Adequate protein consumption during contest preparation is required to support maintenance of LBM. Athletes require higher protein intakes to support increased activity and strength athletes benefit from higher intakes to support growth of LBM [5,22–28]. Some researchers suggest these requirements increase further when athletes undergo energy restriction [13,16,22,28–33]. Furthermore, there is evidence that protein requirements are higher for leaner individuals in comparison to those with higher body fat percentages [7,33,34].
The collective agreement among reviewers is that a protein intake of 1.2-2.2 g/kg is sufficient to allow adaptation to training for athletes whom are at or above their energy needs [23–28,35–38]. However, bodybuilders during their contest preparation period typically perform resistance and cardiovascular training, restrict calories and achieve very lean conditions [2–6,17–21]. Each of these factors increases protein requirements and when compounded may further increase protein needs . Therefore, optimal protein intakes for bodybuilders during contest preparation may be significantly higher than existing recommendations.