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In competitive bodybuilding, bodybuilders aspire to develop and maintain an aesthetically pleasing body and balanced physique.[16][17] In prejudging, competitors do a series of mandatory poses: the front lat spread, rear lat spread, front double biceps, back double biceps, side chest, side triceps, Most Muscular (men only), abdominals and thighs. Each competitor also performs a personal choreographed routine to display their physique. A posedown is usually held at the end of a posing round, while judges are finishing their scoring. Bodybuilders usually spend a lot of time practising their posing in front of mirrors or under the guidance of their coach.

Some Bodybuilders often split their food intake into 5 to 7 meals of equal nutritional content and eat at regular intervals (e.g. every 2 to 3 hours). This approach serves two purposes: to limit overindulging in the cutting phase, and to allow for the consumption of large volumes of food during the bulking phase. Eating more frequently does not increase basal metabolic rate when compared to 3 meals a day.[38] While food does have a metabolic cost to digest, absorb, and store, called the thermic effect of food, it depends on the quantity and type of food, not how the food is spread across the meals of the day. Well-controlled studies using whole-body calorimetry and doubly labeled water have demonstrated that there is no metabolic advantage to eating more frequently.[39][40][41]


Many non-competitive bodybuilders choose not to adopt this conventional strategy, as it often results in significant unwanted fat gain during the "bulking" phase. The attempt to increase muscle mass in one's body without any gain in fat is called clean bulking. Competitive bodybuilders focus their efforts to achieve a peak appearance during a brief "competition season".[citation needed] Clean bulking takes longer and is a more refined approach to achieving the body fat and muscle mass percentage a person is looking for. A common tactic for keeping fat low and muscle mass high would be to have higher calorie and lower calorie days to maintain a balance between gain and loss. Many clean bulk diets start off with a moderate amount of carbs, moderate amount of protein, and a decently low amount of fats. "Gaining lean muscle means going for leaner cuts of meat, like flank steaks and fillets, chicken, and, of course, fish," says White[who?]. "Enjoy your meat with some starch: rice, beans, quinoa, whole-grain couscous, or sweet potato, for example".[20] To maintain a clean bulk it is important to reach calorie goals every day. Macronutrient goals will be different for each person, but, it is ideal to get as close as possible.

Bodybuilding became more popular in the 1950s and 1960s with the emergence of strength and gymnastics champions, and the simultaneous popularization of bodybuilding magazines, training principles, nutrition for bulking up and cutting down, the use of protein and other food supplements, and the opportunity to enter physique contests. The number of bodybuilding organizations grew, and most notably the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB) was founded in 1946 by Canadian brothers Joe and Ben Weider. Other bodybuilding organizations included the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), National Amateur Bodybuilding Association (NABBA), and the World Bodybuilding Guild (WBBG). Consequently, the male-dominated contests grew both in number and in size. Besides the many "Mr. XXX" (insert town, city, state, or region) championships, the most prestigious titles[according to whom?] were Mr. America, Mr. World, Mr. Universe, Mr. Galaxy, and ultimately Mr. Olympia, which was started in 1965 by the IFBB and is now considered the most important bodybuilding competition in the world.


*Offer is not available (different pricing applies) in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York (Metro & Premier Plus), Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Delaware, and does not include access to Signature Clubs or clubs in Canada. Memberships may require an initiation fee and/or annual fee as indicated on membership agreement, except as required by law. Memberships may require commitment to an initial term (except as required by law), in which case an early termination fee will apply if membership agreement is terminated prior to the expiration of the initial term. Single club pricing not available at all locations. Recurring monthly charges must be paid by electronic funds transfer from your checking or savings account or automatic transfer from an accepted credit or debit card. Must be 16 years of age or older (or at least 13 years of age and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian), sign membership agreement, and pay first and last months’ dues and fees for additional services purchased (if any) plus the initiation fee to join. This offer is not available in combination with other discounted rates, coupons or promotions. If offer is advertised as less than $1 per day, that is based on average monthly dues per day in a 30-day month for single club access only. A parent/ legal guardian must sign membership agreement or guest waiver, as applicable, on behalf of members / guests under 18 years of age. Personal training and other services are subject to an additional agreement and requires payment of an additional fee. Offer is subject to change without notice and may end at any time. Additional terms and/or restrictions may apply.
In recent years, the related areas of fitness and figure competition have increased in popularity, surpassing that of female bodybuilding, and have provided an alternative for women who choose not to develop the level of muscularity necessary for bodybuilding. McLish would closely resemble what is thought of today as a fitness and figure competitor, instead of what is now considered a female bodybuilder. Fitness competitions also have a gymnastic element to them. A study by the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found that female bodybuilders who are taking anabolic steroids are more likely to have qualified for substance dependence disorder, to have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, or to have a history of sexual abuse.[14]
Many trainees like to cycle between the two methods in order to prevent the body from adapting (maintaining a progressive overload), possibly emphasizing whichever method more suits their goals; typically, a bodybuilder will aim at sarcoplasmic hypertrophy most of the time but may change to a myofibrillar hypertrophy kind of training temporarily in order to move past a plateau. However, no real evidence has been provided to show that trainees ever reach this plateau, and rather was more of a hype created from "muscular confusion".[clarification needed][citation needed]

*Offer is not available (different pricing applies) in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New York (Metro & Premier Plus), Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, or Delaware, and does not include access to Signature Clubs or clubs in Canada. Memberships may require an initiation fee and/or annual fee as indicated on membership agreement, except as required by law. Memberships may require commitment to an initial term (except as required by law), in which case an early termination fee will apply if membership agreement is terminated prior to the expiration of the initial term. Single club pricing not available at all locations. Recurring monthly charges must be paid by electronic funds transfer from your checking or savings account or automatic transfer from an accepted credit or debit card. Must be 16 years of age or older (or at least 13 years of age and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian), sign membership agreement, and pay first and last months’ dues and fees for additional services purchased (if any) plus the initiation fee to join. This offer is not available in combination with other discounted rates, coupons or promotions. If offer is advertised as less than $1 per day, that is based on average monthly dues per day in a 30-day month for single club access only. A parent/ legal guardian must sign membership agreement or guest waiver, as applicable, on behalf of members / guests under 18 years of age. Personal training and other services are subject to an additional agreement and requires payment of an additional fee. Offer is subject to change without notice and may end at any time. Additional terms and/or restrictions may apply.
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