The Do’s and Don’ts of the Fitness Competition Every Aspiring Competitor Should Know

We’ve entered a competition season in the fitness modeling industry and I get bombarded by aspiring fitness models about the tips and advice I can give them for their first competition or how could they improve their performance.

For people who don’t know, every year fitness, bikini and figure models, as well as bodybuilders are competing for the title of the best in their league. They are competing in amateur shows first and if they are qualified, they enter the Pro stage and compete among the best of the best in the industry. There are federations that can award you with a Pro card if you are a well-known figure in the industry, but usually you have to earn it by winning an open show.

I’ve personally competed in Bikini and Fitness Model categories and won the titles of Ms Bikini Universe, Ms Bikini Florida and Fitness Model World Champion, I also teach stage presence and stage and runway walk, so if you were looking for great competition tips and stage presence secrets, you are in the right place.

I am going to talk about Bikini and Fitness Model categories and what you need to do in order to control the stage and give the best performance of your life.

First thing you have to make sure you have is a fit body, I mean very fit body not just for your partner who’s seen you progress and tells you that you look fabulous, but fit body for stage. Your body will be visually dissected and judged by several people who don’t know you and don’t care much about your feelings and if you are a great person with a golden heart. Really, it’s all about the way you look that day comparing to the other athletes on stage.

So, you need to work your magic and relax, have fun and give the best 45-60 seconds of performance on stage you can possibly give.

But let’s focus on your body for a bit.

If you decided to compete in the bikini category, you need to meet certain standards such as proportionate body, lean muscle, very toned, but curvy body.

Nice and rounded shoulders, toned arms, flat stomach with 4-pack showing, no hard abs muscles, very firm glutes and sculpted legs. That being said, you still need to maintain a very feminine figure. Therefore – no dry veiny skin, no dehydrated look and no exhaustion on your face.

Fitness models are more muscular, but not as muscular as figure athletes. Fitness models should have well developed shoulders, lean arms, a six-pack, well-developed legs and sculpted jiggle-free glutes ;) Imagine a track and field girl who can actually model for a cover.

Facial beauty plays a big part after your body. So, make sure that you well take care of your face before the competition. Have a facial, nice massage and please, hire a great professional to do your makeup.

You can work on your body for several months, sculpt your physique and really screw it up with such simple, but extremely important things as makeup, hair and your tan.

So let’s talk more about these very important details.

I, personally, am a trained makeup artist, but even I use professional help when it comes to stage or photo shoots. I just want to relax and let the pros work their magic with my hair and makeup. I am very fortunate to have one of the best makeup artist in the world, who happens to be my sister, Anna Muntean, So, whenever I am lucky and she can do my makeup – I am the happiest girl!

Stage makeup is different from the everyday makeup and even evening makeup, the lights are very harsh on stage, therefore different tones and blends are used, as well as different colors. So, if you came this far, please, spend an extra $100-150 or so for your stage makeup and hire the best.

When it comes to your hair, nice wavy/straight and sexy hair is always good. The more natural it looks the better, you don’t want it to look stiff and fake, make sure it moves. If you use hair extensions, make sure they blend in into your hair and the length is gradual.

Now let’s talk about TAN. Ok, your tan can literally destroy your stage performance. I’ve seen so many uneven skin colors, blotchy tan applications, too dark or too light colors that really were just distracting judges from the athlete’s beauty. It gets so bad sometimes, that it looks like a skin disease. It took me some time to find my perfect stage color and I made some stage mistakes before, but you don’t have to make those mistakes, play with spray tan before you compete and see what works for you.

So here is what you need to do for a good tan:

  • Clean your skin thoroughly
  • Exfoliate with exfoliating gloves or oil-free body scrub
  • Make sure your skin is dry and your body is well shaved/groomed before tan application. If you wax, wax 2-3 days before tanning to prevent any discoloration.
  • It’s always good to develop a base color before you apply your competition tan coat.
  • After you spray and I do it the night before my competition, it gives me enough time to develop a good color, don’t take shower. It’s the grossest part of the competition, haha!
  • Make sure you book your tanning professional for any touch-ups, in case you have any uneven spots.
  • Use body glaze (gel-like liquid) or dry shimmer for your body, it looks very sexy on stage and accentuates your muscle definition even more. Just don’t overdo it; otherwise you’ll look too wet. Remember, it needs to accentuate your beauty, not to distract from it.
  • Intimate detail, that I feel responsible to share (I see too many victims of this mistake lol) Ladies, restroom? – plastic cups. Enough said. lol


Every event has its guidelines for bikinis, its size and style. Make sure you follow those guidelines, otherwise you will lose those precious points and you can totally prevent it.

