If you have wondered how to get started in masters figure competition or what it takes to become a female figure competitor over 50 (or over 35 for that matter!), then you have come to the right place! Let me guess, fitness has always been a part of your life. You played sports competitively through high school and college. As your children grew, you were always the mom in the mix whether tossing ball, shooting hoops, practicing cartwheels… whatever their sport, you were their biggest supporter.
Over the years, you have tried to make fitness a priority, but have seen the scale slowly climb each year. While you have always dreamed of competing in a figure competition, it is one of those things that did not make the priority list between kids, family, jobs and church. Well, now is the time.
If you have dreamed of taking your fitness to a new level and looking better at 40 (or even 50) than you did at 20, setting your sights on a Masters Figure Competition may be just the motivation you need!
I have helped thousands of women achieve the fit body of their dreams and in the last few years have specifically focused on helping women in the masters figure category. Motivating, guiding and taking out the guess-work so that women can become figure competitors and bring their personal best to stage, no matter their age! It is one thing for a 20 year old to lose a few lbs and step on stage. It is quite another for a women in her late 30's, 40, 50's or even 60's to set her mind on an incredible goal and to see it though. As a figure competition coach that specializes in the masters division and a woman in my 40's, I love working with women to help them achieve this incredible dream in a safe and healthy way that supports their long term metabolism. Let's jump in, get the details and let me share with you what is possible.
“One day my grandchildren will be able to see that it’s never to late to embark on a new and exciting journey, no matter what your age.”
Female Figure Competitor Over 50
What is a Masters Figure Competition?
Masters figure is a division of the figure competitions that breaks participants down by age. In order to level the playing field and to have women compete against others that are most like them, most figure shows offer special divisions for different age groups. The open category is just that - open to competitors of all ages.
The Masters category begins at age 35. Most NPC shows, WBFF Shows, OCB Shows and really most all competitive bodybuilding organizations will have a Masters 35 and up age group. Many also offer special categories for those older contestants. Masters Figure 40 and up, Masters Figure 45 and up and even Masters Figure 50 are common divisions at many larger shows. I love that these breakdowns offer women more opportunities to succeed and to be compared against others in the same age group. For a sport like figure in particular, and while many of the older contestants certainly look like they are decades younger, it is nice not to have a 50 year old physique compared with a 20 year old physique. More divisions also offers the opportunity for more stage time for many of the women that want to compete in a figure competition over 40.
Masters Figure Competition Rules
A masters figure competition follows the same guidelines and have the same judging criteria as any other figure show. While this criteria can vary in different organizations, here are the things that the judges are looking for in most all masters figure competitions.
NPC AND IFBB CRITERIA FOR JUDGING MASTERS FIGURE 35+ & FEMALE FIGURE COMPETITORS OVER 50
Criteria for Judging Female Physiques in the masters figure competition 2 piece round:
- Muscularity – the amount of muscle will vary between the divisions
- Condition- will vary depending on the division
- Symmetry and Balance
Specifically, the figure competition judges are look for an overall balance of muscular development which includes rounded delts, sweep to the quads, back depth, and width – emphasis is on balance and symmetry. Successful competitors will have a small amount of muscle separation with a strong V taper. In masters figure, a V taper is defined by a woman having wider shoulders and back leading down to tight, thinner abs and lean but shapely legs. This gives the impression of a V through the woman's upper body when view from a distance.
As with all figure competitions, the most successful masters figure competitors 35+ and female figure competitors over 50 will have tight glutes with separation between the hamstring and glute area with what is often referred to as a visible glute-ham tie-in. Overall though there should be muscular balance between the upper and lower body. It is possible though to be too lean and too muscular for a masters figure competition. The ideal competitor will NOT have striations or graininess in their muscles nor will the have the muscularity and thickness associated with the Women's Physique category or Women's Bodybuilding.
