Samantha Katz: Top 5 Bikini Competition Prep Necessities

My Top 5 Bikini Competition Prep Necessities:

  1. Absolutely, hands-down, 100% the single most important thing required for a successful bikini competition prep is a proper diet. A prep diet is not just any old diet; it requires a certain precision which can be both inconvenient and time consuming. A prep diets takes into consideration things like weighing and measuring your foods, counting your macro nutrients, and/or calories, and nutrient timing. Everybody’s body is different and everyone metabolizes food differently so it’s important that your diet is custom designed for YOUR body and for YOUR goals. There are different philosophies on what works best in terms of clean eating, 80/20, flexible dieting, IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros) etc. but we can have that conversation another day. I personally believe that clean eating is always the best route. I eat cleanly (clean meaning whole, unprocessed foods) 90% of the time, and during prep I allow myself 1 cheat meal a week of which macros and calories are non-existent.
  2. Bikini competitors require a certain type of training, as well. Most bikini training splits focus on the legs/glutes and shoulders so these body parts may be trained 2 or even 3 times a week, filling in the other days with the remaining muscle groups like back, chest, and arms. Cardio routines vary drastically from competitor to competitor, but I’m a strong believer in keeping at least 2-3 days of 20-30 minutes HIIT (High Intensity Internal Training) a week. As I get closer to a show, I may increase either the number of days or the duration of the workout, depending on my progress. I’ll also throw a great sweat belt or sauna suit on during my peak week cardio sessions as a means of squeezing out some extra water for a nice dry, lean look.
  3. Posing. Posing. Posing. My worst nightmare. Posing is SO important in the bikini division and presentation is everything. The bikini division is one of, if not the single most subjective divisions in all of bodybuilding. Posing can either make a pretty good but not great physique GREAT or a great physique kind of just OK, in the judges eyes. A bikini girl must learn her body and which poses look best on her and be able to present those poses in a mini routine that is a little bit flirty, a little bit sexy and A LOT of bit confident. I always suggest hiring a posing coach who has been in the industry for a while and knows what the judges will be looking for in an individual.
  4. A closet dedicated to fitness gear, accessories, and apparel. Haha. Kidding. Kind of. Not really. This probably doesn’t apply to everyone but quality lifting gear and apparel is essential to my success. There are times during prep that it feels like I live in the gym, so as a woman, I want to feel good in what I’m wearing while I’m there. A good pair of tights that can handle a heavy squat, sneakers that can endure the sometimes 2-a-day cardio sessions, my personal favorite- racerback tanks, that show off your ridiculous back development, and a quality pair of lifting gloves, are all on my list of necessities. I also keep things like resistance bands and medicine balls around in case I need to squeeze a quick workout in at home.
  5. PASSION. A woman will never be a successful bikini competitor without passion. I’m not talking about kind of, sort of enjoying working out, sometimes, when it’s almost summer time. I’m talking about a deep motivation and dedication that burns from within. Competition prep is NOT a cake walk, in any aspect of the term. It’s a huge investment, not only financially, but one has to sacrifice hours of time for meal prepping, packing, lifting, cardio, planning, the list goes on. You sacrifice many parts of your social life including dinners at restaurants, late nights, and alcohol. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally draining so if you’re not prepping for a competition for the right reasons and that passion doesn’t exist, you probably won’t make it. If that passion does exist.. you’ll be at the top in no time.


While there are many, MANY more things that go into preparing for a Bikini Competition, those are the 5 things that were essential for me to win 1st place of Bikini Open Class D at the NPC Brooklyn Grand Prix on October 4, 2015 😀

Samantha Katz
About the Author:

Samantha Katz. Samantha Katz is 27 and resides in New York, NY. She is a NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist and Bikini Coach for Team Works Figure and Bikini. She also provides customized online diet and training programs. Contact her at or follow her on Instagram- @fitfam_samnyc.