Peak Week Nutrition05 January 2017
You’ve prepped for months and now it all comes down to that one crucial week before you step on stage: Peak Week (or as some bodybuilders like to call it, HELL WEEK). Your physique might have reached its optimum condition, but a bad peak week will not do your hard work justice. There are many reasons why some bodybuilding and physique athletes screw up their diet during peak week. Some of these reasons include trying something new they simply read off the web, over-loading on carbohydrates, using ineffective sodium manipulation techniques and the list goes on.
Take note of two things: Firstly, if you’re body fat percentage is still too high one week before competition, manipulating your diet for one week will not do much. Secondly, there is no one size fits all diet or method for peak week because each individual will react differently to different foods and methods. This is why I recommend trying out different foods and techniques to understand how your body reacts to it a few weeks before competition or during off-season. In general, I do not recommend doing anything too drastic or foreign to the body as this might result in a negative, unplanned response.
There are 3 major players to consider for Peak Week: Diet, Water and Sodium. While other factors such as your training, amount of rest and stress levels play a part in your peaking progress, these are the three factors I consider to be most crucial. Below are some recommendations of how I would subtly manipulate my diet during peak week. Again, everyone’s body reacts differently and I recommend doing your own research and trying these methods out on yourself prior to peak week.
Different athletes have different levels of carb sensitivity. For does who are very sensitive, you might want to try to go for complex carbohydrates like your sweet potatoes. Should you deplete your carbohydrates during peak week depends on the type of body or metabolic rate. For example, I will need at least 800g of carbohydrates daily during peak week to maintain the fullness.
There are many ways on how you cycle your water during peak week. Many athletes make the mistake of cutting water completely. Our muscles are made up of 70% water, and hence, it makes sense that your muscles will look soft and flat if you are completely dehydrated. My suggestion is to tapper your water intake throughout the week. For example, I’ll start my Monday with 6L of water and decrease my water intake daily depending on how my body look each day. Chances are you get tighter throughout the week. However, some would have high water intake throughout the week and even on show day. Whichever works for you.
As we all know natural food sources such as chicken would already have sodium in it. Thus, I tend to stay low in my sodium intake throughout the whole of peak week till one day before show day where my sodium intake will be higher than usual. Remember not to overspill it. Once again, everyone’s body reacts differently. Find out what works for you!
I hope this brief section helps you better understand the factors you should consider when planning your diet during competition prep or peak week, and debunked some misconceptions you might have heard or read about. Finally, there is no perfect formula for peak week so I recommend taking time to understand it prior and during competition prep so that you are well-prepared for peak week. Good Luck!