The Bodybuilding reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Bodybuilder Anders Graneheim (Sweden)Enlarge

Bodybuilder Anders Graneheim (Sweden)

Bodybuilding is the lifestyle/sport of developing muscle fibers through the combination of weight training, increased caloric intake, and rest. Professional bodybuilders display their physiques to a panel of judges, who assign points.

Although initially a male-only pursuit, in the 1980s women started to compete in separate competitions, but in recent years women's bodybuilding has greatly waned in popularity.

The sport is not to be confused with olympic weightlifting, strongman competition, or powerlifting, where emphasis is on actual physical strength. While similar, the fields entail a different regime of training and diet, as well as basic motivation. Rather than exclusively on the maximum strength development, bodybuilders aspire to the development and maintenance of an aesthetically pleasant (by bodybuilding standards) and balanced physique. In bodybuilding, size and shape are far more important than how much one can lift.

Table of contents
1 Strategy
2 Professional Bodybuilders
3 See also


In order to achieve muscle growth (hypertrophy), bodybuilders focus in three main lines of action:
Bodybuilder Markus Ruehl posing in Biberach an der Riß (Germany)Enlarge

Bodybuilder Markus Ruehl posing in Biberach an der Riß (Germany)

Resistance weight training

Resistance weight training causes microtears to the muscles being trained; this is generally known as
microtrauma. These microtears in the muscle contribute to the soreness felt after exercise, called Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, or DOMS. It is the repair to these microtrauma that result in muscle growth (anabolism). Normally, this soreness becomes most apparent a day or two after a workout.


The growth and repair however cannot occur without the necessary building blocks. These are supplied by high quality nutrition. Bodybuilders require a very specialised diet. Generally speaking bodybuilders require anything between 500-1000 calories above their maintenance level of calories whilst attempting to increase lean body mass. A sub maintenance level of calories is combined with cardiovascular exercise to lose body fat in preparation for a contest. The ratios of calories from carbohydrates, proteins and fats vary depending on the goals of the bodybuilder.

Bodybuilders split their food intake for the day into 5-7 meals of roughly equal nutrional content and attempt to eat at regular intervals. This interval is normally between 2-3 hours. The reason for this is to allow greater absorption of nutrients, and to increase basal metabolic rate. This process is also valuable for those wishing merely to lose fat.


Having a large proportion of calories come from carbohydrates is so that the body has enough energy to deal with the rigours of training and recovery. Bodybuilders require complex carbohydrates as they release energy more slowly than simple sugars. This is important as simple sugars cause an insulin response which places the body in a state where it is likely to store additional calories as fat rather than muscle, furthermore frequent consumption of simple sugars can lead to Type II diabetes. However bodybuilders do ingest some simple sugars post-workout to replenish glycogen stores within the muscle.


It is recommend that bodybuilders receive 1 to 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight to help the body recover and build. These protein sources should be of a high biological value such as steak, chicken, fish, soy, milk or whey, and egg whites. Chicken, whey, and egg whites are often preferred due to their relatively low fat content. Bodybuilders prefer to get their daily protein requirement from foods first and then from supplementary protein powders.

Vitamins & Minerals

Also, adequate intake of vitamins and minerals is necessary; Bodybuilders almost universally take a multi vitamin each day. Essential fatty acids, especially omega-3s, are consumed as well.


Supplements can help muscle gain, although some are unproven and many are ineffective. Creatine however, is one which has been proven to help bodybuilders. Although creatine only helps if used in conjunction with a solid nutritional base and weight training program, this is true for all supplements.

Some bodybuilders may use drugs to gain an advantage over results due to natural hypertrophy, especially in professional competitions. Although many of these substances are illegal in many countries, in professional bodybuilding the use of anabolic steroids and precursor substances such as prohormones are essential to competing in world-class competitions. Steroids increase levels of free testosterone and result in muscle hypertrophy. Significant negative side-effects accompany steroid abuse, such as liver damage as well as negative feedback leading to a decline in the body's own testosterone production, which can cause testicular atrophy and possible infertility.


The third component to muscle building is rest. Without quality rest and sleep the body does not have an opportunity to recover and build. About eight hours of sleep a night is essential for the bodybuilder to be refreshed and ready for the next session. Notwithstanding, an extra nap during the day helps an adult just as much as a toddler—sleep is good.

Professional Bodybuilders

Male Bodybuilders

Female bodybuilders

See also