Fitness and figure competition

Fitness and figure competition

Fitness and figure competition is a class of physique-exhibition events for women; while bearing a close resemblance to female bodybuilding, it emphasizes muscle tone over muscle size. These competitions are frequently held as part of the same events as bodybuilding contests.

Fitness, and Figure, are two "distinct" forms of competition. However, the physique guidelines are similar, and many women cross over from one to the other.

Fitness competition

A typical Fitness competition consists of a [swimsuit] round, and a routines round. In the swimsuit round, the competitors wear two-piece swimsuits and high-heeled shoes, presenting their physiques with a series of quarter- or half-turns toward the judges and audience. Physique guidelines for fitness competitions typically suggest a small amount of muscular mass; clear separations between muscle groups (but, no visible striations); and, leanness. The swimsuit must cover at least fifty percent of the gluteus maximus muscle; no thongs or G-strings are allowed. The routine round requires a physically-active stage performance; most competitors attempt aerobic, dance, and/or gymnastic routines.

The two most prestigious professional fitness contests are the Fitness Olympia and the Fitness International.

Figure competition

Figure competition is a newer sub-category of Fitness contests; Figure shows exclude the routines round common to Fitness shows. The competitors are judged solely on muscular symmetry and tone; as in Fitness shows, muscle size is downplayed. Figure competitions appeal most to women who want to compete in a body competition, but wish to avoid Fitness shows' additional athletic and creative demands (for the routines round), or bodybuilding's demands for heavy muscle mass.

A typical figure competition includes two rounds, though this varies by organization. In the symmetry round, the competitors appear on stage in high-heeled shoes and a one-piece swimsuit, in a side-by-side line that faces the judges. They execute a series of quarter-turns to the right, allowing the judges to view and compare them from all sides for symmetry, presentation, and other aesthetic qualities such as skin tone, hair, make-up, and stylishness of clothing. In the next round (the group comparisons), competitors return in high heels and a two-piece bathing suit, executing a series of quarter-turns. At this stage, they are judged more critically against the others for conditioning, leanness, and how "feminine" and "athletic" (as opposed to brawny) their muscularity is. Included in either of these rounds, or perhaps just the evening show, the competitors come out individually on stage for a model walk where they are judged on presentation, gracefulness, confidence, poise, and professionalism.

The two most prestigious professional figure contests are the Figure Olympia and the Figure International. The 2003 Figure International was the first professional (i.e., IFBB-sanctioned) figure contest. The first NPC Figure Nationals was held in 2001.

See also

* List of female fitness & figure competitors

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