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Should Competitive Bodybuilders Ingest More Protein than Current Evidence-Based Recommendations?

Abstract

Bodybuilding is an aesthetic sport whereby competitors aspire to achieve a combination of high levels of muscularity combined with low levels of body fat. Protein is an important macronutrient for promoting muscle growth, and meeting daily needs is necessary to optimize the accretion of lean mass. Current recommendations for muscle hypertrophy suggest a relative protein intake ranging from 1.4 g/kg/day up to 2.0 g/kg/day is required for those involved in resistance training. However, research indicates that the actual ingestion of protein in competitive bodybuilders is usually greater than advocated in guidelines. The purpose of this current opinion article is to critically evaluate the evidence on whether higher intakes of protein are warranted in competitive bodybuilders. We conclude that competitive bodybuilders may benefit from consuming a higher protein intake than what is generally prescribed for recreationally trained lifters; however, the paucity of direct research in this population makes it difficult to draw strong conclusions on the topic.

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Correspondence to João Pedro Nunes.

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No external sources of funding were used in the preparation of this article.

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Alex S. Ribeiro, João Pedro Nunes, and Brad J. Schoenfeld declare that they have no conflicts of interest that are relevant to the content of this article.

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Ribeiro, A.S., Nunes, J.P. & Schoenfeld, B.J. Should Competitive Bodybuilders Ingest More Protein than Current Evidence-Based Recommendations?. Sports Med 49, 1481–1485 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-019-01111-y

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