The Difference Between Leagues in Competitive Bodybuilding
In today’s post I want to explain the difference between leagues in bodybuilding competitions.
It’s crazy how little is written on this topic readily available online. When I began competing I thought every bikini competition was the same thing.
This is not even close to true. Leagues are different competitions held by different organizations for competitive bodybuilding. Each organization follows a different format, has different rules and regulations, and has pros and cons to participation.
I am not entirely knowledgeable on the widespread list of organizations because there really are SO many leagues. I will discuss the two leagues that I have competed in.
The First League I want to discuss is the NPC or National Physique Committee.
-This organization is the most popular of all leagues in competitive bodybuilding.
-This is the organization associated with the Olympia and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
-This is also the largest organization for amateur bodybuilding.
-The NPC is the amateur extension of the IFBB (international federation of bodybuilding.) What this means is after winning an NPC competition a competitor may continue on to compete in the IFBB.
-The NPC is also not drug tested, and many of the competitors use steroids.
-The NPC features classes such as Bodybuilding, Bikini, Fitness, Figure, Men’s Physique, and Women’s Physique.
-To join the league there is a yearly $120 membership fee known as your “NPC card”
-Many people look down on leagues outside of the NPC as less legitimate, and sometimes judges discredit competitors that may compete in other leagues.
The second league that I want to discuss is the ANBF.
-The ANBF (American Natural Bodybuilding Federation) is an all natural organization
-This is a brand new league. Here is their mission statement taken from anbfnatural.com:
“The American Natural Bodybuilding Federation’s main focus will be to standardize the promotions of natural bodybuilding competitions. By accomplishing this, the competitors, audience, vendors, and anybody else involved will have a more enjoyable experience and leave with an awesome impression of what they just saw. In order for an organization to be customer friendly with great service to go along with a great product it must have structure. The ANBF will be set up in a corporate structure (president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary). The ANBF will also have a representative appointed for each division such as bodybuilding, pro bodybuilding, master’s bodybuilding, physique, and figure and bikini. These reps will be there to listen and/or address grievances and questions and to also update the divisions on any new programs or pertinent information. The ANBF will also have a Judging Director. That person will be responsible for the training and recruitment of a pool of judges that will be available to judge at any ANBF shows. They will be required to meet specific standards before they are allowed to sit on a panel and have their scores counted. No conflict of interest will be allowed, including nepotism, client relationships, etc…
The ANBF also wants to have uniform pricing throughout its shows. All entry fees and ticket prices will be consistent from one show to the next, including coaches passes. We want as many of a competitor’s friends and family there as possible and we don’t want to make anybody dig into their life savings to do it. And the last thing we want to happen is for a competitor to say that they can’t do a show because the entry fee is too expensive.
On the flip side of pricing, all promoters who are holding a pro class must post their minimum payout on their fliers, not the max payout which is very deceiving. When this happens it is very discouraging for the pro athlete and it will make them have a bad taste in their mouth about the promoter and the organization itself.
The ANBF will be a 100% drug tested organization via polygraph for a period of 6 years and will also be backed up by random urinalysis. The ANBF will also be implementing off season random urinalysis. All pros that have competed in an ANBF show and all amateurs who have qualified to be a pro will be subject to this as well. This is a very exciting step for the ANBF and we are very excited about it and it should be very encouraging news for the competitors.
The ANBF is opening up a brand new page in natural bodybuilding. It will no longer be the show is only as good as the promoter. The new standard will be the show is only as good as the organization and whether you are competing, coaching, judging, spectator or a vendor at an American Natural Bodybuilding Federation event, you know it will be an efficient, fair, and enjoyable experience for all involved!
We are looking forward to our first year of competition. Good luck to everybody in 2013!”
-My experience competing in the ANBF was extremely positive. I took first place in my class.
-I enjoyed the straight through format of the show despite the fact that it was still a very long day.
-I felt that the promoters were much more considerate of the competitors than the NPC promoters were. The judging felt more elaborate. Stage time was more fair. There were fresh flowers for all first place winners. The quality of the trophies were nice. They had pizza and Gatorade and waters for all competitors backstage.
-competing in ANBF was overall less costly.
I would recommend trying both and deciding which you prefer!