Sarah and Tracy

The Shape of things to come by Sarah Parr
Originally there was figure and physique for women until Nabba introduced the Shape class to it's line-up in 2001. Having transferred from figure to shape that year, I was thrilled to become NZ's first Miss NZ Shape.

Now that the class has been established for well over a decade, I thought it would be interesting to review this flamboyant and feminine class and journey through some of the advantages that this category presents. This is a salute to the class that has afforded me the unique opportunity of travelling and competing for NZ!


The official NABBA criteria for shape stipulates:

*The degree of muscular development is much lower that that which is necessary for the figure class
*Muscular definition is only slightly shown
*the ideal objective should be to achieve good symmetry and athletic tone. a shape woman should not have body fat as low as a figure woman.
*Presentation, deportment and preparation take an increased importance in the shape class, as these qualities enhance the feminine aspect of shape athletes.

That said, the look of shape athletes often varies, some athletes more muscular than others, some presenting leaner physiques. a complete package that doesn't go to the extreme either muscle or body fat-wise is the optimum. You should consider competing in this class if you have a symmetrical, toned and balanced physique and are able to display it in a feminine and elegant manner.

The addition of the four compulsory poses a few years later, cemented the shape class as 'bodybuilding' and is not to be confused with fitness model or aerobic fitness classes. When i first competed in shape, there was only the symmetry and routine rounds- so the inclusion of the compulsory poses gives shape athletes more of a chance to show their hard work off!

Pictured here is my client Tracy Coyle who will be making her bodybuilding debut in the shape class later this year.

Tracy doing her structural Shape poses. 

The poses themselves may vary slightly also, as shape athletes tailor the poses to suit their body shape. for example, the photos display bent arms, but some athletes may straighten their arms during posing instead.

The shape athletes, as in other classes, perform a routine to music one minute in length- but that's where the similarity ends. For the shape athlete, this round is worth 50% of her mark and needs to be delivered with 'flair' to get the judges attention. another difference is the preference to steer away from traditional posing and towards more of dance aspect.

The level of dance or (occaisionally) gymnastics differs from routine to routine depending on the strengths of the athlete, but rhythm and creativity are a must!

Competitiors may even use props as long as they don't obscure the body.  And why would you want to after working so hard for it?

Tracy doing compulsory shape poses

Shape athletes train and diet hard. No bodybuilding category should ever be considered a 'soft option'. Strategic training and ideting is neeeded to help an athlete drop bodyfat and then maintain it at a specific level while not exceeeding the criteria for muscularity. This means keeping an eye one one's progress consistently to 'hit the mark'. A shape athletes diet and training is going to depend largely upon where the athlete began from physically. During my trainaing for shape I have done as much as 2 hours to as little as a half hour of cardio per day, depending on condition.

The shape category offers many exciting options and advantages. For starters, it's a great way for a woman to introduce herself to bodybuilding, without neeeding to gain the muscle bulk required for other classes. Also the slightly higher bodyfat levels of shape help an athlete retain healthy feminie look. The routine lets you express yourself onstage and display your physique in a fun and entertaining mode. The Shape class is also a great platform to the figure class or other classes.

One similarity all classes share is that competing in them is always a fantastic chance to meet other competitors and share in the backstage luaghs!

So shape ladies, stand tall! (even the short ones!) -We've thrilled onstage with NABBA NZ for over 12 years now and certanly we have earned the right to compete! I hope to see many more fresh faces (like Tracy) giving it a go and burning up the stage like only the shape ladies can! I think you'd all agree-

The shape of things to come looks good NZ!

Sarah Parr
May 2012



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