Female Bodybuilders

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All the diets in this chapter are good for both female and male bodybuilders. The difference is not in the type of food allowed but in its quantity, regulated by the amount of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats This is found in the intake tables in Chapter 3. As discussed earlier, these diets differ from others found in books on nutrition and dieting. They are geared to the average person rather than bodybuilders in hard training who exercise regularly For this reason, their diets and intake of vitamins and minerals differ. In general, female bodybuilders should take more vitamin B6 to prevent water retention, more iron due to menstruating, and extra choline to maintain a low percentage of body fat.

Many women participating in competitive sports, such as the

Olympics, have a problem with amenorrhea or a cessation of menstruation. This seems to occur even if the women are not taking steroids. Some of the women I train reported this problem when their percentage of body fat dropped below 10-12 percent of body weight. Ideally, their percentage of body fat should be above 15 percent to prevent amenorrhea, although this level differs with each woman and will change during different times in her life. Many female athletes have said that their menstrual cycle resumes normally after slowing down on training and raising their percentage of body fat; however, this is not guaranteed. Because of this, I advise female bodybuilders to cut their training schedule and increase their percentage of body fat when they have missed their menstrual cycle for over two months. However, the problem must not be ignored. Amenorrhea and irregular menstruating cycles can also be caused by other factors, such as pituitary gland tumors, premature menopause, or an underactive thyroid gland. Women experiencing problems with irregular periods or amenorrhea should not attempt to diagnose the problem themselves or take the advice of someone working in a gym. To prevent serious problems from developing, have the situation evaluated by a gynecologist who treats female athletes and knows whether amenorrhea is related to an abnormality or to hard training and a low percentage of body fat At the same time, inform the gynecologist if you are taking any steroids or drugs since they can also contribute to an irregular menstrual cycle

For some women, estrogen therapy serves as protection against hypertension, bone fracture, and mineral deficiencies. On the other hand, many have adverse reactions to it, so I do not advise taking estrogen for the first time before a competitive event.

Birth control pills have been known to cause an imbalance in the body during training, particularly in the content of iron. They also contribute to water retention.

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