When you step on stage to show your stuff in a bikini, physique or figure competition, the judges will be evaluating every inch of your body to determine your placement. Since IFBB and NPC judges are so thorough in their work, you have to approach your training with the same degree of dedication. However, unless you are a personal trainer and licensed nutritionist, it's all too easy to neglect certain parts of your frame, or miss out on essential nutrients that would further fuel your workout routine. That's why, if you have the means to do so, it's always a good idea to enlist the help of a professional. If your coach has experience in bikini or fitness competition training, they'll know exactly how discerning the judges can be, and will also be familiar with the physical and emotional strain that this arena can take - especially on new competitors. IFBB Pro Victor Prisk recently extolled the virtues of a good competition coach in a piece for NPCNewsOnline. "The role of a good coach is to keep you positive and on the right track - to prevent your emotions from messing it all up," writes Prisk, adding that an experienced trainer can keep you from making impulsive decisions about your diet and training that may sabotage your performance mere weeks before an event. We all have moments where we doubt our own strength - not to mention exercises that we just don't like doing - but a professional coach can help overcome these obstacles and keep you focused on the bigger picture. But, fitness competitor, nutritionist and motivational speaker Olesya Novik warns that it's important to keep your expectations under control. Many people think that working with a coach for a couple of weeks will make them competition-ready, she writes on her website, Oliciouslife.com. However, depending on your shape when you start, it typically takes at least a month or two of determination to obtain the toned look you need.