Dietary Intake, Body Composition, and Menstrual Cycle Changes during Competition Preparation and Recovery in a Drug-Free Figure Competitor: A Case Study

Nutrients. 2016 Nov 20;8(11):740. doi: 10.3390/nu8110740.


Physique competitions are events in which competitors are judged on muscular appearance and symmetry. The purpose of this retrospective case study was to describe changes in dietary intake, body mass/composition, and the menstrual cycle during the 20-week competition preparation (PREP) and 20-week post competition recovery (REC) periods of a drug-free amateur female figure competitor (age = 26-27, BMI = 19.5 kg/m²). Dietary intake (via weighed food records) and body mass were assessed daily and averaged weekly. Body composition was estimated via Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and 7-site skinfold measurements. Energy intake, body mass and composition, and energy availability decreased during the 20-week PREP period (changes of ~298 kcals, 5.1 kg, 6.5% body fat, and 5.4 kcal/kg fat free mass, respectively) and returned to baseline values by end of the 20-week REC period. Menstrual cycle irregularity was reported within the first month of PREP and the last menstruation was reported at week 11 of PREP. Given the potentially adverse health outcomes associated with caloric restriction, future, prospective cohort studies on the physiological response to PREP and REC are warranted in drug-free, female physique competitors.

Keywords: amenorrhea; bodybuilders; competition preparation; competition recovery; dieting; energy availability; physique athletes.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Amenorrhea / etiology*
  • Amenorrhea / physiopathology
  • Athletes*
  • Body Composition*
  • Caloric Restriction* / adverse effects
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menstrual Cycle*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skating*
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Time Factors


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins