A Quick Guide to Fitness and Bodybuilding Competitions

Are you curious about what it takes to compete in a fitness or bodybuilding competition? Maybe you’ve seen results from regular strength training workouts and want to take your training efforts to the next level. Or, perhaps you’re already in top-from and want to meet other like-minded individuals who share your passion for health and fitness. 

Whatever your reason is for exploring the incredible world of physique training and competition, we have the basics covered. In this article, we’re sharing a quick overview of the fitness and bodybuilding realm.

What is a Bodybuilding Competition?

Bodybuilding competitions are events where men and women demonstrate their muscular form in front of an audience and judging panel. Competitors line up and alongside their competitors and complete various poses designed to show off their muscles. Famous bodybuilding athletes include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronnie Dean Coleman, and Frank Zane.

The sport of bodybuilding is overseen and governed by the International Federation of Bodybuilders and Fitness (IFBB). It was founded in 1946 by Canadian brothers, Joe and Ben Wieder. 

Other terms commonly used to describe bodybuilding competitions include physique competition and fitness competitions.

Physique Competition Categories

Competitions are broken down into different classes. These are based on gender, physique class, fitness options, couple competitions, and categories designed for children. In Canada, the most common bodybuilding contest categories include:

  • Men’s Bodybuilding
  • Men’s Physique
  • Men’s Classic Physique
  • Women’s Bodybuilding
  • Women’s Bikini
  • Women’s Figure
  • Women’s Fitness
  • Women’s Physique

Each category has conditions each competitor must meet before and during the competition. Examples of requirements include mandatory poses, music selection style, and competition clothing selection guidelines.

How Can I Start Competing as a Fitness Athlete?


Becoming a fitness athlete requires a potential athlete to be highly committed to the sport. All bodybuilding athletes should be prepared to set realistic goals and dedicate time every day towards the sport. This includes physical training, meal preparations, and learning about the heavily nuanced and detail-oriented sport. 

Once you’re ready to commit to becoming a professional bodybuilder, the next steps include joining a league, selecting your first event, and of course: training.

Join a Professional Bodybuilding League

There are several established bodybuilding leagues in Canada for athletes to choose from. Ranging from amateur to professional and everything in between, there is a league available for pretty much every athlete.

However, we recommend choosing a league dedicated to maintaining the integrity and continuity of the sport, which adheres to IFBB’s global professional bodybuilding standards. In the greater Victoria Area, the Canadian Physique Alliance (CPA) is a premiere bodybuilding league.

Select an Event 

Turn your fitness competition goals into a reality by signing up for your first event! Bodybuilding, physique, and fitness competitions occur regularly throughout Canada, and all over the world, throughout the year. And, during COVID-19 restrictions, many events are finding ways to continue as a virtual event.

Vancouver Island Showdown

In Victoria, the Vancouver Island Showdown is the island’s premier fitness competition. It’s been hosted by Influential Sports for several years and is a favoured event for many in the local fitness community. Fuel Victoria is a proud sponsor of the event.  

Bodybuilding Contest Preparation

Training for a physique/fitness competition is going to be unlike any other strength and fitness program you’ve likely encountered. And, it shouldn’t be just about lifting more, strengthening your muscles, and shedding body fat. A well-rounded training program must include all areas of fitness and be comprised of healthy living choices. Your training plan should incorporate each of the following goals/components:

  • Strength Training
  • Cardio
  • Healthy Eating
  • Supplements
  • Flexibility

Find Support at Fuel Victoria

Joining the world of competitive fitness is a great way to access others with similar goals and values as yourself. As part of the fitness community in Victoria, BC, Fuel Victoria supplement shops are full of resources and information to get you started. Stop by one of our three locations and get the right fuel you need to reach your fitness goals.