Muscle Sport Magazine

Bikini Competitions: Onstage and in the Wings

By Dr. Stacey Naito – People often ask me what it is like to be up on stage, very scantily clad and fully cognizant of the fact that a panel of judges is scrutinizing me. There is so much about competing that is appealing, fascinating and inspiring that I can’t imagine my life without this constant pressure I place on myself to pursue IFBB pro status. However, there are many strange and frustrating elements, which competitors deal with, and which can challenge their determination in the sport.


The thrill of strutting out onstage and showing off a hard-earned physique is incredibly empowering, especially when a competitor gets first call-out. The obvious physical transformation is invariably accompanied by an emotional and spiritual overhaul. The audience sees the best of this since they are attending a show. But the backstage world that they don’t see is incredibly colorful and revealing.

Before the competition, we all look like hoodlums, bums or like we just crawled out of bed, clad in baggy, dark clothing. We are all sporting dark skin hues, which are more reminiscent of mahogany furniture than human skin. Our food coolers are packed with chicken, nut butter, rice cakes and possibly booze for the celebration afterwards.


Every show starts out with a mad scramble after the morning meeting for a prime spot backstage to prep. The ladies cluster around the few full-length mirrors that have been placed around the perimeter of the room. The men cluster around the weights.


It can be maddening and stressful to be in the company of competitors who are so carb-depleted that they are cranky, forgetful and unable to focus on basic streams of conversation. Some are so weak and dehydrated that they are on the verge of passing out. A competitor may have a meltdown because his/her music CD was misplaced. The overpowering odor of spray tanner admixed with the telltale gaseous emissions of very high protein diets are commonplace. Some abdominals are grossly distended by creatine bloat. A competitor may be freaking out because of a broken suit strap, or makeup being spilled onto a suit, now ruining it…with no backup suit on hand. There are meltdowns with makeup and hair. There are lost earrings and shoes. The fear of water exposure is at an all-time high.

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Then once everyone is prepped, there is the interminable wait. When a division and class are announced, there is a mad scramble to get in line. Individuals who bring Bikini Bite suddenly become the most popular people backstage.


Then suddenly a competitor is onstage. Somehow all the stress from being backstage, from dieting and training for months all melts away as that person now has a chance to do turns and show off a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. Those few moments make it all worthwhile.


Dr. Stacey Naito is a national level NPC Bikini Champion, having competed in five national level shows in 2010. She was a top-10 finisher in four shows, and returned home from the IFBB North American in Cleveland, Ohio with a 1st place finish in Masters’ Bikini and a 3rd place finish in Unlimited Bikini in her height class. She is well aware of what it takes to deliver a top-notch package onstage.


Dr. Naito is also a licensed and board-certified physician and also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. She has a large breadth of knowledge of nutrition and physical training.


To contact Stacey Naito, please send an e-mail to or call her at (818) 422-1364.

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