What are the most common errors made during callouts? Is there something I should be aware of that helps me showcase my physique that competitors often forget in the heat of battle?
The biggest mistake made during callouts is not presenting your body properly. So the first thing is that you need to learn how to pose correctly! This is where plenty of practice before shows is key.
Another mistake: Many competitors take too long to hit the pose after the head judge has called for it. Callouts are for comparisons between the athletes— if everyone else in the lineup has hit the pose and you are still preparing, you may miss the chance to be compared with the others in the group.
Similarly, hitting “extra” poses before going into the requested pose does nothing more than waste time for both you and the judges and definitely should be avoided. Hit the pose that’s asked for in a timely manner, and hold it long enough for all the judges to get a chance to see you.
You also want to make sure you appear confident and relaxed, even if you are feeling nervous and anxious inside. You must look like a winner if you want to be a winner. Remember to smile, and learn to relax your face even while tensing the rest of your body. (This, again, comes with practice.)
I’m an NPC amateur trying to win my IFBB Pro League card in the open bodybuilding class. Is it a better approach to do as many pro-qualifying shows as I can, or to do only, say, one national-level show per year?
It is very much up to the individual to decide how many shows he or she can prepare for, and how long he or she can stay in contest shape. Bodybuilding prep is very taxing on the body physically, mentally, and emotionally, and bodybuilders typically need a minimum of eight weeks to properly prepare for a show. Sometimes it can realistically take up to 16 weeks to end up where you want to be on contest day.
I would advise attempting one—or at the most two—pro- qualifying shows a year. This allows time in between contest prep to let the body recover and grow. Constantly competing can break the body down, and the loss of muscle size, associated with dieting too frequently, is detrimental to the chances of performing at top form.
For bikini, are there rules that dictate the type of heels to wear?
The only requirement for bikini, the fitness swimsuit round, and figure is that heels are worn. There is no requirement that they have to be a certain height or color. That said, most athletes choose to wear clear heels so that they only need one pair on hand if they decide to change suit colors.
Judges Sandy Williamson and Steve Weinberger