Fitness Competitions

Competition Types

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Bodybuilding Competitions

This is probably the competition you're most familiar with. Bodybuilding certainly isn't for every woman, but it's extremely popular. Women in these contests are judged on their muscularity, definition and leanness. As with all body competitions, muscular and physical symmetry is one of the most determining features a judge will look for.

It's important that these women have toned essentially every visible muscle in their body, and while extremely intensive weight training is key, strict dieting is most imperative if these competitors want to walk away with the gold.

Female bodybuilders can be described as "ripped" and "chiseled," which isn't necessarily true for competitors in other formats.


Bikini Competitions

Today, bikini competitions are growing faster in popularity than any other format. While bodybuilders are typically blessed with the ability to bulk up more than the average person, bikini competitors have a look that's attainable for a wider range of women.

In essence, judges look for the girl who can rock a two-piece swimsuit better than anyone else on stage. These women typically aren't very muscular, and the winners aren't necessarily the skinniest competitors.

As a matter of fact, it's important to have a bit of body fat so muscles aren't too defined.


Figure Competitions

Figure competitions fall somewhere in between bikini and bodybuilding. It's important that these women are muscular, but not the way that bodybuilders are. Judges look for a bit of separation between the muscles, but there can be no visible striations. In other words, muscle tone is valued much more than muscle size.

It's crucial that women aren't too skinny, and skin tone is key in these contests as well.


Physique Competitions

The National Physique Committee (NPC) explains on its website that physique competitions are "for women who enjoy weight training, competing {and} contest preparation." It's a bit different than bodybuilding and figure posing, as the NPC says these women shouldn't be vascular, massive, grainy, thick, ripped or dense.

The judges look for shape, proportion and muscle tone, but also poise, femininity and beauty flow, which aren't necessarily as important in the other formats.


Fitness Competitions

Fitness competitions are probably the most unique of the bunch. These call for women to perform a short routine that entails more than just posing. Instead, these performances involve dancing, gymnastics or other physical activity that demonstrates the athleticism and stage presence of the participants.

The presentation and tempo of the performance, in addition to the competitor's flexibility, are looked at closely by the judges in fitness competitions.

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