Congratulations, you made it through one of the most difficult diets anyone can endure. Its exactly 48 hours out from the show, you're on target, carb loading and flushing out that last bit of water. You look hard, full...ZIPPPED to the bone! Is there anything else I have to do? YES! Most of your competitors are goig to try and come in as DARK as possible? Why? Well you're competing against some black guys, the darker you are the more defined you appear and the deeper the definition appears. I'm not black, so how do I come in as dark as possible? Well you should have been tanning 3-5 times a week for the past 6 weeks to establish a nice base...if not, not to worry there is still hope for you yet. 1. Protan™ - a bodybuilding favorite - I've used it and I've succeeded with it. However, if I had something better I would have gone with that. Its an iodine base that stains the skin an orangish color that darkens overtime. It takes a while to put on and its a heavy oil base that when you put on your "posing oil" it smears the protan and you get streaks and runs, ultimately hurting your definition. Especially when you start sweating under those 110 degree lights. Application - 48 hours before you put on 1 coat. 24 hours you apply the 2nd coat and minor touch ups are done throughout the contest. 2. Ultra-Bronze - its a smoother coat and not oil based. Its recommended, for extreme results, to apply OVER protan to prevent streaking and smudging. 1 coat gives you the "bronzed" statue look that is now the new hotness in bodybuilding. there is also a product called "bikini bite" its supposed to hold your trunks in place. Its like a little adhesive that sticks the trunks to your body. I don't use this but some have because they fear they will fall off during the night show Now that I have my protan and ultra-bronze on...do I need anythign else? What can give me the edge over my competitors? Posing oils. Posing oils are used to make your muscles stand out under those lights. Personally I pass on heavy oils, or even any oil because they tend to wash out the definition and make the muscles looks "smooth" on me at least so I use Muscle Juice and Hot Stuff - Hot stuff is designed to "heat up" the surface of your skin and pull out your vascularity. I love it...its like a tingly sensation and when you pose hard its like your skins is going to burst...its great. other products include "Show Tan" which is also a good non oil based self tanner. You can apply it hours before a show and look great...no streaks, running or anything like that. There are also "gels" out there that are a little easier to apply than an "oil" because it won't run and get all over the place. The "do nots" and "myths" of bodybuilding You probably have heard that some apply the cooking assistant "PAM" to their bodies as the "oil" this has to be the worst thing you can do to your body IMO. Its a fat based "greaser" or "butter spray" that you would use to either lube up a pan or add to popcorn...why the fuck would you essentially put "fat" on your skin only to have it absorbed by your body which is at this point like a dried out sponge...its also nasty and sticks to everything and makes you feel uncomfortable...and its hell on the floors too. Don't do this. More oil the better I look: NO you don't, you look like a damn fool that is doing his first show and had no one to guide you. When you walk out on stage with a pound of oil on your body the lights are going to be relfected and wash out all your definition and you lose. Plain and simple. you lose if the judges can't see your hard work. Also if you put that much shit on you deserve to lose because you just fucked up the posing room and got oil all over the weights and no one wants to touch them Its the day of the show so I can eat whatever I want. I am going to eat pizza becaus I saw that picture of Franco Columbu eating it in Arnold's Bible. NO! Again your body is like a sponge and carb loading is all done except for a few rice cakes or chocolate to help keep you energized. You eat pizza or any shit before the contest and it will show. Why do that to yourself, wait the 12 hours and pig out after. I should "pump up" as much as possible. My muscles look bigger in the gym so they'll look bigger on stage if I do this. NO! Probably will look bigger but you won't be able to control your poses. Ever see the guys on stage shaking all over the place? Yeah, they either didn't run manditories during contest prep or they pumped up too much and can't control their muscels and feel that squeezing THAT much harder is going to help. It won't. Smooth and confident poses is what works. Smile and show the judges you're the best by not shaking. Have that shit under control. The "DO's" and techniques that have helped me win 1. Know your competition. Everyone will try and hide themselves until they step on stage...this is fine. However after the prejudging start making notes of who is the better of the category you're in. May sound funny but if its coming down to you and just 1 or 2 other guys and you know how to hide your weak points and combat theirs with your best features...you'll do that much better in the final tally. Most competitions are now including the night show as part of the judging so you'll have your chance at a "pose down" to beat your best competition. Should I step in front of them and compare the same pose? Ugh, thats a tough one. Just cause Ronnie does it doesn't mean its going to get you the win. Make sure that you're confident enough to pull that off...you may not know that this guy doing the most muscular is zipped to the bone on that particular shot and you're not...you just made the judges decision...well done you lose. However, if he's showing off a most muscular and its better than yours...jump infront and blast your best shot BAM! You just gave the judges two great shots to look at...and possibly rethink in your favor. Show the judges that you're not just all legs, or arms or whatever...do multiple style of poses to show off those great features. Time and time again I will see guys throwing the same exact pose over and over and over and over and over again in a pose down. its tired and dumb. If you have an amazing back and arms...throw a lat spread, front and to the back, throw a rear double bi, throw a 3/4 pose (see avatar)...there you have 4 different poses that show off your amazing back...let the tool doing the right quad shot embarrass himself. Should I go right up to the front of the stage...which is also 5 feet from the judges? NO! let those other guys show the flaws that are noticed upclose. YOu stand far enough back where you hide your "flaws" and continue to pose out and show the judges you have nothing to hide... I only have 1 pair of trunks...does it matter? Not all the time no...but I like to have at least 2 other pair of different color on hand just "in case". In case of what you ask? Well you could soil them, sweat, posing oil, tanning, etc can ruin the trunks and you look dumb. Also, if there are 4 other guys in your class with red trunks...switch to the blue, yellow, etc. Stay away from black EVERYONE Has black...EVERYONE!!!!! What cut of trunks should I get? There are many different styles of trunks. I opt to go with the "classic" or "traditional" cut which is more of a thicker cut on the hips and glutes. Why? Because I feel that my body and physique is more of a "classic" look rather than the more modern bodybuilder. My style of posing is that of the 70's "arnold era" as well so I get what matches. If I need to show my glutes I just hike them in a little bit...not a big deal. You can get the European style or more of a thin waist cut and shorter on teh glutes, which seems to be more popular as well. Should I talk to the judges? YES! Some may say no, but I say YES! Establish a relationship with the judges, let them know who you are. Who knows the guy you talked to and have somethign in common with might give you the benefit of the doubt when comparing scores...OR they will give you solid advice as to what you need to improve on and come back to win. I like a solid judge that won't be influenced by conversation or have favortism for a competitor; one that gives solid advice and lets you know what you need to do to win. there I think I covered most of it...take from it what you want.