The Beginner's Guide to Bikini Competitions

Your go-to resource for stepping on the bikini stage

IFPA bikini pro

if you have what it takes to become a bikini competitor?

by all the contradictory information out there about what you should and should not do during contest prep?

stepping on the bikini stage for the first time looking like a seasoned professional?

Pick up this complete guide to learn about the what’s, how’s, and why’s of becoming a successful bikini competitor.

Sohee Lee, IFPA Bikini Pro

I’ve always prided myself on being able to figure things out on my own. That’s why when I decided to prepare for my very first bikini competition, I thought it would be a brilliant idea (admirable, even!) to take care of everything myself: my makeup, my tan, my suit selection – all of it. How hard could it be, right?

I pretty much tried to wing everything from beginning to end, and I could not have been more ill-prepared. My makeup made me look like a circus clown, my tan was blotchy, and my bikini suit was something I’d simply picked off the rack at the local mall. What’s worse, I didn’t know the first thing about my posing, I had no jewelry to speak of, and I had a miserable time on the day of the show. I spent thousands of dollars to make a fool of myself on stage simply because I didn’t know any better.


It’s now over six years later and, while I’m a lot more experienced now, I still cringe to think back to those days.

I’ve partnered up with IFBB Pro Karey Northington to create this comprehensive guide to bikini competitions so that you don’t have to make the same mistakes that I did.

Karey Northington, IFBB Bikini Pro

As a first time competitor, I really struggled. My suit cut and selection was sub par, my posing routine had tons of mistakes and poor angles, and I hired someone unfamiliar with competition makeup to complete my look. My tan was spotty and the wrong color and my jewelry the wrong choice to make a statement. My physique was competitive, but without proper instruction on stage presence, I placed much lower than I was capable of. To top it all off, I experienced unnecessary anxiety on show day with such a lack of direction.

The worst part was that I was being coached on these things at the time but unfortunately not given solid information. Although my stage presence was completely in my control, I simply did not have the guidance I desperately needed to maximize my potential.


That’s why I’ve poured everything I have learned during my time as a competitor and IFBB Pro into The Beginner’s Guide to Bikini Competitions. There isn’t a stone left unturned and all of the instructions are specific to make this the complete DIY guide with priceless information for you to bring your absolute best self to the stage on your big day.


Becoming a bona fide bikini competitor is about so much more than slapping on your favorite bikini and busting out a few cute poses on stage.

Preparing for a show and looking the part is an art.

Not only do you have to shed body fat and build muscle in all the right places to acquire the feminine yet lean and athletic look that the judges reward, but you also have to enhance that physique with the right suit, hair, makeup, jewelry, and posing.


There’s a whole lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. Yes, you do have to strength train consistently and stick diligently to your diet – that much is a given. But that’s just the starting point. You also have to procure the right bikini, earrings, bracelets, heels, and a plethora of other items essential for show day success.

What’s more, you have to refine your presentation to best suit you as a unique individual. It’s not enough to simply copy some of your favorite pros’ poses and call it a day. Depending on your body type and overall look, a subtle shift in width stance and hip twist can make a world of difference.

Have you considered your overall package? You will be judged not only on your overall symmetry and definition but also your walk, posing, and personality under the stage lights. Every visible aspect of you will be critiqued by a panel of judges – are you ready for this?

Let two bikini professionals take you through the step-by-step journey of how to become a winning competitor from head to toe.

Posing… piece of cakeee! It’s just walking and sticking your butt out, right?! That’s what I thought at first, but when I put on those heels and attempted to strut my stuff, it was hard. I was clumsy, uncoordinated and all over the place. I instantly second guessed myself, thinking, “I’m being so dedicated to my workouts and nutrition, my hard work will go to waste since I am going to be a sloppy mess on stage. What the heck am I going to do?!”

Thankfully… coach Karey to the rescue yet again! Karey took the time to send me videos of herself posing. Having seen the good, the bad and the sloppy from others, then seeing Karey so graceful, poised and polished… I had my benchmark. Now came time for me to practice, practice, practice!

Karey’s little tweaks, everything from standing straighter on the back pose to lengthen my torso, to turning my toes outward to give the illusion of fuller glutes, to throwing in little shoulder shrugs and smiles to boost my personality were things I never would have thought of.

