In my last article, I talked about my bodybuilding lifestyle, so now here comes the time to select our first show. However, before I get into the specifics of my particular path, it is important to outline the changes we have seen in the industry and the potential alternatives. We must look at where we see ourselves in the future, taking into consideration the final goal, and what we are willing to do in order to get there.
These days, one must keep in mind that there are great opportunities in Men’s Physique and the WBFF. Certain individuals may feel more comfortable in one of those different disciplines as opposed to bodybuilding. We must also consider the opportunity for those of us, who would like to remain natural and refrain from the use of PED’s, as well as other substances found in the NPC and IFBB. There are endless opportunities for each and every individual looking to enter the competitive circuit of bodybuilding. For me personally, NPC bodybuilding has been the best selection, since I have a passion for the fundamental elements of the sport and the lifestyle it portrays.
First, you must understand the structure of the league you are competing in. The NPC is the starting point for most bodybuilders, and the top NPC athletes will often develop promising careers in the fitness industry. Meanwhile, many of these top amateur competitors will also pass to the IFBB professional league.
That being said, athletes looking to begin their journey must first register with the National Physique Committee by submitting their NPC registration card, along with the associated annual registration fee. It is mandatory for all competitors to complete this procedure prior to stepping on stage. During the process of registration, it is important to come prepared with a final decision on the division you wish to compete in, and the weight class you will belong to. In fact, this is what will determine your prep and your process leading up to the show. What's more, you should also note that there will be a separate registration fee for the specific show you choose to participate in, which is determined by your division rather than the national committee.
Selecting a specific show is a huge decision. This is your right of passage - your birth into the community, and a moment you will look back on for the rest of your life. The overall experience of this event could be a make or break for future competitors. Therefore, before making your final selection, you should determine your realistic contest prep needs and possibilities. Take into account any weight loss, PED use and training required to get to your target weight class. For instance, I have allowed myself a twelve week total prep and planned accordingly from there. I also think it is important to allow yourself a grace period, so if my weight class is the Men’s Heavyweight, and it caps at 225lbs, then I will shoot for 222lbs or even 220lbs. Choose a show where you can invite as many people as possible because it is important to have the highest level of support cheering you on while you show the judges what you got.
A smart competitor knows how to observe and strategically choose the correct contest. I have watched almost every possible video pertaining to NPC bodybuilding in my specific state, learning from each one, and spotting crucial elements such as stage settings and operational structure of the event. By doing this, you will also learn specific details unique to your state’s league. Since I continued to watch and learn as much as possible, I began to notice the NPC District Chairman’s favorite poses, and what the judges favor most. As a result, I have made it a personal mission to develop those poses and characteristics to the best of my ability, and make sure I address every flaw they call out from shows in the past.
Personally, I have selected a high profile show on purpose because it is dedicated to the Chairman’s wife, as she too was a competitor at one time. There is just no better way to expose yourself as an up and coming Novice competitor. Unfortunately, many shows in the NPC circuit are very low profile with few competitors or attendee’s. However, these may be optimal targets for those looking to subtly move into the scene, where many will learn the basics and fundamentals in this setting without the excessive pressure or heavy judgment. Furthermore, many times this is also a good way to stack your odds of winning if you are looking to quickly move up. I myself have decided to take the hard way, but in the end I believe it will pay off.
It is also a great idea to get involved in your state’s NPC community. The NPC is highly political, hence simple exposure with members of the community and the judging panel can put you in the spotlight when the time comes to make the winning call. In fact, many members of the committee offer posing lessons and prep coaching of their own, as this is a great way to get your foot in the door. Another great way to meet new people in the community is to seek out NPC workshops and informational meetings. For example, in my state there are several NPC workshops held by the District Chairman himself. There you will meet new people, including successful competitors, and take away a great deal of new information specific to your league. Thus, check with your state’s NPC schedule for specific details and always be aware of the events held in your state.