5 Facts No One Tells You

Bikini competitor tan, spray tan for bikini competitor

Hey all! Any of us who follow bikini competitors on social media have seen the glamorous side of competing... The sparkly suits, the heels and jewelry, airbrushed makeup and competition tans. Those beautiful stage shots that make the average gym rat look like a bombshell fitness model.  It all looks so magical....

Well, I recently competed in my first NPC bikini competition and LET ME TELL YOU... there is a not so glamorous, but slightly humorous side that those bombshells neglected to fill us in on. So let me do you a solid and give you the facts. Warning: Brutal honesty to follow... read at your own risk.

FACT 1: You stink. bad.

Your first layer of spray tan is applied the night before the competition. So from your final shower pre-tan until after the night show you do not get to wear deodorant. The chemicals in the deodorant will react with the spray tan and turn your pits green. Not cute. But don't worry, you aren't the only one smelling a little ripe by the time the night show rolls around. Embrace the odor as part of the experience.

FACT 2: Pee splashes when you hover.

So now you have this beautiful first coat of spray tan and they send you on your way and tell you not to mess it up. You have to pee. You hover over the seat .. and... well, we are all female here we know how it goes. You can't always count on a steady stream straight into the bowl and ANY splash will streak your tan. But don't worry.. they can fix even the worst of streaks.. trust me, I know.  Thankfully, my girl Kim ( @kimberfit) Supplied me with cute little dixie cups with the bottom punched out. I'm sure if you use your imagination you can figure out how this party trick works. If I can give you one piece of advice... DO NOT FORGET THE DIXIE CUPS... or be prepared to suffer the humiliation of multiple trips to get your tan touched up . :)

Truths behind bikini competitions

FACT3: Green eggs and.. hands?

You can't wash your hands once you've been spray tanned ( See fact 2 above ) . But a girl's got to sanitize am I right? Those little sanitizing wipes are a life saver... and, like deodorant, they will turn your hands green. But don't worry.. look around you. All the girls have green hands.. and if they don't... eww?

FACT 4: Shave allll the things

I learned this the hard way. I shaved all of the normal areas but decided I didn't want to shave the not so normal areas.. ie: Back, butt, stomach... Well the spray tan tends to darken around all those little hair follicles and it really stands out. My legs and arms were perfect and on stage I'm sure no one could really tell the difference. But up close and personal you could see all those fine little baby hairs. So it comes down to personal preference... and the size of your hot water heater how much you decide to shave. My opinion: The smoother the better.

And finally, in case you have read this and lost all enchantment with the idea of being a bikini competitor let me tell you what makes every second worth it:

FACT 5: Meet your new BFF

The instant camaraderie with the other competitors backstage  was unlike anything I have ever experienced. These girls GET what you are going through. We are all tired, stinky, nervous and wearing WAY too much makeup.  Oh ya, and we are all HUNGRY.  But beneath all of that is a level of respect. We all worked hard to make it to this day. We toted our Tupperware meals to the family BBQ, skipped cake and ice cream at birthday parties, and stayed in on a Friday night to finish our cardio instead of going out with our friends. We sacrificed a lot to be on that stage and the day is finally here.  I can't speak for every competitor, but there was ZERO pettiness or mean girl attitudes back stage. We all complimented each other, got glued and glazed together, cheered for whoever was on stage, took lots of pictures, exchanged IG handles and, FINALLY.. when the show was over,  shared our cheat treats: Candy, cookies, homemade baked goods...it was all there.

Angel Competition Bikinis, what you need to know before competing in the NPC Bikini division

So, if you take one bit of advice away from this post I hope you remember to enjoy every second of show day. The good , the bad, the glam and the ugly. The day flies by so fast!  But you may just find that you establish friendships that will last much longer than just show day. That, to me is the best part of being a bikini competitor.

With love and spray tan,


Instagram: @kfen_fit


  • Heather Valenzuela

    How do I do it

  • Tiffany

    Actually Leah is right, not every dark complexion gets an actual spray tan some use easier lighter products (I would know from a few years of experience) I do wish you touched base on Peak Week, if you choose to water cut and the awful cramps that come with that or even just worrying about bloating or softening between prejudging and finals.

  • Lauren

    What Leah doesn’t realize is that everyone gets a spray tan/glaze for a show. EVEN THE DARKEST BLACK GIRLS! It makes your muscles pop even more. Before you cry racism, try to get your facts straight.

  • Leah

    A better title for this piece would be 5 facts nobody tells you about spray tans before competition. By not making that distinction this article assumes all readers are white or light enough to need a tan. If I would have known, I wouldn’t have read the article as none of this applies to me.

  • Leah

    A better title for this price would be 5 facts nobody tells you about spray tans before competition. By not making that distinction this article assumes a readers are white or light enough to need a tan. If I would have know I wouldn’t have read the article as no e of this applies to me at all.

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