Welcome back you guys! Imma gonna ruffle some feathers today…are you ready?
Posing workshops and posing coaches are popping up like the kernels in jiffy popcorn on the stove from 1950. Yup, I said it, and you might be thinking it. You probably don’t know which posing coach you “NEED.” You probably have no clue if you will ever pose “right” either. All you know is that if you even think of posing on your own you are going to fall apart and totally bomb on show day. All of this couldn’t be further from the truth and is just a bunch of intimidation brought on by people who know how much competing MEANS to you.
So I’m going to lay into the industry hard today and share a whole of of truth talk and honest perspective about what it is you actually need….and it’s probably going to be something you don’t want to hear.
I’m going to share my own first hand experiences as a competitor when I bombed my first figure show….WHY this happened…. And what I did about it from not only a competitor’s standpoint, but how it drove me to do what I do today for competitors in all divisions and federations. I will also share something I spent years putting together and am just now making available to the public for the first time ever at www.posingwinsshows.com
1. Gain confidence with your posing by grabbing my curriculum at www.posingwinsshows.com
2. Grab some “My Own Motivation” swag at shop.killitwithdrive.com
Welcome back you guys… I’m about to ruffle some feathers today and I’m totally ready. I promised you guys I would keep it real and say the things that need to be said in the bodybuilding industry. So here we go!
Posing workshops and posing coaches are popping up like the kernels in jiffy popcorn on the stove from 1950. Every time I log into instagram I see another person offering their posing services and another workshop with tons of pros there to show off their amazing physiques. Just the other day I saw a 20 minute video talking about tips for bikini posing that over explained how to make the only two poses that are required in that division and federation. Let me say that again, two. Two poses you guys. Not 10 or even 100. We are talking TWO poses.
10 years ago when I started hosting weekly posing workshops at the gym I owned, this was long before there was even such thing as a posing coach. The private sessions I did were not to teach the fundamentals of posing. The private sessions were to make people great at posing. Create choreography for them to work on. By. themself. Teach those who had two left feet how to go from walking like a linebacker to walking like a super model. That’s what the posing lessons were for. To level people up. Not to teach fundamentals. Fundamentals should be done on your own. To become great at something, it takes practice. And a lot of it. Anyone that can stand in two poses can claim to be a posing coach these days. To me, these people should be called, posing practice partners, not posing coaches. A coach levels you up, teaches you a new skill, but does not replace the work that you need to do on your own.
Think about it this way. You have a coach that provides you a nutrition and training protocol. With online coaching today you might never actually meet your coach in person either. You are given a program that you are expected to execute. You design your day, your week, around your training schedule, grocery shopping, and maybe even food prepping if you are really on point. I am going to bet, and this might be a long shot, that your workout program includes more than just two exercises. Am I right? And I am even furrrrrther gonna bet that each of your workouts are done. By. yourself. You practice the same workout every week and push yourself to get better at the exercises until you get a new program. Your coach isn’t with you by your side while you do your cardio, or while you do your workouts, right?. Why not? Because your coach isn’t a practice partner. Your coach is there to monitor your progress, not hold your hand while you do the work.
I can’t help but think about basketball for a second. When I was in middle school my dad sent me to basketball camp where I learned how to shoot a basketball properly. After camp, I took the skills I learned home with me and I practiced the hand position on the ball, the form of my arm when bringing it up to aim at the hoop, and the follow through of my hand as I shot the ball into the net. I practiced these skills over and over and over again. I became really good at shooting a basketball and ended up competing in free throw competitions. One day the coach of my basketball team asked me to teach the new people on the team how to shoot a basketball. So I showed them the same techniques I learned. They took the skills I taught them and practiced over and over and over again. One of the girls I taught how to shoot a ball became so good that she made the varsity team her freshman year and was recruited by colleges. She didn’t become a college level basketball player from meeting with me once a week to learn the same skills on how to shoot a basketball. She took the things I taught her and ….. practiced them. I’ve shot a basketball so many times in my life that even today my husband has yet to beat me at the game of horse. He creams me at air hockey so I guess we are even.
