Monday, June 16, 2014

Natural BB Contest Coverage 2.0: Linear Weight Loss (15.3 kg), Minimal Lean Body Mass Loss (8.8%) on a 26-Week Contest Prep That Ended At 7.4% Body Fat as A New Pro

This is not the weight class we are talking about, here. With a baseline muscle mass of 75.2kg and exactly 15.9kg of body fat, the natural bodybuilder in the case study at hand is far away from a monster back like this - for natural reasons ;-)
Studies about bodybuilding are rare and if there are some, they are usually dealing with the dark sides of "un-natural" bodybuilding. Against that background I am happy to report that today's SuppVersity article continues what I would love to become a tradition that started in March 2013 with the ahead-of-print publication of Lindy Rossow's article "Natural bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery: a 12-month case study" in the International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance (learn more).

I am talking about a tradition of articles about Scientific Natural Bodybuilding Contest Coverage, a coverage such as the one Brandon M. Kistler, Peter J. Fitschen, Sushant M. Ranadive, Bo Fernhall, and Kenneth R. Wilun are about to present in a future edition of the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise (Kistler. 2014): A study that describes the processes and consequences of a 26-year old athlete who won his pro-card after a 26-week diet + exercise marathon.
A high protein intake is important for athlete and average Joes

Are You Protein Wheysting?

Blends for Max. Anabolism

Protein requ. of athletes

High EAA protein for fat loss

Fast vs. slow protein

5x More Than FDA Allows
So this is what he did starting 26 weeks prior to a pro-qualifying natural bodybuilding contest:
tracking his diet and training in a diary, to the "T" - all food was weighed to the nearest gram throughout the duration of the study...
  • consume 250 g protein, 240 g carbohydrate, and 70 g fat per day on five days of the week, and 225 g protein, 400 g carbohydrate, and 65 g fat on two high carbohydrate days (days were spaced throughout the week) 
  • whenever the rate of weight loss slowed, a 5-10g reduction in daily fat or carbohydrate
    intake was implemented to maintain weight loss
Consequently, the 26-year old protagonist of this case-report ended up consuming 250 g protein, 140 g carbohydrate, and 51 g fat per day on five days of the week and 225 g protein, 255 g carbohydrate, and 46 g fat per day on two days of the week at the end of the study (macronutrient intake was within 5g of target values on all days).

BCAAs & regular HMB, fish oil, creatine, beta alanine and a multi were part of the game

Throughout contest preparation 30g branched chain amino acids, 3g beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), 2g fish oil, 5g creatine monohydrate, 6g beta- alanine, and a multivitamin, were consumed daily.
Figure 1: Changes in body weight (left) and - more importantly - body composition (=% fat mass vs. % lean mass; right) of the subjects over the course of the 26 week study period (Kistler. 2014)
As you've learned only recently on the SuppVersity, creatine helps to prevent strength loss on high volume / endurance + strength training regimen (learn more). Against that background, we can assume that it also helped the subject of Kistler's case study to perform his 1-1.5hrs workouts on five days of the week.
"Each muscle group was trained twice weekly with one dayprimarily in the 3-8 repetition range and the other primarily in the 8-15 repetition range.  Thisquantity of resistance training was maintained throughout the preparation.  At the start of contest preparation, two 40min sessions of high intensity interval training (HIIT) were performed per week.  This HIIT generally consisted of a 30 second all-out sprint, followed by 4:30 of active jogging recovery." (Kistler. 2014)
What exactly Kistler means, when he writes "aerobic exercise was added as needed though out contest preparation to maintain a constant rate of weight loss" (Kistler. 2014) is unfortunately, quite ambiguous - the only thing we get to know is that, by the end of contest preparation, the subject performed four 60min sessions of HIIT and two 30min sessions of low intensity steady-state aerobic
exercise per week.

Results? What about the results?

So what were the consequences of his huge efforts? You already know about the weight loss: 15.3 kg over the course of the contest preparation in a highly linear manner (~.58kg/week), aside from that he saw...
  • absolutely no detectable reduction in bone mineral density,
  • no changes in carotid Intima-Media thickness (perfectly healthy 0.50 mm),
  • significant decreases in brachial blood pressure and aortic blood pressure, as well as complementary decrease in aortic SBP and aortic DBP, 
  • no change of the indexed left ventricular mass (107.2 g/m²),
  • only minimal changes in the overall heart rate variability, but a shift in variability towards the high frequency domain and an increase in baroreceptor sensitivity,
  • no change in overall inflammation (hs-CRP) or cholesterol levels and oxidation and
  • a continous increase in cardio-respiratory fitness as indicated by increases in body weight relative VO2peak from 41.91 over 44.19, to 47.69 mL/Kg
As the authors point out in their discussion of the results, the contest preparation strategy used by this athlete "led to highly linear weight loss (R²=0.9932)" that was accompanied by a relatively low lean mass loss (-8.8%) - little enough for the subject to be "successfully able to lose enough fat mass to reduce body fat percentage and get lean enough to win his natural pro card."
Suggested Read: " Scientific BB Contest Prep Coverage: Six Months of Dieting, Daily Workouts & Hormonal + Metabolic Shutdown Pave the Natural Way to the Sub 5% Body Fat Zone" | read more
Bottom line: Considering the fact that bodybuilding is deemed to be one of the unhealthiest sports you can do by the general public, it's quite astonishing how little negative and how much positive impact the 26 weeks on a restricted diet + crazy exercise regimen had on the subject in the case-report at hand.

What I am missing, though, is a complete (and repeated) hormonal pattern, as it came with Lindy Rossows study I wrote about in March 2013 (see " Scientific BB Contest Prep Coverage: Six Months of Dieting, Daily Workouts & Hormonal + Metabolic Shutdown Pave the Natural Way to the Sub 5% Body Fat Zone" | more) - if that had been available, I would have been able to do a nice comparison of the effects on testosterone, cortisol & Co. - it's a pity.
  • Kistler, B. M., et al. "Case Study: Natural Bodybuilding Contest Preparation." International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism (2014). Ahead of print.
  • Rossow, Lindy M., et al. "Natural bodybuilding competition preparation and recovery: a 12-month case study." International Journal of Sports Physiology & Performance 8.5 (2013).