Butterflies, lightheadedness, rush of adrenaline, fear and nervousness.There are endless physical and emotional symptoms of physique competition stage fright, and in most cases it’s a perfectly normal feeling.
These feeling only become an issue when they become so debilitating that you can’t enjoy the moment and perform at your best.
Standing in front of a huge audience and a panel of physique judges under bright lights clad in a competition suit can be quite nerve-wracking. Even people who are used to performing regularly in front of an audience get nervous when the lights are shining brightest.
But if you intend to wow the judges with your stage presence you will have no choice than to learn how to channel and manage your anxiety so that your performance on stage flows and comes off smooth.
If you are going to be a successful physique competitor, you need to know how to keep performance anxiety under control so you can compete at a high level without looking like you are coming apart at the seams.(even though you might be feeling like you are)
I have witnessed countless competitors experience very severe symptoms of stage fright anxiety, such as freezing on stage, having mental blackouts,trembling AND storming off in tears.All of these symptoms will significantly affect your stage performance AND results by diverting the judges focus away from your physique and onto your meltdown.
So, my aim here is to help you manage your physique competition stage fright with useful tips that will allow you to master your stage presence with confidence and ease.
Below are some tips I have used over the last 25 years of performing on stages that range from theater to music and of course countless of physique shows.
1. Prepare For Your Physique Competition
Before you even think about getting on stage, you need to be prepared for it. I know this sounds obvious, but sometimes the obvious is the most curative.
That means leaving no stone unturned. Preparation is the mother of success and will do wonders for your self- confidence.So make it a point to have everything you need to do at a ready and that starts with having a well-conditioned stage ready physique.
Feeling good about your physique is your launching point to eradicate any undue stage fright anxiety, and everything else trickles down from there.
After that rehearse your posing and stage presence so you can perform it in your sleep. I mean it, in your sleep!
Make sure your suit is fitted perfectly at least a week before the show. Always have a backup suit for no other reason than to know if something were to happen to your suit you are ready.
When traveling pack each suit in different cases or carry-ons. If something happens to one suit, such as a bottle of lotion or shampoo exploding onto your suit you don’t risk both suits taking a bath.Personally, I carry one in my purse.
The majority of your onstage confidence will come from being 100% prepared. When you know you have done absolutely everything in your power to get ready for your competition; there is little reason to doubt how you will do.
I know from experience that doubt is the straw that stirs up show day anxiety so the more doubts you can remove leading up to your show the less likely you will feel anxious and overwhelmed.
2. Practice Your Posing in An Uncomfortable Setting
You can gain a lot of confidence by rehearsing your posing and stage presence in a real time environment. That means practicing in front of people, pose on a real stage with bright lights, practice in the mirror in a crowded gym.
Trust me when I say this if you have not conditioned everything you are going to do on stage into muscle memory you stand a very good chance that you will freeze up on stage or at the very least look unsure.
So to avoid this from happening to you make it a point to practice an hour a day on your stage presence and do it as often as possible in a setting that makes you feel a little uncomfortable.
Lack of practice will have you fumbling on stage as you think about what to do next. If you are trying to think your way through your posing, you will feel unsure and nervous.
You cannot practice your posing enough.It will give you a competitive advantage over other over-confident competitors who never bothered to practice or wait days before a show to start.
So, practice your poses, attend posing events and clinics, practice in uncomfortable settings and prepare your overall look and above all do these things consistently leading up to your show. In short, practice like you will play!
I promise if you heed this advice your stage fright will melt away or at worst become easily managed.
3. Practice With An Experienced Posing Coach
While practicing by yourself will help you prepare for your competition, it won’t help you know how you look from the judge’s perspective.
For that, you will need the help of a professional posing coach who can assist you in practicing so that your poses will flatter your physique and in turn the judges. What may look good off stage in front of a mirror may look completely different from where the judges are sitting.
