Bikini Competition Workouts (12 Week Program)


This is the 12 week workout program that I used to get in shape for my first NPC Bikini Competition. Every workout that I did is here, as well as diet and meal prep tips. This is a healthy approach to bikini competition prep. I designed this program to keep your metabolism high, and hormone levels in balance. That means that for best results combine it with a clean diet. You should never be hungry, or drop your calories to low. 

My Trophies!


Month 1 Bikini Competition Prep Workouts

Month 2 Bikini Competition Prep Workouts

Month 3 Bikini Competition Prep Workouts

Meal Ideas:

Bender Bikini Competition Diet

Abs Are Made in the Kitchen: Meal Prep

Eat Like a Bender: Typical Day of Meals

Melissa Bender’s Grocery List

Two Protein Pancake Recipes

Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt

Avocado Curry Chicken or Egg Salad

Grilled Eggplant Sandwich Recipe

*I competed in the NPC Natural USA Championships. I won 2nd Place in Bikini Open Class B, and 3rd Place in Bikini Novice Class A. When I stepped on stage I was not hungry or dehydrated. I felt that I was in better shape, and stronger than ever before. Whether you are planning to compete or you just want to get in shape, good luck! You can do this! 


Fit to Sweat Workout & NPC Bikini Competition Results

42 thoughts on “Bikini Competition Workouts (12 Week Program)

  1. Ana T.

    Hi Melissa and everyone who read this. When I so, how much calories you (Melissa) ate a day, I was shocked. I couldn’t understand how is possible to eat such a high amount of calories while still losing weight. So, I would just like to share a video on metabolic damage, which I consider very important for people that diet, and get disappointed as they are not loosing weight, and they think they do all correct.

  2. Hi, Melissa and readers! One, I love the new blog design. Secondly, and the actual reason I wanted to comment, I am so grateful to you for taking time to write and share videos with everyone. These workouts allow anyone to begin or continue their fitness journey in an informed, personalized way. They are wonderful for people who are intimidated by a gym, don’t want a membership, or, in my case, don’t have access to other fitness alternatives. I spent two months last summer living in Ethiopia, where gyms are not exactly prevalent. This workout schedule kept my fitness level up while I was far away from my preferred fitness equipment. Again, thank you!! You prove that it doesn’t take fancy equipment to be fit, just determination and sweat!

  3. ale

    hi melissa! I’ve decided to give this schedule a shot instead of joining a gym. can you please tell me how heavy were the dumbbells used in the workouts? thank you!

    • benderfitness

      The silver ones are 20 lbs each. There are a few arm exercises where I used lighter dumbbells, 8 lbs. 🙂 I hope you enjoy the schedule!

      • Ale

        Thanks for the reply. I’m following this schedule with a vegan diet, do you have any recommendation/s or tips? 🙂

        • benderfitness

          That’s great! Make sure you are getting enough protein. It can be trickier on a vegan diet, but it’s definitely do-able. 🙂

  4. Earl Bridges

    Hi Melissa,
    I love your workout videos. I have been working out to your videos for a few months now, and they’ve helped me go from 217 to 198 pounds. I have 2 goals: first, to get my weight down to 175 lbs (I am a male); and second, to get invited by you to work out as a special guest in 2 years when I turn 60.
    Many thanks,
    Earl Bridges

  5. Niki

    I just want to thank you for making your workouts accessible to everyone. It’s so generous of you to share these, and I really, really appreciate it! Thanks so much!

  6. Julia

    Hey Melissa, I love your workouts and I’ve been doing them for a while now; but I just severely injured my left ankle and am on crutches…do you have any suggestions for a lower body workout I can do for the next month that won’t cause me to lose all the work I’ve done??

    • benderfitness

      Oh no! That’s a terrible feeling. 🙁 I hope you heal quickly! Do you mind if I ask what your injury is? Also, do you have your doctor’s permission to include lower body exercises for the non-injured muscles? You should always defer to the MD, and I am hesitant to make suggestions without knowing what type of injury you have.

      I do have some core & arm workouts you could do in the mean time, but it sounds like you’ve got that covered already. 🙂

  7. Mia

    Hi Melissa, I’m totally challenging myself with a bikini contest body for the next 12 weeks starting Dec 2nd (after returning from holidays). I just had a baby a few months ago and now want to challenge myself into a healthier and stronger self. I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll look like in 12!

