When you are first looking into competing, there are A LOT of things to consider and many decisions you have to make. One of them being what sort or type of federation(s) you want to compete in.
All federations have their pros and cons, but to help you start narrowing down your options, we’ve collected some key points to consider and think about, as well as our top tips for making the often difficult decision!
First, when doing your research on bodybuilding federations, it’s good to ask yourself things like the following…
what are your short and long term goals with competing?
do you want to turn PRO at some time in the future or are you looking to compete purely as a hobby?
how much are you able to spend on your competition prep?
If you can, you should ALWAYS try and attend the show that you are looking at competing with. That goes for whether you are a complete first-timer or are looking at switching to a different bodybuilding federation. Because while social media is a great starting point to gain some insight, you really do get a better feel for the federation, you will have hands on experience as to how they are ran, the atmosphere on the day. Whats more, it’s a great opportunity to speak to competitors face-to-face and ask them any questions you might have. Something like Bodypower is a good way to watch a range of shows in one weekend without paying out for multiple tickets.
Don’t follow the crowd
Sometimes it’s just ‘easier’ to choose a federation that everyone else is doing, but don’t feel like you are being judged just because you decide to not follow the crowd. Trends come and go. Sometimes federations and their popularity can be similar in this industry. Don’t overthink your choices, just go for it, have fun and most importantly enjoy it!
Do You Want To Be Restricted On Show Day?
This might sound like a funny question to ask. But while shows are happy for you to compete in more than one category - giving you more time on stage - other shows are not as flexible or open to you entering multiple categories on the same day. If you are unsure what category you might be best suited to, then choosing a federation which allows you to enter more than one category might be the best fit for you. Especially if you are a first time competitor.
How Do You Want To Look On Stage?
From the bikini, posing shoes, and posing…most federations fall into either ‘Fashion’ or ‘Bodybuilding’ styles.
Do you want to look like fitness cover ready or Olympia ready? This is a question I often ask girls who come to me unsure on which path to take.
Remember, you can always switch things up later down the line! But knowing the answer to the above question will help you to plan, and spend accordingly.
How Do You Want To Be Judged?
Fashion type federations judge and mark you VERY differently than typical ‘bodybuilding’ shows.
It can be worth thinking about how you would like to be judged, and what you want them to judge on you on show day itself.
For example, marketability, posing and overall appearance might be over 60% of the overall criteria in a ‘fashion’ fitness competition. Where as most bodybuilding shows, muscle tone, structure, symmetry might be over 60% of the overall criteria, and factors such as marketability don’t even come into the decision making!
Some of us are motivated by status, others by money, some of us are motivated by neither status or money! But all federations offer different awards and prizes to their top athletes. I would recommend this factor being last on your agenda when making your decision(s) on what shows to do.
Timing / Does Their Schedule Fit With Yours?
Most federations place their finals in the month of October…however not ALL shows and federations are the same. Some might have their finals in June. Sometimes prep naturally gets in the way ‘life happens’, but often competitors will choose shows depending on what they have going on in their personal life, whether that be a wedding, family event or big work project coming up. Take a look at our Competition Show Calendar which can help you make your decision by looking at the whole year of shows currently lined up and seeing what will suit best.
We could probably talk all day about federations! But we hope this helps you to start the decision making process and narrowing down your options. We are always happy to advise or put you in touch with someone who has hands on experience with the show(s) you are looking to compete in. So don’t ever hesitate to drop us a line, we’re here to support you as best as we can!