This weekend we are looking at only the second ever MP PRO show to hit the stage. The NPC and IFBB were quite wise to establish the Men’s Physique Division. However, it is the baby of the bunch amongst divisions (alongside Women’s Physique) and will endure growing pains for a period of time before standards are clearly defined. The newly minted IFBB Men’s Physique Pros have the opportunity to legitimize and strengthen the division not only by how they continue to condition their bodies, but also by how they conduct themselves within the IFBB and how they choose to brand themselves within the mainstream.
Every division has struggled to define standards in its early days and has also battled naysayers who have tried to undermine its rigors and distinguishing characteristics. Men’s Physique is no different. However, it is not constructive to balk at the direction in which the division is moving, or complain about which men are and are not attaining pro status. If there are suggestions which you would like to offer in order to shape or strengthen the division, make your voice heard as one filled with positive energy and enthusiasm. But don’t create friction and end up irritating the very officials who have made it possible for you to step on stage and compete.
It is true that it can be tricky to determine if one should come in leaner, beefier or softer for a show since judges from various regions may have ideals which may differ from one another. Remain consistent with what your genetics lean towards, but study the pros and see what it is about their physiques or presentation which set them apart from the rest of the competitors.
As a national level NPC Bikini Champion who has come deliciously close to attaining IFBB Pro Status at three pro-qualifiers, I understand how frustrating it can be to see competitors who may or may not deserve pro status beat you out of that spot. I have competed in the Bikini division since 2009 when the division was incepted and have seen a great deal of progression with respect to division standards. Bikini pros from 2009 look different from the 2010 pros. The pros from 2011 look different from those two groups as well. It seems the quest for a more well-muscled physique is generally more desirable in 2011 than it was in 2009. It is important to consider that the playing field has intensified significantly, and bikini competitors are training differently now than they did in 2009 when it was still a bit unclear as to what the judges were looking for.
I see the same thing happening with Men’s Physique. My belief is that 2012 will bring a higher level of conditioning to the national qualifying shows, mostly as the result of the judges having the good fortune and tough task of judging the IFBB Men’s Physique Pros. This occurred in the Bikini Division in 2010 when the IFBB Bikini Pros brought a higher level of conditioning to the stage.
The lesson here...just let the baby learn to walk and enjoy the progression.