Choosing a show –
There are different levels of shows to choose from. The level of
competition generally increases with each of the following
Local, State or Regional contests, National contests, World contests
and Pro contests. Plus there are several divisions within a show.
There are master’s categories for higher age groups, novice classes
for people fairly new to competition, and sometimes even junior or
teen classes for younger age groups.
Bulletin Boards can be a great way to ask
other competitors their opinions about a certain organization,
promoter, or show. Some bulletin boards for this can be found at
www.NaturalPhysiqueForum.com. Word of mouth from others near you is also a good source for
information about area shows.
For fitness and figure competitors who are deciding which division
to compete in, it’s best to research the organization’s physique and
routine guidelines and if possible, buy a video tape from the show
or attend a show to see what the caliber of competition is like and
to observe the format of the show. Some organizations prefer a
smaller, sleeker look while others award muscularity and hardness
near that of a bodybuilder. As well, some organizations require a
series of poses similar to bodybuilding or entail extra rounds such
as interviews, evening gowns, obstacle courses, or sportswear, while
some consist only of quarter turns.
Meanings for Novice Classes
Novice can have different meanings among the various organizations.
One federation may have more lenient rules of eligibility for their
Novice class, and may allow crossovers from the Open. These shows
could have similar competition in the Open and Novice divisions.
Other organizations may limit the Novice class more and not allow
crossovers from the Open division. Their shows will have truer
novices in the Novice class, and there will be a considerable
difference between the Novice and Open divisions. Do careful
research before choosing a contest to compete in if these options
are important to you.
Different Drug-Testing Procedures
your intent is to enter a drug-free contest, be careful about the
differences that may exist between shows that are promoted as
drug-tested events. A particular show may claim to be drug free, but
not perform any actual testing. Or a contest could be pitched as a
drug-tested event but its criteria may be one year’s time being
drug-free. Duration organizations consider one to be drug-free can
vary. Time drug-free can be 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 7 years, or
even lifetime. If these issues concern you, make sure you know the
procedures before you enter so won’t object to the competitors you
could potentially face.
organizations use polygraph testing as their screening device for
use of banned substances. Shows tested by polygraph usually test all
competitors, but can select athletes randomly for testing at these
events too. Other organizations may use urinalysis as their
screening method. Shows that test by urinalysis usually only test
class or division winners, or select individuals instead of everyone
because urine testing is a little more expensive than polygraph
testing. Some organizations use both methods at certain shows.
Urinalysis only traces substances back to about 6 months max,
usually much less time than that for many substances. Plus growth
hormone or insulin use doesn’t show up at all on these tests.
Usually any kind of testing is a good enough deterrent to keep
athletes using banned substances away from local, state or regional
shows. With having to pay to enter, getting only a trophy as the
reward, and not getting any major publicity or possible endorsements
such as they would from a national or world event, there is very
little appeal for one to enter a natural show not being natural.
This becomes more of a problem with the higher scale events like pro
qualifiers, World championships or pro shows.