Until recently, bodybuilding was virtually ignored by sports scientists. While studies of the effects of drugs commonly used by athletes, such as anabolic steroids, did exist in the medical literature there was nonetheless a dearth of information about the science behind bodybuilding contest preparation. This situation changed more recently, as the science journals took an interest in how bodybuilders prepare for competition. Studies have examined nutritional aspects of contest prep, as well as training and anabolic drug use that may be involved. The more interesting of these studies involve those who don't use any type of anabolic drug. The reason for this is simple. It's harder to build muscle and lose fat when you are doing it naturally. While the debate continues about just how much anabolic drugs influence muscle gains, there is no argument that they provide some significant advantages to those who want to gain muscle mass and lose body fat. But going the natural route requires a bit more knowledge, as you have to experiment with various nutritional and training techniques to discover what works best for you. Everyone varies in their response to diets and training. What works for one person can lead to overtraining or no gains in another. This is why following the training routines listed either in bodybuilding magazines or on the Internet is a waste of time. You have to discover through experimentation what works best for your own body.
Of course, certain nutrition and training principles are more or less universal. Perhaps "universal" isn't the right word here, since while these techniques do work for most humans, they may not apply to extraterrestrials. But since no aliens from outer space have made any appearances in the Mr.Universe contest, that topic is beyond the scope of this article. Most people do profit from consuming a high protein diet if they want to gain muscle mass. As I pointed out in a past article in Applied Metabolics about the ideal amount of protein to gain muscle mass, this varies from a range of 1.7 to 3.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The ideal amount for most of those engaged in regular and intense weight training is 2.7 grams per kilogram of body weight. That comes out to a little over a gram of protein per pound of body weight. The fewer calories that you consume, the higher should be your protein intake. Higher protein intakes under calorie or restricted carbohydrate periods help to maintain lean mass. On the other hand, some of those recent studies about bodybuilding prep techniques found that once you reach a low level of body fat if you continue to restrict carbohydrates too much, you will begin to lose lean mass or muscle. Surprisingly, not even using anabolic steroids will stop this process. For this reason, I advised in my article about natural bodybuilding preparation in Applied . . .