With team sports you have the luxury of meeting with the team 6 days a week to practice. With an individual sport, you have the luxury of not having your success depend on others; however, your success does depend on whether you were diligent with all components of your prep. If you half assed any component of your competition prep, it will reflect in your placement on show day…or be the one thing holding you back from either going pro… or from being a pro that’s competitive.
Recently I had someone reach out to me looking for posing instruction. I assumed she was new to the sport but when I asked her what her goals were, you know what she said? She said that she had actually done very well at her competition and wanted a posing coach because she wanted to feel more confident the next time she got on stage. She knew the poses she needed to make on stage, but wanted to feel better about them. So I asked her….how much time are you practicing your posing? She says, well, I haven’t really practiced. I said to her, you don’t need me. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to work with me so I can stand next to you or sit on a camera and practice with you. There are plenty of posing practice partners on social media looking for extra cash.
With training there are hundred of exercises to do, and somehow you aren’t mind blown on how to do them on your own once you are shown the fundamentals. Right? So let me ask you this, why is standing in place and holding 2 or even 4 poses any different? The poses don’t change unless you change federations. And if that happens, a stop at a local workshop for the federation will show you what the new poses and stage walk requirements are. You know what I think it is? I think people have no idea where to start with a self practice on their posing skills. Exercise has become such a commodity with workout programs available anywhere that it’s second nature to do them on your own. But posing practice? Right now social media will have you think that these two or four poses are so complicated that you will fall apart the minute you try to do them on your own. That the only way to become good at them is to hire a posing coach.
As a posing coach, here’s a truth bomb…you are wasting your money. Go to a workshop or come to me once in a while to learn a new skill or how to pose for a new division or a new federation since my expertise is being able to switch between all divisions and federations. Come to me to level up not to be a practice partner.
Today, you have the workshops available like every week all around the country. If you are new to the sport, you should go to one so you can learn the fundamentals in one day, because, like I said, sometimes it’s only two or maybe even four poses total in the whole performance. You don’t need to go to a posing coach once or twice a week leading up to a show to practice your basic poses. If you are doing this, you are using the lessons as a crutch to get practice time in and unfortunately not getting enough practice to be great. With all the time, effort, and let’s face it, the mortgage payment it costs to actually do a show, why would anyone want to leave a stone unturned? And I really mean it, you are literally leaving a stone unturned.
Let me explain…bodybuilding is a sport based on aesthetics. You might be thinking, well, duh michele, it’s all about the physique, but stay with me for a second. Yes, you create the best physique you can with training and nutrition. But then there is your ability to DISPLAY your hard work in the mandatory shapes required for your division. Most people AT LEAST think about the nutrition and training part every day. You probably even prepare your entire week around your workouts. You meal prep. You grocery shop. You wake up at ungodly hours to get your workouts in because you want to look your best on stage. But the thought of posing practice? It’s just as much of a nuisance as doing a few stretches after your workout because you think stretching is boring. Which is why you get better at your training every week, get stronger, more agile, more confident. And why you also get more tight and less mobile so when it comes time to execute poses, you are wound so tight that you can’t contort your body into flattering shapes. And on show day you might even score lower than you should.
