by Renn 

Natural Bodybuilding Guide: Preparing for NANBF Competitions


Natural Bodybuilding Guide

In this guide, we will explore the world of natural bodybuilding and provide helpful advice for those seeking to compete in a healthy and safe way. The sport of natural bodybuilding focuses on building an impressive physique without the use of performance-enhancing drugs, such as anabolic steroids.

In this beginner’s guide, you’ll learn about the North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (NANBF) competitions and how to choose the right category based on your unique strengths. We’ll also discuss perfecting your poses, preparing your competition look, scheduling for success, understanding judging criteria and awards, as well as sharing your journey online through engaging content.

With our Natural Bodybuilding Guide at hand, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge needed to excel in this rewarding sport while maintaining a strong focus on health and self-improvement.

Understanding NANBF Competitions

The North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (NANBF) hosts competitions for natural athletes who have passed a polygraph screening to ensure they haven’t used banned performance-enhancing substances. This level playing field allows you to compete with confidence, knowing that your fellow competitors are also drug-free.

Polygraph Screening Process

All NANBF competitors must undergo a polygraph screening before participating in any competition. The test is designed to detect the use of prohibited substances and methods listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List. By ensuring all participants adhere to these strict guidelines, the NANBF maintains its commitment to promoting fair play and healthy living within the bodybuilding community.

Natural Athlete Commitment

  • Ethical approach: As a natural athlete competing in a NANBF event, you prioritize health and self-improvement over quick fixes or shortcuts. Your dedication demonstrates integrity and perseverance.
  • Focused intense training: Achieving success as a natural bodybuilder requires consistent hard work, discipline, and effective training methods tailored specifically to your goals.
  • Balanced nutrition: A well-rounded diet plays an essential role in supporting muscle growth while maintaining overall health. Learning about proper nutrition will help fuel your workouts effectively without resorting to dangerous supplements or fad diets.

Benefits of Competing in NANBF Events

Participating in a NANBF competition offers numerous benefits for female bodybuilders, including:

  1. Recognition and exposure: Showcasing your hard work on stage can lead to opportunities within the fitness industry, such as sponsorships or collaborations with other athletes.
  2. Motivation and goal setting: Preparing for a competition provides a clear target to strive towards while keeping you accountable throughout your training journey.
  3. Sense of accomplishment: Stepping on stage at a NANBF event is a testament to your dedication and commitment. It’s an opportunity to celebrate personal growth and achievement alongside like-minded individuals who share similar values.

In addition to these benefits, competing in natural bodybuilding events promotes overall health by encouraging drug-free practices that prioritize long-term well-being over short-term gains. Aspiring competitors can find inspiration from fellow athletes’ success stories shared through various online platforms such as social media or blogs dedicated specifically to women interested in natural bodybuilding workouts.

Understanding NANBF Competitions requires a thorough assessment of your body type and strengths in order to choose the right category. Once you have a firm grasp of the requirements, it is time to decide which category best suits your body type and capabilities.

Key Takeaway: 

The North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (NANBF) hosts competitions for natural athletes who have passed a polygraph screening to ensure they haven’t used banned performance-enhancing substances. Aspiring competitors can find inspiration from fellow athletes’ success stories shared through various online platforms such as social media or blogs dedicated specifically to women interested in natural bodybuilding. Competing in natural bodybuilding events promotes overall health by encouraging drug-free practices that prioritize long-term well-being over short-term gains.

Choosing the Right Category

It is essential to choose the right category based on your physique, goals, and personal preferences so that you can effectively display your achievements on stage.

Assessing Your Body Type and Strengths

To determine which category best suits you, start by assessing your body type and strengths. Are you lean with a toned figure or do you have more muscle mass? Do you excel in strength training or are aesthetics more important to you? By understanding what makes your physique unique, it will be easier to select a suitable competition category.

  • Bikini: Ideal for women with a lean, toned figure who prioritize symmetry oversize.
  • Figure: Suitable for those with slightly more muscle definition than bikini competitors but still maintain an aesthetic appearance.
  • Women’s Physique: A perfect fit for women who possess significant muscle mass while maintaining femininity through graceful posing routines.
  • Women’s Bodybuilding: Designed for female athletes showcasing extreme muscular development combined with excellent conditioning and presentation skills.

Researching Each Category Requirements

In addition to evaluating your own strengths, take time to research each category’s specific requirements. The NANBF has detailed guidelines outlining mandatory poses, judging criteria, height classes (if applicable), and other relevant information about each division. Familiarize yourself with these rules by visiting the official NANBF Categories page.

Watching videos of past competitions or attending a live event can help you to learn what the judges expect in each division. Observing other competitors can provide valuable insights into the level of conditioning, posing techniques, and stage presence required for success.

