What does a figure competitor peak week look like?
One of the parts of the entire contest prep process that gets a ton of questions has to be the peak week portion. It seems almost like the peak week process is wrapped behind a veil of voodoo magic and last minute tricks to magically transform the body. Well, sadly, the truth is that’s not entirely true. The focus during your prep should be continuing to train and diet so that in the final week, the most absolute of minor changes wields the most fantastic results.
For our clients, I like to keep things fairly simple, and similar to the plan set up they’ve had leading into the peak. One of the reasons I start to incorporate carb cycling early on is that we get a chance to literally play with a peaking process week after week. We get to see the process of depletion and carbing up in action, and can each week perfect it so that we know exactly how many carbs/protein/fats it takes for that client to effectively fill out, how long we need to deplete, and how many days post carb up it may take for the body to clear any excess water.
Case in point is Team Roxstar/RoxStar Fitness client and NPC figure competitor Amy Watson. We started with Amy dieting for her show about a good 13 weeks. Since she had been working with us from her off season, Amy was in a fantastic place. We set her up with a basic carb cycle of a few lower days, a moderate day, and a day where she had a free meal of whatever she wanted. Not all clients have or need huge refeeds, their bodies seem to fair better with a simple set up – and Amy was one.
Amy’s Figure Competitor Peak Week Macros and Water Set Up
Low Carb Days (Depletion Days):
1420 Calories, 176g Protein, 94g Carbs, 36g Fat
Higher Carb Day (Carb Up):
1627 Calories: 148g Protein, 197g Carbs, 36g Fat
Water Intake: 2 Gallons Per Day
Sodium: Left alone/no manipulation
Asparagus added to her meals this week to help in the dry out process as it is a natural diuretic.
What I changed from her typical diet set up:
For her peak, I opted to keep fats and carbs a little on the lower side, while keeping protein up simply because I want to push her body with glycogen depletion. Essentially creating an environment where her body becomes like a sponge, so that later in the week when we bump her carbs up, she’ll effectively fill out without having too much spillage.
What I plan to do later in the week, after her carb up, is put her back onto the lower carb plan, HOWEVER we will now add some fats back in there from Thursday on to keep her filling out, but again, make sure that the muscles stay full without pushing water subcutaneously. So essentially for Amy, we’re doing a mid-week carb up on Wednesday, and then Thursday and Friday dropping carbs back down, and going more into a fat load.
I’ll be telling her what to eat each day (she already has her meal plan in place so I’ll be filling in the extras with her as I look a her morning photos), so keeping a very close eye on her progress throughout the week with daily photos is important.
Her water intake is high, and I always do this with every peak week client. Loading your water, raising it super high above your typical amounts (my clients are instructed to drink a gallon per day during their prep) will lead to the body expelling excess water. So in essence, you create an environment that has a natural diuretic process. More water in = more water out.
Sodium at this point isn’t really manipulated, and in fact, I rarely manipulate it for most clients. Sodium plays a crucial role in water balance in the body, as well as having a major effect on muscle contraction (and essentially your “pump”). Playing with sodium you may risk going flat, cramping, and even at worse spillage because the delicate balance between sodium and potassium has been skewed. So for Amy’s case, particularly since she’s looking SO fantastic going into this week, we’re not even touching it.
Amy’s Figure Competitor Peak Week Training Set Up
Just like her diet, Amy’s peak week training has been set up specifically with the goal in mind to bring her to her best, tightest, and driest at the end of the process.
As the week carries on, the goal is to simply take cardio volume down for her, and to continue to push in the weight room. She has all of her workouts pre-designed, so it takes the pressure off and allows her to go on autopilot throughout the week.
Her high volume days consist of a full body workout, 1-2 exercises per body part, staying between 20-25 reps, tempo of about 2/1/3 or 2/1/4 to aid along in glycogen depletion, and very short rest periods of 60s or so. Each exercise only has about 2 sets.
Cardio is simple steady state work at this point, and one again, there to aid along in the depletion process. By Thursday, all training is done, and we simply allow her to focus on RESTING, RELAXING, POSING, and getting ready for her show!
Over the next few days, I’ll continue with the details on her progress and how she’s doing! If you have questions, leave them for me below in the comments box!
Want to make sure your next figure competitor peak week leaves you looking your best? For more info about online coaching and contest prep with me and my amazing team, contact me today for your complimentary appointment.