A study by a research group called Body, Movement, and Culture gave insights on how women’s bodybuilding today is not just to about developing muscular bodies. Dr. Pirkko Markula Ph.D. founder of the research group, who is also a University of Alberta professor of Socio-Cultural Studies of Physical Activity, discussed how female bodybuilding in Canada is not just about the desire to simply develop extreme amounts of muscle mass.
Since the Canadian Bodybuilding Federation (CBBF) hold different categories in which women bodybuilders can compete, sculpting the body with muscle mass depends on the bodybuilding category that a woman will participate in — Bodybuilding, Physique, Fitness, Figure and Bikini. The Bodybuilding category requires the most amount of muscle mass, while the Bikini Category, requires the least amount. Categories depend on the Canadian bodybuilding association organizing the competition.
The researchers took a closer look at three categories, Physique, Fitness and Bikini, and interviewed some of the participants. Generally, the women bodybuilders in these contests have positive views about their muscular body, despite receiving some criticisms from those who think that their masculinity affects their femininity.
While steroid use is possible, it forms part of a muscle building regimen as these categories require controlled development of muscles. The objective in all the three categories, is to show how muscles and femininity can combine; of how a muscular woman can become huge without losing her feminine shape.
The Physique Category
In this category, the researchers described the Physique competitors as having visibly muscular bodies; all built-up to look strong and powerful but without losing their distinctive female shape. Judges look at the symmetry, muscle tone, poise and some muscle striation but not in extreme levels. The contestants will display the beauty and flow of their muscled physique by performing poses,individually choreographed to music.
The Figure Category
This category has some similarities with Physique competitions as judges evaluate, symmetry, fitness, and skin tone. The difference though is that it requires contestants to have the so-called X-shape body, which is characterized by a well-shaped back along with a pair of well-shaped legs. Moreover, it is also important that their muscles do not appear striated or banded.
Such differences make it important for Figure contestants to follow a strict diet and having absolute control over their lives in order to achieve the ideal X-shape form, while staying on the thin side. Contestants in this category are not worried over muscle loss, since their canadian steroid source can readily supply them with the supplement they need in repairing muscle tissues and generating new muscle cells. According to Figure contestants who were interviewed, they get more depressed over weight gain issues.
This category has a lot of similarity to how female bodybuilding competitions started out in YMCA in 1977, because this category requires the least muscle mass. In addition to having an X-shape body, the abdominal and gluteal (buttocks) muscles of a Bikini contestant’s lean body will be judged. Femininity is a mandatory requirement, which judges based on proportion, shape, symmetry, and skin tone as displayed by contestants during poses, choreographed presentations and walks.