How to go from NPC to IFBB Pro Status
My Step-by-Step Guide for your Bikini Journey
From NPC newbie –> Nationally Qualified –> IFBB Pro –> Olympia
What is the NPC / IFBB?
NPC stands for the National Physique Committee which started in 1982. You can join by purchasing your NPC card online or at a show for around $100/year. You can find a list of NPC competition dates/locations here. The NPC is your first stop when entering the bikini bodybuilding world.
IFBB is the professional league which stands for the International Federation of Bodybuilders. It was started by the Weider brothers in 1946. You cannot compete in the IFBB until you are an “IFBB Pro” from winning a NPC national show. I will explain below.
Steps to getting your “IFBB Pro” card
STEP #1 Compete in an NPC show. Some shows are considered “National Qualifiers” and some are not. So if you want to further your competing career, you have to compete in an NPC National Qualifier show and place.
- Competitors that place in the top five at a national qualifying contest are eligible for the Junior USA, Junior National, Team Universe, and North American.
- Competitors that place in the top three at a national qualifying contest are eligible for the USA and Nationals.
- There is also a Masters Nationals which is for those who placed in the Masters age classes (usually 35+).
There are 7 National Shows per year:
- NPC Junior USA Championships
- NPC Junior National Championships
- NPC Team Universe Championships
- IFBB North American Championships
- NPC National Championships
- NPC USA Championships
- NPC Masters Nationals Championships
STEP #2 Compete in a National championship show within one year of qualifying
- USA CHAMPIONSHIPS – Height class winners earn IFBB Pro Card (6 height classes)
- NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – Height class winners earn IFBB Pro Card (6 height classes)
- JUNIOR USA CHAMPIONSHIPS – top 2 in the Overall Comparison earn IFBB Pro Cards – (6 height classes)
- JUNIOR NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS – top four (4) in the Overall Comparison earn IFBB Pro Cards (6 height classes)
- IFBB NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – Top two (2) in Overall Comparison earn IFBB Pro Cards (6 height classes)
- TEAM UNIVERSE CHAMPIONSHIPS – Top two (2) in each height class earn their IFBB pro Card (6 height classes)
STEP #3 IFBB Pro Competitions.
If you make it to be a Pro, congrats! You can now compete at the IFBB Pro level. The IFBB has shows for professionals only (see the schedules here). Here you compete against the best in the world. The more shows you compete in and do well in, the more points you can accrue to be invited to the most prestigious Bodybuilding competition in the world: the Olympia. The top bikini competitors in the world compete here each year and they all started out as an NPC bikini competitors at some point in their career.
STEP #4 Olympia.
The IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will award points to competitors placing in the top 2 to 5 of all Pro League events. At the end of the Olympia qualifying season, the five competitors with the highest points totals in the IFBB Pro Olympia Qualification Series will qualify to compete at Olympia Weekend. Since the winner of each competition automatically qualifies, no points will be awarded for first place. Additionally, competitors placing in the top 5 at the Olympia automatically qualify for the following year. Here is the scoring process to qualify for the Olympia:
TIER 1 – ARNOLD CLASSIC
2nd – 8 Points
3rd – 7 Points
4th – 6 Points
5th – 5 Points
TIER 2 – SHERU CLASSIC, ARNOLD CLASSIC EUROPE
2nd – 6 Points
3rd – 5 Points
4th – 4 Points
5th – 3 Points
TIER 3 – NEW YORK PRO
2nd – 5 Points
3rd – 4 Points
4th – 3 Points
5th – 2 Points
TIER 4 – ALL OTHER IFBB PRO LEAGUE COMPETITIONS
2nd – 4 Points
3rd – 3 Points
4th – 2 Points
5th – 1 Point
Let’s focus in on IFBB Bikini Pro’s now. The bikini league started in 2010.
Over the years, the look of IFBB bikini professionals has changed. It started off as a curvier body and has now shaped into a much more muscular and lean physique. Take a look at the evolution of the IFBB Bikini division.
Recent winners include Courtney King and Ashley Kaltwasser. Winners from when the bikini division first started include Nathalia Melo, Nicole Nagrani, and Sonia Gonzalez.
The IFBB pro card benefits are that you receive recognition. Being on that main Olympia stage allows supplement companies and magazines to see you. If they like what they see, you could get sponsorships, bookings, and fitness modeling gigs out of it! To be realistic, most bikini competitors can’t make a living (or even part of a living) off competing. I’d say only the girls on the Olympia stage have the chance of making enough money to make a career out of it. However, you can use your experience to help others, like I do!
Learn more about how to become a bikini competitor through our top bikini resources:
#1 Checkout our free bikini competition prep guide page
#2 Join our Facebook support community where you can ask other girls questions
#3 Find a bikini posing coach near you in our Posing Directory
#4 Join our Online Coaching Guns & Buns team to start your contest prep