I always go for vibrant colors and elaborate style, it suits my personality, and I love the European chic and exquisite designs. That’s me. If you prefer a solid black bikini, go for it. Sometimes less is more. But if you will share a stage full of ladies in colorful and bedazzled bikinis, you most definitely will be lost in the lineup. I personally go all out with my stage costumes, I love it and I can afford it. Therefore if you have a modest budget, go for a perfect for your body cut and vibrant colors. You can also borrow or rent a suit. You don’t have to break a bank to look stunning.

Tip: bikini bite. It looks like a roller-deodorant and it basically glues your bikini to your booty, so it stays in place.


Clear shoes 5” or 5.5” heels are the standard. Clear because it doesn’t distract from your legs. Get an extra pair, in case it gets broken or…ahem…stolen.


Jewelry is great, stick to crystal bangle bracelets, crystal chandelier/hoops/stud earrings and a ring. No necklaces or body jewelry – distraction.

Nail Polish:

Obviously your nails have to be perfect, your feet will be right in front of the judges’ faces, so it better be perfect. Polish color should be neutral, clean and fresh looking.


Now, you can look like a goddess, you can have the best makeup, hair and the most beautiful suit, but if you can’t walk and pose, you are going to lose to a plain girl with a killer stage presence. Think about it, people who watch and judge you on stage see so many girls on stage within 1-2 days of the competition, gorgeous girls with rocking bodies that they almost get numb to it. So, your goal is to STAND OUT.

You have 45-60 seconds on stage after training for 3-6 months for this moment. Some people train for a year.

You have to master those high heels and feel very comfortable walking in it. Don’t wear heels that are too high, if you can’t walk in them. It looks terrible when a girl stumbles on stage and drags her feet on stage because her shoes are uncomfortable.

Practice! As a fitness girl, you might wear sneakers every day and might never wear high heels in your life, but you must master the art of rocking the high heels, like it’s nobody’s business for stage.

Let’s imagine you got that part down. Now you are walking. Please, learn the T-walk, quarter-turns and half-turns, so you can transition from one pose into another flawlessly. If you forgot where to put your hands or what foot to start turning with, please, relax and don’t let everybody know that you forgot and made a mistake. Act like you meant to do that, own it with a smile (make sure it’s white btw). At the end of the day, you have to have fun.

Your walk has to exude confidence, attitude, sexiness, but without intimidating energy in it. Don’t rush your walk and don’t act like a stripper, who is just in love with herself and finally got a chance to share her beauty with the world. Remember, class goes a long way and you don’t need to work too hard to make it noticeable.

When you walk acknowledge the judges, don’t flirt with them, please, it never works. Look in the audience and pause at your turns. Your stops and turns are the moments of taking pictures of you by the photographers. You just never know who is going to see those images; it might be a sponsor, the editor of a well-known magazine or a designer who’d like to work with you in the future. Learn your angles and pose, not just turn around for the judges. You are there to show yourself off in the best light, meet the right people and move towards your fitness and business goals, so do that. Write your Bio including the very things you want to advertise or want t accomplish, people in the audience are listening and if they like you, they would like to know more about you. Be specific, interesting and entertaining.

I know it’s a lot of things to pile up into a 45-60 seconds walk, but practice makes it perfect.

One more thing I’d like to mention is the way you should interact with other competitors. Respect and help each other. I have been blessed with the best competitors I shared the stage with. Some of them became my very close friends. So, don’t take the competition too seriously and don’t forget to have fun!

Now, after you are all glammed up and ready go on stage, breathe, work your magic and relax, and ROCK THAT STAGE!