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With the rising popularity of fitness and bikini model competitions, it’s important to look at the risks of this industry and coaching style, especially on the female athlete…

What is the price bikini models pay to look like that?

Figure model. WBFF Pro. Fitness model. Bikini Model. IFBB Pro. Physique model. You look through social media and they’re everywhere. But what does it mean? Well it means these girls have made the commitment and put in the hard work to compete in a physique show. And when I say hard work – I mean HARD work. The majority of these girls lived a very rigid lifestyle by spending hours in the gym each day, eating an incredibly strict food plan with limited foods allowed and every single macro accounted for, became isolated from non-competing friends and family members, and lived every waking (and sleeping) moment to ensure when they step on the stage, they look the best they have ever looked in their life. Depending on what category you compete in (bikini, fitness, figure etc) the general idea is to get your body looking really good in a bikini.

Competing in a physique show means different things to different people. Nearly everyone is doing it for a different reason, with different motives and different drives. However, whatever the motive, the outcome is still the same and the process in which to get there is still the same – a physique that is competition ready as a result of months of hard work. But hard work, doesn’t always mean smart, or healthy work.

The health risk of a competitive bikini model

A good question to ask, is how many of competitors do it to improve their health?

A fair guess of this answer would be – none. Because the focus is purely on the exterior, a lot of people forget to look after their interior. Bikini, physique and figure competition prep is becoming notoriously known for junking up a females metabolism and causing metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a cluster of biochemical and physiological abnormalities associated with the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Basically, it’s a name for a group of risk factors that raise your risk of obtaining these health problems, and unfortunately the common way in which girls and coaches do contest prep, is a very good catalyst for creating, and increasing these risks.

If you were to speak with a variety of physique girls, the bulk of their contest prep stories will be the same. Increased cardio on top of their cardio styled weight training sessions, decreased calories, and a list as short as your fingernail as to which foods you are actually allowed to eat. It is this combination that causes negative changes in blood chemistry and imbalances of hormones, negative changes in neurotransmitter function, changes in mood, depression, loss in bone mass and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Your body needs a certain amount of minerals and nutrients for all of its biochemical processes to be effective. As soon as you deprive these processes of what they require, they start malfunctioning. Add on even more of a demand for fuel by over-training, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

What not to do for your bikini model competition prep

As soon as you make the decision that you want to step on stage, make sure you really determine your reason for wanting to do so. Don’t let your health be prioritised. Find a good coach that takes into consideration the effects that the diet and training are having on you as a whole and not just from an aesthetic viewpoint.

  1. Do not starve yourself.
  2. Do not over train.

However, do worker smarter, not harder and fuel your body with the right foods so it functions correctly and well enough to get the results you are working so hard towards.

Get proper guidance for your competition prep.

When done properly and with proper guidance in nutrition and training, your comp prep shouldn’t be unbearable. The lessons that can be learnt about commitment, perseverance, self-discipline and work ethic can be a huge victory for any competitor however not at the cost of your health.