| Article Summary:
The Art Of Figure Presentation:
It's All In The Details
I first started exercising seriously after the birth of my beautiful daughter, Alexis, to get back in shape. Although I was a recreational athlete in high school, (I did cheer and gymnastics for most of my childhood) I never got very competitive at it. Regardless, I really enjoyed the physical activity and my body responded quickly to the change.
Once I did my first figure show, I was hooked! My first few shows, I did well, with little knowledge of what the sport was really about. I laugh now, because for my very first show, I knew nothing about preparation or presentation.
When they lined us up, ready to go onstage, I simply copied the moves of the girl in front of me! My suit was way too big for me! (I had ordered it online and it just didn't fit properly - kept riding up my bum and I knew nothing about bikini bite!). One thing I will say, though, is that I always had the best color! I learned early on that a good tan was of the utmost importance!
One of the first role models for me early in my career was Japanese IFBB Pro Masae Tagami. She and I trained at the same gym for a time. I learned a lot from her. I would watch everything she did onstage and tried to mirror her.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Masae Tagami At The 2008 California State Pro.
View More Pics Of Masae Tagami At The 2008 California State Pro.
To me, she was so beautiful to watch on the stage. Her make-up always seemed perfect, her walk, her movements, her presentation and overall appearance was so polished and classy next to the other girls, it set her apart. I tried to emulate her. I realized very quickly that presentation is arguably the biggest part of our sport.
One of our local NPC judges, whose opinion I have come to respect over the years, once told me, "The best physique doesn't always win, Meriza. Especially in figure, if you cannot present yourself properly on stage, it will hurt you in the eyes of the judges." I thought about this for a long time.
After watching enough shows, I really started to see the importance of being able to stand properly, turn gracefully, twist and smile with ease, and be able to walk with confidence (especially in those tall shoes!). Poise, polish and presentation - these are the keys to keep in mind to succeed in our sport.
In figure, we don't really have "poses". There is no "front double biceps" pose or "side chest" pose, like in bodybuilding. For figure, our judging round consists simply of 4 "quarter-turns", and 4 model turns.
The quarter-turns are mandatory turns or body positions you assume in order for the judges to compare you to the girl standing next to you, and to the rest of your competitors.
The model turns are variations of the quarter-turns, involve one hand on the hip during both side positions, with a slight twist to the torso, and a more side-ways presentation to the physique. The model turns are a little more individualized, but still follow a particular format.
The National Physique Committee (NPC) has very particular criteria on how to present your physique correctly, so that all competitors appear in a similar posture, for easier comparisons.
As a competitive athlete, it's your responsibility to learn the parameters for proper presentation kept by your sanctioning organization. Be sure to check with your organization to learn the rules of the game and how to play!
- National Physique Committee (NPC):
- International Federations Of Bodybuilding & Fitness (IFBB):
- Organization Of Competitive Bodybuilders (OCB):
- Fitness America:
- Ms. Fitness:
- World Natural Sports:
There are several organizations which offer fitness/figure competitions. Here is a list of some of the organizations:
Click Image To Enlarge.
Posing Becomes An Art That Can Emphasize
The Individual Strengths Of Your Physique.
Attend a few shows before getting on stage yourself! Watch, and learn from the girls on stage before you consider doing it yourself! It is a lot of work, and attention to detail, but it's time well spent if you desire to show your best on the competition stage!
Just as important as your presentation, your
suit can make or break you. You spend countless hours doing
supplementing, doing all the things you need to do to get into competition condition, don't make the mistake of choosing a poorly cut or improperly fitting suit!
Suits are expensive, for sure, but a good suit will flow with the lines of your body. The cut of your suit can accentuate a tiny waist, for example, or hide a blocky mid-section; the right cut can create the illusion of longer legs, or a tapered waist.
And let's not forget the color! Be sure to choose a color that accentuates your complexion. Fairer-skinned girls should stick with darker hues or more subtle colors - that seems to work well (pastels can be tough to pull of with lighter skin tones); ladies with a darker complexion can often pull off a wider variety of colors.
I have all of my suits custom made these days by Bryon David. He's local, but he's the best. He makes suits for all of the top girls. You can contact me for his information. There are several really good custom suit makers out there.
One suggestion is to study your physique, and compare it to experienced girls you admire who have similar structure. Observe the cut and shape of their suits, and be aware of these variables as you work with your suit-maker.
Here is a list of some popular suit designers:
Skin tone is critical. Nothing destroys a well-conditioned figure like a bad
tan under the harsh lights of the stage. Be sure to hit the tanning salon regularly as contest time nears.
However, tanning alone will not make you sufficiently dark enough to show your physique off optimally on the stage. There are several different brands of competition
tanning products available on-line and at your better sports nutrition stores. It is worth your time and money to learn more about which product may be right for your complexion.
Sorted By Top Sellers
The best sunless tanners in the world are found here! Get a natural looking tan for whatever tone you want to achieve without frying yourself under the sun!
[ Sunless Tanners Sorted By Top Sellers ]
Hair, Makeup & Accessories
You'll want to spoil yourself for your competition. Many girls hire a hairstylist the day of the show to take some of the
stress out of creating a polished look. I used to simply pull my hair back into a ponytail, but I soon learned that overlooking something as apparent as a hairstyle does not help me in any way.
It's the same with makeup. Realize that figure is a stage show. Be sure to apply your make up more heavily and more dramatically for the show. Again, under the stage lights, normal, everyday makeup will not show effectively.
As for accessories, the NPC has specific dos and don'ts regarding jewelry. Be sure to check with your sanctioning organization for rules regarding accessories, too. And, don't forget them! If all of the girls onstage got their bling, you better be sporting yours too!
| NPC Figure Guidelines:
Jewelry may be worn during all rounds, however they should not detract from your overall appearance.
The shoes - we can't forget the shoes. Our sport has become known for our trademark 5" clear heels. Finding the right shoes can be a challenge. You can hunt online for them or
contact me - I can tell you where I have found mine. But once again, be sure you check with your organization for their specific requirements.
Figure is a beautifully empowering sport for us women. For me, I see figure as an artful expression of everything feminine. From tip to toes, the figure competitor represents a symmetrical, aesthetic, empowered and healthy ideal for women of all ages to aspire to!
Related Pre-Contest Articles:
About The Author:
Meriza DeGuzman is an IFBB Pro Figure athlete. She is a sponsored athlete for
MAN Sports Nutrition. She lives in San Diego, and is a
personal trainer specializing in female physique transformation. Meriza regularly holds presentation clinics for amateur figure athletes; she recently released her first figure posing and presentation video, The Art of Figure, available now through her website,