Case Study: The Effect of 32 Weeks of Figure-Contest Preparation on a Self-Proclaimed Drug-Free Female’s Lean Body and Bone Mass

in International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
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To achieve the criterion appearance before competing in a physique competition, athletes undergo preparatory regimens involving high-volume intense resistance and aerobic exercise with hypocaloric energy intake. As the popularity of “drug-free” competition increases, more athletes are facing this challenge without the recuperative advantage provided by performance-enhancing drugs. Consequently, the likelihood of loss of lean body and/or bone mass is increased. The purpose of this investigation was to monitor changes in body composition for a 29-year-old self-proclaimed drug-free female figure competitor during a 32-week preparatory regimen comprising high-volume resistance and aerobic exercise with hypocaloric energy intake. We used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to evaluate regional fat and bone mineral density. During the initial 22 weeks, the subject reduced energy intake and engaged in resistance (4–5 sessions/week) and aerobic (3 sessions/week) training. During the final 10 weeks, the subject increased exercise frequency to 6 (resistance) and 4 (aerobic) sessions/week while ingesting 1130–1380 kcal/day. During this 10-week period, she consumed a high quantity of protein (~55% of energy intake) and nutritional supplements. During the 32 weeks, body mass and fat mass decreased by 12% and 55%, respectively. Conversely, lean body mass increased by 1.5%, an amount that exceeded the coefficient of variation associated with DXA-derived measurement. Total bone mineral density was unchanged throughout. In summary, in preparation for a figure competition, a self-proclaimed drug-free female achieved the low body-fat percentage required for success in competition without losing lean mass or bone density by following a 32-week preparatory exercise and nutritional regimen.

Petrizzo, Martins, Wygand, and Otto are with the Dept. of Exercise Science, Health Studies, Physical Education, and Sport Management, Adelphi University, Garden City, NY. DiMenna is with the Teachers College, Department of Biobehavioral Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY.

Address author correspondence to John Petrizzo at jpetrizzo@adelphi.edu.