The purpose of this study was to determine the dietary, anthropometric, blood-lipid, and performance patterns of university-level American football players attempting to increase body mass during 8 wk of training.
Three-day diet records, body composition (DEXA scan), blood lipids, and performance measures were collected in redshirt football players (N = 15, age 18.5 ± 0.6 yr) early season and after 8 wk of in-season training.
There was an increase (p < .05) from early-season to postseason testing for reported energy (+45%), carbohydrate (+82%), and protein (+29%) intakes and no change in the intake of fat. Fat intake was 41% of energy at the early-season test and 32% of energy at the postseason test. Increases (p < .05 for all) in performance measures, lean mass (70.5 ± 7.7–71.8 ± 7.7 kg), fat mass (15.9 ± 6.2–17.3 ± 6.8 kg), plasma total cholesterol (193.5 ± 32.4–222.6 ± 40.0 mg/dl), and low-density lipoproteins (LDL; 92.7 ± 32.7–124.5 ± 34.7 mg/dl) were measured. No changes were measured in triglycerides, very-low-density lipoproteins, or high-density lipoproteins.
Increases in strength, power, speed, total body mass, muscle mass, and fat mass were measured. Cholesterol and LDL levels increased during the study to levels associated with higher risk for cardiovascular disease. It is possible that this is a temporary phenomenon, but it is cause for concern and an indication that dietary education to promote weight gain in a manner less likely to adversely affect the lipid profile is warranted.