If you have been considering competing, there is another aspect of figure (and bikini) a lot of people don't really think about until they get to their first show that they really should consider-the reality of judging. I have only competed in 2 different federations so far, and both were vastly different in what they look for from bikini and figure competitors. On each federations website, whether it is the INBF, IFBB, WBFF etc., they all list out what each ideal winner should have for a physique. Let me tell you, there is a lot of room for objectivity for sure! You might go to a show looking like a text book winner and not place in first or at all. You need to be mentally prepared to handle that. If you don't care what the outcome is and really just have fun being on stage- great! If you are taking this sport a little more seriously and trying to make something more out of it, you need to be ready for whatever the outcome is. Use all of your experiences on stage to learn and get better, don't give up, and don't think that all of your hard work was wasted. This really goes back to needing to have that positive mind and body connection!
If the federation you are competing in offers any posing or training sessions on judging, I highly recommend attending at least once! Getting information from people that have done it, or from current judges is so invaluable, and I don;t know why more competitors don't attend! While there is a good handful of objectivity in judging, there are some general standards that you should be sure to perfect for your stage presence so that you don't give the judges any reason to mark you down. For example, posing, suit choice, tan color (how dark to be), in some cases-shoe choice, and what body parts the federation tends to favor in judging over others. Trust me, a great backside and legs seems to win over boulder shoulders 9 times out of 10!
Do your research and prepare for a show not just at the gym, but also through all of the resources available to you! If you can't attend info sessions or posing classes, youtube and other competitor pages are great ways to learn more about what judges are looking for! Hope you found this helpful!