Peak week is here! For those of you unfamiliar with bodybuilding competitions the week of the show is called peak week. I’m going to explain a bit of what goes on in the final week of prep.
Up to this point we’ve been training hard and sticking to diet (some better than others). Peak week is not the time to slack or mess up. Each person is a bit different and requires different diet, workouts and water depletion at the end. There are hundreds of ways to run these and part of it is knowing your body as well as experimenting with what works best.
The last week is not the time to cut carbohydrates from diet. Carbohydrates help keep the muscles looking full. Fat helps the joints and helps with vascularity. Protein is vital to helping retain muscle mass while on a deficit. The macro ratio for peak week is very individual and comes down to how your body responds.
Water depletion is important to get the dry, striated look on stage. This helps show the muscles better and creates the overall lean look that the judges want. Some factors that affect how to deplete are supplementation (especially steroid use), tendency to retain water/bloat, and highest body fat percent the person has been in their life. People who have been fatter have more fat cells that will hold more water. People who have always been leaner will retain less water naturally due to a lower number of available fat cells. Steroids cause a dryer look as do some thermogenics/fat burners. My body holds onto sodium, so I don’t even mess with salt/potassium loading. Most people don’t do a trial run and time their water and salt wrong, causing the body to retain water the day of the show. In reality if you are lean enough to be on stage you should only have to reduce water intake and possibly increase caffeine the last two days to come in dry. Most people who say they were retaining water simply were not lean and needed to lose more fat.
Peak week is also the time to do final suit fittings, competition spray tan (usually done the day before or the day of) and generally take care of yourself. The stress hormone, cortisol, increases fat retention as well as water retention. There are tons of reasons to stress the final week. It is mentally and physically challenging. The entire process is draining and sometimes when it comes down to the end all that is left is doubt. To reduce stress over the rest of the week I am cutting off social media. I tend to spend hours in the evening sifting through Facebook, Instagram, My Fitness Pal and various articles sent to my by friends. I am going to turn the social buzz off and take care of myself.
I will be back here and Instagram (feel free to follow me @precinctsofpain) after the competition to update everyone. As I mentioned in my last article I will start posting more fitness and nutrition tips. Feel free to comment or ask questions and I will do my best to answer them. Thank you all for the support! See you in a week!