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Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review

Iraki Nutrition AS, 2008 Fjerdingby, Norway
Fitbody and Physique LLC, Stevens Point, WI 54481, USA
Sport Performance Research Institute New Zealand (SPRINZ) at AUT Millennium, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sports 2019, 7(7), 154;
Received: 20 May 2019 / Revised: 21 June 2019 / Accepted: 24 June 2019 / Published: 26 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skeletal Muscle Metabolism in Exercise)
Many nutrition practices often used by bodybuilders lack scientific support and can be detrimental to health. Recommendations during the dieting phase are provided in the scientific literature, but little attention has been devoted to bodybuilders during the off-season phase. During the off-season phase, the goal is to increase muscle mass without adding unnecessary body fat. This review evaluated the scientific literature and provides nutrition and dietary supplement recommendations for natural bodybuilders during the off-season phase. A hyper-energetic diet (~10–20%) should be consumed with a target weight gain of ~0.25–0.5% of bodyweight/week for novice/intermediate bodybuilders. Advanced bodybuilders should be more conservative with the caloric surplus and weekly weight gain. Sufficient protein (1.6–2.2 g/kg/day) should be consumed with optimal amounts 0.40–0.55 g/kg per meal and distributed evenly throughout the day (3–6 meals) including within 1–2 hours pre- and post-training. Fat should be consumed in moderate amounts (0.5–1.5 g/kg/day). Remaining calories should come from carbohydrates with focus on consuming sufficient amounts (≥3–5 g/kg/day) to support energy demands from resistance exercise. Creatine monohydrate (3–5 g/day), caffeine (5–6 mg/kg), beta-alanine (3–5 g/day) and citrulline malate (8 g/day) might yield ergogenic effects that can be beneficial for bodybuilders. View Full-Text
Keywords: Bodybuilding; nutrition; muscle hypertrophy Bodybuilding; nutrition; muscle hypertrophy
MDPI and ACS Style

Iraki, J.; Fitschen, P.; Espinar, S.; Helms, E. Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review. Sports 2019, 7, 154.

AMA Style

Iraki J, Fitschen P, Espinar S, Helms E. Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review. Sports. 2019; 7(7):154.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Iraki, Juma, Peter Fitschen, Sergio Espinar, and Eric Helms. 2019. "Nutrition Recommendations for Bodybuilders in the Off-Season: A Narrative Review" Sports 7, no. 7: 154.

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