If you read my earlier post on the different divisions at a physique contest, you know that there are 7 total divisions – 2 for men, and a whopping 5 for women. That’s a lot to choose from – so how do you make the best decision for yourself?
It comes down to this – what’s important to you? Men and women who choose to compete can be broken down at the highest level into 2 categories:
- Those who want to win
- Those who want to enjoy themselves
Those groups are not necessarily mutually exclusive – you can want to have a good time and win, but you’re going to prioritize one over the other at some point.
If your priority is having a good time and enjoying yourself, the decision is simple. You just need to understand the difference between the divisions (and there are many) and pick the one that has the most appeal.
If you want to win, the process is more involved. You need to understand the differences between the divisions and understand your body type and how it fits into the potential lineup at a show. What are the strengths and weaknesses of your body? Among those, what can be improved and what are you ‘stuck with’, more or less?
For example, let’s say you’re a woman with average muscularity and really long legs. Bodybuilding probably isn’t the division for you if you’re priority is winning, simply because you’ll have an uphill battle trying to fill out your legs and even then, your limb proportions can’t be altered. You will always have long legs. Winning bodybuilders typically have limbs that are mostly in proportion with one another, as symmetry is a huge part of the grading curve.
Now the bikini division, on the other hand, might be a great decision. In that division, long legs (that are well-trained) are an asset rather than a liability.
The difficult part is performing an honest self-assessment to qualify your strengths, weaknesses, and body characteristics. If you struggle with this, a prep coach can help tremendously to function as an extra pair of eyes. A knowledgeable coach will have a thorough understanding of the divisions and be able to help determine what category will be best for you based on your body type, goals, and desires.