Female Figure Competitors Over 40
Female Figure Competitors Over 50
Meet Melissa Jackson
Melissa has been a part of the FitBody Contest Prep Team for three seasons and is an incredible asset to the team. She began competing at 41 after many years of working out and not seeing much change in her body. She felt it was time to take her fitness to another level and knew competing would be great motivation to get her where she had always wanted to be. Well, motivation is right! Melissa has completely transformed her body and as she says – she feels better at 42 than she did at 22! Now with 4 shows under her belt, Melissa’s last showing was at the NPC Northern Kentucky where she placed 2nd in one of the country’s most competitive Master’s Figure Classes! If you want to be inspired, look for Melissa to be stepping on stage this fall again at the NPC Kentucky Muscle show.
Meet Angie Davis
Angie is a 58-year-old mother of 2 daughters with 2 grandchildren. Five years ago she was 30 lbs overweight and decided she wanted to get into better shape. Angie enlisted the help of a personal trainer, Aaron Harrison, and made significant improvements in her body. She decided that she wanted to get into even better shape and set a goal to compete in a Figure competition. At that point, she sought out my help to prepare for her figure show and come in at her personal best. I work with many women around the world taking them step-by-step through the contest prep process for Figure & Bikini.
Angie’s hard work and dedication paid off when she swept the NPC Kansas City Bodybuilding and Figure show. She placed first in both the Master’s over 50 and the Master’s Over 35 classes. Angie is such a phenomenal competitor that we decided she should compete in the Open category as well where she placed 2nd against women half her age!
How You Can Get Started?
Diet, exercise and targeted supplementation are the key components to preparing for a Master’s Figure Competition.
Here are the supplements that I consider key to success in Masters Figure:
Ultra 40 – 3 with 5 meals per day
Muscularity – 2 with 5 meals per day
Lean Out – 2 with 5 meals per day
Glutamine Select – 1 scoop before each workout
Supplements that are particularly important for Master’s Competitors:
Muscle Synergy Powder – 1 scoop before training
Quadracarn – 3 in the am, 3 before training and 3 with meal 5
Joint Care – 1 with 3 main meals each day
Fit Tabs – 2 in the am and 2 in the pm
Masters Figure Competitor
Masters Figure Competitor
Masters Figure Competition Training Program
Training programs vary based on your current conditioning and your goals. To be competitive in Master’s Figure you need to have a good amount of muscle mass and low bodyfat. The following program works well for a woman that needs to gain muscle while losing fat with the emphasis on gaining muscle.
Injuries are more common as we age, so be sure to listen to your body and push yourself within your safe limits. Warm-ups are critical, so be sure to take 5-10 minutes of light cardio exercise to warm-up followed by a muscle group specific warm-up exercise for that training day. Rest for 30 seconds between each exercise and be sure to stretch after each training session.
Day 1 – Chest and Back
Warm-up of 25 pushups broken down into sets as you need
Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Bent Over Rows – 4 sets of 10 reps
Incline Barbell Bench Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
Pec Dec Machine – 3 sets of 10 reps
Assisted Pull-ups with a wide grip – 4 sets of 10 reps
Combo – Lying Leg Raise/Bench Press
Day 2 – Legs and Abs
Warm-up with 50 walking lunges (no weight)
Leg Press (feet shoulder width apart) – 4 sets of 10 reps
Weighted Floor Crunch – 4 sets of 20 reps
Smith Machine Squats (feet shoulder width apart) – 4 sets of 10 reps
Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 10 reps
Hanging Knee Raises – 4 sets of 20 reps
Bench Rebounds – 4 sets of 15 reps
Day 3 – Shoulders & Biceps
Warm-up with 7 minutes of rowing
Seated Overhead Press – 4 sets of 10 reps
Lateral Raises – 4 sets of 10 reps
Standing Barbell Curls – 4 sets of 10 reps
DB Front Raises – 4 sets of 10 reps
Hammer curl standing on BOSU – 4 sets of 10 reps
Day 4 – Hamstrings/Glutes, Triceps and Abs
Warm-up with 25 walking lunges (no weight) followed by 25 close hand pushups
Deadlift on a BOSU – 4 sets of 10 reps
Walking Lunges with weight – 4 sets of 10 reps
Bench Dips – 4 sets of 10 reps
Glute Pulses – 4 sets with 15 reps
Tricep Kickbacks – 4 sets of 10 reps
Floor Crunch Burn-outs – 4 sets of as many crunches as possible – go until you feel a solid burn in your abs.
