PUTTING ON THE GLITZ
Any physique judge will tell you that aside from symmetry, muscularity and the
confidence to succeed, your tan and oil preparation mark the final quality touches
that make the difference on stage. However, before you begin tanning sessions,
you must first take steps to improve the appearance and condition of your skin.
To do this, it's vital that one determine his skin type. For example, dry skin
feels taut and drawn and sometimes has a flaky feel or look. On the other hand,
if one's skin is oily - or is a combination dry and oily - grease marks will
appear on tissue paper blotted against the skin. As a matter of fact, this reaction
can be noted within an hour after washing one's face as the forehead, nose and
chin are particularly susceptible to oily build-up. Naturally, those blessed
with normal skin have one less problem to worry about.
Although it's seldom discussed, skin care is extremely important to the competitive
body-builder. One of the fundamental musts is to wash morning and night, especially
after working out, in order to remove all traces of the day's debris - using
a cleaner to achieve this ultra sanitary state. Wash and rinse thoroughly in
lukewarm water. Never use overly hot water, as this will open the pores, "tripping
the switch" for moisture loss.
Of course, maintaining the skin's moisture is also crucial. However, those with
oily skin should avoid most moisturizing lotions due to the fact that the extra
oil may contribute to skin breakouts. Naturally, those with normal, dry or combination
skin should apply a moisturizer or rehydrating cream daily after the bath or
Now you are ready to acquire that deep, dark, healthy looking tan that's a must
for sporting the "cast in granite" appearance at contest time.
Step One: Two months prior to the competition,
start using a tanning bed for 12 minutes a day, two to three times weekly. Should
one not have access to a tanning bed, he can achieve the same results by lying
out in the sun every 2-3 days during peak hours - 11 am to 2 pm.
Step Two: Be sure to use a good moisturizing lotion
after showering to prevent drying and flaking caused by the increased exposure
to sunlight and the lack of fats through dieting.
Step Three: A month prior to the contest, one's
exposure time on the tanning bed should extend to 20 minutes, tree times weekly.
Sunbathers should lie out every other day during 11am - 2pm. However, in no
circumstances should the skin become burned. Actually, tanning should be done
in short intervals to attain a solid brown (but not red) appearance. Furthermore,
this decreases the likelihood of the skin prematurely aging or wrinkling due
to overexposure to the sun.
Step Four: When carbing up three days before the
contest, avoid the sun completely. Why? During this time the sun will "attack"
the skin by dehydrating its structure. Plus, exposure to the sun may also cause
one to feel exceptionally weak. However, now is the time to start applying a
liquid instant tanning product like Pro Tan as this tends to give the most natural
How does one apply these kinds of products for maximum effectiveness?
Begin with one coat every eight hours the first day. Make sure that each coat
is applied evenly with a soft sponge or applicator brush. Facial application
can be best achieved by using a cosmetic Q-tip. But be sure to avoid getting
the product on the palms of the hands! Note: You can apply two coats consecutively
as long as you let dry before reapplying. A hair dryer will help speed this
On the second day, apply one coat every six hours using the same method.
On the third day, apply one coat after the morning shower or bath, following
up with another coat after the evening shower or bath. Let dry and then apply
a final coat. Be sure that all areas are covered - add extra coverage where
blending. Depending on your particular skin tone, one should use approximately
eight coats, although this can vary slightly. An 8.5 ounce bottle is sufficient.
Step Five: Contest morning evaluate your skin color. If you feel you need to
be a little darker than you will want to use an instant bronzer. These should
be applied immediately after showering to dry skin. Apply only one coat, as
bronzers tend to get messy during presentation if applied to heavily. Most bronzers
are applied with damp hands for even coverage. Allow drying for several minutes
before contact with clothes.
Step Six: Using the right oil to show off your true skin tone is imperative.
However, be sure to use a natural blend of oils instead of a regular sun tanning
oil, which contains special tanning ingredients that are foreign to the skin
and can foster the excessive beading of sweat. Almond, apricot and sunflower
oils are excellent because they allow the skin to breathe and do not create
muscular "blind spots" like mineral oil tends to under stage lighting.
Incidentally, always bring your own oil to a contest because settling for what's
handy just won't do. And be sure that someone is available who can apply your
posing oil evenly and lightly. If the oil is put on too thick, pat the skin
dry with a towel.
Be sure to take an early morning shower as this will take off the excess tan
color. But do not use soap as drying out may result. Instead, simply rinse the
body with warm water. Then, massage your posing oil over your entire body; this
will give your skin maximum moisture and a natural sheen.
With your newfound skin confidence you can have the winning edge. Your great
tan will glow with the proper skin balance you've maintained, and your appearance
will be that of a healthy disciplined bodybuilder.