What do you think of when one speaks of body building? Most people think
of tan, 250 pound, muscular giants who live in the gym, and can't fit into their
clothes. However, what most people don't think of is the rigorous diet a body
builder must endure to reach the condition that he or she is in when they walk out
on stage. Nutritionists and body builders alike will tell you that 60% of the
massive stiated muscle you see when they walk on stage is due to proper
nutrition and supplementation. This is a commonly overlooked aspect of the
sport, and in my opinion is just as important as the weight training itself. This
paper will discuss the many aspects of nutrition and supplementation in off-
season and pre-contest diet, and the use of illegal drugs in the sport.

Carbohydrates are the preferred fuel of the body. The major carbohydrate
found in blood and used by your cells for energy, is glucose or sugar. In their off-
season (the period after a body building contest that one uses to increase their
lean muscle mass ) a body builder generally consumes a lot of complex
carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, and oatmeal, are
preferred because they come from starch instead of sugar. Usually a body builder
will only consume simple carbs immediatky after a work out. This is the ideal time
to fill your body with foods and drinks such as fruit and fruit juices that are high in
simple sugars ( MM2K p 45 ).

When a body builder is preparing for a contest or trying to lean down his or
her carb intake is drastic. A body builder will generally do what is called
carbohydrate depletion. This is a serious cut back in your carb intake which
forces your body to get its energy from your fat storage.


Protein on the other hand is the fuel of body builders. Proteins also serve as a source
of energy but more importantly is the role it lays in the growth and repair of your body's
tissue, esspecially muscle. Somewhere in body buildings development as a sport, a
general rule arose " To get big, you ned alot of protein ". Well science says differently.
Yes, body builders need more protein than your average person; however, research tells
us that the normal diet in modern nations provide considerably more protein than the
relatively small amount required for muscle development. Also, protein does not increase
muscle size, and too much protein consumption can be physically harmful. Generally, a
body builders protein intake remains the same whether he or she is in the off-season or
the pre-contest phase. The amount they intake usually depends on their body weight ( 1.5
grams of protein per pound of body weight ). Body builders get protein from a variety of
foods such as meat, fish, milk, egg-whites, poultry, and beans. Some prefer to get bio
engineered protein which is manufactured in a lab. The advantage of this is that you
know exactly how much and what quality protein your getting ( PTM p 334 ).

Fat is another important part of a body builder's diet. Fat has the highest energy
content out of any of the other nutrients. In recent years, however, America has develped
a fear of fat. Fat is an essential part of any diet. Four essential vitamins, A,D,E andK are known as fat soluble
vitamins. This means that these essential vitamins will not dissolve without the help of fats that are in the diet. This
is not to say that all fats are
good. Saturated fats, which are found in animal meats, should be kept to a minimum.
Body builders usually intake foods such as flax oil, that are high in monounsaturated
fat, and fatty acids that are Omega-3 rich. Fat intake is generally reduced during the
precontest phase.
Most body builders use vitamin and mineral supplements. They generally
supplement vitamins and minrals that increase performance such as vitamin C, B, E,
antioxidants, Omega-3, potasium, iron, and several others. Vitamine supplementing is
very important when you get close to a contest. Many body builders are on a very
restrictive diet as they get close to a competition so they need to replace what they don't
get from their diet ( PTM, 120 ).
Weight gainers