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1. Bite the Butt.. and other areas
Use Bikini bite.  There is nothing worse than parts that no one needs to be seeing, shown on stage under bright lights!  Make sure your suit fits first of all, and then to keep it there, bite your top or bottom.  Refrain from using 2 sided tape, because if by chance the material of your suit gets ‘un-stuck’ the judges and audience are left to see a bare back side with a long strip of tape  stuck to it

2. GUM be gone
By no means is gum ever acceptable.  Chewing gum is a distraction to the judges, and can be brutally annoying for everyone to watch. Nervous and focused on everything else, you could appear to be a jaw chompin’ athlete that doesn’t take being on stage seriously.

3. Smile
We assume you are competing because you love it.. or at least like it, so LOOK the part!  It is so confusing when we are watching you, with an evil glare spread across your face, that looks like you hate being on stage.  Smile, and be proud of all your hard work!  The photographer, crowd, your fans and the judges will appreciate it!
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4. Look at the judges
The judges are the one who will place you 1st or last, and the minute you walk on stage you should be making a point to look at everyone of them.

5. Work the crowd
Wave, smile, work what your ma’ma gave yah! Get that crowd cheering you on! Especially for bikini, physique and bodybuilding.  When you have a routine, be a crowd favorite and get them wowed by your performance, its makes the competition so much more fun!
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6. Know the mandatories
There is nothing worse than an athlete struggling through their mandatory poses.  You should know them and know them well!  There is no excuse if you are getting on stage that you did not do your home work, know how to properly pose and show the best side of your physique.  If you don’t know, then ASK.  Your coach, or one of the posing classes offered by OPA sanctioned Judges and affiliate have the proper information so you can ensure you do everything properly on stage.

7. Don't be the cause of a traffic jam
The head judge will be directing you on stage.  Take your time if he excuses you back to the line to see who is around you and control your walk, especially in heels.  If you turn and walk too quick, you can crash into other athletes and it will off set your focus on stage.  This is your time to shine.  Make sure you do it gracefully.

8. Know how to walk in heels (if your wearing them)
Practice, Practice, Practice.  Every day and night you should be walking in your heels.  You should not be thumping around in them.  The walk should be graceful, gentle and classy.  No need to have a heavy foot and stomp around the stage.  It appears unattractive and is not flattering for your body no matter how in shape you are.
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9. Remember your number
That athlete number should not leave your side after you receive it at the athletes meeting.  There is nothing worse than having the head judge call your number more than once, let alone three or four times and your still standing in your pose with your head looking straight out into the audience and your not even acknowledging he is trying to move you.  Make sure you know it, so when you hear it, you MOVE!

10. Attend a posing class
There are workshops, classes and private sessions you can have with judges, trainers and affiliates with the OPA.  Look up what opportunities are available within your region or surrounding areas.  There is no excuse to go on stage not knowing what to do.

11. RULES are there for reasons
No body piercing for bodybuilders, not switching your suits, getting your bottoms checked.  These are rules and they are there for a REASON.  You hear them, know them and adhere to them.  You do not want to be the reason for a hold up at the show or even worse being disqualified.

12. Listen to the head judge
Now I understand some times it is hard to hear if there is a ton of screaming but otherwise you should always be focused in on what the head judge is saying.  If he says “Foot down” make sure your foot is down.  “Arms at your side, look forward” do it!
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13. Practice your breathing
I can always tell an athlete who practiced their posing weeks or months out, and those that just walked up on stage after doing their mandatories in a mirror in between sets at the gym.  They sweat more, look more out of breath and cannot hold the poses without shaking.  Practicing after a set in the gym, is NOT comparable to a solid 20 minutes of practice.  I have seen bodybuilders in posing class start at 11 weeks out and after running through all the mandatories be soaked, out of breath and exhausted.  Then as every week passes, they sweat less, they breath better and hold each pose with such confidence it shines!

14. Posing should be part of your training
Similar to above, posing is a part of your training.  You do not workout, eat right and buy an expensive suit only to walk on stage and forget, not know or fail at displaying your hard work because you DID NOT PRACTICE!  You know what the number one thing I hear from males and females after private or group classes for posing?
“This is way harder than it looks”
Please, don't realize how hard it is, the day of your show.  You could be running through your mandatories numerous times that day, so be prepared!

15.HAVE FUN
This is YOUR day! Work it, enjoy it, remember it with pictures from the sanctioned photographer! Who knows if you will do it again, or what your experience will be each time.  Make friends, smile, laugh, focus, follow your plan and ENJOY the day.  Remember however, this is still a working day, the head judge will remind you of that! Be on time, listen and be prepared.  You can then go out and eat & celebrate with your friends and family afterwards!!!
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GOOD LUCK!

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