On Saturday, the 2012 IFBB Desert Muscle Classic was held in Mesa, Arizona.  While a very small show (as IFBB productions go), this show was very notable due to being the first professional show featuring the women’s physique division (WPD).

WPD was introduced last year at the national level NPC shows.  Any competitor who was nationally qualified could compete in the physique division instead of figure, bikini, or bodybuilding.  The pro-qualifiers held in 2011 were designed to establish judging criteria and create a population of physique professionals that could compete in the IFBB in 2012.

So on Saturday, 11 women took the stage in the first professional women’s physique lineup.  And of course, the result was that someone who hadn’t been on stage in 9 years ended up winning.

I say ‘of course’ only because the first IFBB WPD contest was bound to be a crapshoot.  Judging in the world of bodybuilding is always hotly contested and controversial, so no one can truly claim to be surprised at the result from this show, whatever it had ended up being.  As it was, the judges ended up applying the judging criteria pretty much as it was written, which took everyone by surprise (this has never been the way the women’s divisions have been judged).

So Karina Nascimento ended up taking 1st place due to her being well-proportioned, balanced, not too lean, and not too hard.  Check out the photos yourself and see how she compares versus those finishing 2-5 – all of them with similarly balanced structure, but everyone of them being harder and leaner.

2012 IFBB Desert Muscle Classic photos @ RXMuscle.com

In the end, people still end up complaining about the pre-show favorites not placing well, and claiming confusion because conditioning was not the primary factor being rewarded here.  Ultimately, it shows that WPD is much closer to figure than it is to bodybuilding, and the chasm between bodybuilding and all other divisions is potentially wider than anyone thought.

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