Bodybuilding Competition Diet

01 July

The most difficult aspect of a bodybuilding competition is the competition diet. A workout may last one or two hours but a competition diet is in effect 24 hours a day. Willpower is mandatory if you intend to be successful at a bodybuilding competition.

The ultimate goal of a bodybuilding competition diet is to lose the maximum amount of body fat while maintaining the maximum amount of lean muscle mass. However some muscle loss is to be expected during this process. The ratio is typically 1 pound of muscle lost with every 3 pounds of body fat lost.

Most bodybuilders begin a competition diet 8 to 12 weeks out from the competition show date. Some experienced bodybuilders will find 4 to 6 weeks to be sufficient because they know how their body is going to react to the competition diet or certain competition diet changes.

It is important that progress is monitored daily, especially in the final weeks before the bodybuilding competition show. If body fat is not being shed at an acceptable rate then cardio exercise needs to be increased. If possible, it is best to do cardiovascular exercise first thing in the morning. It is a personal preference if early morning cardio is done with an empty stomach or after eating a small snack to avoid low blood sugar levels and fatigue. However, it is best to let the competition diet do the cutting and not excessive cardio exercise.

Many bodybuilding competitors experiment with varying diet regimens and changes during the last week of the competition diet. Some examples such as fat loading, carbohydrate loading, sodium loading and sodium depletion are all tricks of the trade. Each is intended to increase muscle density and fullness and maximum vascularity while maintaining a very low body fat percentage. This is known as "peaking."

Peak condition can only be maintained for a very short period of time, from one day to several days at the most; therefore it is critical that peak condition be reached ideally during the morning of the bodybuilding competition, this is when the pre-judging phase takes place. Any miscalculations and the body may peak the day before or the day after the competition.

This is a sample competition diet of the week prior to a competition, with the event taking place on Saturday.

Food: A minimum of 6 small meals. All meals contain protein from a variety of sources. Complex, high fiber carbohydrates until mid-afternoon, protein only from mid-afternoon to bedtime. Try to eat every 2 hours.

Water: 1 to 2 gallons of sodium free water.

Supplement: 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily.

Tuesday Same as above.

Food: Same as Monday however carbohydrates should be reduced slightly. Absolutely no refined flour, rice, sugar, etc. Good sources of carbs are yams (no butter), carrots, leafy green lettuce and similar vegetables.

Water: Take in up to 3 gallons of water.

Supplement: Potassium tablet 4 times daily. 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily.

Food: Same as Wednesday however sodium should be cut dramatically. Read labels, nearly everything contains sodium. Do your shopping in advance to be ready for this time. To be sure of low sodium I will boil chicken breast in distilled water at this time and use no condiments containing salt.

Water: Try to take in 2 gallons.

Supplement: Potassium tablet 4 times daily. 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily.

Food: Same as Thursday with extra careful attention to sodium. Keep this as low as possible.

Water: Reduce water to ½ gallon taken between morning and 6:00 PM. Sip sparingly and only as needed from 6:00 PM on.

Supplement: Potassium tablet 4 times daily. 5 grams of L-Glutamine 4 times daily.

Food: Very small meals only. No sodium. Many competitors will take raw honey and natural peanut butter back stage with them for quick energy and muscle fullness.

Water: Small sips only as needed. At this point the body should be dropping water very rapidly.

The abdominals should be defined, allover muscular definition and vascularity should be high. Reaching this peak level is a delicate balance; do not try anything new at this point to alter the body’s appearance.

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