ALL SET FOR THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN!

The countdown is on to the most prestigious and historic event of the year – the UKBFF British Championships in Nottingham.

The event has produced unforgettable moments and legendary champions for 40 years and is the only competition in the UK that offers professional status with the IFBB – the world's premier bodybuilding and fitness federation, founded in 1946 by Joe and Ben Weider.

 Family affair: Abies Nosa celebrates after winning men’s physique in 2016. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

Family affair: Abies Nosa celebrates after winning men’s physique in 2016. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

The IFBB has national federations in 197 countries and is recognised by about 90 national Olympic Committees. Remember, if an event doesn't have the IFBB logo it isn't an IFBB event.

Early registration for this year's contest is once again available for athletes who are travelling to Nottingham on Friday. It will be in the downstairs meeting room at the Crowne Plaza in Nottingham from 3pm-9pm on Friday.

The action will then take place at the Royal Concert Hall on Saturday and Sunday.

Shortly after the show the scores will be published online, along with results, a show report and pictures of winners.

The overall champions in bodybuilding, men's physique, bikini fitness and bodyfitness will be awarded their IFBB Elite Pro cards, which enables them to compete in a pro division, which this year is worth $1m in prize money, equally distributed between men and women.

 Two-time British bodyfitness champion Michelle Morris, from Scotland, with her trophy in 2015. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

Two-time British bodyfitness champion Michelle Morris, from Scotland, with her trophy in 2015. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

The champions in other classes, such as fitness, women's physique and wellness will also be eligible to apply for pro status if their line-ups have at least 10-15 competitors, which is a mandatory requirement under the IFBB constitution.

If there are fewer than 10-15, athletes may be invited to international events, such as the IFBB World Championships, or given pro cards if deemed good enough – but there will not be a mass outbreak of pro cards. 

“Pro cards should only be for the elite,” says UKBFF president Bill Tierney. “We know many athletes are desperate to be pros but ultimately it's unfair to give them to people who are not ready or who do not reach the criteria.

“It devalues the standard of the pro division and leads to many careers ending prematurely.”

 Since winning in men’s physique a year ago, Rasto Valent has won cash, appeared on the cover of the IFBB magazine Muscle & Health and been pictured on billboards as an IFBB Elite Pro. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey

Since winning in men’s physique a year ago, Rasto Valent has won cash, appeared on the cover of the IFBB magazine Muscle & Health and been pictured on billboards as an IFBB Elite Pro. PHOTO: Christopher Bailey