Changes in Body Composition and Neuromuscular Performance Through Preparation, 2 Competitions, and a Recovery Period in an Experienced Female Physique Athlete

J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Jul;33(7):1823-1839. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002758.


Tinsley, GM, Trexler, ET, Smith-Ryan, AE, Paoli, A, Graybeal, AJ, Campbell, BI, and Schoenfeld, BJ. Changes in body composition and neuromuscular performance through preparation, two competitions, and a recovery period in an experienced female physique athlete. J Strength Cond Res 33(7): 1823-1839, 2019-This prospective case study evaluated an experienced female figure competitor during contest preparation, 2 competitions, and a recovery period. Twelve laboratory sessions were conducted over 8 months. At each visit, body composition was assessed by 4-compartment model, resting metabolic rate (RMR) by indirect calorimetry, and neuromuscular performance by peak force and rate of force development (RFD) on a mechanized squat device. Caloric intake ranged from 965 to 1,610 kcal·d (16.1-24.8 kcal·kg·BM; 18.2-31.1 kcal·kg·FFM), with varying macronutrient intakes (CHO: 0.3-4.8 g·kg; PRO: 1.7-3.0 g·kg; and FAT: 0.2-0.5 g·kg). Body fat was reduced from 20.3 to 12.2% before the first competition and declined to 11.6% before the second competition. Fat-free mass increased by 2.1% before the first competition and peaked at 4.6% above baseline in the recovery period. Resting metabolic rate decreased from 1,345 kcal·d at baseline to a low value of 1,119 kcal·d between competitions. By the end of recovery, RMR increased to 1,435 kcal·d. Concentric and eccentric peak forces declined by up to 19% before the first competition, experienced perturbations in the inter-competition and recovery periods, and remained 5-8% below baseline at study termination. Similarly, RFD decreased by up to 57% before the first competition, was partially recovered, but remained 39% lower than baseline at study termination. Despite favorable body composition changes, neuromuscular performance was impaired during and after the competitive season in an experienced female physique competitor.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Resistance Training*