Is the figure division to blame for the decline of the fitness division? Is the lack of support from the fitness division itself to blame? Is President George W. Bush to blame? I wish I knew the answer to this question, but sadly I don’t. Personally, I think having or lacking a gymnastics or dance background is an overrated excuse on why fitness isn’t as big as it should be, considering that one of the most popular fitness competitors of all time, Adela Garcia, didn’t have either one of those backgrounds. Guess what? You can’t talk about the sport without talking about Adela. She’s that good.
Is something being done about the fitness division…other than talking about the obvious number problem? Fortunately, the answer is yes.
One shine of hope is that IFBB Pro Shannon Meteraud, one of figure’s top stars, might…might be returning to her fitness roots and compete in fitness again. Notice that I said “might” because Shannon has not come right out and said anything. I’m just going by what I’ve read on Issac Hinds’s Hardbody News blog (http://www.hardbody.com/news/2008/05/22/shannon-switching-back-to-fitness). If she returns, all signs are pointing to Houston on Independence Day. With Shannon already a veteran in the business, and the caliber of rising figure stars continuing to expand practically day in and day out, now would be a good time as any for Shannon to show the IFBB why she’s one of the best out there…fitness OR figure. Who knows? Maybe there will be others to follow the trend and help out balance the number of competitors in all the female muscle categories.
Something else that might spark up the fitness numbers is the creation of the NPC Teen Fitness division. Personally I LOVE this idea. I think-if done correctly-this division within the NPC could raise fitness numbers not only in the NPC but IFBB as well. Feminine Bodybuilding posted the rules, regulations, and other legal mumbo-jumbo on their forum (which I’m a moderator of…cheap plug, I know.) But here’s their main objective of the division:
The objectives of the Teen Fitness Division are to promote a fun, safe and
comfortable atmosphere for young athletes from the age of 8 to 19 years of age.
Teen Fitness events will provide a positive environment so that the young
athletes will be excited to participate in the sport. The rules for Teen Fitness
are standardized for all NPC Districts. Standardizing the Teen Fitness events
will ensure quality and credibility.
You can read the entire thing at this link (http://www.femininebodybuilding.com/showthread.php?p=30157#post30157).
One more thing that could be a key factor of fitness’s survival is the unbelievable efforts of IFBB Fitness Competitor Tanji Johnson, who was Stealth on season one of NBC’s American Gladiators. There may very well be no one in the entire IFBB fitness division (at least not yet) that has so much dedication to seeing this sport survive than Tanji. She has launched a campaign with other IFBB fitness stars called “Save the Fitness Competitor”. Seriously, if you happen to be thinking of attend one of Tanji’s clinics, please do so. You’ll be learning from one of the best in the business.
Okay…now that I’ve talked about what is being done right now to improve the fitness numbers, here’s what I would do, and encourage all of you in WebWorld to do…note: you must not be on your desktop, laptop, or web-based PDA or cell-phone to do this. LOL. I would go to whoever runs the IFBB/NPC shows and see if they can add fitness to the shows. For those that DO have fitness on their shows, get permission to videotape some of the fitness routines and physique rounds and post them on Youtube or get your local television news station to run this on their program. The more publicity, the better.
I heard this saying once, and I think this holds true here: “There are those that want to talk about, and there are those that want to BE ABOUT IT!!!” Bottom line, if we as fans and fellow competitors come together as a united front, maybe we can see a fitness boom in the very near future.
Women’s Fitness (whether it’s NPC or IFBB) is a treasure, not a fad. It’s time this sport got treated like one.