There are all kinds of bodybuilding and physique competitions out there, ranging from local events like those here in Chico to huge international ones that can have hundreds of competitors!

Not only that, but there are dozens and dozens (or more) types of competitions as well, sometimes even within a much larger umbrella event.

One of the most popular of events are called a fitness competition—and I’m here to give you a handy guide to what they are and how they are different from other contests!

A women’s event. While there are changes happening in the world of bodybuilding all the time, for right now fitness competitions are still primarily for women contestants.

The goal. For a fitness contest, participants are usually judged for having defined muscle groups, tightness and leanness, and a reduced amount of muscle mass. Think athletic strength and fluidity and you’ll have a great idea of what the judges will be looking for.

Poses and routines. Most of the time contestants will be in swimsuits (though this depends on the event—and so it is always a good idea to check first). As movement is emphasized, as is overall physique, contestants usually put on extremely active routines, such as gymnastics, aerobics, or high-energy dance.

What’s great about fitness competitions is their goal of highlighting not just musculature but how they are part of a fully realized person, that they are strong but mostly how they allow the competitor to move with power and grace—a balance that can be beautiful to watch as well as healthy to live!