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Blood tests on individuals have also revealed that blood sugar levels available energy drop dramatically after 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity training. As you only have a short period of time to train before our blood sugar level drops, "Exercise Selection" is crucial. You have to use Multi-Joint or Compound movements, as these offer the most training stimulus for the available amount of time. In other words, we can train many muscles simultaneously and thus use our energy more efficiently.

Performing three to four exercises with high intensity during a session are what most people are capable of. All the main structures of the body are worked hard during this time. Working on these big compound movements has a knock-on effect throughout the whole body; there is no need for specialization techniques or isolation movements. The fact is, the whole body is worked hard, rest and recuperation is allowed to take place and at the next exercise session we push out a few more reps than before with the same weight, then we have gotten stronger i.

After performing one complete set a compound exercise to total failure, it should be just about impossible to generate the same force and intensity for another complete set of the same exercise. If you're able to generate the same force and intensity for this second set then it'll be pretty obvious that not enough effort has been put into the first set. Thus you'll have to raise the intensity level you put out for the first set. If you think that volume training multiple sets is more effective then you're wrong!

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Speculative links between greater energy intake and superior retention of resistance training performance and LBM among energy restricted athletes are also noted in best practice nutrition guidelines for natural bodybuilders [ 11 ]. Causative links, however, cannot be inferred from the present design, or from existing research. Rather, these observational differences and associations warrant controlled investigations into whether higher CHO diets can facilitate superior bodybuilding-specific performance. Where protein and fat is concerned, there was no difference in reported intake between PRO and AMAs between male and female competitors.

Furthermore, although we did not measure LBM it seems likely competitors were consuming enough protein to meet to bodybuilding recommendations of 2. The low fat intakes observed in male and female 0. This low fat diet adapted by competitors More research is needed to assess if such low fat intakes are detrimental to bodybuilding performance, particularly when omega-3 fatty acids are consumed. While speculative, we propose our female data set may have been underpowered, and thus, similar differences in energy and CHO between AMA and elite PRO men may possibly be present among AMA and elite PRO women, although additional research is required to confirm this speculation.

Despite this lack of power, there is a paucity of data available for female physique competitors, and these findings provide initial insights into their dietary practices. Interestingly, despite bodybuilding lore that artificial sweeteners may increase body fat [ 39 ], male competitors did not exclude them, sugar free cordials or artificially sweetened carbonated beverages, consistent with previous findings [ 13 ].

Supplement usage reflected previous reports of British natural bodybuilders [ 13 ]. While its possible supplement usage influences competitive outcomes, it seems unlikely as most supplements with a proven and relevant ergogenic effect [ 11 ] were consumed by both AMAs and PROs.

Rather, it is the anecdotal observation of the authors that PRO competitors are more often provided sponsorships for free supplements by supplement companies. Thus, it is possible these differences between PROs and AMAs may be reflective of free supplement access and convenience. Finally, caffeine usage relative to body mass increased in both sexes over time.

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Bodybuilders are known for their strict adherence to bodybuilding menus during contest preparation. Following the same dietary plan for consecutive weeks is common practice in bodybuilding, underreporting however is common in the study of habitual dietary intake. We were therefore unable to capture any additional dietary changes that may have occurred, or practices such as cheat meals, or refeeding.


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It is however worth noting that bodybuilders compete in weight class dependent divisions, and for the purpose of weight loss likely weighing themselves regularly. Furthermore comparisons with athletic populations between self-reported and actual weight and height have noted differences between 0. Moreover, energy intake scaled for bodyweight was broadly similar to the previously published work in British natural bodybuilders corroborating our findings [ 13 ].

Although it is not unreasonable to assume that the PROs who obtain this status in this study from being successful at national and international competition were more muscular and at the start and end of their competition preparation based on BMI. Finally, although we recruited individuals from qualifying events and the PRO grand prix, we did not assess competitive schedule of the participants, which may have influenced the amount of time spent in the offseason, or preparation phase for both the PROs and AMAs. These differences in nutritional practice may be explained by a combination of higher levels of body mass presumably LBM among PROs, less aggressive energy deficits due to higher energy intakes primarily driven by greater CHO consumption, and diets that last longer, which result in similar reductions in body mass, with smaller relative losses per week.

Similar non-significant findings were reported among females, and additional research with larger samples is needed to discern sex differences between female AMAs and PROs. In aggregate, whether these differences reflect best practice, inherent physiological differences between PRO elite competitors and AMAs, or some combination is unknown. However, certain aspects of our findings such as facilitating greater EA and superior body composition outcomes via slower weight loss and longer diets are corroborated in other sports science research disciplines [ 36 , 42 ].

Thus, for bodybuilding goals we tentatively suggest that longer diets with rates of weight loss closer to 0. Finally, we encourage future experimental research to explore these avenues for enhancing bodybuilding performance. Schwarzenegger A, Dobbins B. The new encyclopedia of modern bodybuilding. New York: Simon and Schuster; Nutrient intake, body fat, and lipid profiles of competitive male and female bodybuilders.

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J Am Col Nutr. Nutritional status of nationally ranked elite bodybuilders. Int J Sport Nutr. Body composition changes in female bodybuilders during preparation for competition.

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Eur J Cin Nutr. Natural bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery: a month case study. Int J Sport Physiol Perform. Case study: natural bodybuilding contest preparation. Dietary intake, body composition, and menstrual cycle changes during competition preparation and recovery in a drug-free figure competitor: a case study. Case study: unfavorable but transient physiological changes during contest preparation in a drug-free male bodybuilder.

Int J Sport Nutr Exe. Psychophysiological tracking of a female physique competitor through competition preparation. Int J Exerc Sci. Physiological implications of preparing for a natural male bodybuilding competition. Eur J Sport Sci. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation.

Recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: resistance and cardiovascular training. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. Nutritional strategies of high level natural bodybuilders during competition preparation. Weight loss composition is one-fourth fat-free mass: a critical review and critique of this widely cited rule.

Obes Rev. Effects of dietary protein intake on body composition changes after weight loss in older adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr Rev.

Strength and Physique: Tactics and Strategies

Fagerberg P. Negative consequences of low energy availability in natural male bodybuilding: a review. A nutrition and conditioning intervention for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: case study. Gentil P. A nutrition and conditioning intervention for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: observations and suggestions. The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men.

N Engl J Med. Nutrition, pharmacological and training strategies adopted by six bodybuilders: case report and critical review. Eur J Transl Myol. High resistance training volume and low caloric and protein intake are associated with detrimental alterations in body composition of an amateur bodybuilder using anabolic steroids: a case report. J Funct Morphol Kinesiol. Biochemical profile and body composition alteration of amateur bodybuilders during the pre-contest period.

Slater G, Phillips SM. Nutrition guidelines for strength sports: sprinting, weightlifting, throwing events, and bodybuilding.


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J Sport Sci. Dietary intake of competitive bodybuilders.

Sports Med. Anabolic and catabolic hormones and energy balance of the male bodybuilders during the preparation for the competition. J Strength Cond Res. Physiological changes following competition in male and female physique athletes: a pilot study. Changes in body composition and neuromuscular performance through preparation, 2 competitions, and a recovery period in an experienced female physique athlete.