Remember that selecting the right category is crucial for showcasing your hard work and dedication effectively on stage. By assessing your body type, and strengths, and researching each division’s requirements, you will be well-prepared to make an informed decision about which NANBF competition category best suits you.

Once you have determined your body type and strengths, the next step is to research each category’s requirements for natural bodybuilding. By perfecting your poses and learning mandatory poses for chosen categories, you can ensure a smooth transition between them in competition.

Key Takeaway: 

Choosing the right category is crucial for female bodybuilders to showcase their hard work and dedication effectively on stage. Assessing your body type, and strengths, researching each division’s requirements, and observing other competitors can provide valuable insights into what judges are looking for in each category. Remember that selecting the right category will help you achieve success in natural bodybuilding competitions.

Perfecting Your Poses

Each competition category has mandatory poses designed to highlight specific muscle groups and symmetry. Practicing these poses regularly will help you display your physique confidently on stage while meeting judges’ expectations. This section will look at the significance of mastering your poses for the competition class you’ve chosen, as well as advice on transitioning between them seamlessly.

Learning Mandatory Poses for Chosen Category

The first step in perfecting your posing routine is understanding the mandatory poses required by NANBF for each category. These may include front double biceps, side chest, or rear lat spread among others. Take time to research and learn the proper form and technique for each pose so that you can showcase your hard work effectively.

  • Bikini: Front pose, back pose
  • Figure: Quarter turns (front/side/back/side)
  • Women’s Physique & Women’s Bodybuilding: Front double biceps, side chest, back double biceps with calf flexed, abdominals with the thigh flexed
  • Mixed Pairs: Front double biceps together or individually, side chest together or individually, back double bicep together or individually, abdominal/thighs facing forward 

Tips for Smooth Transitions Between Poses

In addition to mastering individual poses, it’s essential to practice transitioning smoothly between them during a competition. For a professional-level presentation, it is important to practice the transitions between poses in order to maintain control and create an impressive performance. Here are some tips to help you achieve seamless transitions:

  1. Practice, practice, practice: The more you rehearse your posing routine, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become in executing each transition.
  2. Maintain proper posture: Focus on keeping your chest lifted and shoulders back throughout each pose and transition to maintain a strong stage presence.
  3. Breathe deeply and relax: Remember to breathe during transitions – this will help prevent muscle cramping or shaking while allowing for smoother movements between poses.
  4. Synchronize with music (if applicable): If using music during your routine, synchronizing poses with beats or melodies can create a visually appealing performance that captures the audience’s attention. 

Incorporating these techniques into your posing practice will ensure that when it comes time to step on stage at a NANBF competition, you’re ready to showcase not only your incredible physique but also the dedication it took to perfect every aspect of your presentation.

Perfecting your poses is essential to a successful bodybuilding competition. Preparing the perfect look for the stage requires just as much attention and detail, so be sure to select the right suit color and style that best suits you.

Key Takeaway: 

To excel in a NANBF competition, female bodybuilders must learn and perfect the mandatory poses for their chosen category. Smooth transitions between poses are also crucial to create a polished presentation, which can be achieved through practice, maintaining proper posture, breathing deeply and relaxing, and synchronizing with music if applicable.

Preparing Your Competition Look

A polished appearance is crucial when stepping onto the stage at a NANBF competition. From selecting the perfect suit to getting a professional spray tan, every detail matters in showcasing your hard work and dedication.

Selecting the Perfect Suit Color and Style

Your competition suit should complement your complexion and accentuate your physique. When choosing a suit color, consider shades that will contrast well with your tanned skin. Popular choices include jewel tones like emerald green or deep blue, as well as metallic hues such as gold or silver.

The style of your suit also plays a significant role in highlighting your best features. For example, bikini competitors often opt for suits with connectors that add sparkle and draw attention to their waistline. In contrast, figure athletes may choose more conservative designs that emphasize muscle definition without distracting from their overall presentation.

Finding Reputable Spray Tanning Services

A flawless spray tan can make all the difference on stage by enhancing muscle definition and creating an even skin tone. It’s essential to find a reputable competition tanning service experienced in working with bodybuilders so you can achieve optimal results.

  • Research: Start by searching online for local services specializing in competition tans or ask fellow competitors for recommendations.
  • Schedule: Book your appointment well ahead of time to ensure availability – many athletes prefer having their tan applied one or two days before show day.
  • Maintenance: Follow the tanning technician’s instructions for proper maintenance, such as avoiding water and wearing loose clothing to prevent smudging.

Packing Hair Styling Products and Skin Supplies

Ensure you have the right styling products to create a sophisticated appearance that accentuates your body shape. Choose a hairstyle that frames your face without obstructing the judge’s view of your upper body. Don’t forget to pack essentials like hairspray, bobby pins, and a comb for last-minute touch-ups backstage.

