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Bodybuilding is a sport in which competitors are judged on muscular appearance. This case study tracked a drug-free male bodybuilder (age 26–27 y) for the 6 mo before and after a competition.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to provide the most comprehensive physiological profile of bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery ever compiled.

Methods:

Cardiovascular parameters, body composition, strength, aerobic capacity, critical power, mood state, resting energy expenditure, and hormonal and other blood parameters were evaluated.

Results:

Heart rate decreased from 53 to 27 beats/min during preparation and increased to 46 beats/min within 1 mo after competition. Brachial blood pressure dropped from 132/69 to 104/56 mmHg during preparation and returned to 116/64 mmHg at 6 mo after competition. Percent body fat declined from 14.8% to 4.5% during preparation and returned to 14.6% during recovery. Strength decreased during preparation and did not fully recover during 6 months of recovery. Testosterone declined from 9.22 to 2.27 ng/mL during preparation and returned back to the baseline level, 9.91 ng/mL, after competition. Total mood disturbance increased from 6 to 43 units during preparation and recovered to 4 units 6 mo after competition.

Conclusions:

This case study provides a thorough documentation of the physiological changes that occurred during natural bodybuilding competition and recovery.

Rossow and Fahs are with the Exercise and Sports Science Dept, Fitchburg State University, Fitchburg, MA. Fukuda and Stout are with the Sport and Exercise Science Program, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL. Loenneke is with the Dept of Health and Exercise Science, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.