Special Requirements of Bodybuilding

Special Requirements of Bodybuilding

Bodybuilders are virtually unique in the demands they place upon their bodies. They require simultaneously maximum muscle mass and minimum body fat, which is an extremely difficult state to attain. Athletes like gymnasts, boxers and cyclists, who need to become very lean, follow a training regimen that burns up so many calories that they rarely have to diet to reduce body fat. Nor do they usually attempt, as competition bodybuilders must, to get down to a relative body fat of about 7 to 10 percent for men and 6 to 9 percent for women. Most strength athletes such as football players work to maximize the size and strength of the muscles with only minor attention to reducing body fat.

Bodybuilders have little margin for error. They have to eat enough to grow, then be able to reduce body fat without sacrificing muscle mass. They can use aerobic exercise to burn up extra calories, but not to the point where their bodybuilding workouts suffer. They need to control calories, but get sufficient protein to build and maintain their muscle tissue. Nutrition is a complex and ever-expanding science, and nutritionists are giving us new information almost daily. However, certain basic principles of nutrition are well established, and mastering these fundamentals is essential for the bodybuilder who wants to achieve his total genetic potential for growth and physical development.

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