In addition to hair supplies, be sure to bring skin products like oil or glaze for added shine on stage. These items can enhance muscle definition by reflecting light off your skin – just remember not to overdo it.

Backstage Footwear: The Importance of Flip Flops

While it may seem trivial, bringing flip-flops as backstage footwear is essential during a NANBF competition. Not only do they provide comfort while waiting in line or preparing for callouts but also protect your freshly applied spray tan from smudging due to tight shoes or socks.

Preparing your competition look is an important part of the bodybuilding process and requires careful consideration. By scheduling for success, you can ensure that everything runs smoothly on the event day.

Key Takeaway: 

To showcase your hard work and dedication at a NANBF competition, it’s crucial to have a polished appearance. This includes selecting the perfect suit color and style that complements your complexion and physique, finding reputable spray tanning services for an even skin tone, packing hair styling products and skin supplies for last-minute touch-ups backstage, and bringing flip-flops as essential footwear to protect your freshly applied spray tan from smudging.

Scheduling for Success

Being organized before show day ensures everything runs smoothly during this high-pressure event. Bring along important items such as membership cards and documents needed by organizers while familiarizing yourself with schedule timings so you’re prepared when it comes time.

Purchasing Necessary Memberships/Cards Ahead of Time

To compete in a NANBF competition, you’ll need to have a valid NANBF membership card. Make sure to purchase your membership well ahead of the competition date, as processing times may vary. You can easily apply for your membership online through the NANBF website.

Understanding the Event Schedule and Backstage Logistics

Familiarize yourself with the event schedule provided by the organizers, which will typically include information on competitor check-ins, polygraph testing appointments, pre-judging start times, and finals schedules. Knowing these details will help you plan accordingly and avoid any last-minute stress or confusion.

  • Competitor Check-Ins: Arrive early for check-ins to ensure that all paperwork is completed promptly and without hassle.
  • Polygraph Testing Appointments: As mentioned earlier, all competitors must pass a polygraph test prior to competing at a NANBF event. Be aware of your appointment time slot and arrive punctually.
  • Pre-Judging Start Times: Pre-judging usually takes place in the morning or early afternoon hours before finals commence later in the evening. Know when your category’s pre-judging begins so that you can be backstage warming up beforehand.
  • Awards Ceremony & Finals Schedule: Be aware of the time when your category’s finals and awards ceremony will take place, as you’ll want to be present for these important moments.

In addition to understanding the event schedule, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with backstage logistics. This includes knowing where competitors should gather before stepping on stage, locating restrooms and changing areas, and identifying designated spaces for storing personal belongings. By being well-prepared in advance, you can focus on showcasing your hard work and dedication on stage.

Successful scheduling is essential to a successful competition experience. With the right preparation and knowledge of judging criteria, you can be confident in your ability to stand out during callouts at any bodybuilding event.

Key Takeaway: 

For successful participation in a natural bodybuilding competition, preparation and organization are essential. This includes purchasing necessary memberships and understanding the event schedule and backstage logistics. Arriving early for check-ins, polygraph testing appointments, pre-judging start times, and awards ceremonies will help avoid last-minute stress or confusion.

Judging Criteria & Awards

At NANBF competitions, judges evaluate competitors based on their physique, presentation, and adherence to mandatory poses. The top five athletes in each category are called out and awarded prizes. Understanding judging criteria will help you tailor your preparation accordingly.

Key factors that influence judges’ decisions

The main aspects that the judges consider during a NANBF competition include:

  • Muscularity: Judges assess the size, shape, and overall development of muscles.
  • Symmetry: A balanced proportion between upper and lower body parts is essential for a harmonious appearance.
  • Presentation: Your stage presence plays a significant role in how well you showcase your hard work; this includes posing technique, suit selection, grooming, and overall confidence.
  • Fulfilling Mandatory Poses Requirements: Proper execution of required poses demonstrates mastery over one’s physique while highlighting specific muscle groups effectively.

Tips for standing out during callouts

To make a lasting impression on the judges during callouts at a NANBF competition, keep these tips in mind:

Show Confidence: A confident competitor exudes charisma on stage; practice smiling naturally while maintaining eye contact with the audience as well as the panel of judges throughout your performance.

Hone Your Posing Technique: Dedicate ample time to perfecting all mandatory poses so they appear effortless when executed on stage. Don’t forget to work on smooth transitions between poses, as this adds a polished touch to your overall presentation.

Highlight Your Unique Features: Emphasize the aspects of your physique that set you apart from other competitors; for example, if you have particularly well-developed shoulders or an impressive back definition, make sure these areas are showcased effectively during mandatory poses.

