Sunday, 20 March 2016

Competition Tanning Tips from the experts

Having the tanned look is essential to showing off your hard earned work on stage. It adds definition to your muscle tone and stops you looking anemic under the lights. But do not rely on turning up on show day and expect to get the best looking tan. Like everything you have worked so hard for the tan deserves preparation, thought and time.You will need to pre-book your tan at least three months from show day, as it gets very busy and sometimes you will need a pre-tan before your show tan so please talk to a professional  to ascertain your exact needs to prep correctly.

 I have asked expert tanner Caroline O'Leary to help me with this blog (find her contact details at the bottom of this blog). She has tanned more bods than I have had hot dinners, so naturally she was the lady to ask for advice.

 ****Please note*****
This advice is specifically tailored towards the special competition spray tan, rather than any general advice on tanning or tan beds or tanning products outside the spray tan process***

Skin Regime - 1 Week out

The better the condition of your skin the more flawless the final tan will look, it will also enable the tan to fade evenly after your show.

Start your special skin regime a week out from your competition spray appointment by exfoliating and moisturising. On Monday and Wednesday make a thick paste of baking soda and a thick gel soap (such as Simple refreshing body wash) and gently wash your entire body. Then, using a good quality salt or sugar scrub exfoliate from head to toe using nylon exfoliation gloves or a nylon mesh cloth.  Caroline recommends staying away from loofah's, loofah gloves pads and sponges and use a sugar scrub to shave rather than bar soaps.
When exfoliating pay special attention to knees, elbows, hands, feet and heels where the skin is thickest and roughest. After exfoliation use a thick body butter to moisturise.

On the day of your tan appointment do not use the baking soda mixture.....just moisturise and then paint your finger and toe nails with clear nail polish to prevent them staining in the tan process.

Hair Removal

You will need to get rid of unwanted hair.....if you shave make sure you shave the night before or a minimum of eight hours before you have your tan applied. Shaving and waxing opens up pores and pools of tan can accumulate if the skin does not have a decent resting time before tan application. If you are a regular waxer make sure you wax a minimum of 72 hours before tan application. If you are waxing for the first time do it 7-10 days before tan day so your skin can settle down.

Tan Day

Do not use perfume, make up, cologne or deodorant when you go have your tan, these products can raise the ph of your skin and cause the tan to go green. 

Make sure you have done any hair removal at least the night before your tan appointment.

You will need to take with you loose clothing to ensure the tan dries as evenly as possible. Try to avoid anything that pulls over the head, has zippers or is elasticated. Use drawstring trousers over elasticated waists if you can and wear flip flops for even feet colour.

At your appointment be sure to take any necessary coverings for your modesty (if you have any). Girls can be sprayed nude to allow for wearing different bikini's, men will not be sprayed nude so you will need to take something smaller than your posing trunks so you don't have any visible tan lines. Caroline says a black sock will do...yes! You read that right!

A hair cap and sticky feet will be provided to avoid staining in these area's, barrier cream applied and then the spray tan will be applied. Expect two coats of tan, which can take about 40 minutes to apply and dry may feel a little sticky until the tan is completely dry.

You will need to wear loose, over size clothing to sleep in, this will prevent any tan getting on your sheets and any hand marks during sleep. Please take a duvet cover to sleep in at the hotel so you do not incur any extra room charges for destroying their linens.

Between your tan application and show day you will not be able to shower or shave, or wear deoderant, perfume or cologne.

Show Day

Do not shower or shave before your competition, it will ruin your tan. Do not use perfume, cologne or deodorant these products can raise the ph of your skin and cause the tan to go green. 

Drink through a straw. I have also heard that women pee through a cup to avoid splashback (that was a new one on me)......I have also been advised that you can use a pint milk carton to a similar end. Just cut off the bottom and pee through that end so it flows through the small end and to minimise drips and accidental splash.

Pre-book your make up artist well in advance, they are always super busy on show day. If you do your own make up use colours that will compliment your tan (remember you will be a totally different skin shade to normal) and are strong enough to stand out on stage. Wear waterproof mascara!

