This paper reviews (a) what has been reported concerning the diets of bodybuilders and (b) the evidence for differences in their nutrient requirements. The literature shows that bodybuilders tend to consume a high energy/high protein diet with moderate fat and carbohydrate during training when their goal is to increase lean body mass. In preparing for competition, when the goal is to reduce body fat, bodybuilders have reported consuming a reduced energy diet with very low fat and high protein. Most of the studies reported that carbohydrate intake was modest, although carbohydrate loading a few days before a contest was mentioned. Some research has identified unique nutrient needs for bodybuilders, including an increase in dietary energy and protein. Consumption of carbohydrate before and after a workout may enhance the workout as well as the recovery afterward. It is recommended that bodybuilders regularly consume a high energy diet with protein in the 1.2 to 2.0 g.kg-1 range, with approximately 60% of energy as carbohydrate. A similar diet but with moderately restricted energy should be consumed when preparing for a competition to minimize reduction in lean body mass and muscle performance.
(C) 1995 National Strength and Conditioning Association