Bikini Divisions

Originally posted on RxGirl on Sunday, 17 February 2013. The original post was published with white text on white background, so the only way to read it on the site is to highlight the text. To make things easier for everyone, I have copied and pasted the article here for you to read.

http://www.rxmuscle.com/rx-girl-articles/7521-posing-essentials-for-npc-figure-and-bikini-divisions.html

Figure Front
With so many ladies vying for top placings at NPC local and national shows, a primer on how to pose is essential. When I serve as trophy girl at Jon Lindsay’s contests, I notice a lot of girls who do not have a clue on how to pose and who clearly do not know how to display their hard-earned physiques to their best advantage.

I have broken down posing essentials by division, describing each mandatory pose as well as transitions. I also STRONGLY advise you to do the following:

1. Watch videos on YouTube of competitors who have done well at competitions at your level, whether it be local or national.
2. Practice, practice, practice! Schedule regular practice sessions so that you are comfortable with walking, posing and doing comparisons. Practice IN YOUR SUIT AND HEELS in front of a mirror! It makes a huge difference when you pose in the outfit you will be wearing onstage. You will be able to see the lines of your body when you practice in your suit and the heels will shift your center of gravity as well. In addition, you will be able to break in your shoes before contest day. It is also helpful to have someone shoot some video footage so that you will have feedback on how you look when you pose.

FIGURE:
With the Figure Division, the steps taken are very small and the hips are kept level in an effort to preserve the competitor’s symmetry. Figure poses are defined by a close foot stance.

Quarter Turns = Mandatory turns, front, sides and back. In side posing there is a slight torso twist. Make sure to hold each pose for two seconds (“one one thousand, two one thousand”).
FRONT: Feet and legs together, can turn toes out and turn knees out slightly to accentuate quad sweep. Keep hips slightly bent, stretching out abs, lifting chest out and engage your abs and quads. You will also flare out your lats. Arms will be out to side and forearms and hands graceful and relaxed.

SIDE STAGE RIGHT: Feet and legs together. You will twist your torso slightly toward audience while keeping a slight bend at the hips. Place front arm slightly behind you and back arm in front of the body and make sure those hands are graceful! Engage those abs! You will be looking stage right and NOT at the judges, but be sure to smile and keep your chin up!

BACK: Stand with feet and legs together with your bodyweight shifted onto your toes. Stick your butt up and out to smooth out your hams and glutes, and tighten your hamstrings and glutes. Whatever you do, do NOT squeeze your glutes together or you’ll enhance ripples and other imperfections back there. Make sure to engage your entire back and flare your lat region while also keeping shoulders extended to sides to enhance their caps. Tighten upper arms with a very slight bend in the elbow, but also keep forearms and hands relaxed and graceful, with your hands within a few inches from your hip line. If you have long hair, you will need to move it to the front so that you can display your back fully.

SIDE STAGE LEFT: Feet and legs together. You will twist your torso slightly toward audience while keeping a slight bend at the hips. Place front arm slightly behind you and back arm in front of the body and make sure those hands are graceful! Engage those abs! You will be looking stage left and NOT at the judges, but be sure to smile and keep your chin up!

TRANSITIONS: Transitions are even more difficult to master as they should look graceful without losing your body lines as you do so. You can transition one of two ways:
1. Step slightly forward and to the right with your left foot, slightly crossing in front of right foot. Pivot one quarter turn to the right on your left foot, then plant right foot into next pose.
2. Step to the right with your right foot, then pivot body one-quarter to the right as you step with left foot and then hit your pose.

With both methods, you need to make sure that the arm which faces the audience should be held behind you slightly so that you are not covering the side of your body. This is also known as “opening up” the arm.
STANDING ON THE DIAGONAL: You will stand at the diagonal with a slight twist to the waist so that your upper body is angled more toward the audience while your lower body is angled towards the center of the stage. Make sure to hold the arm that is close to the audience out to the side so that your body lines are visible. Your other hand can rest on your hip. Also make sure that no matter how you stand that your competitor number is visible! The entire time, you should be keeping everything tight and smiling!

BIKINI:
The Bikini Division is defined by larger steps and a shifting of weight onto one hip during the front pose and turns in order to increase the illusion of an S-curve. The standard front and back poses involve a wide stance with feet wider than shoulder width apart.

Half Turns = mandatory turns, front and back. Make sure to hold each pose for at least two seconds (“one one thousand, two one thousand”).
FRONT: Stand with feet wider than shoulder width apart and angle one hip slightly back. This increases the S-curve in your torso. Stretch out abs, lift chest out and pull shoulders back. You can place your hand on the hip that is angled back, while the other arm can hang gracefully at your side.
Bikini Front
BACK: Stand with feet shoulder width apart or wider and stick your butt up and out to smooth out your hams and glutes. I always tell my contest prep clients to think of themselves as cats in heat, with their butts high up and an exaggerated curve in the low back to emphasize the roundness of the glutes. Whatever you do, do NOT squeeze your glutes together or you’ll enhance ripples and other imperfections back there. Your upper body must be completely upright – do not hunch forward! Most girls will place their hands on their anterior thighs for extra stability while holding this position.

Another position which is very popular in this division is to stand with one foot crossed in front of the other, while popping that butt up in the air.

TRANSITIONS: The cleanest bikini transitions are similar to a salsa pivot turn.
1. Step forward with the leg that is further back on the stage.
2. Step slightly forward with the other foot and pivot to the other side so you are facing to the side of the stage. In other words, if your first step was with the left foot, you will step with your right foot and pivot to the left so you are facing stage left. When you transition from front to back, pop your butt out towards the audience to enhance its fullness.
3. You will then do a two step sequence so that your feet land in your next pose stance.

STANDING ON THE DIAGONAL: This is the same as for Figure.

This is not meant to be a full primer but is designed to provide basics for ladies who are new to competing in figure or bikini. I always stress the importance of watching videos because they yield valuable information on how to pose.

Now get out there and strut your stuff!