Saturday (June 6th/15) was the start of what is called “peak week.” It is used by bodybuilders, fitness models and physique competitors to “peak” while on stage or for a photo shoot. Starting one week before your competition or photo shoot you start manipulating water, sodium, potassium and carbs to showcase the best physique possible.
It’s exciting because you get to finally uncover and display everything you’ve been working towards for the last 11 weeks. It is not some magical formula to make you look shredded or some secret trick to make you appear leaner but it does help to let you come in looking your best (if you do it right).
So my plan started Saturday where I started to drink more water than normal (around 6 litres) and I dropped carbs again like I have been previously doing (around 120g per day) for 3-4 days to deplete the glycogen that is stored in the muscles. I will deplete my glycogen stores until Wednesday where I will start to carb load to refill the muscles. My plan is to introduce around 1.5g of carbs per pound of body weight. So for me it will be around 300g per day and I will adjust accordingly. If I still feel flat and depleted, I will keep introducing more carbs until I feel I am adequately filled out. I continue eating carbs right up until I go on stage Saturday.
Many competitors manipulate water to tighten up your skin and really bring out the muscle striations. Competitors drink huge amounts of water leading up to the show and taper off a few days out. Some people take what is called a Diuretic, a drug that flushes the water out of your system making you very dehydrated. Using a diuretic is very dangerous if you do not know what you’re doing and you can easily flush too much water out of your body making your muscles look flat. The muscles are composed of approximately 60% water so it would not make sense to dehydrate yourself. Many competitors walk a very fine line between being flat and dehydrated so it is a very hard balancing act to come in dehydrated but with full muscles.
Water manipulation is not as important in physique as it is in bodybuilding. Judges are looking for a lean, full, symmetric looking physique not a dry, grainy and veiny competitor like in bodybuilding. Although many Men’s Physique competitors manipulate water, I will drink my usual 6 litres per day and drop my water intake to around 4 litres Thursday and Friday just to come in a little tighter.
Many competitors also manipulate sodium and potassium to further flush water from the body. I will not go into a lot of detail but athletes load sodium early in the week and drop sodium in the last few days before going on stage to really flush excess water. I will not be doing this as I do not know enough about it and it is really easy to ruin an awesome physique.
I’m currently 5 days out and getting super excited! I will do my best to document my whole day on Saturday but no guarantees, wish me luck and I’ll post as many pictures as possible!