Master’s Figure Champion as a first time competitor at 58!
Hometown: Topeka, KS
Years Training: 1 year for show, 5 years total
Contest History (show & placings):
NPC Kansas City Bodybuilding Championship:
2nd – Open Figure
1st – Grand Master’s (over 50)
1st – Master’s (over 35)
Contest Weight: 120.5
Hobbies or Interests outside of competing: Cross-stitching, watching competitive sports, date nights with my husband and traveling
What were the biggest challenges you faced preparing for the competition?
The biggest challenge for me is the “competitive” dieting. I’ve never experience that type of “diet” deprivation before; nothing fried, no dairy, no chocolate cake, no vanilla wafers, everything I loved. The interesting thing is now, it’s not so bad. I can have one of my favorite foods with a designated cheat meal when I’m not preparing for a competition. One day my grandchildren will be able to see that it’s never too late to embark on a new and exciting journey, no matter what your age.
What advantages do you feel you had being a bit older getting ready for your first show?
One of the advantages of being an older competitor is it’s just me and my husband at home. The kids are grown and living on their own, so there was really no distraction.
Five years ago I was 30 pounds heavier. I decided a year ago I wanted to get in better shape and set a goal to prepare for a figure contest. Family support is critical when going through the training process. My husband, who is my biggest cheerleader, has been instrumental in preparing all of my meals leading up to the contest!
How did you come to choose Julie Lohre ass your figure competition coach in her Online Contest Prep Program?
I was searching online for some competition tips and ran across Julie Lohre’s website. I contacted her and she responded right away. She listened. She asked me my goals and what I was trying to accomplish. She immediately sent me training routines, diet and supplement suggestions as I progressed through the 12 weeks before the competition. Any questions I had she answered them right away. No question was too small or insignificant.
Words to live by: Effort plus determination equals results.
Years Training: 15 years
Contest Weight: 121
Hobbies or Interests outside of competing: Spending time with my husband and family
4th Masters Northern KY, 4th Masters NPC Cincinnati, 5th Masters KY Muscle
2nd Masters Northern KY, 2nd Masters and Open C Class Kentucky Muscle
4th Masters Northern KY, 2nd Masters and Open C Class NPC Indianapolis
3rd Masters Northern KY, 3rd Masters and 2nd Open C Class Indiana State, 3rd Masters 45+ KY Muscle
What motivated you to begin training for a Figure Competition?
After many years of working out and not accomplishing much change in my body, I just felt it was time to take it another level. I knew competing would be great motivation to get me where I have always wanted to be. What were the biggest challenges you faced preparing for the competition? Learning to “truly” eat clean, and not just some of the time. What advantages do you feel you had being a bit older getting ready for the show? I think the years of training on my own gave me a good muscle foundation to get started. In addition, life has settled down some which allowed me time to really focus on my goals. What difference has being a member of the FitBody Team made for you? The team has been a great support group. I find other women who think and feel the same way I do and that helps when things seem to get a little overwhelming.
Are there specific supplements that have helped you the most?
I have been taking several of the Beverly supplements over the past year. I really believe that has helped me get the edge that I didn’t seem to have initially. I have seen great results with the Density, Lean Out and Glutamine Select. And, the UMP tastes great!
How have you transformed? I have watched my body transform completely. Not only has my appearance changed, but my self esteem and the way I carry myself has changed. I am more confident. In addition, I feel like I could do anything I set my mind to at this point. I may be 42 years old, but I feel better now than when I was 22 years old!
Words to live by: It’s not about having what you want, but wanting what you have.
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