Bikini aftercare

Although a dry tan has minimal rub off some colour will come off on your bikini. To minimize this make sure your tan is completely dry before you put the bikini on. For any area's where tan has rubbed off Caroline recommends that you wash normally (that is gentle handwash on the affected area's) and add lemon juice or a dash of washing up liquid. Baby wipes can also be useful for this, but remember to only use them on the inside...the outside sheen of the fabric and the crystal glue can be affected by washing the surface of the bikini.

I will be writing a whole blog on bikini care...look out for it!

Contact Caroline O'Leary:

Sunday, 13 March 2016

How to stick down your bikini

Ever wondered how the pro's suits stay exactly where they want, and need, them?

Read on!

Of course, when it comes to bikini and knicker slippage we are all aware of how uncomfortable and embarrassing that can be....but if it happens on stage under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you try to yoink! your bum back in place....

Having your suit made to fit you exactly goes a long way to prevent this from happening, but if you have particularly developed assets no bikini can resist the power of gravity and friction......unless you absolutely stick-it-the-hell-down!

Where to stick it!

So, here are your choices:

The most popular product by far is Pro Tan's Bikini Bite:
All of my clients swear by this product, it rolls on (you can also get a spray version), you stick the bikini on it and hold until dry. From then on in DO NOT TOUCH, otherwise you risk releasing the bond.
It's also really easy to get hold of, just google it for price comparisons.
Or here are some handy links:
Cardiff Sports Nutrition

Here's how you stick it on:

Getting it off is another will be most successful with a toothbrush, a super mild fabric detergent and some elbow grease.
Please do not scrub the outer of your suit as you will find that it destroys the shiny fabrics and crystal finishes.

You can also use double sided tape, it does exactly the same job, and could be easier to remove as it should in theory pull off after you're done with it. People have used anything from 3D carpet tape ( read that right) to toupee and fashion tape...make sure you get the extra strength one.

Of course there are other similar products available, and I would like to know if you use others and how successful they are. 

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Know your Fitness Federations

With more and more events in the competitive fitness industry there has never been a better time to strut your hard work on stage.

For some people stepping on stage is the final achievement of personal goals, for some a career stepping stone and for some a lifelong passion. So whatever your reasons, be sure to pick the right event for your goals and personality.

For ease of comparison I see there as being two fitness more pageant oriented and the other that see themselves as a competitive sport. The shows feel entirely different from an audience point of view but the ultimate aim, of course, is to showcase the best athletes.

I will also say, at this point, that many of the federations are also competing with each other for competitors so some degree of snobbery and favouritism are be careful who's basket you put your eggs in, and make sure it's the right one for you.

Firstly I am just going to concentrate on the events that run in the UK, as this is my native country and I know more about these ones.

Pageant Fitness Federations include:
This is the WBFF , where all the competitors do exactly that...parade in all their gorgeous finery. This is a totally entertaining show, full of sass and sparkles.

When you are in the audience it feels like you're watching a show...... the lighting, background visuals, nightclub volume music (for hours and  hours). The production is high key, and impressive and the forerunner of most of the other pageant style shows that began afterwards.

Sports Federations include:

This is the UKBFF, a very different beast indeed. Stripped of all the show trappings, and no distractions you just see the athletes in all their glory. 

So, if you are thinking of competing I would highly recommend going to several of the shows and checking them out for yourself. Figure out where your personality fits within the fitness industry before diving in headlong.

With new federation spin-offs popping up all the time it shows that this is a growing industry with a massive fanbase and it's here to stay!

I'll be following up with more in depth look at each federation, including rules, how they judge and their individual bikini preferences....

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Bikini fit - The 5 minute boob job for competitors

Part of being a bikini designer is fitting, cutting and sometimes stuffing. Ultimately my job is to use all my couture making skills to make a bikini that enhances the body. Sometimes this means hiding flaws with clever pattern cutting....and using enhancing techniques without going overboard.

One of the things I'm really keen on as a designer is correct fitting. No matter how much bling you have on your bikini poor fitting can leave you uncomfortable and exposed on stage.

We're all familiar with this feeling...