To first-time competitors, posing is absolutely part of prep – take it seriously and use it as your chance to shine. Just make sure you work with a coach who knows her stuff, I could not think of anyone other than Karey I would ever recommend!”

Kira S.

“I’ve worked with other coaches in the past, but since starting with Sohee, I’ve never doubted that she’s everything I was looking for in a contest prep coach. Sohee is always looking, listening and learning to what’s going on in the exercise industry, shaping herself to her own ideals and expertise rather than trying to follow the pack.

I approach my exercise and nutrition, my macros and lifting program with excitement, and measure my progress in the calm I feel in an area of life that now holds me up where it used to drag me down.

Sohee gives me confidence that my future can be brighter, better, stronger.”

Rachel B.

Grab your copy today



Become well-versed in the five elements of competing

  1. Mindset: Going through a successful contest prep is about so much more than dialing in your physique. Becoming a winner starts with your mind. Get your mindset right first so you can conquer your prep from beginning to end and thrive even in the weeks and months after your show.
  2. Resistance training & cardio: Maybe you workout, but are you following a well-designed program? Are you tossing in hours of cardio per day without a second thought, or do you have a strategy about this? Optimizing your physique is about putting evidence-based research into practice. More is not better; science is better.
  3. Nutrition: The goal with your diet should be to eat as much as possible while seeing the results that you want. Rather than blindly slashing calories left and right, you want to ensure that you’re consuming enough to strike that balance between shedding body fat while minimizing muscle loss. The best nutrition program for you is one that you enjoy while still making progress.
  4. Posing: Learn the basic required poses and the different variations you can pick from. Add in an extra hip twist or booty pop to flaunt your strengths and wow the judges.
  5. Completing the Look: Have you thought about your hair, makeup, jewelry, bikini suit, and tan? All of these things matter, and complementing your physique with the right look can make or break you. Getting prettied up for the stage is not the same as having a girls’ night out at the bars, so make sure you’re familiar with the specifics of being a tried and true competitor.

Preparing for your first bikini show is difficult enough as it is. You’ll be working hard in the gym to build muscle while being diligent with your nutrition in order to obtain the lean, athletic shape. Why not minimize the guesswork?

Here’s what’s included in this comprehensive guide
  • Should you compete?
  • Makeup video guide
  • Picking a federation
  • Handling the week of the show
  • Getting in contest shape
  • Show day
  • Completing the look
  • Post-show
  • Posing video guide

You’ll also gain access to a Facebook community support group to ask questions and share your journey with other aspiring competitors.

“I did OCB Bikini training and nutrition with coach Sohee Lee and posing with coach Karey Northington. Each bring a wealth of applicable knowledge and experience to the table. Sohee’s nutrition programming was aggressive enough to make progress while being livable and her training focused on muscle growth and development without keeping me in the gym for hours on end. Posing with Karey was a blast! Her experience as a coach and on the stage helped me walk with confidence and pose in positions highlighting my best features. They’re a power team!”

Stephanie K.

“Karey has done many competitions and if you look at the success of her past clients, her work truly speaks for itself! I felt so comfortable working with her on my posing and choosing the perfect stage look, even down to the color of my suit. She helped me showcase my best side and add my own personality into my routine. I’ve referred several ladies to her and have received positive feedback from all. If you want to feel confident and supported on stage, Karey is your perfect choice!”

Emily M.

“Sohee is one of the best in the business. I’ve been competing for 5 years now and I’ve never experienced the ability to be stage ready and enjoy a few treats in moderation. My bikini prep was so normal! I was simply amazed at my progress and changes without feeling like I was missing out on life.

I truly enjoyed the process. Her coaching and science based knowledge is what made competition prep fun and on top of that, it works!”


“Karey has become my go-to posing coach. No one is better when it comes to posing than her. She knows what the judges look for, she takes into account what looks best for your physique,she and helps you create a stage presence that not only allows your hard work to show but also the complete stage package. From posing, to suit selection, to jewelry, she bundles the whole stage presence into one. On top of all that, she helps you create the confidence you need to look your best on stage, which is the most important thing!”

Hyla C.


