Are you one of the many competitors that want to “Go Pro?” If that is the case and you are looking to make the jump from NPC Amateur to IFBB Pro then you need to compete in a National Show. You may be asking, “How do I compete in a National Show?” I will explain a bit about that in a moment. Not only do you have to compete, you have to win or achieve a placing that the NPC/IFBB deems “good enough” to earn pro status. That being said, many Men’s Physique competitors went to a National Show this past weekend. The show: The National’s in Florida.
For me the trip to Miami is already underway. I am writing this on the plane from LAX to Miami; however, by the time you see it I will already have landed and competed in the show. Weeks and weeks of anticipation and preparation are coming to a head! Though I maintain “Shoot Ready” status year round for my fitness modeling and acting career, there are a few more details that go into the final couple weeks before a Physique Show. Unlike a photo shoot, for a competition you have weeks and weeks of notice as to the date of the show. This gives you added time to dial in the exact look you are going for.
Beyond the dialing in of the body, there are many other factors to consider.
To name a few of the basics:
What does each of these entail?
Qualification for a National Show:
This is a simple; but, not always easy. Simply put: You must currently finish Top 5 in your height class at a local National Qualifying show. Check with the Show Promoter or the NPC directly to see if the show is a national qualifier. Once you have accomplished this you are qualified to compete at the National Level for the remainder of that year and the following year as well.
There are a few hoops to jump through here. They are in place to protect both the Promoter and the Competitor. Proper ID, Certified Mail/FedEx, Money Order/Certified Check. ID is going to show who you are and since some shows are open only to American Citizens it’s important to have the proper documentation. Certified Mail is your insurance that they receive your entry. Certified Check protects the promoter from dealing with insufficient fund issues and also assures your money is good and you get the security of knowing you have a spot in the show.
Chances are a National Show is not going to be in your back yard. That being the case there are Host Hotels available. You can stay there at a slightly reduced competitor rate OR shop around. Sharing a room with fellow competitor is a great way to cut costs.
Depending on the location of the show, you may be able to drive. But, chances are you will want to fly. Book it early to be sure you get the flight you want at a better price. Also take note to arrive a couple days early because for some people flying makes them retain water. If you are one of these people that this affects heavily you don’t want all your hard work to go unnoticed under a layer of subcutaneous water.
The NPC/IFBB has a set of rules regarding the board shorts. Basically they need to fall 1” below the belly button and rise no higher than 1” above the knee. Who knows if in the future this will change to allow those of us that train legs to showcase our wheels. In the meantime, you also need to be sure your shorts are free of large logos and any other sponsor type insignia.
You have trained hard and eaten cleanly to attain your current level. If you don’t have a full kitchenette at your disposal, you may prefer to travel with much of the food you’ll be eating up to and during the competition day or days. This way you can be sure what you are eating will help you present your best possible physique. I pack a ton of beef, turkey and chicken patties. Also, prepared yams and asparagus tend to travel well. Remember to have your necessary food during your flight as well.
Use one of the professional tanning services if possible. If not, use a solution designed for Stage Physique contests. Mystic style tanning will not be dark enough. Be sure your skin is clean and exfoliated before having your tan applied. Remember not to use deodorant on the day you put on tanner, it will make your armpits green. Take extra care not to get wet or sweaty after your tan is applied.
Now you know a bit about what goes into a national level show to which you have to travel. I look forward to seeing you at the next show!
-Ian Lauer CSCS