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What You NEED to Know to Prepare for Pageant Fitness Wear

14, January 2017

With the official transition of many systems from swimsuit to fitness, like Miss Teen USA, you may be wondering how you can train your body to appeal in fitness gear where it once shined in a bikini. There are a few details to know when it comes from preparing for fitness compared to swimsuit. For one, you are wearing gym shoes instead of heels (thank goodness), so you can exhale a bit. I recently competed in a pageant with a fitness component and enjoyed that process a little better than wearing a bikini. The move allowed me to tone up and I challenged myself to build up my biceps. So, if you just registered or are considering for your next competition, let’s break down the major differences in scoring.

How to Prepare for Pageant Fitness Wear

Selecting the Outfit

Your pageant system may have a sponsor supplying your outfit and if this is the case, you can jump to the next section. However, if you get to have a say in the selecting of your fitness wear, then here are a few tips that you need to know. If you're are switching out your bikini for fitness wear, the first thing you want to look out for is the way your outfit is going to accentuate your figure. Different fitness outfits can highlight some of your favorite areas to show off. Do you have great arms and shoulders? Aim for a traditional sports bra like this one worn by Hellen Smith, Miss Oklahoma Teen USA 2016, on the Miss Teen USA stage. With a top like this, nothing could take away from your muscle definition.

Miss Teen USA 2019 contestants during fitness wear. Photo: 

You can find tops that are the same size as bras, or you can find a top that reaches farther down your stomach. Select the top that will best accentuate your figure. Miss Teen USA introduced its contestants to fitness pants, which demonstrated a special part of their home state. Many fans mentioned how the Teens “wasted” their leg day workouts since the leg was almost entirely covered up. This is simply not true, although wearing pants covers up the skin, judges and pretty much anyone who notices can see if you’ve been slacking on working out your lower body. Ever seen someone at the gym with a bigger, toned upper body and their legs look thin and frail? Once you lose weight and tone your body, if you focus too much on one body part, your proportions will be out of whack.

However, if you haven’t skipped on any workouts and you have more freedom in your outfit, aim for a cute pair of workout shorts. Nike has great tops and bottoms in so many colors. You can go for a bolder color for your fitness outfits. For shoes, if you have a pair in the color of your outfit, great! If not, a simple white sneaker will get you far. Always buy new or lightly worn shoes, as you can tell when they are worn out.


The goal for fitness is to show the judges that you are strong, healthy and full of life. Prove this to them through your walk. Many fitness categories allow you to have more leniency in the way you walk. You may be allowed to demonstrate a skill or flex a muscle or two. Have a great routine ready. Make it a point to turn and show your back muscles.

Your main objective is to gain the judges' trust. Discipline shows during this phase whether it’s fitness or swimsuit. The more defined, toned and put together you look will show the work you put in prior to competition. Since you are wearing gym shoes, really allow your personality to shine. Take caution that gym shoes are squeaky and don’t glide as much on wooden floors as on a stage.


The judges are still looking for a contestant with an overall well-being and a sense of self. Body composition will vary slightly depending on your objective and how you want to present yourself to the judges. For fitness, you want to appear more toned with less body fat and stronger muscle definition. You want to look fit. Don’t just do cardio; it’s important women lift weights.

According to Scott Keppel, owner and fitness coach at Scott’s Training Systems, women have a misconception they will bulk up by lifting weights. “If you are afraid of that happening, measure yourself every week and you see it for yourself," Keppel said. "Estrogen is more of a fat storing hormone than muscle building. You would have to eat a big meal on a regular basis to get that big. If you measure yourself and if we see the biceps or thighs going up then we need to change thing or two in their regimen.” Building lean muscle through weight training will allow you to get tighter and smaller instead just doing cardio. So don’t neglect the weight room! Aim for small weights like 8-10 lbs and do a light round of workouts. As you get stronger, slowly increase the weight.

For swimsuit, you want to look healthy and radiant. Here you want to aim for your body to look tall and lean. This is an area to show your feminine curves and accentuate your height. For both, it is recommended to get a spray tan for an even skin tone. Your ab, arm and calf muscle definition shows off your hard work, so do your best to target these areas during your workouts. To work on building your calf muscle, do a few stand-ups. Simply stand with your feet close together side-by-side, roll on your toes, and push yourself up. Before you get caught up in how you train for your individual competition, you have to first look the mirror and admire what you’re looking at first. “Her body is her body and she has to embrace that," Keppel said.

"A pear is never is going to turn into an apple. We can work on things to shape that but pretty much that’s how it’s always going to be. Love your body first and foremost. Keppel provided a breakdown for us of where you should target your daily food consumption:

Carbohydrates: 45-60% This is about the size of your fist. Aim to include this in 2 to 3 times a day.

Protein: 20-30% Roughly the palm of your hand 3 to 5 times a day.

Fats: 15-25% The size of your knuckle to your thumb, 3-5 servings a day. For fruit, Keppel recommended 1 to 2 servings daily and vegetables are unlimited, but ideally 3 times a day “Everyone is so different so the best thing to do is to track your progress," Keppel said. "Write down in a journal one, what you are eating and two, how you are feeling that day.” We wish you the best of luck in your fitness endeavors! Save


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