Q: How are bikini competitions different from beauty pageants?
A: While both types of competitions involve showcasing your symmetry and beauty, bikini competitions go for a more muscular, leaner look. The presentation is distinct in that beauty pageant contestants walk standing more upright with edgier lines a la fashion runway, whereas bikini competitors pose in such a way to emphasize muscular development, particularly in the gluteal region. As a bikini competitor, you will also not be asked questions to answer in front of the crowd, nor will you have to wear multiple attire.
Q: What kind of workouts are entailed in a bikini prep?
A: Don’t be fooled: becoming a bikini competitor is no cakewalk. In order to look the part, resistance training is a given and should be the mainstay of your fitness regimen.

If you do not have experience in the weight room, it’s worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with the basic movement patterns: squat, hip hinge, pushup, and row. From there, you can progress to adding weight and getting stronger over time. This, coupled with a high protein intake, is what will help build muscle on your frame to achieve that athletic look.

The strength training programs that we recommend tend to place heavy emphasis on developing the backside. To that end, you should perform a variety of hip thrust variations as well as squat, deadlift, lunge, and step-up variations frequently.

Q: What equipment do I need?
A: There are a hundred one different ways to get into contest shape, but regardless of how you choose to workout, you’ll need to have access to a commercial gym (or a space with barbells, plates, and dumbbells at the very least) in order to strength train. Ideally, you’ll have access to cables and machines as well in order to utilize all the tools in your exercise toolbox. Many competitors also utilize resistance bands.
Q: Is this a comprehensive program that includes details of how to get into bikini contest shape?
A: This guide covers everything from what items to purchase, how to do your makeup, how to pose, to how to deal with the aftermath of contest prep.

As far as training and nutrition specifics, we cover just the basics to give you a starting point. The details of how to tailor a program to you as the individual are beyond the scope of this program. While you can certainly make good progress following the fat loss guidelines in our book, in order to optimize your results with a truly individualized approach, it would be in your best interest to hire a coach who can walk with you every step of the way.

Q: I want to compete in multiple leagues. Is this allowed?
A: As an amateur, you may although it is beneficial to focus on one league to attain your Pro Card.
Q: Can I hold a Pro Card in multiple leagues?
A: No, if you hold an active competitive Pro Card in one league you must compete in only that league.
Q: Is there a limit on how many shows I can do per year?
A: No there is not. You will be able to enter as many shows as you wish. It is best, though, to strategically plan out your show schedule. Competing is very taxing, both physically and mentally, and the last thing you want is to experience burnout.
Q: I’ve competed a few times before but I want to take it to the next level. Would you still recommend this product?
A: If you’ve already stepped on stage before but feel like you still left something to be desired and didn’t quite maximize your bikini potential, then this guide can help you brush up on any rusty areas. You may be unsatisfied with your posing, or perhaps you’re not thrilled with how your makeup has looked.

While every show can be a valuable learning experience, why not receive advice from the professionals who have already been there?

Q: I’m kind of a tomboy and not very feminine, but I love the bikini physique. Is competing still for me?
A: It’s always best to match your character and physique with the division that best suits you naturally. With that being said, if you don’t have a lot of curves to your physique, then the right posing can enhance that.

Anyone can compete. But posing can make a big difference in looking the part, so if you feel that your body language is a little rough around the edges, then you’ll have to take more time to polish your presentation. I’d especially recommend spending a lot of time walking around in your competition heels so your presentation looks graceful on stage.

Check out the video posing guide by Karey in this product for specifics on finding the right posing for you.

Q: Will you both be my coaches throughout my journey if I purchase this product?
A: While we are indeed coaches and offer that service separately, this product serves as more of a DIY guide for you to walk through at your own pace. This is not an interactive coaching service.

With that said, as a product customer, you are invited to join our Facebook support group where you’ll gain direct access to us for any questions you may have.


We’ve combined our collective bikini competition knowledge and experiences into this guide for you, and we’re confident that you’ll get your money’s worth.

If, however, you feel that, after going through all the materials and implementing all the to-do’s, you haven’t learned a single thing, we do offer a full refund.


All materials are DIGITAL and sent to you INSTANTLY in PDF format. Nothing will be physically mailed to you. Download to any computer or iPad, just NOT a phone. Instant download means you can START TODAY!

Copyright 2017 SoheeFit Systems, LLC & Northington Fitness and Nutrition LLC

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