The dietary and pharmaceutical practices of pre-competition
bodybuilding athletes have been documented in several studies
(Elliot, Goldberg, Kuehl, & Catlin, 1987; Hickson, Johnson,
Lee, & Sidor, 1990; de Boer, De Jong, van Rossum, & Maes,
1991; Kleiner, Bazzarre, & Litchford, 1990; Balon, Horowitz,
& Fitzsimmons, 1992; Bazzarre, Kleiner, & Litchford,
1990; Hildebrand, Saldanha, & Endres, 1989).
Sandoval (1989) studied the body composition, exercise, and
nutritional profiles of 5 male and 6 female bodybuilders before
competition. The average male competitor had 3.6 years of experience
(range 1 to 10 yr) and was 7.2 ±1.6% body fat measured
by hydrostatic weighing 24 to 48 hours prior to competition.
Sixty percent of male competitors included some form of aerobic
activity in addition to weight training. The most popular form
of aerobic exercise was station cycling. Days before the competition,
the mean energy intake for men was 2347 ±220 kcalories;
199 ±65 gm of protein (34% of kcal), 305 ±91 gm
of carbohydrates (52% of kcal), 41 ±19 gm of fat (16%
kcal). This was calculated to be and average of 28 kcal/kg of
body weight. The most popular source of protein was white chicken
meat, lean fish, egg whites, and canned tuna packed in water.
Calcium was the only nutrient low in the diet supplying 54% of
the RDA. Only one man reported using a vitamin/mineral supplement
and 3 men reported using protein or amino acid supplements. All
men reported using anabolic steroids during training (Sandoval,
Heyward, & Lyons, 1989).
Hickson (1990) looked at the dietary and precontest preparations
of a male bodybuilder preceding competition. The subject weight
trained 6 days per week and included bicycling and running activities
most of these days. Anabolic steroids, HCG, and diuretic drugs
were self administered weeks 1 through 3 of the study. Anabolic
steroids included nandrolone decanoate 100 mg/wk (weeks 1-3),
boldenone undecylenate 50 mg/wk (weeks 1,2) 75 mg/wk (week 3),
methenolone-enantato 20 mg/wk (weeks 1-3), stanozolol 10mg/day
(week 1), oxandrolone 12.5 mg/day (week 1) 15 mg/day (weeks 2-3),
ethylestrenol 10mg/day (weeks 1,2), 12 mg/day (weeks 3). A strict
regimented diet was followed supplying 2094 ±295 kcalories
on days 1 through 21. This consisted of 26 ±4% protein,
56 ±8% carbohydrates, and 18 ±7% fat. On days 24
through 26, the subject employed a low carbohydrate (11% of kcalories)
diet supplying 1769 to 1781 kcal. On days 24 through 26, he returned
his carbohydrates to 57% of the total calories and consumed 2437
to 3285 kcal. All basic nutrients exceeded 80% of the RDA except
calcium (57 ±9%) and zinc (53 ±8%). A loss of approximately
5 lbs of lean body weight and 10.5 lbs of fat was measured throughout
the study to the day before the competition. One day before competition,
body fat was estimated at 4.9% fat. Finally, on day 27, the subject
place third in his weight class division (Hickson, Johnson, Lee,
& Sidor, 1990).
Kleiner (1990) studied diet, body composition, training, health,
and drug usage in 19 men and 8 women competing at the 1988 NPC
Junior USA Bodybuilding Championships. Data was collected using
dietary record forms, questionnaires and interview surveys. Anthropometrics,
blood pressure measurements, and blood samples were also taken.
Most competitors progressively restricted their diets 2 to 4
months before competition. The week before the competition, the
men's diet consisted of 2015 ±1060 kcalories; 169 ±94
gm of protein (33.5% of kcal), 243 ±121 gm of carbohydrates
(48% of kcal), and 40 ±51 gm of fat (18% of kcal). The
main source of protein was egg whites, but also included white
chicken meat, flounder, and haddock. Practically all basic nutrients
meet or exceeded the RDA except calcium (75%) and zinc (71%).
In addition, nutrition supplements were used by nearly all athletes.
Precontest body composition, estimated by seven-site skin fold
measurements, showed men at 6 ±1.8% body fat and women
at 9.8 ±1.5% body fat. Many athletes reported the use
of various drugs including anabolic steroids, diuretics, and
laxatives as part of their training regimens. A large portion
of competitors left the questions pertaining to drug use unanswered.
Two men practiced sodium loading preceded by sodium depletion
prior to the competition. Beginning 2 to 3 days before the competition,
fluid restriction and dehydration practices were reported by
all competitors (Kleiner, Bazzarre, & Litchford, 1990).
Bazzarre et. al. (1990) studied the nutrition intake, body
fat, and lipid profiles of 19 male and 8 female bodybuilders
competing at the 1988 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships. The
average male subjects had trained 8.2±4 years, competed
in bodybuilding events 5.6 ±3.1 years, competed in 8.5
±6.0 competitions, and won 3.4 ±2.4 competitions.
The average body fat was 6.0 ±1.8% estimated by seven
skinfold sites. The week preceding competition, the men's diet
consisted of 2015 ±1060 kcalories; 169 ±94 gm of
protein (34 ±12% of kcal), 243 ±121 gm of carbohydrates
(50 ±13% of kcal), 40 ±51 gm of fat (15 ±9%
of kcal). Eggs, egg whites, poultry, and fish seemed to be the
primary sources of protein. The basic nutrients were above the
RDA except calcium (75 %) and zinc (80%) (Bazzarre, Kleiner,
& Litchford, 1990).
Balon et. al (1992) studied the effectiveness of carbohydrate
loading on muscle girth. Carbohydrate loading is often practiced
by bodybuilders on the premise that it will increase muscle mass.
This theory was based on calculations that 2.33 to 4 grams of
water would bind to every gram of glycogen stored in the muscle.
Balon et. al (1992) conclude that carbohydrate loading has no
additional advantage to enhancing muscle girth in bodybuilders
over weight-lifting alone. They mention one elite female bodybuilder
(Corey Everson) who does not recommend carbohydrate loading despite
the popular literature advocating this procedure for bodybuilders.(Balon,
Horowitz and Fitzimmons, 1992).