Bodybuilding, no matter the division or federation, is a sport about shapes, angles, and of course size, symmetry and conditioning (relative to the divisions). There is no one on stage with a caliper measuring to make sure you hit a certain bodyfat. No one is up there asking you how much cardio you did and throwing you off stage because your heart rate wasn’t in the fat burning zone. Or testing how much you squat or bench. This is not a powerlifting sport. Or a test of who worked harder. This sport is based on 100% nonverbal communication on stage. And to be a champion, a winner, a pro, you need pro level mindset. This means you don’t skip doing the things that you don’t feel like doing. If you want to leave no stone unturned preparing for a show, it’s not going to be just from focusing on your nutrition and training. You need a champion mindset that drives you to practice every component of bodybuilding, boring or not. The first time you hit a bodybuilding pose, no matter what the division, it’s going to feel awkward. They ARE awkward shapes. However, the more you do them, the more you will relax in them and look more natural. This happens automatically. With practice. A lot of of practice. Ever hear the saying, “hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”
Back when I still accepted clients that wanted to learn the fundamentals, I noticed that there was a drastic difference in the progress of people who used our sessions as their only posing practice. Week after week they would come and we would spent 80% of the session practicing the same things as the week before. Over time, they did become better but progress was at snail pace. Of course they became better because with anything, the more you do it, the better you get. It should have taken a fraction of the time to learn two poses. I could have taught how to walk like a super model. Be a show stopper on stage. Things that make someone a stand out. But we never got there. If you practice one a week, guaranteed, you will never be great. It’s doing the unsexy stuff in between sessions that makes you great. Those who followed my protocols, used our sessions to learn advanced skills so they could be show stoppers. 1 on 1s are great, but they aren’t the secret sauce. They do not replace the required practice time needed to become great. Repetition is the mother of all skill.
Now I know what you might be thinking, thanks for the pep talk, but I don’t know where to begin to create a formal practice on my own. I prefer the accountability of someone there letting me know I’m doing things right. This show means a lot to me. I’ve never felt great about myself and I really want to do well and I don’t know where to even start.
Let me tell you a quick story.
The first time I went to a workshop dedicated to fitness and bodybuilding competitions was about 15 years ago. I remember looking around the room at the girls that had obviously competed before and was in awe with their confidence. Their physiques were what I wanted mine to look like, their hair was put together, and they wore sports tops and short shorts so effortlessly. And then there was me. Baggy clothes to hide my physique embarrassed because I wasn’t in contest shape. Sweating profusely from nerves. And sitting off to the side because I didn’t feel like I fit in. Growing up I made mud pies, collected salamanders, and when I started playing sports, I was the only girl on the baseball team. Sitting in this room reminded me somewhat of being in the locker room in high school wearing baggy shorts and a t-shirt and lacing up my high top sneakers for basketball practice while the girls who were getting ready for cheerleading practice put on their makeup and fixed their hair. I can still see the cloud of hair spray and can still smell their perfume.
Fast forward to this workshop and I was completely intimidated by the room I was in. I felt so awkward and out of place. When it came time to put on our shoes and practice walking around the room I started to shake a little inside. I hid it well by just staying quiet but I dreaded any moment where I had to do something by myself in front of the group. Why was I so nervous and intimidated? Because I was doing something completely outside of my comfort zone. I had competed successfully in bodybuilding competitions but I wanted to switch to this new category called Figure that just came out. Again, this was like 15 years ago. Figure was supposed to be an alternative to the fitness division, meaning, the physiques were supposed to look like the fitness competitors but not require the routine. At the time, Fitness was still a huge category in all federations. There were tons of really quality athletes! When figure came out, it was supposed to provide an alternative for fitness competitors because the routines in fitness were demanding and injuries were frequent. Up until this point, fitness didn’t interest me because of the routine component, so I had only competed in bodybuilding.
The issue with bodybuilding for me was the contest prep was so demanding that I couldn’t compete often and struggled to find balance in the off season. I thought figure would be the perfect fit with a more athletic but not super shredded look. Boy has that changed over the years! Anyways, competing in figure meant I needed to learn only four poses. And being a bodybuilder previously, the four poses for figure were actually the same four quarter turns I already knew from bodybuilding. The only difference is I had to do them in heels. The extra pose I needed to know was a presentation pose, or a model pose, as I call it. And that’s about it. I left the workshop knowing exactly what poses I needed to do on stage and proceeded forward getting ready for a show.
