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National Physique Committee
What Is NPC?
NPC, or National Physique Committee, is the biggest premier amateur physique organization in the US and worldwide. It’s comprised of tens of thousands of competitors and hundreds of live events. In addition, it’s the only amateur organization recognized by the IFBB Pro League. It allows you to compete at Mr. Olympia and become an IFBB Pro.
IFBB Pro League is a professional league for bodybuilding athletes and the sanctioning body for the world’s largest professional contests in the industry.
Anyone who opts to become an IFBB professional athlete must first compete at an IFBB Pro Qualifier, such as the NPC USA Championship or NPC Nationals Championship. Only this way can a top-placing athlete earn professional status.
NPC enables bodybuilders, from amateur to pro levels, to participate in different local and national championships sanctioned by the NPC and IFBB Pro League. Furthermore, many successful IFBB Professional League athletes, including 25 Olympia and 40 Arnold Classic winners, have started their careers in the NPC.
History of NPC
Jim Manion founded NPC in 1982. He was the president of the Physique Committee, part of the Amateur Athletic Union. However, he decided to part ways with the AAU to promote the sports of bodybuilding better.
Manion is still president of the NPC. The founding family of the IFBB, the Weiders, also appointed him as the IFBB Pro League president.
How To Compete In The NPC?
If you are a first-time competitor, you might feel lost or overwhelmed with information. Let’s help you by clarifying the basics and what you should do step-by-step.
Step 1: Choose An NPC Division
NPC offers nine divisions, each requiring different muscularity and leanness levels:
- Bodybuilding – the bigger, the better; you’ll want full round, big, and ripped muscles, a small waist, and a huge V-taper.
- Men’s Classic Physique – you’ll want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger; full round and ripped muscles, yet, less mass than bodybuilding. The key to success is the waist-to-shoulder ratio.
- Men’s Physique – judges look for less mass than in the bodybuilding and classic physique categories. The main focus is on the upper body, so athletes compete in board shorts.
- Women’s Bodybuilding – same as with men; bigger is better, and smaller girls lose. However, this is rarely an option at events due to lack of demand; they even removed it once.
- Women’s Physique – is a popular alternative to women’s bodybuilding; still pretty big, but with a more aesthetically pleasing, toned, and feminine physique. You shouldn’t display muscle fibers.
- Figure – you’ll want a tiny waist, broad shoulders, a wide back, deep separation in the quads, hamstrings, and back, and the biggest focus on an extreme V-taper. Displaying muscle fibers is a huge plus.
- Fitness – similar to Figure, but asks for an up to 2-minute gymnastics or dance-based routine that must include any kind of push-up, high kick, straddle hold, and side split.
- Wellness – this is the perfect category for bottom-heavy women who easily gain muscle in the legs and glutes. It asks for an obvious imbalance between the upper and lower body; small shoulders, back, and arms, and huge muscle development in the lower parts.
- Bikini – it asks for a small midsection and full round glutes with good hamstring/glute separation. It’s the most popular category for women and the most competitive one.
How To Choose A Division?
There’s no one better than the other. Instead, it comes to your personal preference and fitness goals. Your body will belong to the division where you find yourself.
Preparing for one such competition asks for tremendous dedication, a strict diet, and intense workouts. So, choosing a division for yourself and focusing on what you want to achieve with your body instead of listening to others will significantly facilitate your journey.
Open the official website of NPC and review the different body shapes of professionals. Go for the one you admire the most and would like to achieve one day.
Step 2: Select Your Category & Class
Next, choose one of the main categories of classes at NPC:
- Open – as the name implies, the open class welcomes competitors of any age or experience level. More precisely, open classes are usually divided by height or weight. Moreover, it’s the only one that qualifies you for nationals.
- Novice – to compete in this class, you must be an athlete who has never placed first in any class/age group in an NPC contest.
- True Novice – you must be a first-time competitor who has never even entered an NPC competition; however, this category is not available on all shows.
- Teen – you must be at least 13 and most 19 years old on the day of the show.
- Junior – you must be below 23 years old on the day of the show.
- Master – this age class excludes teens and is usually for 35 years old and above; it can also be above 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and so on. You must be the minimum division age or above on the day of the event.
- Hero – a unique category limited to police, military, fire, or rescue.
A show must not have all categories of classes. For example, some shows exclude the True Novice or Hero categories. In addition, each show might have a different number of classes for each category.
For instance, a show might offer four open height classes for Figure:
- Class A – up to and including 5’2”
- Class B – from 5’2” up to and including 5’4”
- Class C – from 5’2” up to and including 5’6”
- Class D – 5’6” and above
However, this same division might offer six height classes, breaking the competition into narrower groups of athletes.
Step 3: Register for The NPC Show
The next step is registering for a show. Once again, you can check the schedule and upcoming events at the official NPC website.
To compete, you need to join the NPC and purchase a card. Fortunately, NPC allows you to change your division and class up to the day of the contest. So, you’ll have time to test your strategy and maybe even change your goals.
Step 4: Prepare for The Competition
The preparation isn’t limited to diet, nutrition, and training. It’s so much more than that. You’ll also need to learn the rules and poses because bodybuilding events are ultimately all about presentation. So, you’ll have to practice your presentation and posing daily.
It would also help to visit one such competition before entering the stage yourself. It will help you set your expectations straight and network; you will meet people with the same passion or maybe even find a coach.
Each division has its set of rules and poses, and you can find them on NPC News Online.
