The dietary strategies of a 25-year-old bodybuilder were studied as he prepared for a contest. Food records were kept over a 6-month period that included the off-season, weight reduction phase, and week of a contest. Mean caloric intake during the off-season was 4,193 kcal (49 kcal/kg), Average intake per kg body weight was 8.7 g/kg carbohydrate and 2.8 g/kg protein. During the weight reduction phase of training, mean caloric intake was 3,020 kcal (37 kcal/kg). Carbohydrate intake averaged 6.1 g/kg and protein averaged 2.7 g/kg. The RDA was met for all micronutrients without any need for supplementation. Beginning at 3 weeks before the contest, dietary intake changed dramatically and haddock, rice, or potato were eaten every 2 hours. Protein intake averaged 4 g/kg. Carbo-loading was practiced the week precontest to enhance muscularity. During all phases the subject used anabolic steroids and consumed various supplements. During the off-season he took a high potency multivitamin/multimineral daily and 60-100 grams of amino acids when “needed.” As the competition drew closer, numerous additional supplements were taken. In light of these many unhealthy practices, alternative strategies should be negotiated with the athlete that are realistic, and changes should be implemented slowly.
Suzanne Nelson Steen is with the Center for the Study of Nutrition and Medicine, New England Deaconess Hospital, 1 Autumn St., Boston, MA 02215.