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J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Mar 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Anabolic and Catabolic Hormones and Energy Balance of the Male Bodybuilders During the Preparation for the Competition.
Mäestu J, Eliakim A, Jürimäe J, Valter I, Jürimäe T.

1Institute of Sport Pedagogy and Coaching Sciences, Center of Behavioral and Health Sciences, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia; 2Department of Pediatrics, Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel; and 3Center for Clinical and Basic Research, Tallinn, Estonia.

Abstract
Mäestu, J, Eliakim, A, Jürimäe, J, Valter, I, and Jürimäe, T. Anabolic and catabolic hormones and energy balance of the male bodybuilders during the preparation for the competition. J Strength Cond Res 24(4): 1074-1081, 2010-The purpose of the study was to investigate simultaneous effects of energy balance, caloric intake, and the hormonal anabolic-catabolic balance in bodybuilders prior to competition. Fourteen male bodybuilders took part in an 11-week energy-restricted period to reduce body fat. The subjects were divided into the energy-restricted group (ERG) (n = 7), who were preparing for the competition, or the control group (CG) (n = 7) who continued to train regularly and did not change their dietary or training pattern. Participants were tested at 11 weeks (T1), 5 weeks (T2), and 3 days (T3) before competition for diet, body composition, and fasting hormonal assessment. Body mass and body fat percentage of ERG were significantly (p < 0.05) decreased during the study period. In ERG, insulinlike growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and insulin decreased significantly during the 11-week weight-reduction period (p < 0.05). Testosterone was decreased only from week 11 to week 5 (from 20.3 +/- 6.0 to 18.0 +/- 6.8 nmol/L). Changes in IGF-I concentration were significantly related to changes in insulin (r = 0.741), fat mass (r = 0.705), lean body mass (r = 0.696), and body mass (r = 0.652). Changes in insulin concentrations were significantly related to changes in fat mass (r = 0.630) and lean body mass (r = 0.725). These data indicate that severe energy restriction to extremely low body energy reserves decreases significantly the concentrations of 3 anabolic pathways despite high protein intake. Monitoring of insulin and IGF-1 concentration is suggested to prevent losses in muscle mass in energy-restricted conditions. Other nutritional strategies might be needed to prevent possible catabolic effect during preparation of bodybuilders to competition.