OPA, NPC, NANBF, IFPA, IFBB….All of these acronyms in the bodybuilding world can be very confusing! What are they and what do they all mean?
There are a lot of federations out there, WBFF, NPC, NANBF…. Each federation will have their own set of rules regarding what they require of their athletes from body composition to suit cut to drug testing, or no testing for that matter. You will find each federation sanctions their own bodybuilding events as well. This can make finding a bodybuilding show in your area really frustrating as there is not a one stop website listing all the shows. You have to go to each federations’ website and search events.
You may find you like competing at contests affiliated with a particular federation more than another. Some federations’ contests are more prevalent in particular areas of the country or the world.
The path to becoming a Pro is also a little different from federation to federation. If you have aspirations of becoming a pro, your goal would be to qualify and/or compete in shows that are awarding pro cards. For example, in the NPC, you must compete in regional contests and place in the top 5 or top 2 of an open class to go on to national level contests where pro cards are awarded.
In the NANBF, for example, you can compete in any amateur pro-qualifying contest in an open class to obtain a pro card. There are only a certain number of pro cards awarded per division at any given pro qualifying show. Once you obtain a pro card, you are only a pro in that federation (such as IFBB or IFPA) and can compete in shows that accept the federation you are a pro in. Professional bodybuilding athletes are awarded cash for winning and may be offered sponsorship by companies to endorse their products.
Professional and Amateur Federations
Below is a list of many prevalent amateur and pro bodybuilding federations. Schedules of shows, memberships and rules will be on their websites. Each federation is grouped with its amateur and pro federation.
- UFE – Ultimate Fitness Events (Amateur & Pro)
- NGA – National Gym Association (Amateur & Pro)
- ABA – Amateur Bodybuilding Association
- INBA – International Natural Bodybuilding Association
- PNBA – Professional Natural Bodybuilding Association (Pro)
- OCB – Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders (Amateur & Pro)
- INBF – International Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness (Amateur)
- WNBF – World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (Pro)
- ANBF – American Natural Bodybuilding Federation (Amateur & Pro)
- SNBF – Super Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness (Amateur & Pro)
- USBF – United States Bodybuilding Federation (Amateur & Pro)
- DFAC – Drug Free Athletes Coalition (Amateur & Pro)
- WBFF – World Beauty Fitness and Fashion (Amateur & Pro)
- Fitness America Tour (Amateur & Pro)
- NPA – Natural Physique Association (Amateur & Pro)
- NMA – Natural Muscle Association (Amateur & Pro)