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....