Friday, August 26, 2011

Plastic-Lined Walls

This past weekend marked the fifth bodybuilding show I went to as a spectator this year. (Have I mentioned how much I love living in a more central location where shows are accessible by car?) The big difference between the Maryland Championships and all the other shows is that J competed. As such, I was not just an interested audience member, I was a nervous audience member! I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation of J stepping on stage. I kept feeling like I should've been backstage instead of sitting in the audience, because his prep was such a team effort for both of us. After the show, I did go backstage for a couple minutes, and seeing the plastic-lined walls got me thinking about the similarities of every show.

When we haven't been certain of the exact location of a show, we always tell each other to "find the orange people." In the sunlight, the spray tans of competitors always appear orange for some reason, although they look natural on stage. Most competitors wear black clothing so the tan stains don't show up as much. Every show will have orange people wearing black track suits and flip-flops.

Standard competitor attire: black track suit
Another common element are the large sheets of clear plastic or brown paper bag material lining the walls backstage. The spray tan gets on EVERYTHING so the plastic protects the venue walls and floors.

Speaking of the spray tan, there's a certain smell that exudes from competitors the day of the show. I can't really describe it, but it's a combination of pre-tan body scrub, 4 days without deodorant, and the spray tan formula. Some competitors also use a glaze that smells somewhat like icy hot. Whenever I smell those odors, I know I'm at a bodybuilding show.

The restrooms at all show venues also have one thing in common: orange stained toilet seats. Like I said, the spray tan gets on EVERYTHING.

Every show has an expo of sorts outside of the auditorium. And there is always at least one table that has protein bar samples. (Yum!)

As a general rule, competitors are nice people. At the point where we're ready to walk on stage, we're usually hungry, tired, and depleted. Yet, I've never seen anyone NOT help out another competitor. I've heard stories of ladies lending their shoes and suits to other ladies who had issues with their own. I've helped ladies glue their suits on, and have in turn, asked other ladies to help me with mine. (Yes, we do actually glue our suits on. How else could we get those tiny scraps of material to stay in place? No one wants to see a wardrobe malfunction on stage!) My friend, Tenecia, calls the assistance we all show to each other backstage the "Tan Rule."

Everything about bodybuilding shows is exciting to me, because I associate them with that nervous, excited feeling I get every time I compete. Next time you're at a show, take a look around and see if you notice the same things. What other things have you seen at several shows you've been to?


  1. So true, how about how the smell of pro tan literally gets your heart thumping?

  2. This is so great to know! I'm totally clueless as to what the backstage looks like and acts like!! :D

  3. I would hardly call the tan natural-looking, on stage or otherwise! Lol