Michelle StevensPhysique Canada was formed in December 2011, in turn becoming Canada's newest physique organization for men and women. Furthermore, Physique Canada pledged from the start to sanction and promote only drug-tested competitions that would adhere to WADA-type standards – making Physique Canada not only the newest physique organization, but also the only one with a mandate to be 100 percent clean. Within Physique Canada's competitive structure, the group did one more thing – they decided to offer women's athletic physique. Doing so allowed Physique Canada to claim yet another first by being the only organization in North America to offer this exciting competitive discipline for women. The World Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Federation (WBPSF), of which Physique Canada is an affiliate, promotes this discipline globally.

The moment that Physique Canada decided to offer athletic physique, I knew that it would be a huge success for three main reasons. One had to do with the name – unlike so many other physique disciplines where the name bears little resemblance to the judging criteria (think "figure"), the term "women's athletic physique" seems pretty clear as to what it's about. Another was Physique Canada's clearly explained judging criteria, which chief judge Steve Duperré outlined in their entirety on Physique Canada's website and taught personally to all of Physique Canada's accredited judges. Last, but certainly not least, athletic physique rewards a feminine, in-shape, athletic look, which is precisely why so many women go the gym in the first place. In other words, it's a natural fit for most women who train seriously.

My hunches about its potential success were confirmed at Physique Canada's inaugural event held on June 16 – the Physique Canada National Classic. The Tier 3 (novice), Tier 2 (open), and Masters (over age 40) athletic physique competitors were plentiful and the top finishers were simply outstanding. The crowd also loved it. Kim Chartrand, who is now one of Canada's best-known fitness models through her success with the SAF organization and her recent appearance in Oxygen, competed in the Tier 2 short class and took the first runner-up spot, a placing that not only allowed her to progress to Tier 1 Elite within Physique Canada's competitive structure, but also qualified her for the world championships in Thailand this December. Kim is featured on our cover this month, as well as in the "Hot Shots" gallery. Michelle MacDonald was the winner of the short class, while Michelle Stevens won the tall class. Both women also earned Tier 1 Elite status and are now eligible for the world championships. The same goes for the rest of the top-three finishers in each Tier 2 class.

Tier 2 short classTier 2 women's athletic physique (short class)

From the initial announcement less than one year ago, to a hugely successful competition held in June, the women's athletic physique discipline has made great headway in Canada in no time at all, and, as I said, I'm not surprised, given everything that the discipline has going for it. The next women's athletic physique competitions will take place on October 20 at the Physique Canada Canadian Championships, which will be held in the main theater of the beautiful Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau, QC, Canada – moments from Ottawa, the nation's capital, located just across the river. Masters, Tier 3, Tier 2, and Tier 1 Elite competitions will be held. Physique Canada's other women's discipline, muscular physique, will also be offered there, as well as men's bodybuilding.

Are you interested in what women's athletic physique offers? Do you think you have what it takes to succeed? Check out Physique Canada for details on women's athletic physique – it's fast becoming the country's most popular women's physique discipline.

. . . Doug Schneider
SeriousAboutMuscle.com Founder and Publisher