A Nutrition Guide for Bodybuilding Competition Prep
Typically, contest preparation follows a minimum of 2 to a 4-month diet plan. The primary goals are shredding fat and increasing muscle size before hitting the stage.
Each person begins at different body fat percent and muscle size. Being able to accurately balance the macronutrients specific to the changing needs of the participant through the training process is essential. This is where it becomes tricky due to a lack of specific research for natural bodybuilders.
Research indicates,“it should be expected that the caloric intake at which one begins their preparation will likely need to be adjusted over time as body mass decreases and metabolic adaptation occurs.”Losing weight too fast can lead to loss of lean body mass (LBM) and strength. What has shown superior for retaining LBM is a gradual loss of .5kg or 1.1lbs per week (approximately a 500 calorie deficit per day).
This figure is based on a 154lb participant at 13% body fat and no more than 15lbs over their contest weight and given a 3-month prep time. This means a competitor who is over the suggested weight and body fat would require faster weight loss methods and risk losing lean body mass (LBM).
Ample time should be allowed to prepare for competition. This helps prevent aggressive weight loss measures linked to decreased LBM. Also, the program length needs to be specific for each competitor body type. Shorter diet periods for leaner participants compared to those with higher body fat percentages for example.
A 12-week study of male bodybuilders revealed significant weight loss during the final 3-weeks of contest prep. This resulted in a loss of lean body mass (LBM). It is suggested to apply gradual weight loss methods during the end of contest prep as compared to the start to avoid losing LBM.
Video: A Full Day Of Eating | Men's Physique Competition Prep
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