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Int J Exerc Sci. 2017 Mar 1;10(2):301-311. eCollection 2017.

Psychophysiological Tracking of a Female Physique Competitor through Competition Preparation.

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Department of Human Performance, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN, USA.
Health Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato, Mankato, MN, USA.


Natural physique competitions are based on subjective judgments of how a competitor appears on show day. Prior to competition, there is a prolonged dieting phase referred to as contest preparation. The primary goal is to reduce body fat levels while maintaining skeletal muscle mass. The study tracked the physiological and psychological changes for a 24 year old female preparing for a physique competition.


The study was conducted to describe the physiological and psychological changes of a female physique competitor who engages in long-term contest preparation.


Diet, body composition, blood work, energy expenditure, mood, and performance were evaluated through contest preparation.


The participant lost 10.1kg throughout contest preparation in a strong weekly linear pattern (R2=0.97). Body fat was reduced from 30.45% to 15.85% while fat free mass was maintained. Mood for the participant remained stable until month five, when an observed variation occurred, with performance maintaining.


Contest preparation was successful in reducing the body fat in the participant while having a minimum effect on both performance and fat free mass. For athletes looking to lose large amounts of body fat with minimal performance decrements a prolonged diet period with moderate exercise and food restriction can be an effective solution.


Adaptive thermogenesis; body fat; bodybuilding; figure; weight loss


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