Dr. Abby Campbell is a Naturopathic Doctor & President of 911 Body ResQ, an online store providing organic and non-GMO supplements.
Bodybuilder and Figure Contest Diet
Losing weight in a week is possible with a good nutrition plan. For the average person whose body consists of more than 20 percent body fat, a consistent diet for several weeks will award them in their goals. Good nutrition planning along with an exercise plan can be configured with your personal trainer or nutritionist to meet your deadline date. However, a stage competitor such as a bodybuilder or figure athlete has been working towards his or her goal of contest for several months. The last week requires a cutting diet that will help them be in tip-top shape for the stage. A 1 week diet plan for any bodybuilder or figure athlete is crucial. It will make the winning difference.
Aerobic Exercise: Long-term activities in which the blood's oxygen is needed to fuel the energy-producing mechanisms of muscle fibers. Examples of these cardiovascular exercises include:
Anaerobic Exercise: Short-term activities (lasting from seconds up to two minutes) that usually involve a high intensity level and promote power, strength, and speed. Muscle fibers derive contractile energy from internally stored compounds (i.e., ATP, CP, and glycogen) without the use of blood oxygen. Examples of these short-bursting, non-endurance exercises include:
- Weight Training
- Resistance Training
- Circuit Training
Pump Muscles With Carb Loading Phase
Many sport activities benefit from carbohdyrate loading ("carb loading"). Sports that benefit from this diet method include marathon, triathalon, long distance cycling and swimming, cross country skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, soccer, boxing, and other endurance or training activities lasting 1.5 to 2 hours. Other sports that benefit include sprinting, football, baseball, basketball, and activities lasting less than one hour in duration.
Carbohydrates convert to glycogen and are stored within the muscles and liver. When at rest, the body burns dietary carbohydrates and fats for the body's functions. Your rate of burn will depend on your fitness level, how you train (i.e., aerobic or anaerobic methods), and your diet's composition. During high intensity training and competition, the body's muscles use carbohydrates as a main source of energy. This fuels the muscle fibers for powerful contractions. Because your glycogen supply is much more limited than your body fat stores, it is very important to keep glycogen stores at their maximum. When glycogen stores are low or nil, the body's fatty acids then become the primary source of energy which decreases performance. The body will also use a higher amount of amino acids from muscle tissue for energy to manufacture glucose. The undesirable effect is catabolism, or muscle breakdown.
Though carbohydrate loading has long been used for endurance sports or to enhance performance, bodybuilders and female stage competitors use carb loading mainly to pump muscles for appearance's sake and even lose those last few ounces of body fat. For every ounce of muscle glycogen, three to four ounces of water is retained within the muscles. The goal of every bodybuilder and female stage competitor is to make their muscles appear larger and harder while retaining leanness while up on stage. If they can double the amount of muscle glycogen the day of their competition, they have a greater chance of winning when standing next to the guy or gal next to them.
Carb Loading Diet
There are many carb loading diet methods available to athletes, depending on the type of athlete. Along with integrated training, carb loading makes it possible for a bodybuilder or female stage competitor to pack 40 to 60 percent more glycogen than normal within the muscle cells. This provides insurance to the competitor for a much better appearance on stage.
All carb loading diet methods follow two phases:
- Glycogen Depletion Phase: Glyogen is depleted by calorie depletion, dietary manipulation (i.e., macronutrient ratio), and increased training.
- Glycogen Replenishment Phase: Glycogen is greatly increased by calorie increase, dietary manipulation (i.e., carb loading), and decreased training.
Low Glycemic Carbohydrates
Any carbohydrate source can refill glycogen stores. However, lower glycemic carbohyrates are best utilized throughout the day while simple carbohydrates are better during and after training. Simple carbohydrates may include fruit, fruit juice, or raisins.Carb loading is less effective when refueling with high glycemic carbohydrates, so you want to stay away from them. Low glycemic indexed foods are as follows:
- non-starchy & fibrous vegetables (examples: spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, and green beans)
- fruits (examples: grapefruit, apple, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries)
- grains (examples: oats, brown or wild rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes)
- legumes (examples: butter beans, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, and garbanzos)
Note: You should always measure your foods to make sure you're taking in what you need.
One-Week Nutrition Plan Before Contest
This is a rigorous method of dieting and is only intended for bodybuilders and female stage competitors. The plan, or carb loading diet, begins six days prior to competition.
Carb Depletion Phase
6 Days Prior
- Macronutrient ratio should be 60% protein, 20% carbohydrates, and 20% fats
- Eat 5 to 6 meals per day making sure you're taking in ample calories
- Take supplements as directed
- Train intensely
Carb Replenishment Phase
3 Days Prior
- Macronutrient ratio should be 15% protein, 70% carbohydrates, and 15% fats
- Carbohydrates should be low glycemic
- Take supplements as directed
- Reduce training greatly
- Training should be high intensity but no more than 30 minutes
- No training 1 day prior
- Rest a lot
Supplements for Contest's One-Week Nutrition Plan
In addition to your normal supplements (i.e., multi-vitamin, greens/berries powder, fish oil, or whatever else is in your list), you may want to use the following supplements. These supplements can be effective with glycogen depletion and replenishment during your 1 week nutrition plan - a cutting diet.
Day 3 to 5
- B-6 (2 mg. per pound of lean body mass)
- Protein Powder
Day 1 to 3
- Chromium (2 mcgs. per pound of lean body mass)
- Vitamin C (double normal intake)
- Beta carotene (double normal intake)
- Carbohydrate supplements should be protein and fat free and consist of glucose-polymers and maltodextrin
- Fruit (includes low amounts of fructose to replenish liver glycogen)
- Complex carbohydrate beverage (upon awakening and before bed)
This one-week diet nutrition plan is only meant for the competitive athlete. It is known as a bodybuilding competition diet or a figure contest diet. It is a cutting diet for athletes and not to be used by ordinary people.. If you want to look like a bodybuilder or figure athlete, you should consult with a personal trainer or nutritionist who specializes in that field. Please do not use this method if you are not a competitive athlete.
Gastelu, D. & Hatfield, F.C. (2010). Enhancing Performance with Carbohydrate Loading. International Sports Sciences Association. Sports Nutrition: The Complete Guide (272-275). Carpinteria, CA: International Sports Sciences Association.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.