  8. CCluvsu

    Thank you so much for making this available I will be using this to get in shape and prep for my first bikini completion

  9. Thank you for this! I’m considering entering a competition this fall but a big reason I’m hesitant is the cost. If I can cut as much off of the expenses I will sign up in a heartbeat. This gives me hope that I can actually compete without going through all of my savings.

    • benderfitness

      You can do it! I found that it was a lot of fun, and very motivating to compete. There are still some fees: competition entry, joining NPC if that is the division you decide to compete in, Swimsuit, shoes & tanner. I paid for the spray tan because I didn’t trust myself not to turn streaky, but you can always opt for self application to save money.

  10. YankeeDaisy76

    Hi Melissa, Just wanted to let you know that you inspire me so much. I am currently 189 lbs and 65 inches. This is the heaviest I’ve ever weighed. I decided to start the 12 week bikini contest and completed day 3. I’m really need to stay committed to this for myself and your commitment to fitness really helps me find my own motivation. Is this the only space to leave comments or give and receive support for our fitness goals? Thanks

    • benderfitness

      You can do this! I am so excited to hear about your progress! I am also on Facebook: and on Instagram & Twitter: @BenderFitness

      I am planning on putting together some different challenge groups where people get daily e-mails, etc, when they join a challenge, but that probably won’t be happening until later this summer. I’m still getting all of the materials organized for that. 🙂

  11. Malika

    Hi Melissa,

    Thank you so much for offering free workouts. Since I gave birth to my son in March, I no longer have time to go to the gym and being able to do quick, effective workouts at home with very minimal equipment was definitely a life and time saver!!! I completed the lean muscle building challenge and loved it!!! Since my primary goal is to regain strength and rebuild muscle, do you think the bikini competition challenge would be a good fit? I am currently on round two of the lean muscle challenge and wanted to try a different routine.

    Thanks for everything that you do!!!

  12. Ivette

    Good Morning Melissa! I’m so looking forward in starting ur 12wks bikini competition workout program . I’m 45 I weigh 160 n 5 1″ way over weight for my height. But I wld like to lose 30 to 35lbs. Shld I lose the lbs first or start the program n lose the lbs at the same time that I start the program ? I have a question on the meal aspect of it. When having snacks after breakfast, lunch or dinner .Am I to have the snack right after or wait 2 hrs after every meal to have a snack ? Thank u much ! GB

    • benderfitness

      Good Morning!

      You can lose weight while on the program. 🙂 With the snacks, I wait a couple hours in between meals. The goal is to keep your body satisfied so you are never fighting hunger pains, which lead to overeating. Also, to stimulate your metabolism to keep working through the day.

      Let me know how the program goes for you!

  13. When you prepared for your first bikini workout, what warmup did you do, how many times did you repeat the day’s strength routine, and how much and what type of cardio did you do?

  14. This site, your accomplishments, and the many workouts you offer for free are so inspiring! I love how you seem like a normal person working out at home with limited equipment and have involved another person’s support. When you prepared for your first bikini competition, what type of warmup did you do before the day’s workout routine, how many times did you repeat the routine consecutively, and how much and what type of cardio did you do?

    • benderfitness

      The cardio should be listed in the daily breakdown, along with number of rounds that I did. I generally did 30-minutes of running about 5 days per week as my cardio. For warm-ups I did dynamic movements (leg swings, jumping jacks, maybe some jump rope) just to get my blood flowing and my body ready to work. For number of rounds, generally 2-3 unless otherwise specified. 🙂

  15. Alicia Deperry

    Hi Melissa,
    I have been working out for a while now and consider myself in shape but I am not really making any gains with fat loss and muscle growth. I did p90x3 but felt that his workout didn’t do much for my butt. I have been doing the 21 day fix series but I realized in the past couple of weeks that her program has too many reps ( she has you work a muscle for 1 min and do as many reps as you can) and I am probably not lifting heavy enough. I have tried to make up my own routine but I am just getting so overwhelmed with all the exercises for each body part that I realize I am making this harder than it is!
    I can’t seem to lose the last small layer of fat. How do I determine how many calories I need? Also I was put on a low carb diet from a previous trainer and now every time I eat carbs I can actually see the water retention in my body. It really freaks me out! How do I fix this? I eat a very clean diet.
    Also do I need to supplement with any other exercises or do you feel that your program works out all muscle groups? Please Help!!
    Thank you,

  16. Ivette

    Hi Melissa hope all is well! I’m interested in your 12 wk Bikini Competetion program. Do you recommend any cardio if so how long and which cardio before starting the 1st workout in your 12 wk. Bikini Program plan????

