An Introduction To Bikini Fitness & Women's Bodybuilding

Bikini Fitness: An Introduction

When I used to put the words ‘female’ and ‘bodybuilding’ together, a rather disturbing image of Arnie wearing a teeny bikini, with long hair and lippy on would spring to mind.

An image forced upon me by the media as I grew up I’m sure.

On few occasion this is most certainly the case, but overall it’s not true at all.

Becoming part of the ‘Fit Fam’ has been an eye opening experience so far.

I’m still a newbie to the industry but I’ve experienced so much and met so many interesting people along the way, most of whom have put many of my misinformed preconceptions to rest.

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Beautiful, graceful, poised, perfection; words you may use to describe a high fashion model or a beauty queen.

But that’s not who I’m describing.

Bikini Fitness and bodybuilding chickas alike all fall under this description.

When I think of the girls I’ve seen on stage, the words empowering, inspiring, motivating, flawless, strong (mentally as well as physically) also spring to mind.

They are the girls taking the look of the super model and pushing it to stallion level.

They are the Lara Crofts of the world. The Superwomen. Our new heroes.

Strong is the new skinny after all.

History

So what is the Bikini Fitness Class?

Here’s a little history lesson for you, pay attention…

When bodybuilding kicked off it was a completely male dominated sport.

But gradually, by the late 1970s, female bodybuilders were claiming their spot on stage and proving that they can do just as good as the guys.

It was never a doubt we could – it was just a case of girls realizing they CAN be strong and they CAN make a difference.

It began with Female Bodybuilding, and then Fitness and Figure was introduced.

Now we have Bikini Fitness.

Different Categories

In short, the women’s categories are:

Female bodybuilding

The category where contestants have a substantial level of muscle tissue and are shredded with clearly visible striations.

These girls are the biggest out of all classes and have much more muscle maturity and size.

Female fitness

This category is a little smaller, with two rounds of posing and a routine, and shows the physical ability of the contestant.

Competitors must have a fair amount of muscle development, clear muscular separation (but no striations), and a good level of leanness.

Female figure

This is reasonably new to the scene, with contestants simply taking part in quarter turns and excluding the routine round.

The girls are judged purely on their muscle definition and symmetry, with two bikini rounds.

Bikini fitness

This category was created to allow a wider range of women into the world of physique competitions, with much less emphasis on muscularity and leanness, but rather on proportion, symmetry, balance, shape, skin tone, as well as the overall stage performance, styling and poise.

Recognised by the IFBB as an independent competition category on 7th November 2010, Bikini Fitness has rapidly grown as a category within the industry, bringing light to stars such as the UK’s first Bikini Pro athlete, Michelle Brannan.

In 2010 the first Bikini Olympia was introduced and in 2013 Miss Brannan made it to that very stage as the first UK Pro at Olympia.

The stars of bikini fitness

So bikini fitness is big, we’ve established that.

But who are the stars driving this fabulous category forward?

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Well since being introduced to the sport two years ago, I have watched many girls work their way up to the highest levels, showing the world it is possible to chase your dreams and achieve them.

Some of my shining stars include:

Amanda Latona

Nathalia Melo

Michelle Brannan

Andreia Brazier

Melissa Haywood

Nina Ross

Margret Gnarr

Ashley Kaltwasser

Georgia Simmons

And my girl crushes go on…

Training to become a bikini athlete

Another-Night-at-the-Bar-Women-s-T-ShirtsWe all know how much grind goes into creating the body of a goddess.

But do you really know the hard work these girls put into prepping for their shows?

For me it was tough but I loved every second of it.

I started off with my off-season diet, which is a lot stricter than the average 22 year old.

Going out and socialising took a back seat while I worked my butt off.

I got a lot of negativity from friends and family throughout.

People are afraid of what they don’t understand and they couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t eat chocolate, crisps and get blind drunk every weekend.

Above all, I didn’t want to lose control.

The whole point about being a Bikini Girl is being empowered and in control.

And not letting society force you to conform to a negative way of living.

There’s nothing wrong with turning down nights out with friends, for a night lifting on a Friday night.

It makes a lot more sense to me.

I got my head down and attended seminars and workshops held by bikini girls to learn exactly what it takes.

I went to shows to experience what it was all about and I started posing practice months in advance.

I had my bikini made, bought my heels, carefully coordinated my accessories to my look, and had my hair and nails done.

The cost adds up and it gets expensive.

It’s hard work.

Preparing for competition

Before my first competition I started dieting 11 weeks out, where I gradually dropped calories to lean up while conserving my muscle tissue.

At 3 weeks out it was very tough because it turned out I had peaked then and there!

So I had to spend the rest of the time before my show maintaining my look.

Staying in that in-between stage of not being too soft and not being too lean is so hard.

I think it’s harder for bikini girls to get it right on most occasions as it’s all about timing and knowing your own body down to a tee.

The whole week before, we water load in order to force your body to flush out water ready for shred city.

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Usually we carb load but as I had already peaked we didn’t want to play around with carbs too much, seeing as it was my first show.

We didn’t know how much water I would take on so we just kept the carbs slow and steady.

