Pre judging is open to the public and usually costs less for a ticket. It is less formal, often no music, the routines are not preformed and no emcee.
This is the event where the judges will compare all the competitors and make a decision as to who gets what place, but they don't tell you. You do have a general idea how you did, but the final announcement is not made until the evening show.
I arrived at 9:30am, the pre-judging starts at 10:00. The body-builders need to arrive at 8:30 as they all need to be weighed in and they have their registration (also called the Athlete Briefing).
As you can see in the above picture, I have my tan, my suit and I am eating my favorite rice cakes and peanut butter with honey.
When I arrive I scope a comfortable place to leave my things and stake my spot for the next day and night. I don't go to the dressing room area with the mirrors, stools and lights, it gets very crowded, hot from the lights and the stools are not comfortable. I go to the locker room and pull out a chair, slide my suitcase under and claim my space.
It is extremely important to eat during the day. Many competitors are afraid to eat, they don't want their stomach to look bloated. But the body reacts to nutrition and needs the food throughout the day to look at its best. So avoid anything that makes you bloat and don't eat a lot, eat what is necessary. Most likely you will know what this is for you at this point.
Me? I tend to eat asparagus or zucchini for the last week as far as vegetables, they don't make me bloat or cause digestive issues. For the last day or two you may not even want or need the vegetables as they really are there to fill you up. Your body really needs the starches for fullness and the protein, so on the day of the competition, I usually don't eat any vegetables.
It is important to eat starches to fill the muscles, and it is a fine balancing act to ensure you don't "spill over" . If you have dieted correctly and are ingesting just the right amount of starchy carbs, your muscles will look full and tight. If you ingest too many carbs you will "spill over" which means you start to soft and flabby. Not the look for anyone in a physique competition, especially Bodybuilding or Figure. Bikini needs to be softer though.
It is a good idea to keep notes of everything you eat so you can adjust and improve for the next show. You won't know exactly how much to eat the first time as it all depends on how depleted your stores are to start, so having someone with a critical eye to assist can really help. By writing down your food all the time, including the time eaten, you can start to get used to the subtle changes that food brings on (or the drastic ones!).
So try to maintain a regular eating schedule, but in most cases, limit liquid. Again, every body is different so remember what works for me may not work for you.
They have a schedule of pre-judging and it is your responsibility to watch it and know where they are. No one comes back and holds your hand and tells you when to do anything! Most venues have monitors to watch the show so you can also see the action from the back. The smartest idea is to find a "veteran" like me or someone who has done several shows, and make friends with them. They will help you and watch out for you. No one wants to see you fail, I have never seen anyone not offer to help or be nasty at a show, ever. Although we compete against each other, ultimately we compete against ourselves.
Rice cakes, peanut butter and honey should be eaten about 40 minutes before going on stage. It's hard to time it but you just try your best.
There may be a separate pump up room or, in the case of a place like San Jose Convention Center, the dressing room and pump up room are one huge room all together. If there is a separate pump up room, the expediters do not want you in there until just before it's your turn. This is to be fair to the people who are going out next, they get to use the weights and bands. So when the group just prior to you is in pumping up, you need to go get your tan touched up, glaze applied and glue the suit.
You will get sprayed again with the suit on, they apply glaze to make the skin shine (often I don't get glazed as my tan looks good from the body scrub), and the tanners will help glue your suit if you ask (refer to my post gluing the suit a couple days ago). Then go pump up so you look good on stage.
The expediters will call out your class and the order of the line up, according to who registered at the table at check in (first up to the table, first out on stage). You line up, then march as a group to the side of the stage. Another expediter will tell you what you will have to do, either go out and do your model poses, or one pose, or wave, etc. It all depends on how big the show is.
Usually they let you do your individual poses then you stand to the side. Keep it all sucked in, smile and remember they are watching you....then they call the line out to do the comparisons the "quarter turns". The line is then excused and the next line is called out.
Now the next step will tell you if you placed or not. The head judge will call out 4 or 5 competitors, one at a time. Usually (not always) the very first called out is who they think will place 1st, then the next is 2nd, etc. They line you up and make you do the quarter turns. They will ask one competitor to switch places with another as they compare. When they have finished, where you are standing is going to be your final placing, or close to it. So if you are smack dab in the middle, you probably will get 1st place. To the right of the middle is 2nd, to left is 3rd, then the opposite right is 4th and opposite left is 5th.
The second group to be called out (if there are five in a group) did not place or win a trophy. You still need to be professional, smile and be a good sport. Remember you are not there to win you are there for a personal best.
After your group has been judged, you can leave for the break if you want or stick around. They will tell you when to be back for the evening Athlete Briefing, usually a half hour prior to the night show (finals).
They will probably lock the auditorium, so take what you need. This last show I left my wallet! Thank goodness Roy bought lunch....and it was a good. A burger from Fuddruckers.