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Many bodybuilders have traditionally allowed themselves to bulk up gaining excessive body fat between contests. By following this, when you finally begin a contest diet 6-12 weeks before a show, you have so much fat to loose in so little time that you unavoidably strip your body of muscle mass as well as fat.
Nowadays bodybuilders understand the contest dieting process more clearly. Keep your bodyfat percentage fairly low all year so that a slight increase in volume and intensity of training plus a moderate diet a few weeks is all it takes for them to snap into great shape. So the first rule of contest dieting is: Watch your diet all season long so that you are within a few pounds of your contest weight, when you start your contest diet. Studies have shown you can lose only about one-half pound of pure fat a week through dieting. Training will help you burn off another half-pound. You can plan to diet for 6-8 weeks, if you have a little more than five pounds to lose.
Bodybuilding is a unique sport which requires competitors to exhibit maximum muscle mass and minimum body fat at the same time. These two requirements are somewhat unnatural in that the body prefers to gain both muscle and fat together or lose them together. So attempting to maintain or increase lean mass while losing fat deposits is extremely difficult. As all sports involve a process in which new standards are created, new records set and then every effort possible made to exceed those standards and break those records, in bodybuilding it means extending our conceptions of just how far we can take the development of the human body.
Bodybuilding is not just about developing muscles, it also involves the visual effect of the body. It isnít just what you have, but also, how you look. And it didnít take long for bodybuilders to realize that a certain kind of training involving higher reps and more sets coupled with a diet to rid the body of excess fat gave bodybuilding judges a heck of a lot more to look at. So bodybuilders began to concentrate more and more on dieting. And by the late seventies things had gotten pretty much out of hand. In trying to diet away fat, competitors were putting themselves on such severe diets that they ended up dieting away a large percentage of their muscle mass. So they never got ripped, never got hard - they just got smaller and smaller.
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