Angles are critical and understanding the poses that show off your physique the best can only transpire by having an experienced set of eyes on you throughout your entire prep because your posing will inevitably need to be tweaked
In fact, poses that may look great four weeks into your prep may look less flattering two weeks out from your show and that’s when the value of a good posing coach truly shines through.
Knowing that you have practiced your posing from the judges’ perspective with the guidance of a seasoned posing coach will provide you with unshakeable self-confidence all while having you prepared to step in front of the judges with your most flattering poses.
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4. Fous On A Positive Outcome & Visualize Your Success
In some cases competition, anxiety and stage fright is due to unfounded self-doubt and low self-esteem.
I have worked with hundreds of athletes and I can say with a high level of confidence that in many cases athletes get into their own way by believing they are not capable enough.
Remember ladies nobody on that stage is perfect, and nobody expects you to be perfect.
As a physique competitor, your goal should be to become the best version of you, not some superwoman who is perfect in every way. For that reason, you need to maintain a positive and healthy outlook about why you are doing this in the first place!
Remind yourself that you are among the 1% of women in the entire world that has the courage, ability, determination, and knowledge to step onto an NPC stage. That in itself is an accomplishment to be proud of!
In fact, I wrote about that very topic–why you should be proud of your physique accomplishments in an article titled “Are you a Super Women?” You can read all about it right here.
Some other things that can help you stay positive is a positive support system of family and friends, small incentives for each milestone you achieve, such as spa day, and engaging in stress-relieving activities, such as going for a swim or doing yoga.
Also visualizing your outcome is a very powerful method to alleviate your anxiety. The more you visualize a positive outcome, the more you begin to believe there is no other option than the one you have believed for.
I also wrote an article about the importance of having a vision for your physique career, you can read about that right HERE:
When preparing for your show, these positive elements will help you keep yourself integrated while providing you with the courage to perform to the best of your abilities.
5. Conquer Physique Competition Stage Fright By Taking Deep Muscle Relaxing Breaths
If you feel last minute stage fright anxiety over taking you, try a few deep breathing exercises or a muscle clenching exercise to combat and alleviate your anxious feelings.
You need to transition from shallow breaths too long deep ones.
Deep slow breaths are an excellent remedy for alleviating anxiety. It will help calm your nerves so you can get back to focusing on executing your stage presence.
Another way to relieve anxiety is by tensing up all the muscles in your body and clenching your fists and then relaxing all your muscles and allowing all the tension to drain away.
Take deep breaths as you relax your muscles. It will help you let go of all the nervousness before you go onstage to perform.
6. Consider Your Audience & Judges As Friends
Most if not all physique competitors experience anxiety from stage fright because they feel they are performing in front of strangers, and they are strangers if you think about it.
The trick is to fool your mind into thinking that the panel of judges and the audience are your friends. Interact with them in the same way as if you are long lost buddies, and your return to the stage is your get-together with them.
This will take a load off your shoulders, and you will have an easier time making a good impression on the judges and the audience.
Keep the attitude of a performer and remember that you are doing this for yourself. It’s a chance for you to show off your physique and be proud of the years of work you invested in yourself.
Think back to the number of hours, days and weeks you spent dieting and training. This is the day your hard work pays off, so make it count and above all else have fun!
Once you master your stage fright anxiety, you will look forward to your competition rather than feel nervous as the day comes closer.
Let me be real here, all the techniques above is about managing your competition and stage fright anxiety not getting rid of it. In fact being nervous is not a bad thing because it makes you pay attention to all the details.
It’s only when your anxiety takes you away from enjoying the process of competing that it becomes a problem.
The goal is to manage your anxiety so you can come to enjoy the spotlight and the moment.
Once you realize you own the stage and that the stage does not own you, you will be able to perform like the winner, you are!
Better yet, you will be an inspiration to others and isn’t that what its all about!
Questions? Comments? Did you find this post helpful? Let me know in the comments section.Thanks!
AND if you want to discuss your next suit purchase (even if it is not through me), need stage presence coaching or need some advice on stage hair and makeup I would love to help!
Click on the link below and fill out the simple contact form and I will get back to you ASAP: