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The different Categories within Physique/Bodybuilding Shows for Females

Competition / Inspiration / Working out / August 28, 2009

Physique competitions are measuring your level of muscularity, leanness (conditioning), and symmetry. Within a typical bodybuilding/physique show, there will be multiple categories that based on different severities of these measures. Here’s a breakdown of the typical categories for the females, going from most stringent physically to least:Bodybuilding (BB).


This is typically the stuff that the general public thinks of based on what they see on TV: Big, veiny, ripped to shred chicks who are running out barefoot onto stage and busting out crab poses and baring teeth. Thereā€™s obviously a big difference in BB chicks depending on if they are natural athletes or not. Natural female BB athletes are not able to put on as much muscle as juiced chicks because you need a lot more testosterone to do that. You will usually find this class of athletes in their 30s ā€“ 50s which I think is due to muscle maturity and as we get older the skin is leaner.Figure.
This was the evolution of female BB to be more feminized with the wearing of glammed out $1000 swimsuits, clear pageant heels, photoshoot ready hair/makeup, and posing without clenched fists. These ladies are typically what you will see as predominant fitness models on the covers of magazines and fronting fitness products. Physiques are still very tight, training is nothing short of a BBer but more focus on looking commercial.Fitness Model.

Very similar to the Figure category but even more emphasis on having a mainstream look with a specific goal of being marketable. These ladies are more showy with model walks, themewear rounds in sportswear or costume, and points scored for personality and showmanship. A model look facially also will score points here. Abs are required.Bikini.

This is what I called the Maxim or any menā€™s magazine pin up look. These ladies are in fantastic shape as well, they are lean, toned, tight but without significant muscle mass.

Bikini is usually the category that I compete in North America while in Europe I could also do Fitness Model and regional figure successfully. The Euro natural scene is a lighter aesthetic than North America; good for me, then I can eat more carbs! When I go to the States, Iā€™m always amazed at the amount of muscle that the girls will carryā€¦ impressive yet intimidating if Iā€™m competing against them.

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Natalie Minh

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