In the previous article about how to prepare for competing in a natural bodybuilding competition, I provided an overview related to relevant nutritional and supplementation factors. In order to see how all this fits together in actual practice, let's follow two natural bodybuilders as they prepare for competition. These case studies will show precisely what these men did to get in peak condition, and both were successful in their endeavors.
The first bodybuilder was a 26-year-old man who had achieved professional status two years earlier. His entire preparations for a contest were closely documented for one year, six months prior to the contest, and for another six months after the contest. He consumed 5 meals a day, spaced 4 to 4.5 hours apart. While preparing for the contest, he consumed 25% of his total carbohydrate intake prior to his workout, and another 25% after his workout. Thus, most of his carb intake occurred when he was more likely to oxidize the carbs, thus not impeding his fat-loss efforts. In addition, the strategically placed carb intake also maximized his glycogen stores, thus assuring maximal energy output for his workouts. This type of scheduled carb intake also likely provides a muscle-sparing action, an important consideration for a natural bodybuilder. For five days of the week, his diet composition consisted of 36% protein, 36% carbs, and 28% fat. On two of the days, he changed the proportion of macronutrients to this: 30% protein, 48% carbs, 22% fat. This change was ostensibly made to top off his muscle and liver glycogen stores since the main nutrient that was increased was his carb intake. He stayed at about the same level of total calorie intake throughout his preparation but raised or lowered his carb intake by 5 to 10 grams depending on how his fat loss was progressing. Right up to the contest, he increased his intake of protein to 46%, with 29% carbs and 25% fat. This was done to preserve muscle as he got leaner since there is a greater chance of muscle loss when most of the body fat stores are exhausted. The only food supplements he used were creatine and whey protein.
In relation to training, he trained 4 days a week with weights, and also did 40 minutes of high-intensity interval training, once a week. On another day, he did 30 minutes of low intensity, steady-state aerobics. he trained each muscle group twice weekly. He also practiced his posing routine for 15-30 minutes, starting once a week, increasing to 3-4 times a week as the contest drew closer.
This bodybuilder underwent physiological testing procedures that revealed some surprising effects. During his preparation for the contest, his resting heart rate dropped from 53 to only 27 beats per minute. After the contest, his resting heart rate was up to 46 beats per . . .