Contest Preparation: Tanning

fitness competition-female
If you’ve ever seen a bodybuilding or fitness competition on TV or in person, you notice one common factor amongst all the contestants – they’re all tan! If you ever want to succeed in fitness or bodybuilding competitions, you have to have a safe and effective tanning plan in place before the competition.

The reason tanning is so popular in the fitness world is that it helps accentuate muscles for a more defined look. Fitness and bodybuilding competitions are two of the few sports in the world where the difference between last and first place lies in tiny details beyond that of just having the hardest, most-defined body. A tanned body can help put you over the top.

There are three ways to get that bronzed look: natural sunlight, self-tanners/bronzers and tanning beds. Getting a great looking tan before a competition is tough using natural sunlight exclusively. Why? Well, unless you live in an area where the sun shines year round, you’re out of luck during the colder, less-sunny months of the year.

Bronzers and self-tanning lotions have become increasingly popular over the past decade or so. They offer a quick and easy way to bronze your body without having to take the time to build up your tan over a period of days as you would in the sun or tanning beds. The potential disadvantage of self-tanning products is using them incorrectly. You certainly don’t want to show up to a bodybuilding or fitness competition with an unnatural looking tone or orange tint to your skin – I’m pretty sure that looking like an Oompa-Loompa will not win you a fitness competition! So, use these products carefully and test different products to see what works best for your particular skin type.

oompa loompa-willy wonka-tan

The third option for getting a winning pre-competition tan is using a tanning bed. Two benefits of tanning beds over the other two options includes a more natural-looking deep tan, and it’s readily available no matter what the weather is like outside.

The key to getting the most out of your visit to the tanning salon is using a good quality tanning oil or lotion. It’s important because it helps hydrate your skin and maximize your tanning potential.

Keep in mind that tanning can be harmful to your skin when done incorrectly. It can greatly increase your risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., affecting two million people annually, according to Be cautious and use proper protection when developing your competition tan.

Be safe when preparing for your next competition. Be sure to use tanning oils/lotions when sunbathing at the tanning salon or outdoors to help keep your skin hydrated. Limit exposure to UV rays, and build up your tan gradually over a period of several weeks. Finally, drink plenty of water, as well as green tea/coffee, when building up your tan – water helps hydrate your skin; coffee and tea can help eliminate harmful free radicals that can damage the look and health of your skin.

Image via: Flickr, Malingering’s Photostream

2 Responses to Contest Preparation: Tanning
  1. Marc

    Great information here. I recently decided to participate in a fitness competition and this information gives me a better idea of when I should start tanning and how I can protect myself, as I have always wondered how to eliminate the harmful effects of UV rays.


  2. Grivin

    it feels good to have healthy and beautiful body.

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