Anthropometric profiles together with a 4 compartment criterion model of body composition analysis (total body water, bone mineral, fat and residual masses via a combination of deuterium dilution, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry and hydrodensitometry) were conducted on 3 elite male bodybuilders 10 wk and then 5 d before competition. A mean body mass reduction from 99.70 (Quetelet's Index = 31.6 kg/m2) to 92.79 kg (Quetelet's Index = 29.2 kg/m2) was accompanied by a decline in the sum of 8 skinfold thicknesses (triceps, subscapular, biceps, iliac crest, supraspinale, abdominal, front thigh and medial calf) from 51.1 to 36.7 mm. The 4 compartment body composition model indicated that there were reductions of: percent body fat (%BF) from 9.1 to 5.0%, fat free mass (FFM) from 90.60 to 88.14 kg and fat mass (FM) from 9.10 to 4.65 kg. Sixty-four percent of the 6.91 kg loss in body mass therefore came from the FM. The 2 compartment hydrodensitometric model yielded higher %BFs (initial = 11.2; final = 7.1) than the 4 compartment model (initial = 9.1; final = 5.0) which is theoretically more valid because it controls for biological variability in the percentages of water and bone mineral in the FFM. Nevertheless, both models registered decreases of 4.1%BF.