    Thank you

    • benderfitness

      Hi Ivette,

      There is cardio listed with the program. A good goal is to do 30-Minutes of Cardio per day 5X per week. That will help you maximize your results. 🙂

      You can do running, power walking, inclined walking on a treadmill, or do any of my cardio HIIT videos: If you do a HIIT aim for 15-30 minutes, depending on the intensity of your other workout for the day.

  17. Stefanie

    I’m excited to try your program. It is exactly what I am looking for. My question is I have food allergies, wheat, dairy, oats, and soy. I know how important diet is in obtaining results. Is there a diet plan you can suggest or ways to modify your plan? Thanks

    • benderfitness

      I am going to be working on some food plans. I am making a note to make an allergy friendly plan. You can definitely do it with healthy alternatives. You can get more carbs by increasing your fruit and veggie intake. Dairy is easy enough to skip, but be sure to get in an alternate protein source. Are you allergic to all dairy or just lactose?

  18. Hi Melissa,

    I think I posted this on another page, but couldn’t find it, so apologize for the repeat! I’m coming off training for an ultramarathon event and am super excited after taking a rest week to start up this program and get back my lean and toned physique. Can you tell me what equipment I should have in the house to make the most of your workouts? I currently have both 12 and 15 pound dumbbells, a yoga mat, a foam roller and a bosu ball.

    Thank you!

    • benderfitness

      That’s awesome! I hope you had a great event!

      It sounds like you are basically set for equipment! I also used a bench to step up on (your bosu or a chair would also work, or any other sturdy surface). I used a kettle bell or barbell for a few exercises, but you can substitute the dumbbells for that. I also did some hanging leg raises from a pull-up bar. I have the pull-up bar that hooks over a door frame.

      I believe that’s everything!

  19. Sallina

    Hi Melissa, your workout style and challenges keep me coming back to your page. It’s Jan 1, I’ve decided to give 1 of your challenges a go! Either 4 wk or 22 wk bikini Challenge. I’ve worked out since 1988 pretty consistently. I incorporated light weights in 1997. Then heavier weights in 2015. I’m 56 feel great, however need to eat all clean foods. Started jan1,2017! Wish me luck & hoping in few months will lose some body fat to show More muscles! Thanks for all you do! Your Awesome Melissa! Any advise or tips, I’m open! Thank you, Sallina

  20. Ezzy

    Just wondering if you have any suggestions om work outs i can do with an injured ankle, i injured my ankle while training for a half marathon two years ago, after so many test i was told i had a tear in my tendont to do physio, i did but didnt seem to get better, the pain that is while doing an excercise with high inpact, then a year ago i tripped with one of my kids shoes that was on the way and feel down mystairs and injured my same left ankle, turns out my tendont is now inflamed with some liquid in it, My Doctor said now to stay off my feet (right with 2 little kids) for 6 months at least and to do physio so i can slowly introduce more higher inpact work outs, unfortunately i am in desperate need of doing some excersice, unfortunately for me my body needs to keep active no mattee what i eat, other wise i gain weight. Any idea suggestions on what i can do to get my cardio going? I really want to do a bikini competitiom and seems like i keep seeing obstacles. I have been wanting to do one for two 4 yeats now, this is why i decided to start running first for resistence and the cardio. Can it be done without the high inpact cardio you think?

  21. Thanks for the points shared on your own blog. One more thing I would like to talk about is that fat loss is not supposed to be about going on a dietary fad and trying to get rid of as much weight as you’re able in a couple of days. The most effective way to shed pounds is by consuming it slowly and gradually and using some basic suggestions which can help you to make the most from the attempt to drop some weight. You may learn and already be following some tips, nevertheless reinforcing expertise never damages.

  22. Rasta Khamas

    Hi there, after a divorce of an abusive ex husband that also took all my money,i hit rock bottom alone with my son..i always wanted to do something like this for myself. Please lead me and guide me under your wing. I want to win a trophy and show my son i am strong and happy. I am determined, disciplined and focused.
    Get me ready and bring out the best in me plus be in the best shape in my life!
    Contact me on email directly…I’ll be anticipating your point of contact.
    Please. Please. Please.

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