Bodybuilder hormonal changes during a contest prep

As a bodybuilder, either you’ve toyed with the idea of stepping onstage and showing off your hard work, or you’ve already achieved this milestone and are looking to do another competition. No matter what you’ve done, you know that preparing for a competition separates the men from the boys. You’re putting your body through something it’s not used to and pushing it to its limits both physically and mentally. But what happens to your body physiologically? What happens to your hormones?

Well, this question has been answered by researchers. They looked at what happens to bodybuilders’ hormones when they do a contest preparation, which in this case lasted eleven weeks. And what they found was not so surprising: Testosterone, insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) all decreased with a reduction in body fat.


This means that building more muscle is difficult in such an energy-deprived state when these hormones are low. Yet, it’s still possible to add lean body mass. If you’re looking to do a contest, be wise and prep during the off-season by packing on the pounds, then come in strong for your contest.


Mäestu J, Eliakim A, Jürimäe J, Valter I, Jürimäe T. (2010). Anabolic and catabolic hormones and energy balance of the male bodybuilders during the preparation for the competition. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(4):1074-1081.

← Older Post | Newer Post →