Competing at the BNBF Finals – but… which category?

I’ve got some exciting news to share!

As per my previous post, I qualified for the BNBF British Finals by way of my 2nd place at the Midlands qualifier.


A couple of days later, I had a lovely (and unexpected) surprise. I was one of 8 women from across the Figure, Masters Figure and Physique categories at the qualifiers who had been invited to compete in the new “Athletic” class at the Finals.

What’s it all about?

Once I’d got over my shock (I’m not sure why but I didn’t think I was in the running for an Athletic invite), I gathered all the info I could.

Athletic is a new division which the BNBF, and their international counterpart the DFAC, have created to sit between the softer look of Figure and the big, dense, hard look of Physique (aka female bodybuilding).

It makes sense.

Here’s a post from DFAC about the new category and their women’s categories. And here’s some info taken directly from the BNBF/DFAC women’s classes criteria.

Miss Athletic
The DFAC judging criteria comprises the judgement of competitors over 3 rounds : Symmetry, Athletic Muscularity and Evening Performance. The weighting of each individual round with regards to scoring is divided evenly across the 3 rounds. Round 1 and 2 judged in preliminaries and round 3 judged at the evening performance.

Athletic will consist of three rounds:
Round 1 symmetry
– Quarter Turns
Round 2 Athletic Muscularity
Round 3 Routine

Two-piece suits is used for all rounds. Heels of no more than 3 inches are allowed for rounds 1&2, a dance shoe is highly recommended to allow flexibility of the foot during poses in round 2. A dance shoe will be very elegant but functional as it has a flexible sole.

Symmetry – Competitors will be judged on the overall shape, structure and proportion of their physique. Competitors should display an evenly balanced physique which is aesthetically pleasing and equally proportioned from the front, side and rear. In addition, an even balance between the upper and lower half of the body should be evident.

Competitors will be judged through a series of quarter turns, starting in a front relaxed pose facing the judges and moving in a clockwise direction, quarterly, upon the request of the head judge.

Athletic Muscularity – Competitors will be judged on Athletic Muscularity. They should be harder in condition than the figure competitors and show very detailed abdominals and strong detailed quads. They will not get marked down for having striations and muscular condition will be a rewarded. They should not be over muscular, heavily muscled athletes will be considered wrong for this class. They look should be athletic with long hard muscle rather than the bigger full muscle bellies of the Ms Physique.

The competitors will be asked to carry out 5 poses.
1 Leg out to the side front bicep pose (open Hands)
2 Straight arm chest pose with leg outstretched to the side.
3 Cross legged rear bicep (open Hands)
4 Side tricep pose with leg stretched out to side
5 Any pose showing abdominal detail and quads

Evening Routine – This will be a routine to music done with bare feet. The routine should display the athletic muscularity, include strong movement and any poses the athletes feels showcases her shape and athletic muscle. It can also include strength moves. Flips and tumbles should not be included.
It will be assessed on the presentation of the athlete’s musculature, symmetry and movement on stage.

Here’s a video explaining why Athletic was introduced, what it means for the other two women’s classes (Figure and Physique), what’s expected of Athletic competitors – along with a demo of the poses.

The woman demonstrating the poses is Rachael Hayes, the first DFAC Athletic Pro, and winner of the class at the Worlds and the Universe last year.
rachael hayes bnbf athletic
Whilst Athletic has never yet been held at any competition (qualifier or British Final) in the UK, it was held (launched, I guess!) at the DFAC Worlds last year. Two of our ladies were asked to do it – Rachael, who got her Pro Card in Physique (bodybuilding) and Jo, who got her Pro Card in Masters Figure.

Here are some pics from the first Athletic class at the DFAC 2012 Worlds in Miami.

This year, DFAC amateur athletes have been competing in the Athletic class over in the States.

But it’s never been done here in the UK before.

So, when I step on stage as an Athletic competitor – along with whoever else in that list of 8 chooses to accept – I will be part of the first ever British line up of BNBF Athletic. What an honour, and how exciting!

It actually does feel like an honour to have been asked, and I am really happy to accept!

I can understand why the BNBF offered me the opportunity and can certainly see how my physique fits well into the category. How well I’ll do remains to be seen!

So – all change as I continue with my Finals prep! Heels to master, new poses to learn, and a “Ms Athletic” persona to develop and refine so I step on stage ready to do the new category proud. 🙂


Competing at the BNBF Finals – but… which category? is a post from The Fit Writer blog.

Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist who writes for the sport and fitness industry. Her main website is here.

7 Responses to Competing at the BNBF Finals – but… which category?

  1. Wow, congratulations! What a great thing to be a part of


  2. Fi says:

    OMG! How exciting!!! 😀 xx


  3. […] In case you’re new to the blog: – this is my third year competing in natural bodybuilding – my second BNBF Finals – I qualified in the Physique division (ladies bodybuilding) – but am competing in the new Athletic division […]


  4. […] I’m back from the BNBF Finals where I competed in the first British line-up of the new BNBF/DFAC Athletic division. […]


  5. […] Centrals – 6th place physique comp 2) BNBF Midlands – 2nd place physique I was then invited to do the (new) Athletic class at BNBF Finals and decided to go for it comp 3) BNBF Finals – 4th (of 5!) athletic comp 4) […]


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