Do not worry if you have natural boobs. There are many ways of padding and fleshing out your bikini. But what you need to do first it get the right size. Buying a cupped bikini 2 or 3 sizes too big and relying on chicken fillets will do you no favours at all come show day!

Make sure your bikini designer creates a balanced bra for you, you can go for the cup size that fits you now and pad it up or go down a cup size from the get-go. This small cup with underwires and moderate padding fits Kat's delicate frame perfectly. A bigger cup or heavier decoration might have overwhelmed her overall balance.

Kat Freeman, Miami Pro wearing a bikini by Miss C.

 Triangle cups are perfect for smaller busts because you can bikini bite them down on all sides and stuff them.....

Since Stephanie Phillips has already made a great video on how to stuff your bikini to give yourself a 5 minute boob job I'll just leave this here:

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Nail your first bikini competition

10 Top Tips from bikini competitors

Bikini competitors, November 2015 UKBFF Model Division, Chingford Assembly Hall

10 - Go see lots of shows across federations 

Nowadays there are a whole host of federations that serve whatever style of fitness you are into, and new one's turning up all the time. It's really worth going along to a few competitions as a spectator to get a feel for where they are all at because one of them will be a more perfect fit than others.

9 -  Decide what you want to look like

You should make all the decisions about what you want your final body to look like, to truly walk on stage with confidence. You should discuss this with your coach, and keep an eye on achievable goals without doing harm to your body or mental health.

8 - Get a coach you trust 

It is true that you can prep yourself, but a good coach that you trust will have your back all the way. When you can't face chicken any more, your strength has sapped and you are at the end of your mental tether ( will have those days!) your coach is there to help you push yourself through that wall. Not only that but a great coach will never let you do something harmful to yourself and won't let you get on stage unless you are totally ready.

7 - Organize yourself 

Mark Spitz's quote "If you fail to prepare, you're prepared to fail." rings true for almost every important situation, and competing is no different. With competitions becoming so popular there is a possibility you won't get to compete at all unless you enter well in advance, it also gives you a deadline to focus on. Make sure you read the rules with regards to your suit, heels and jewellery....some federations have been known to turn competitors away for not having appropriate attire.The run up to competition day is busy, especially for the make up artists, tanners and hair dressers, do not expect them to be able to serve you on the day without booking them well in advance. Hotels also tend to get booked up quickly, especially at any finals, so make sure you're sorted not stressed out.

6 - You cannot practice posing enough!

Not a truer word said, posing practice will  help you understand how to utilize and show your body off to it's best and impress the judges with your stage presence. Even when you are lacking confidence inside (lets face isn't easy to stand on a stage in front of a crowd in a bikini and heels) you need to project ease and comfort as if this stage malarkey is something you do every day. There are plenty of posing coaches that offer group classes or one on one tuition, so there is no excuse to squirm when you hit that stage. 

5 - Your competition survival kit

  • needle and thread, double sided tape, safety pins
  • liquid, water
  • headache tablets
  • music
  • prepped food
  • small treats
  • bikini bite

4 - Don't compare yourself to others

Don't do your head in comparing yourself to other competitors. Ultimately you have no idea exactly what the judges are looking for, and you have no control over only have control over yourself. So don't waste your energy doing it. 

3 -  Take some music to focus on

Everyone has different ways of tempering the nervous excitement, or anxious doubt that can creep in competition day. Music can be a great way to block out the crowd so you can focus on what you have to do.
2 - Don't worry about the result

It's really hard not to feel the sting of disappointment if you don't get a call out or walk off with a trophy, but don't let it overwhelm you. Use it to motivate where you go from there, what improvements you want to make or whether that is the end of your competition journey....only you can decide. 
1 - Don't gorge on food afterwards

 Straight after the competition is a stampede to get back to the car or hotel to get fed. Competition day is a really tiring day, especially if you are in one of the last categories, and it is tempting to celebrate by gorging on rich food you have denied yourself for weeks....don't! Your body is no longer used to processing such complex foods and you could actually make yourself ill. Be sensible, treat yourself, but don't go bonkers and get your fluids back up. You'll feel better for it.