Fitness is a sport that promotes growth, self-preservation and creative expression. It exudes a charm of brightness within the competitor and it represents a personal journey for all those involved. When a woman stands on stage to present her physique to the world, she emanates the pride of what her body represents: hard work, endless sacrifices, determination, and a work of art. Every woman makes a different statement with her aura. It sounds romantic, but if you ask most fitness competitors, they will agree that the preparation and growth is a very intimate experience.

Fitness competitions were created as an alternative for women to female bodybuilding. Some women are not ready or willing to build muscle mass to the impressive extent of some of today's female bodybuilders. However, men and women everywhere are appreciating the value of a strong mind and body. The days of the slender, shapeless meek body are fading. Ambitions are soaring, and with that rise comes the demand for the new feminine, yet strong and healthy physique. Fitness is often described as the "happy medium" between bodybuilding and aerobic competitions.

The sport of fitness is for women of various athletic backgrounds. There is no one path to enter the field. Fitness has become a sport of diversity where women of different athletic backgrounds can combine their passion for the sport and find success. Fitness has become a venue that is quickly attracting the attention of spectators everywhere.

The first aspect of a typical fitness competition involves the transformation of the physique. This journey can be the most rewarding. Evaluating one's strengths and weaknesses, you begin the arduous task of sculpting your perfect body. Everyone's body is built and shaped differently so the results will vary. It's important to seek to build "your" best body rather than "someone else's". You will build new muscle mass, lose excess body fat and enhance the body's overall symmetry.

Also challenging is the second aspect of fitness competitions where the athletes are given the opportunity to show off their athletic talents by applying their fitness skills to a choreographed routine to be performed on stage. This is usually the most intimidating for those without a performance background. The exciting part about developing the fitness routine is that a competitor gets to challenge their abilities, learn new skills, and exploit their current talents. This is where the levels of athleticism of the competitors are displayed to the audience and judges. Strength, flexibility, stamina and endurance are among the various athletic skills that will be evaluated.

It is important to understand that Fitness is still a virtually new concept in our ******** of universal sports. No longer in its developmental stages, the sport of fitness is actively building its credibility and making its mark. The sport of fitness is not always understood in the general public, but its growing popularity will capture the interests of women everywhere who still harbor that competitive energy when high school and college sports have ended.

By: Tanji Johnson (2001 NPC National Fitness Champion)

*Work It*