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  1. #1
    Registered User AllisonM114's Avatar
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    NPC? OCB? IFPA? Pro Card? So confused! Please help clarify.

    I have recently begun prep for my first ever figure competition. I chose an OCB show that is close to me. It said that winners of the open will move on to another level, which is an IFPA Pro Qualifier. That all makes sense to me.

    However, I see that a lot of the "Pro Qualifier" shows listed have no requirements to enter. For example, if I win the open and advance to the Pro Qualifier, how is that different from someone else just signing up for the Pro Qual show with no previous wins? I guess I want to know if there is a way to know whether or not a novice can just enter these Qualifier shows or if they are reserved just for those who have won and gained entry.

    I'm happy with the show I've chosen as it seems like a great choice for beginners. I hope it's not considered to be pointless, though, to win and qualify for another show when I could have just entered that show from the get-go.

    Also, please explain the differences between the organizations. Are they all mostly the same, with IFBB being the best of the best?
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  2. #2
    Registered User sy2502's Avatar
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    Pro Qualifier doesn't mean automatic pro. Even if you win overall, it is still up to the federation to judge whether you are Pro quality or not. How tough or relaxed those standards are depends on the federation.

    The most obvious difference between NPC and the natural federations is, well, the drug testing obviously. Natural federations also may have slightly different standards than NPC because as a natural female competitor you have certain physical limitations. Some natural federations put premium importance on conditioning, since it's something you can achieve with natural means. Others reward what they call a "healthy look" and will penalize you if you come in too dry.
    Also natural federations may differ in what substances they ban, and how long you need to be clean to compete. Also testing standards may be more or less strict in different federations, meaning in some it's more likely that cheaters sneak through.

    I hope it helps.
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  3. #3
    Registered User AllisonM114's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sy2502 View Post
    Pro Qualifier doesn't mean automatic pro. Even if you win overall, it is still up to the federation to judge whether you are Pro quality or not. How tough or relaxed those standards are depends on the federation.

    The most obvious difference between NPC and the natural federations is, well, the drug testing obviously. Natural federations also may have slightly different standards than NPC because as a natural female competitor you have certain physical limitations. Some natural federations put premium importance on conditioning, since it's something you can achieve with natural means. Others reward what they call a "healthy look" and will penalize you if you come in too dry.
    Also natural federations may differ in what substances they ban, and how long you need to be clean to compete. Also testing standards may be more or less strict in different federations, meaning in some it's more likely that cheaters sneak through.

    I hope it helps.
    So NPC is not natural? Which other orgs are not? The one I signed up for is, I know that.
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  4. #4
    Registered User sy2502's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AllisonM114 View Post
    So NPC is not natural? Which other orgs are not? The one I signed up for is, I know that.
    I believe some NPC shows are advertised as natural, but in general no, NPC is not drug tested.
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  5. #5
    Focus on yourself kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AllisonM114 View Post
    I have recently begun prep for my first ever figure competition. I chose an OCB show that is close to me. It said that winners of the open will move on to another level, which is an IFPA Pro Qualifier. That all makes sense to me.

    However, I see that a lot of the "Pro Qualifier" shows listed have no requirements to enter. For example, if I win the open and advance to the Pro Qualifier, how is that different from someone else just signing up for the Pro Qual show with no previous wins? I guess I want to know if there is a way to know whether or not a novice can just enter these Qualifier shows or if they are reserved just for those who have won and gained entry.

    I'm happy with the show I've chosen as it seems like a great choice for beginners. I hope it's not considered to be pointless, though, to win and qualify for another show when I could have just entered that show from the get-go.

    Also, please explain the differences between the organizations. Are they all mostly the same, with IFBB being the best of the best?
    Anyone can do an OCB pro qualifier show. The shows are usually pretty big and you'll have some tough competition. If I'm not mistaken you have to win the overall to obtain your pro status.

    The other advantage it's a lot cheaper compared to NPC. The cost to enter an NPC national show with the hope to become pro is completely ridiculous.
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  6. #6
    Registered User AllisonM114's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sy2502 View Post
    I believe some NPC shows are advertised as natural, but in general no, NPC is not drug tested.
    So if I would place in the Open division and earn a spot at the DC Nationals, I would be competing against former winners and novices alike? The advantage, then, in doing the one I'm doing first is just the experience leading up to a higher level of competition?

    Not that I think I'll win, but it's something to work towards, right?

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  7. #7
    Want to be the BIGGEST! ProYeo's Avatar
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    Generally, if you compete in an open and qualify and move on to a qualified show, you compete against others who have qualified. There may be novices there, competing in novice or open, but you wouldn't compete against them. Speaking in generalities as I don't know IFPA very well.

    The org I'm most familiar with is INBA. You can compete in Novice for experience or in Open. If you win in open you get your pro card. Your pro card allows you to compete at the pro level (but you could choose to continue as an amateur), but you have a year to activate. So once you have your pro card you have to win as a pro to become fully pro. The choice is yours, you can cash your check and you are pro, or choose not to and remain amateur. So it seems to me that the orgs have similarities, but also have their own nuances to figure out.

    Another cool thing about a lot of the natural orgs is they cooperate with each other. So if you turn pro in one natural org, you can compete as a pro with others. I think IFPA is part of that (but I'm not sure about that, I competed against some IFPA girls at an INBA show), I know INBA and DFAC are reciprocal. It opens up the ability to possibly find more local shows. It's hard to speak to all of them, as I believe there is like 50 natural orgs right now.

    Among the natural orgs you'll find varying standards as was mentioned. Some have their own lists of banned substances, some (the ones I compete in) use the WADA list, the same list as the Olympic teams use.

    I believe with IFBB, if you go pro they don't allow you to compete with any other org. If you go pro with another org, you might not be able to compete (or at least qualify) with NPC/IFBB. I've heard of pros with natural orgs competing at NPC, qualifying, and being disqualified due to being paid by another org... now that is all secondhand info, so don't take my word on that, just info I wanted to share.

    While there is less money going around in the natural orgs, it might be more realistic to be able to have a chance at winning, especially if you are natural. Purses are generally $1000 to $8000 (for the winner, with less cash going to #2 and #3) at the pro shows - again, at least for the ones I have gone to.
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  8. #8
    PNBA Pro marinevet63031's Avatar
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    To cut to the chase. To answer the question. If you are happy with an organization, stick with it. I compete locally with the NANBF to help promote wheelchair and physically challenged bodybuilding. I am a PNBA pro because they have pro divisions for the physically challenged and you can travel anywhere you want essentially.

    If the show is a pro qualifier and you win the overall division then you earn pro status. Don't get wrapped up in status of a name and the PR machine pushing it. Find something in your comfort zone and enjoy it.
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    Registered User BrandiHall's Avatar
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    A pro qualifier show is not the same thing as a pro show. A pro qualifier means if you win overall you get your pro card, therefore a pro qualifier does just that - gives amatures that opportunity to become qualified to be a pro (by winning their pro card).

    Once you win your pro card, you can enter pro-only shows.
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