Elements of Bodybuilding Peak Week

admin October 11, 2013 Comments

A few important elements and how to use them when peaking for a bodybuilding contest


If you don’t resemble something that looks stage worthy the week of the show , in most cases no last minutes trick will make you “ready”
Water pulling is not a substitution for fat loss
Doing anything drastic during a precontest phase has a large probability of throwing your body for a loop in a bad way.

My Take:

KISS. Keep it simple stupid but if your going to make it complicated or trying something you haven’t tried before for godsakes please do a trial run a few weeks out. Don’t wager with 12-20 weeks of hard work on a hail mary pass. If you worked hard saving money for a few months would you take all that money to the black jack table in Atlantic City? Maybe maybe not but I certainly wouldn’t because I like safe bets and I don’t like watching my hard work go down the drain. But if you do be my guest just don’t complain when you don’t come in looking the way you want to on game day.


Carbing Up:

Everyone likes to talk about carbing up. The basic premise behind the idea of carbing up is that when dieting to remove bodyfat the muscles enter into a glycogen depleted state where they appear flat and lack pop. What is really happening here is that when muscle cells are flat the water inside the muscle that was making it look full and round is now sitting between the skin and the the muscle making the physique look softer. The idea of carbing up is supposed to draw that layer of sub q water into the muscle yielding that fuller, shrink wrapped like look…….if the athlete is in shape.

Problems w/ Carbing up:

If the athlete is severely depleted stuffing carbohydrates down his throat for a few days is sometimes both a shock to the body and can throw the physiques look into a complete tailspin for the worst. Something as simple as the athletes digestion getting screwed up can totally throw things off as well.

Be stage ready conditioning wise early so you don’t need to go into the final week severely depleted. This gives you some major advantages
Better piece of mind
You can do a trial run peak week so you know how the body is going to react etc
It will take less carbohydrates to fill out and less potential for problems thus less variables to micromanage.



What does it do for a bodybuilder?- Sodium aids in strength and size gains, it helps hydrate the muscle cell, it helps utilize carbohydrate and amino acid absorption, it aids in muscle contractions, it also helps the body utilize potassium better. Not to mention that when were training like animals and sweating like crazy our bodies excrete quite a bit of sodium so its important that we take in enough to keep our electrolyte balance so we can both stay healthy and have our bodies function optimally for muscle retention/gaining. Believe it or not sodium also plays a very large factor in that full vascular look that our muscles can have. Most importantly though sodium plays a big part in regulating our bodies aldosterone levels ( a hormone that regulates water balance in the body (something very important for peak week)

What to do with sodium for peaking- Yes taking in high amounts of sodium for weeks on end and then removing it from the diet for a short period of time does cause a significant water pull due to the manipulation of aldosterone levels. This can be a tricky practice for a variety of reasons.

If the Athlete is Natural– the absence of sodium even for a short period of time can lead to a flattened physique. Especially with natural athletes. When I have a natural athlete that im new to working with pull added sodium I request pictures after every few meals to make sure there not flattening out much during the drying out process.
Pulling sodium out too far out from the show can have the opposite effect. At first the physique will expel water but without it for a a few days and then the physique can actually do the opposite and begin to hold water.
In cases where a guy looks great like nutty dry and full and doesn’t have a ton of muscle your often better off not touching sodium at all.

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Dietary Fat

When peaking people don’t often think of dietary fat as necessary. I find it a useful tool that I use in 90 percent of my client’s peaking processes. For the following reasons:

-It slows down the digestion and the burning of carbohydrates
-It can add to the fullness factor without the same water retention from extra carbohydrates
-It can help fill the physique out for carb sensitive individuals looking to avoid overdoing carbohydrates
-It helps hold a carbohydrates load into the muscles the days following the load leading into a show.


Now is not the time to be raising protein for a few reasons
Carbohydrates are protein sparing
Consuming excessive amounts of protein can cause digestive issues not something you want to deal with day of your show
Consuming excessive protein can cause excessive dehydration something your already juggling with peak week no need to exacerbate the problem.


If carbohydrates are significantly elevated I tend to opt for smaller portions of protein.
If carbohydrates portions are moderate I tend to keep protein stagnant to normal diet. As I find changing the least amount of variables as possible especially if the athlete already looks good is optimal.



Cutting water too early will most certainly lead to water retention and a flat physique. Hearing guys cutting water 3 days out is insane, dangerous and not productive. Once the body stops receiving water to a certain point it will hold on to what it has creating a bloated look the opposite of the dry look we strive for.

In most cases I don’t cut guys water at all I simply reduce it down to say 4-6 oz per meal for the day of the show and taper it down some the night before. However all cases are different. If a guy is both very full and fairly dry I may have him just do small sips the day of but I would never cut his water off completely the day before maybe the night before though depending on what I am seeing.

If used correctly water is your friend, it helps keep the muscle full and it aids the body in expelling water for that dry look.

Training :

The week of is not the time to be drastically changing anything here. I simply advise guys to just bring the intensity down about 15 percent to avoid injury.

Some guys like to do a circuit depletion workout series that week and while I have seen this work I prefer to change as little as possible. If the guy looks good why throw his body a curve ball, if he doesn’t look too good a new training scheme the week of isn’t going to fix him.
Never train on the day(s) of a carbload unless its just a light pump or some posing. The purpose of carbloading is to load glycogen stores and training depleted glycogen stores which is the opposite of what your trying to accomplish.


Be ready early because doing excessive cardio leading right up to a show usually results in a beat up look. A full rested healthy look always looks harder, fuller and freakier on stage.
Try to be done with your cardio by Wednesday if possible.

Key points in conclusion:
-Drastic tricks although sometimes can pay off more often lead to drastically bad results
-Keep it Simple
-Be ready early so you can experiment and perhaps do a trial run
-Be ready early so you don’t go into the show looking beat up
-If somethings not broke don’t try to fix it.

Once again keep it simple!


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