My first official blog post (I’m not counting my introduction) won’t be on a competitor, but on an entire division. To be more specifically, I’m gonna talk about the IFBB and NPC figure divisions. By far, figure in the United States is the biggest division due to sheer size, as in how many women are in figure. However, there’s one thing that’s seriously missing from the sport…consistency. Picking a standard in figure is like picking out hay in a needle stack. I mean, COME ON PEOPLE!! The other two divisions (female bodybuilding and fitness) have (to me) clear constant standards that the judges judged on. Female bodybuilding is judged by bringing size and shape yet maintain their femininity, plus your posing routine can make or break you. The top two at this year’s Arnold Classic (Yaxeni Oriquen and Dayana Cadeau) resemble that to a T. Fitness has the flowing defined physique as well (obviously not as big as FBB), but the fitness routines is what will ultimately seperate the women from the girls. Jenny Hendershott, Adela Garcia, and Kim Klein seem to be what fitness should be all about, as they are highly respected by judges and fans alike. IFBB figure has…quarter turns. Yep, that’s it. Just quarter turns. Not the most exciting thing to watch, huh? Well, while it might not be the Super Bowl, I sure as hell would watch on my TV far quicker than hot dogs contest that ESPN would put on their networks. Now, I’m gonna ask a few of figure’s biggest questions to myself…
Is figure a real sport?
Well…DUH! I mean these women train for up to a year just to be in the right condition to even think about stepping on stage. These women work their a$$es off to go out there on stage, drained from carbs (carb-depleted), make sure their suits are on right, and this and that has to be perfect! I won’t get into all the details, as all figure competitors know what I’m talking about. And there are those that have the right to denounce this as a sport and say that they don’t belong in the ranks of female bodybuilding and fitness?!?! GIVE ME A BREAK, PLEASE?!?!
Will the “pro figure letter” work in the long run?
To me, this is too early to answer this question. Issac Hinds (one of the top people in the female muscle industry) mentioned that the ladies at the 2008 Pittsburgh Pro listened to the mandate and said that it was a good thing. Oh wait a minute…exactly what is the pro figure letter? Well, here’s what the meat of the letter says:
"After the first figure event for 2008, The Figure International, the IFBB Professional League wants to see less muscularity and hardness in the figure competitors. The Deltoids are too big and cut and the thigh cuts are too deep. The next IFBB professional figure event is the 2008 Pittsburgh Pro Figure to be held on May 3/2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Beginning with this event the judges will be marking down competitors with excessive hardness and muscular separation"
In other words, the IFBB is looking for an athletic, not too hard, & symmetrical physique, and "pretty" face. Well, too many figure skeptics, this furthers their original thoughts on the sport, by calling it nothing more than a “bonafied Hawaiian Tropic bikini contest.” And to a point, it could be true. In my honest opinion, I would have the competitors themselves determine the ideal physique or criteria that IFBB figure should be about and not leave it up to men that think they know the sport better than the actual competitors (that’s who runs the IFBB, by the way.) But I’m not a figure competitor in any way, shape, or form; I’m just a fan of the female muscle world, that’s all.
However, I asked one of my favorite figure competitors, Jennifer Gates, aka the “figure John Cena” (I’m giving her this nickname due to her rise to the top of IFBB figure. No, Jenn is not pursuing the WWE Raw superstar, as Jenn is happily married to someone else, so there! HAHA!) Anyways, here’s a tad of what she told me a while back, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it:
So, on the record I think it's a good thing. They are asking us to look athletic and not so bodybuilderish. Which I have already learned my lesson about that. I competed in 2006 12 pounds heavier than 2007 and 2008. So I have already streamlined my look. I am happy withthe way I look now...I didn't need all that mass...I still look just as muscular at 110 than I did at 122. Plus I have better luck with fitting into jeans now.And honestly I like training for a more streamlined athletic look better....it's not so much weights. It's more cardio and conditioning. I run bleachers, hill sprints, sprints, long distance running, all sorts of cardio programs, bootcamp classes, you get my point. It doesn't get boring, change it up, and I feel like an athlete.
When an actual competitor puts it all into perceptive, it’s not as bad or degrading as some make it out to be. But still, I have to see how the remaining of the 2008 season and beyond to see if this letter will bring out the best in the competitors…or just another way of keeping the competitors from bringing their best. For the record, as long as the fans are happy and, most importantly, the competitors are happy, then the “pro figure letter” will be considered a success. For now, I’m calling it a test, and after the 2008 Figure Olympia, we’ll see if this letter is a success or a failure with the people that count the most: the competitors and the fans of IFBB figure.
Does IFBB/NPC figure need a posing round?
Ohh…hmm…uhh…well, if it were me, yep. But you know what? I’m gonna get opinions from other people and see what they have to say on the matter, and I’ll get back to you on that on a later post.
Until then, I hope you have read this and be able to draw your own conclusions about IFBB/NPC figure. If you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, etc., please contact me by the following emails (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com) Also don’t forget to leave me a comment on the page. I would like to hear your thoughts on these topics, whether they are positive or negative.
Take care and God Bless you all!