Physiological Implications of Preparing for a Natural Male Bodybuilding Competition

Eur J Sport Sci. 2018 Jun;18(5):619-629. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2018.1444095. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

Abstract

This study aimed to describe the body composition and physiological changes which take place during the in-season and recovery periods of a group of natural bodybuilders. Natural male bodybuilders (n = 9) were assessed 16 (PRE16), 8 (PRE8), and 1 (PRE1) week(s) before, and 4 (POST4) weeks after a bodybuilding competition. Assessments included body composition, resting metabolic rate (RMR), serum hormones, and 7-day weighed food and training diaries. Change in parameters was assessed using repeated-measures analysis of variance. Dietary protein intake remained high throughout the study period (2.8-3.1 g kg-1 d-1). Fat mass (FM) was significantly reduced from PRE16 to PRE1 (8.8 ± 3.1 vs. 5.3 ± 2.4 kg, P < .01). There was a small decrease in lean mass (LM) from PRE8 to PRE1 (71.8 ± 9.1 vs. 70.9 ± 9.1 kg, P < .05). No changes in RMR were observed (P > .05). Large reductions in total and free testosterone (16.4 ± 4.4 vs. 10.1 ± 3.6 nmol L-1, P < .05; 229.3 ± 72.4 vs. 116.8 ± 76.9 pmol L-1, P < .05), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) (27.0 ± 7.7 vs. 19.9 ± 7.6 nmol L-1, P < .05) occurred between PRE16 and PRE1. LM and IGF-1 increased from PRE1 to POST4 (70.9 ± 9.1 vs. 72.5 ± 8.5 kg, P < .05; 19.9 ± 7.6 vs. 25.4 ± 9.3 nmol L-1, P < .05). Despite substantial reductions in FM, participants maintained almost all of their LM. The reduction in anabolic hormone concentration is likely attributable to the prolonged negative energy balance, despite a high dietary protein intake.

Keywords: Lean mass; body composition; fat mass; hormones; protein; resting metabolic rate.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism*
  • Body Composition*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Electric Impedance
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Testosterone / blood*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • Dietary Proteins
  • IGF1 protein, human
  • Testosterone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I