The warmth of the sun feels good on the spectator at Yankee Stadium. He is finally settled in his seat after the usual Cross Bronx Expressway traffic and a year-and-a-day parking lot that costs as much as many of the tickets at the ballpark. Hot dog and a beer later, he peruses his scorecard to see when his favorite baseball team – the New York Yankees – will have their ace on the hill to throw out that first pitch. It may be in five minutes; it may be in three hours.
“What the fuck is wrong with this guy,” you may be asking yourselves. “Didn’t he know what time the game was starting when he bought the ticket?”
You would be right… and wrong at the same time.
In our hypothetical situation, there isn’t the usual single game (or now-unusual double header, even) at this ‘event’ taking place at “The House That Ruth Built.” Oh, there will be at least nine innings (weather permitting) of the Bronx Bombers playing their opponent, but also a Triple-A baseball game, girls softball affair and even a T-ball competition of six-year-olds where ‘everybody hits.’ (Any dads out there who have experienced the latter know that in itself can be a three-hour marathon.) And the salt in the wound is that there is no way of knowing the order of events until you are actually in attendance.
No one in their right mind would want to torture themself with that, even the most fanatical of baseball lovers. But that is exactly the case at what was formerly known as ‘bodybuilding shows,’ regardless of the level or federation. You may be interested in the bodybuilding but have to sit through infinite categories of twink-like board shorts and fake tits bikini cardboard cutouts. It couldn’t get any worse, could it?
The timing seemed right with the announcement this weekend at the Pittsburgh Pro that the NPC and NPC Worldwide will be adding a wellness division to their already-overcrowded categories. It is one that has been on the international scale for a few years and a matter of time before it splattered itself onto the NPC landscape.
What the fuck is wellness? Funny you should ask because we’re not sure if anyone knows exactly. Not unlike some of the other categories that seem to change from state-to-state, judging-panel-to-judging panel and federation-to-federation.
Take the IFBB Elite Pro (the one that Raphael Santoja runs; it gets a bit confusing so do your best to follow along). They have what seems like an infinite amount of categories in the professional level and you are not alone of you feel that they may sound redundant:
*Men’s Pro Bodybuilding – pretty self-explanatory; under and over 90 kilograms separate the two bodyweight.
*Men’s Classic Physique – as per the IFBB Elite Pro website, “for those male athletes who don’t want to develop their muscles to their “extreme” full potentials but prefer lighter “classic” physique.” One open category and they wear the regular bodybuilding posing trunks, not the boxer brief underwear. (Translation: less then and GH.)
*Women’s Bodyfitness – basically fitness without the acrobatic routines; similar to figure when it comes down to it.
*Women’s Bikini-Fitness – certainly a ‘WTF’ category that is described as having “(an) emphasis is on a well-shaped, fit, healthy and attractive appearance, similar to that of models.” Makes no sense in our opinion; no place on a bodybuilding stage.
*Men’s Physique – same boring board shorts ‘men’s bikini’ as everywhere else in the industry.
*Women’s Fitness – the most entertaining and only sport-like category in the industry. Routine and swimsuit rounds; same as it always has been and we should be thankful for that.
*Women’s Physique – the replacement for female bodybuilding and a category that has had no distinct direction since it began in this federation in 2013.
*Women’s Wellness Fitness – we’ll let this one speak for itself: “The Wellness Fitness division is intended for women who prefer a muscular physique without muscle separation, athletic and aesthetically pleasing, with a bigger body mass than in Bikini Fitness. From this point of view, Wellness Fitness is placed somewhere between Bikini Fitness and Women’s Physique.
Assessing of the physique, judging criteria and rounds are the same like Women’s Bikini Fitness. Competitors perform quarter turns in all rounds plus individual “I-walking” presentation in the finals. Vertical proportions (legs to upper body length) are ones of the key factors. Horizontal proportions (hips and waist to shoulder width) may favour women with a bit bigger hips, thighs and buttocks.”
In their amateur ranks (IFBB Santoja, for lack of a better term), you’ll find Men’s Bodybuilding, something called Classic Bodybuilding and Games Classic Bodybuilding (the latter for the smaller chaps), Women’s Fitness, Men’s Fitness, Women’s Bodyfitness, Women’s Bikini-Fitness, Men’s Physique, Women’s Physique, Women’s Wellness Fitness, Mixed Pairs and last bit certainly not least… Children’s Fitness.
Can anyone say overkill?
On the NPC/IFBB Pro League (the Jim Manion one) side, it’s a little less convoluted. Of course there’s men’s bodybuilding, men’s classic physique, men’s physique and wheelchair. Then on the ladies’ end, there’s figure, fitness, physique and bikini. Women’s bodybuilding? So scarce that it’s not even listed in the drop down menu on the NPC website.
So adding yet another useless category seems to be the trend here and by 2020, expect to see the wellness division make its way onto the NPC, NPC Worldwide and IFBB Pro League stages. This reportedly stemmed from model search competitions that were held overseas and the ‘powers that be’ receiving requests from the athletes to add the category to their stable.
“Something for everyone in the NPC,” said Frank Sepe of NPC New Online in a video posted on their website.
And therein lies the problem. The stage is supposed to be for the elite, not everyone. Just like Yankee Stadium is supposed to be for Major League Baseball, not the T-Ball Tykes.
What’s next – the Dad Bod and Fat Bastard categories? Remember, federation personnel – you heard that here first so please give the proper credit when you roll out those categories in 2021.