There’s a real science to it and my PT Sam took great care of me through the process, ensuring I stayed healthy.

The day before the show I applied my first layer of tan, then applied my second and third layer early the next morning before setting off.

After the athlete’s meeting, I had another 9 hours to wait until I had to go on stage.

The longest 9 hours of my life: surviving off turkey, steak, egg whites, banana and rice cakes every hour, with zero water.

CAKE was the first thing I ate when I stepped off stage.

I remember it like it was yesterday!

Dieting makes you obsessive over food and I think I went a little crazy, buying every pack of biscuits I could find for my stash.

Five months later I’m still going through them on my cheat days!

Mental toughness

Bikini girls can handle the tough training in the gym.

DOMS is nothing.

What IS tough is the mentality of the sport.

If you are not a strong-minded person it can mess with your head and your confidence.

But then again taking part in the sport can help build that inner strength and self-confidence.

As long as you are an individual who doesn’t give up and can visualize the end result, you will be a success.

The future

‘Where is Bikini Fitness heading?’ I hear you say.

Well, in a mere three years the sport has taken off for Bikini Girls.

We are the face of fitness, the achievable goals, the realistic dreams.

We represent a new generation of stronger, determined, elite women and our goals are to inspire generations after us to be better than the rest.

I see bikini girls becoming the new supermodels, gracing magazine covers and runways.

Georgia Simmons, IFBB Bikini Girl, was recently shot for a fashion editorial, representing how strong is the new sexy and how fashion is taking a step into the world of fitness.

There is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s shining brighter than ever.

There’s a lot more to come from us Bikini Babes and you’ve not even seen half of it yet.

So you had better watch out, we’re taking over!

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  1. What would you say to somebody (me) who says that “bikini fitness” is telling women that if they want to pursue fitness and bodybuilding they have to do it through this glamour model/pinup girl type approach.

    Can’t girls just get strong and look good for their own satisfaction rather than combining it with lipstick and posing like a whore?

    1. I don’t think it’s the sport telling them to act in this way, I think it’s girls who aren’t confident in themselves and think this is the only way to get ahead.

      There are some that don’t take the sport seriously and so we are misunderstood, but most of the girls work hard and enjoy the competing process of it. I enjoy staying fit and healthy, but I love the challenge of competing and choose to keep it classy.

      I was a swimmer from the age of 3, bodybuilding and competing challenges me more and so I choose to do it and hopefully come across classy and elegant as per the requirements.

      Is it just Bikinj Fitness girls you have a problem with? It would be great to get your feedback on how you think the category is portrayed.

      Thanks for your opinion!

  2. Kudos to these ladies who are into bodybuilding.

    It’s the bikini fitness that ladies are putting on make up to make themselves look glamorous.

    Then emphasizing the curves donning the skimpy bikinis.

    I think it’s not just about being sexy in a bikini but showing how strong women with a toned physique can be.

  3. I think it is amazing and having recently moved to more weight based training and paying even more attention to food and macros, I can massively see the appeal – and who knows – one day I may be tempted (a fair way off now), but either way, I think it is admirable as it is a lot of hard work, dedication as well as mental and physical strength – certainly in my opinion not ‘whore’ like!!!

  4. Aloha thanks for you thought & insight on what you consider the new face of female bodybuilding.

    Am a videographer/producer working for a television station in the Bahamas, presently am working on a 30 minute presentation on the state of female body fitness in the Bahamas and I was fascinated by the bikini category, it’s the most popular one in our local Show and I love the looks of the females.

    Your thoughts assisted me in writing a portion of the show I was hitting a wall at.

    All the best in you endeavor as a bikini competitor.

  5. The way you are posing with your ass sticking out is not particularly “classy” in my opinion.

  6. Also, referring to these women as “girls” is rather demeaning don’t you think?

  7. I love the look of the bikini fitness girls and I will be competing myself in 2017 for the first time.

    I’m working hard and have never been so happy with my body and find that my workouts help me to de-stress after a long day at work.

    It’s the posing that daunts me at the moment!

  8. I think the bikini fitness is the best niche or level of womens bodybuilding.

    I as a man find these gals very attractive.

    They clearly have dedicated themselves to a purpose towards an extremely challenging goal.

    The bikini sector of womens bodybuilding demands extreme skill, talent, dedication, planning, and a God given gift.

    In my opinion it is the superior competition and certainly should be the favorite to watch.

    I think bikini fitness will grow in popularity and public admiration, as it should.

    Plus let’s face it, sex sells.

  9. I loved this post!

    If you’ve followed my blog for a while you will know I’m a Bikini competitor.

    5 months post show and I’ve got a Physique/Life Update and revealing if I will compete again:

    https://leishamulvey.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/will-i-compete-again/

  10. I think it’s amazing and I have so much respect for all those ladies who work hard to achieve such a great physique.

    I used to be extremely overweight (UK size 24) and I am now a healthy size 8 through weight training and healthy eating.

    I am thinking of doing a competition this year but I am not sure which category to go for.

    Maybe you could help me.

    I am turning 46 next week.