Step 5: Win The NPC Stage
Last but not least, follow the rules and instructions and check in on time. Furthermore, pay attention at all times because these events are usually going at a fast pace. So, a minor distraction might cost you a lot.
The extra services available for athletes can make or break your success. Make sure to incorporate tanning, professional makeup, and hairdressing for the ultimate performance and presentation.
The Next Step – Mr. Olympia
The IFBB hosts an annual bodybuilding competition, Joe Weider’s Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend. The contest dates back to the 18th of September, 1965, when Joe Weider established it to enable Mr. Universe winners to continue competing and earning money. The winner of this contest earns the most sought-after title in the industry – Mr. Olympia.
Ms. Olympia is the title for females. Furthermore, contestants can earn Fitness Olympia and Figure Olympia. The IFBB hosts all four contests during the same weekend. Finally, Mr. Olympia Amateur is the version that enables amateur competitors to earn an IBFF Pro Card. It can bring you closer to competing in the main event and earning the Mr. Olympia title.
How To Qualify for Mr. Olympia?
Each athlete that wants to qualify for the competition and the Mr. Olympia title must meet the IFBB Professional League’s requirements, which is the official sanctioning organization of the Olympia.
During the Olympia Qualifying Season, the IFBB chooses the highest-placed competitors from various qualifying competitions. The qualifying season lasts a year, up to a few months before the competition.
The following competitors can qualify for Mr. O 2022:
- A previous Olympia winner; anyone who has ever won the competition gets an automatic lifetime qualification for the division
- The top five placements in the Men’s Open division
- The top three placements in the remaining ten divisions
- A winner of a pro show between the 13th of September and the 20th of November 2021 qualifies for their division
- The top three point-holders in each division
- Any athlete who receives a special invite from the Olympia team
Still, each division has a distinct set of rules.
How To Qualify for Mr. Olympia Amateur?
Joe Weider’s Amateur Olympia 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada, will award the top three athletes in each division an IFBB Pro League Pro Card. However, each athlete that wants to compete must have a valid NPC membership.
Moreover, US NPC athletes must be nationally qualified to enter the Amateur Olympia Las Vegas. To do so, one must have competed in and obtained a top-five placement in an NPC-sanctioned event in 2020, 2021, or 2022.
Another option is for an athlete to have competed and placed in the top two in their height/weight group in a National Qualifier after the 1st of January, 2021.
Women’s bodybuilding doesn’t impose any requirements due to lack of demand.
On the other hand, NPC worldwide athletes might not have to fulfill their regional requirement, depending on whether there’s a regional requirement in their country.
NPC is the largest organization for amateur bodybuilders in the US. With the addition of NPC Worldwide, it has also become the biggest amateur federation worldwide. It offers many divisions and categories of classes, thus opportunities for all fitness professionals willing to compete and gain recognition in this industry.
Moreover, NPC is the only way for an athlete to earn the remarkable Mr. Olympia title, a title previously won by icons in bodybuilding, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Coleman, Phil Heath, Lee Haney, Big Ramy, and more.
Are you willing to become the next Mr. Olympia champion? NPC is the way to go!
Frequently Asked Questions
You must have a valid NPC card to compete in an NPC show. Each NPC card is valid for a year.
In addition, national competitions, including National Championships, Masters National Championships, Team Universe Championships, or USA Championships, are limited to citizens. Therefore, each competitor must deliver proof of citizenship or prove they are a full-time student in the area or a resident at least four months before the event.
If a competitor appears light-headed, disoriented, or experiences undue cramping, they won’t be able to compete. A person disqualified for health reasons must then attend the EMT and sometimes even the nearest hospital for evaluation. Anyone who refuses to do so can be suspended from competing for a year.
Unfortunately, not; they usually vary from show to show. For instance, many shows have excluded Women’s Bodybuilding due to a lack of interest. So, it would be best to check for the availability of your desired class before you decide to register or prepare for performance.
You can compete in any class whose requirements you can meet. Many competitors compete in several classes to increase their stage time and chances of winning. Usually, you can make mistakes on your first appearance. So, if you compete in several categories, you’ll be able to correct your mistakes and place higher.
While there are many federations on the market, NPC is the only one in the US that allows you to compete at Mr. Olympia and earn the IFBB Pro status. First, you need to place in the top two in an open class at a National Qualifier show. Next, you can compete at a National event for Pro Status. Still, remember that qualifications and awards vary from event to event, so check the rules.
If you reside overseas, you’ll need to compete in the “NPC Worldwide” or an “IFBB Pro League” show to earn the title. These events currently don’t ask for qualifications. Instead, the overall winner of each division gets the IFBB Pro Status.
An alternative way to get to Olympia is to accumulate points. The top three or top five in points for the year might qualify for the Olympia, depending on the division. The amount of points also depends on the show itself.
No, you can’t. You can only earn the status by competing at an NPC or IFBB Pro League event, the only organizations associated with the Mr. Olympia contest.
IFBB International can no longer award IFBB Pro Status cards.
If you reside in a country with a Regional Certificate requirement, but there’s no Regional Contest before the end of the year, you can compete in a Pro Qualifier contest in another country as long as it’s held before the first Regional contest in your country. If, however, there is a Regional contest in your country, you must start from there.
The backstage of NPC events is usually open to competitors, expediters, and NPC officials. Persons with backstage passes, such as coaches, can also enter the area.
The event is scheduled from the 15th of December to the 18th of December 2022.
The 2022 Amateur Olympia Las Vegas is scheduled from 12th to 14th December 2022.