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Eat To Grow: Female Bodybuilders Under the Microscope

Researchers get readings on women physique athletes? health and diets.

A group of Louisiana scientists studied the common practices used by female bodybuilders training for competition. The study involved six female bodybuilders who completed a dietary survey, had their skin folds (for bodyfat testing) and blood pressure measured and provided a sample of blood immediately after the prejudging at an unidentified NPC contest. Their ages ranged from 27 to 40, with a bodyfat range of 4.9 to 11.85 percent’an average of 8.30 percent. Interviews with the women revealed the following:

‘Two-thirds of them modified their diets for more than 10 weeks while keeping meticulous dietary records.

‘Four of them ate diets that contained between 1,000 and 2,000 calories a day.

‘Three of the women ate diets that contained more than 100 grams of protein a day, while one woman ate more than 200 grams of protein each day.

‘Five of them took in fewer than 100 grams of carbs a day.

‘Four ate fewer than 30 grams of fat a day.

‘Five of the six women limited fluid intake while restricting sodium intake to less than one gram a day just before the contest.

‘Two used creatine, and none reported using any type of pro-hormone supplement while preparing for the contest.

‘Five of six women used either an herbal or pharmaceutical diuretic to remove excess water from their bodies.

The subjects showed normal blood pressure levels, but five of them showed elevated levels of enzymes in the blood associated with muscle damage. Another different five showed elevated blood urea nitrogen levels, while two showed elevated creatinine levels. Both of those are kidney function tests that are commonly elevated with higher-protein diets or, more likely in this instance, dehydration. IM

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