Maintain Proper Grooming and Attire: A professional spray tan, a well-fitted competition suit, and neat hair styling contribute significantly towards creating a polished appearance on stage. Put money into top-notch items and administrations to guarantee that each part of your look is immaculate. 


By focusing on these key factors and implementing the tips provided above, you can enhance your chances of standing out during callouts at NANBF competitions. Remember that consistency in training, nutrition, and posing practice will ultimately lead to success on stage.


The judging criteria and awards for natural bodybuilding competitions are important to consider when preparing for the competition. By creating engaging content around your preparation journey, you can build a supportive online community that will help motivate and inspire others in their own fitness goals.

Key Takeaway: 

To succeed in a NANBF competition, female bodybuilders should focus on muscularity, symmetry, presentation, and fulfilling mandatory pose requirements. To stand out during callouts they should show confidence, hone their posing technique, highlight unique features, and maintain proper grooming and attire. Consistency in training, nutrition, and posing practice is key to success on stage.

Sharing Your Journey Online

Social media is a powerful tool for documenting your natural bodybuilding journey and connecting with fellow competitors. Posting show day photos can inspire others while showcasing the dedication it takes to compete at a NANBF event.

Creating Engaging Content Around Competition Prep

To make your online presence stand out, create engaging content that highlights various aspects of your competition preparation. Share posts about your progress pictures, workout routines, meal plans, and even behind-the-scenes moments leading up to the big day. By creating engaging content that showcases your journey, you can provide valuable insight to those who seek to follow in your footsteps.

  • Tips:
  • – Post regular updates on training progress and physique changes.
  • – Share healthy recipes or meal prep ideas tailored for bodybuilders.
  • – Offer tips on staying motivated during challenging times in the competition prep process.

Building a Supportive Online Community

A strong support system is crucial when preparing for a female bodybuilding competition. Building connections with other athletes through social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook can help you stay accountable throughout this journey. Joining relevant groups such as the officialNANBF Facebook group or forums dedicated to women’s health and fitness will enable you to exchange advice, encouragement, and resources with like-minded individuals who share similar goals.

  1. Steps:– Follow hashtags related to natural bodybuilding (#naturalbodybuilding, #femalebodybuilder).
  2. – Engage with other competitors by commenting on their posts and sharing your own experiences.
  3. – Participate in online discussions about training methods, nutrition tips, and competition advice.

Remember that social media isn’t only a place to flaunt accomplishments, but can be utilized as an instrument for motivation and fostering long-term relationships in the fitness world. By documenting your journey as a natural female bodybuilder competing at NANBF events, you can motivate those who may be considering taking the leap into this rewarding sport while building lasting connections within the fitness community.

Key Takeaway: 

To enhance your natural bodybuilding journey, use social media to connect with fellow competitors and share inspiring posts. Engage in online discussions about training methods, nutrition tips, and competition advice while building a supportive community that can help you stay accountable throughout the process. Remember to document your progress authentically and offer valuable insights for those looking to follow in your footsteps.

Frequently Asked Questions Natural Bodybuilding Guide

What is the best routine for a natural bodybuilder?

The best routine for a natural bodybuilder focuses on compound exercises, progressive overload, and adequate recovery. A well-rounded program includes training each muscle group 2-3 times per week with exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups. Additionally, incorporating cardio and flexibility work will improve overall fitness. For more guidance on creating an effective workout plan tailored to your goals, click here.

How do I start natural bodybuilding?

To start a natural bodybuilding diet, follow these steps: set clear goals; create a balanced diet plan rich in protein; establish a consistent workout regimen focusing on compound movements; prioritize sleep and stress management; track progress regularly; consider working with a coach or joining online communities for support. Learn more about World Natural Bodybuilding Federation here.

Is it possible to be a natural bodybuilder?

Yes, it is possible to be a successful natural bodybuilder by committing to proper nutrition, and consistent training routines focused on progressive overload principles while avoiding performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Many organizations such as NANBF, promote drug-free competitions where athletes can showcase their hard work without using PEDs.

What is the best age for natural bodybuilding?

Natural bodybuilding can be pursued at any age but starting early (late teens or early twenties) allows individuals to build foundational strength and muscle mass over time. However, age should not be a limiting factor as many people have achieved impressive results later in life by adopting consistent training and nutrition habits.


Overall, understanding the NANBF competitions and choosing the right category is crucial for success in natural bodybuilding. Perfecting your poses, preparing your competition look, scheduling for success, and knowing the judging criteria are all important factors to consider when competing. Additionally, sharing your journey online can help build a supportive community around you.

If you’re looking to improve your natural bodybuilding routine or take it to the next level, check out Jennifer Norona’s Natural Bodybuilding Guide. Jennifer Norona’s Natural Bodybuilding Guide can be a great asset in helping you to attain your physical objectives and ascend higher in this pursuit.

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