Eve's Health & Fitness

DOB: October 27 CURRENT RESIDENCE: North Eastern Oklahoma OCCUPATION: Certified Group Fitness Instructor HEIGHT:5'1"; WEIGHT:105 lbs.; BF%:14.3% bodyfat FAVORITE BODY PARTS TO TRAIN: Back, abs FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL: Mexican and any dark chocolate CAREER HIGHLIGHT: Featured as a fitness role model in Chad Tackett's Global-Health & Fitness website: http://www.global-fitness.com/ DESCRIBE MYSELF: Competitive, energetic, persistent, focused, consistent, and driven.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

For The Competitor

Pleasing The Panel
Unlocking the mysteries of fitness judging standards

Too soft. Too hard. Too muscular. Not muscular enough. Too tan. Too tall. Too short.

Confused yet? If you've had an eye on IFBB fitness contests lately, you've undoubtedly noticed the turmoil at the top. In fact, the crowning event of the sport, the Fitness Olympia, has yet to have a repeat champion in its six-year history. Just what do these fitness judges want, anyway?

Unfortunately, no concrete answers exist. Written guidelines outline the judging standards on the amateur and professional level, but in reality a lot of the decisions simply boil down to subjective preference.

That being said, you can take steps to increase your odds. We talked to two judges. Sandy Ranalli and Debbie Albert, as well as reigning Fitness International champ Jenny Worth, for their insight and advice to all would-be competitors.

Standards 101
Judging standards in the NPC amateur and IFBB pro ranks are exactly the same. In the physique rounds, judges are asked to score physiques by assessing the degree of athleticism with regard to firmness, symmetry, proportion and overall physical appearance, including skin tone, poise and overall presentation, according to the rules issued by both organizations.

"In the physique rounds, it's the total package," says Ranalli, the NPC women's chairperson and an NPC national and IFBB pro judge. "We're looking for an athletic look, some muscle development, good skin tone, hair, makeup, and whether they're wearing a bathing suit that flatters their physique."

The written guidelines specifically remind judges that fitness "is not a bodybuilding contest," and that any competitor who displays the size or definition seen in a bodybuilder should be scored lower. Enforcement of this guideline has been stepped up recently, notes Albert, who judges NPC national and IFBB pro events, although she admits a gray area does exist.

"When a girl diets for a show, at some point you're going to see abdominal muscles, separation in the shoulders . . . it's inevitable," she says. "You can't diet, get rid of bodyfat and look good without muscle."

In the fitness performance rounds, judges look for "style, personality, athletic coordination and overall performance," according to the rules, as well as some mandatory strength moves in the pro division. Albert points out that in these rounds, physique takes a back seat to execution.

Judging the Judges
All right, so the standards are in place, but how are they translated from theory to practice? Fans, athletes and the media have questioned whether some judges know how to accurately judge a fitness show, considering that many panels are populated by a number of judges bred in the bodybuilding ranks.

Ranalli, for one, believes most judges are up to task. "We do critique our judges' scoring, and choose fitness panels based on those who've done well judging fitness shows in the past."

In order to keep their Judging Card, judges at the NPC level must maintain 90% or better accuracy under a mathematical rating system that measures judge's marks vs. the final placings, Ranalli adds. The IFBB has similar rules.

The scoring system itself helps guard against errors, Albert points out. "With the two high scores and two low scores getting tossed out in each round, even if someone is a little off on a competitor, the median score will still be accurate."

Expert Advice
As a competitor, you can take proactive steps to give yourself the best possible chance for victory. Make sure your preparations are thorough, from your music to your makeup. And, if you're a novice, take the time to see an event from the audience.

You should also do exactly what we've done here ----- ask the judges for advice, Worth suggests. "Do your first show and ask the judges for feedback. Ask them what they think you need to work on. It may be a simple thing, like your legs were a little too soft, something that's an easy fix."

Yet ultimately Worth says the bottom line is to trust your own instincts. "The way I'd recommend coming in is the way you feel you look best. Train and diet as hard as your ability and work on your routine as much as possible --- kill them with the routine. I've come to the conclusion that you just never know what the judges are looking for."

For more info on competing in fitness, go to: www.npcnewsonline.com or www.IFBB.com

References

Muscle&FitnessHers, October/November 2001, Authored by Michael Berg, CPT

Cheers,

Eve :-)


1 Comments:

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