Bodybuilding Case Study: Methods

Subject | Training Records | Body Composition | Dietary Intake | Exercise | Pharmaceuticals


Man Bodybuilding The subject was a Caucasian male in his mid-twenties. Figure 1 and table 1 represent the subject's body weight and body composition throughout his training career. The subject had weight trained steadily for over a decade previous to the state competition except for 2 major breaks. From the beginning of his initiation of weight training, a month break was taken on month 34 and a nine-month break was around months 96 through 105. The subject had no written record of the exact time of the second break, so was asked to guess.



The subject had competed in five competitions; on months 34, 46, 65, 93, and 94. In the competition on month 65, the subject placed in a "teenage" regional competition losing to a synthetic competitor. In competitions on months 93 and 94, the subject placed second and third place respectively in "open" state competition. The subject began his first anabolic steroid cycle on the seventh year (month 84). The study represented the subject's fifth cycle of anabolic steroids in his career. The previous anabolic steroid cycles began on months 81, 87, 110, and 113. Again, the subject had to estimate the time of the second, third, and fourth cycle after looking at his body composition data. The subject had not previously used drugs in approximately one year from the beginning of the study.

Training Records

The subject recorded his nutritional intake, pharmaceutical use, weight training program, body weight, and skinfold measurements while preparing for a state and national bodybuilding event. The subject's body composition and related history had also been documented throughout his career. The subject had previously obtained and recorded information pertaining to his preparation for his own training records before this study was proposed. He agreed to supply us with all relevant records, including body composition estimations, dietary analysis, training logs, and various notes. In addition, we interviewed the subject on numerous occasions, so we could understand all facets of his contest preparations and relevant experiences. We agreed to keep the subject anonymous by the advice of the subject's legal counsel.

Body Composition

Skinfold sites had been measured at the triceps, pectoral, subscapular, midaxillary, abdominal, suprailiac, and thigh skinfolds (Lohman, 1988). The same tester has taken all skinfold measurements since month 80 and throughout the precontest periods using Lange skinfold calipers (Cambridge Scientific Industries, Cambridge, MD). The tester repeated the site sequence two or three times depending if a mode was found within the same site. The median skinfold was used if a mode was not seen. The skinfold measurements were taken approximately every two weeks for four periods and then approximately once every week thereafter for an additional eight periods. Body density was estimated by the seven site skinfold measurements as described by Jackson and Pollock (Jackson, 1978). Body composition was extrapolated from the Siri formula. Unless otherwise noted, total body weight was taken from the same scale which had been calibrated regularly. Percent fat, pounds of fat, and pounds of lean body weight had been calculated and recorded. No skin-fold measurements were taken on the first day of caloric and drug manipulation. It was assumed that the body composition on day 1 was the same as estimated nine days previously, since the subject had indicated that no noticeable gains were experienced, and that no pharmaceuticals or dietary manipulations were introduced during this time.

Dietary Intake

The subject recorded all food in his possession at the beginning or one day preceding the period. All additional food purchased during the period was also recorded. At the end or one day preceding each period, an inventory of the remaining food in the subject's possession was recorded. The difference of the food at the beginning and end of each period was figured to yield the total food consumed during the period. The subject did not use food supplements during the study.

Nutritionist III, (N-Squared Computing, Salem, OR) analytical software was used on an IBM compatible microcomputer network to record and calculate daily nutrients, including: total kcalories, protein, carbohydrates, fats, alcohol, and the percentage of kcalories from each food component.


The subject exercised each major muscle group every 2-5 days resting every 4th or 5th day. The subject recorded his weight training exercises in a column with a corresponding number indicating the workout weight for that particular exercise. Fifty to 66% of this weight was used to perform a warm-up for 12 to 15 repetitions prior to the workout sets. After a 1-3 minutes rest between each set, 2 to 5 workout sets were performed with the last workout weight recorded for each exercise. Workout sets are usually comprised of 8-12 repetitions except when indicated by numbers in parenthesis by the corresponding exercise [ie: (6-8)].


These numbers indicated the repetition range used for this particular exercise. When the greater number of the repetition range was finally achieved, the workout weight was increased 5%-10%, recorded, and used the following set. Multiple sets were usually continued until the subject could not manage to achieve the lower repetition range of that particular exercise. The intensity of all sets were such that the subject felt he could not manage another repetition in proper form. The exception to this was when a few forced repetitions were performed with the assistance of a spotter on the last days before changing the weight training routine. A weight training routine was changed every 1-2 months.

The Subject usually walked at least two hours if not up to five hours daily. Slight modifications were made on exercise duration dependent upon body composition calculations and over-training cues.


The subject self-administer the anabolic-androgenic steroids: Oxymetholone (Anadrol), Boldenone undecylenate (Equipoise), Stanozolol (Winstrol-V), Methenolone enanthate (Primobolan Depot), and Fluoxymesterone (Halotestin) in varying dosages, combinations, and durations. Suspected counterfeit steroids, including Testosterone cypionate (Depo-Testosterone, Upjohn) and Nandrolone decanoate (Deca Durabolin, Lypomed) were also included. The subject also consumed Defend (Power Distributors, Marina Del Rey, CA) before Nationals in an attempt to eliminate the potential detection of metabolites of anabolic-androgenic steroids in the urine. The subject was taking a 12 mg capsule of Chlorpheniramine Maleate (Geneva Generics, Broomfield, CO) as needed for seasonal allergic rhinitis.

An attempt was made to administer one or more drugs in a systematic approach throughout the duration of the periods. The drug period generally began and ended 1 to 2 days preceding the corresponding body composition testing periods to account for the lag time thought to have occurred before the drug had its physiological effect. Manipulation in drug type, dosage, and administration pattern was based upon availability of compounds, experimental curiosity, biofeedback, and body composition results.

For guidance, the subject used the books Underground Steroid Handbook II by Daniel Duchaine (HLR Technical Books, Venice CA) and Anabolic Steroids: What Kind and How Many by Frederick C. Hatfield, Ph.D (Fitness Systems) when planning his cycles.

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