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Which Fitness Show Is Right For You?

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Updated for 2023!

illustration, win your next fitness competition,

Fitness Federations Explained


Doing the right fitness show is critical to your success.


With so many federations now competing for your attention, figuring out which show is right for you can be overwhelming and confusing. If you're not sure who to compete with, or which Federation suits you this article will give you an overview of each Federation, what to expect and how much they cost to enter.


When you first start on your fitness competing journey it can be hard to know where to start. Competing in fitness is a very costly enterprise, and with a new Fitness Federation popping up in the UK every year it pays to do your research to find your right fit.


Start by discussing it with your coach, other competitors and search out on social media to get an idea of what each one is all about. Which federation you pick will determine how you train, what style of bikini suit you need to wear and how to pose and walk on stage.


With the benchmark for entry standards high it pays to think carefully about where you want to start, and get the best out of the experience.


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UK FEDERATION STYLES


There are two distinct styles of fitness show in the UK, the modelling (or pageant) style and the sport style but there are some hybrid shows that try to blend both audiences.

The key things to ask yourself:

  • What are your goals

  • Does the federation fit your personality

  • How much money do you want to spend



SPORT STYLE UK FITNESS FEDERATIONS

Sport style shows have evolved from traditional Bodybuilding Federations. The show is structured like a tournament where competitors are organised into categories and compared directly by a panel of judges.

Competitors are required to meet the competing category, usually organised by size, age and gender and rigidly follow the directions of a compere through a set of strict front, back and side poses. The poses are designed to emphasize muscle structure, size and balance.

Category winners are usually announced at the end of the category display.


All formal rules for posing, competition attire and expected body and muscle structure are declared and rigidly defined by each federation.


Competition is fierce, with many competitors using every advantage available to them to make gains on their competitors. The use of supplements and steroids is frowned upon...but also rife, so if you prefer your prep to be clean you can opt to go for a Natural Bodybuilding Show where you will only be competing with a natural drug tested Federation.


compilation of 3 photo's of women posing on stage in bodybuilding fitness competition



 

MODELLING STYLE FITNESS FEDERATIONS


Fitness Model / Pageant shows are all about the glitz and glamour, with more of a focus on fashion, glamour and the commercial qualities of it's athletes. They put on a more entertaining show, with compere's being there to keep the audience warm and attentive between categories.

The show opens with an athlete parade, where all the athletes, men and women get to strut their stuff before the real judging begins.


Rules are more loose than the sport style shows with more emphasis on expressing yourself on stage. It's more freestyle in how you can present yourself on stage and less strict in their bikini rules as long as you remain feminine and decent in both your attire and your presentation. Competitors are required to do an individual T-walk on stage and remain on stage while all contestants in the category do theirs and then come to the front for a more formal front and back pose where the judges will make their decision.

Category winners are announced at the end of each round, and (in some shows)an overall winner is declared at the end of the show.



compilation 3 photos of women wearing bikinis on fitness pageant show



As fitness shows become more popular some organisations try to cover both ends of the competing spectrum, incorporating both sporty and pageant style categories within one show.



The great thing about the expansion of the fitness competition industry is that no matter who you are and what your style is there will be a federation, or federations that will suit you.


 

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO ENTER?


Fitness competition is not a cheap hobby. There are many things to budget for, some are fixed expenses and some are things you can decide your own budget.

One of the fixed prices is Fitness Federation fee's, which I have compiled for you in the list below. Most federations charge a membership fee plus a charge per category that you compete in.

Please note prices may change according to each federation, they are correct at date of publishing article.



? = no information published on website, federation application required before disclosure

* = members can compete in as many shows as desired, no entry fee charged for first category per show



FEDERATION

AFFILIATION

ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP

CATEGORY ENTRY

PCA

PCA

£40.00

£48.00

UKBFF

IFBB

£50.00

£60.00

WNBFUK

WNBF

£77.00

£35.00

BNBF

DFAC

£35.00

£60.00

UKUP

WABBA

£249.00

*

NABBA

NABBA INT

£30.00

£20.00

UKDBFA

PNBA

£50.00

£25.00

GPO-UK

GPO

£45.00

NAC UK

NAC INT

£25.00

?

MIAMI PRO

£65.00

PURE ELITE

£150.00

£79.00

NFMUK

GBO

£40.00/ £50.00

£50.00

2BROS PRO

NCP/IFBB PRO

$125.00

?

FIT X

£40.00

GLIFTING GIRLS

£80.00

FMC

£54.00 (FOR 4)

MISS FITNESS ANGELS

am £30.00, pro £45.00

£40.00

GYM BODYZ

£58.00

UFE

$127- $207.00

BPA

£25.00

£40.00


 

Final Thoughts


Check out the competitions


It's a really good idea to go along to the shows and get a feel for them, nothing beats first hand experience to see how a show is run and what to expect. You can go and speak to competitors and spectators if you are feeling brave and you can literally check out your future competitors and get a grasp of what you are letting yourself in for.


Failing that Youtube and Social Media has a vast array of content that you can use to research. Each Federation has it's own personality and you might find that one of them fits you perfectly...or it might take a bit of trial and error to figure that out.


Check in with yourself


Standing on a stage in a bikini and heels can be daunting, even if you are a raving extrovert.

Smaller or newer shows are great if you are just starting out and are suffering a bit of nerves and just want to get some experience under your belt before you get serious about competing.

UFE, Fitness Physiques and Gymbodyz are good entry level shows to get you started as the venue's tend to be smaller and less intimidating, but if you love the stage jump right in to one of the major shows and go strut your stuff!


Get your ducks in a Row

Once you have figured out which show you like the most you can start going about the preparation to get you at your competition best.

This will probably include a prep coach, who will cover your exercise training programme and diet, a posing coach with a proven track record in whichever federation(s) you have chosen and a bikini designer (so that's me) that can create a bikini that you love and that fits you properly. Again...it's all about research.

The best way to search for your competition crew are to ask for personal recommendations from athletes you trust and then book an appointment to meet whichever expert you are interested in to see if they are a good fit for you.


Whichever federation that you choose to compete in make sure you observe the rules closely. All the federations publish their category rules on their website somewhere and it is worth hunting them down to make sure that you are picking a suitable bikini cut for your show and category.


 

List of Sport style Fitness Competitions

Click on a link to go to the federation home page



Drug Tested/ Natural Sport Style Fitness Competitions



List of Modelling style Fitness Competitions



 



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