Fitness and Finances: What will your first bodybuilding show cost?

So you’ve decided that you want to be a competitive bodybuilder, that’s awesome. Let’s get down to a topic that many competitors aren’t aware of, the costs of competing. I am going to focus on the NPC as it is the most competitive and respected organization.

A great starting resource is obviously the NPC’s website itself.

There are unavoidable costs that you are going to incur when you compete in your first show. I will start with men because they are cheaper due to not having to do makeup,hair, and a special suit.

NPC registration Fee: $135
. This fee is required yearly to compete in any NPC sanctioned show.

Show Entry fee: $90-120 (per category). Depending on your experience level and age, you might be able to compete in tons of categories at your first show. Each category you enter will have an entry fee. Many promoters will give you a discount for entering multiple categories. These fees will vary from state to state and even promoter to promoter within the state.

Hotel: $90-300 (per night). This is another category that is going to have a lot of variance depending on the time of the year, individual city, and demand. It is highly advised to stay at the host hotel so that you do not run into traffic or trouble that will make your first show more stressful than it needs to be.

Tanning: $120-150. The promoters of the show will provide the individual tanning company’s information to you, but this is the normal price range that I see tanning run. Some more experienced competitors will do their own tan, but I advise all of my clients to just go with the tanning people on site. This takes a way a lot of stress and saves you the awkwardness of looking way different than the other people around you.

Competition Shorts: $30-80. Depending on your category you will have to get either a bodybuilding (speedo like) suit, black mid cut briefs, or boardshorts that sit right above your knees.

WOMEN: Ladies, I hate to say it, but for you, this endeavor is going to hurt the pocketbook a little bit more. Along with the above, we have to take into account your hair, makeup, heels, and suit.

Competition Heels: $50-100. You don’t have to do anything too fancy, clear heels that have an appropriate level heel are fine!

Competition Suit: $300+. Your bikini can range from $300-$1000+. The fit of your bikini can make or break how your physique looks on stage, so borrowing a suit may not be the best option. This is not one of the areas you want to skimp on, because all of your hard work depends on what the judges can see for the short time that you are on stage.You can also buy an affordable plain suit, then add the bling yourself to offset costs if you know someone that will do it for you.

Hair: $50-100+. Your hair can be done on your own, however, the onsite makeup person can help with this. This is another one of the areas that really does matter because the judges will only see you for a short time.

Stage Make-up: $100-150+. Your makeup must be very dark to match the tan. Having a professional do it is nice for a perfect match. I do not recommend competitors doing their own makeup unless they have practiced tirelessly on the skin tone that they will be the day of their show. The promoters of the show will often provide contact information for the ‘official’ hair and makeup artist for the show.

As you can see, the costs of competing can quickly add up if you are unaware before you start! Posing and Diet coaches were not included in this rundown because that is another area where prices can widely vary!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to shoot me an email at or DM me on Instagram @Christopher_Melancon

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