But you know what I did with what I learned from the workshop leading up to the show? Absolutely nothing. I practiced ZERO times on my own leading up to my first show. I think I went to a couple group posing practice sessions but that’s it. I borrowed a suit from a fellow competitor and showed up to the competition thinking the only thing I really needed was to get my physique in the absolute best shape and slap a tan on. I had done bodybuilding routines in front of a crowd and won best poser awards so I felt that I was good and would rise to the occasion on show day. I felt the workshop and a couple practice sessions gave me enough info and I would be fine.
Then the show day comes and I completely bomb on stage during my individual routine. I remember being on the side of the stage and not being able to stop my leg from shaking. I was so outside of my comfort zone with my sparkly suit and blinged 6 inch stiletto heels. The girls around me all looked amazing and confident and there I was feeling like the high school basketball player who grabbed the wrong shoes for practice. I was used to feeling stage freight growing up, but I was not used to failing. No matter what I did, I always gave my all, and was a high achiever. I remember my sophomore year in high school I literally audited algebra 2 class because the year before I bombed the class. I was always a straight A student so this was just unacceptable for me. So I asked the teacher if I could take the same class for no credit so I could learn the material properly. And, yup, I did every assignment, took every quiz, every exam, and although my A wasn’t scored on my transcript, it was my A.
So when I completely bombed my performance at my first figure show I didn’t wilt like a flower. I realized that I was perfectly capable of performing on stage and looking confident. Perfectly capable of hitting these four poses. I had done it before with bodybuilding. And the only reason I bombed was because I failed to practice. I didn’t need a coach to walk me through my same four poses. Going to a practice session here or there was never going to be enough. I needed to practice posing so many times, in my heels, that I didn’t need a mirror to make an adjustment. Just like I did with my bodybuilding routine…I needed to know how to pose, move, walk, in my sleep. I didn’t need a coach to walk me around a room so I could get used to walking in high heels. I needed to practice walking in heels every day. With bodybuilding there is not only the four mandatory quarter turn poses, you also have muscularity poses that are scored. For divisions like figure there are only four poses. And for the bikini divisions, a lot of times for bikini there are only TWO poses you guys. TWO. Once you know these two poses, you don’t need a coach to walk you through turning from front to back 100x in a session, you need to save your money and find the time to practice these poses on your own every day.
Guys I hope some light bulbs went off for a bunch of you today. A lot of you are allowing intimidation by others to get the best of you and your capabilities on your own. You can look amazing in your poses and move with ease with the right amount of practice. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to hire someone claiming to be a posing coach only to really be getting overpriced practiced sessions. If you want to fool proof your practice for the first time ever I’m making my posing practice curriculum for men and women in every division and federation available to the public at posingwinsshows.com . My methodologies, tools, and secrets will literally take all the guess work out of everything you should be doing every day. I even added accountability as a bonus so people can get feedback on their posing no matter the division or federation. You will never not know if you aren doing things right or wasting money on private sessions to find out.
If you are doing bodybuilding show, you are a special individual. Very few people can do what we do. Day in and day out we prepare. We are consistent. Driven. Focused. And super competitive. Before now there has been a ton of holes in people’s contest prep. I’ve been there myself with my first figure competition and that experience has driven me to not only never let that happen again to me, but to never let that happen to you either. So again for the first time ever my protocols are available to the public. Grab your headphones and tune in on your next cardio sesh or commute by going to www.posingwinsshows.com. For those who I shared the link with privately the past couple of months, thank you for all your feedback. I redid things so you might want to check out posingwinsshows.com again.
Thanks again every one for listening. I will continue to share with you a whole lot of realness in this sport. Please rate and comment in iTunes and share to spread the word so others can hear some real talk. And stay tuned because I have some incredible interviews coming up with people not afraid to say things that are uncomfortable in this sport. My kinda people. Later guys…