I know I have left you haaanging, and you’re probably ready to kill me…
But I promise you, THE WAIT IS WELL WORTH IT!
As of this article, Monica stands at 1 day out from her show. And I am happy to say… This girl is about to bring her BEST yet.
But before I get to showing you how she looks right now, let me go over what happened during the week with her prep.
(PS: If you missed the first part of this series, please click here to read the intro to her prep and peak week.)
Figure Competitor Peak Week: Days 1 to 3 – Monica Carson’s NPC Greater Gulf States Prep
So after the first post I wrote, we continued to push Monica’s body by focusing on depleting her of glycogen.
This is a super important step leading into the days before her carb up. It allows her body to literally absorb the carbs that we put into her diet like a sponge. Hence, she fills up her muscles with glycogen and water nicely, without spilling over too much.
The first part of this set up is all about the diet.
So from Sunday through Tuesday, Monica was on a pretty low carb (to even low/moderate) fat plan. Her macros stacked up as the following on those depletion days:
Now, this isn’t something you want to stay on for too long. It can be VERY catabolic, and can push the body to the limits. But for a peak week, and specifically for HER peak week, it’s exactly where we needed to be.
Here’s something else I want to touch upon..
Her water consumption was at 2 to 2.5 GALLONS OF WATER PER DAY!
Water is the most potent diuretic you can use! And drinking MORE water leads to a powerful shedding effect in the body.
Increasing your water consumption well above normal levels drives down the hormone aldosterone in the body. When aldosterone is low, it forces the body to try to excrete excess water in order to bring your levels back up to normal.
This in turn is what really has a great visual effect in helping the competitor to tighten up. Even without the use of diuretics at this point. In fact…
We hadn’t even touched a single diuretic, we had simply been allowing nature to take its course. Towards the end of the week, we’ll drop her water. You’ll see exactly what this does to her final look in a bit.
The second portion of the depletion process for Monica was all about her training.
I was still pushing for a little more fat loss for her, so the volume of cardio stayed a bit elevated during this time. In addition, she had to hit up higher rep (15-20) full body workouts. During the workouts, we focused on hitting each muscle group about twice, and mainly leaving it to the upper body.
We DID NOT train legs at all in this final week, as the primary goal is to allow the legs to recover. This will help to ensure that her conditioning is nice and tight in the lower half. And more importantly, swelling or water retention from the body’s attempt to recover from training isn’t an issue.
Sunday: 35 Mins SS Cardio Keeping HR Above 80% + High Vol Weight Training Workout
Monday: 30 Mins SS Cardio Keeping HR Above 80% + High Vol Weight Training Workout
Tuesday: 25 Mins SS Cardio Keeping HR Above 80% + High Vol Weight Training Workout
Figure Competitor Peak Week: Day 4 – The Carb Up
So as you can see from the pic above, she was looking pretty flat.
Yes, she has a nice lean look to her body… It lacks that POP that we want to see for the stage. And so to fix that, we have her carb up ready to go on day 4.
This day was determined to be the BEST day for her. And I got to this realization after weeks of carb cycling her as we inched closer to the show week by week.
So, not only did the carb cycle set up aid in fat loss for her, it also allowed me to see what her body does following a high carb day.
And essentially how long it would take for her to clear any excess water and look great by the morning of the show.
The carb up is where you want to put focus on filling up with fast digesting carbs that are a bit lower in fiber. You also want to keep fats on the lower side of the equation (in the days that follow you can focus on fat loading into the show to hold fullness without worrying about spilling). And finally, keep protein on the lower side of things to allow for you to be able to crank in as many carbs as possible – and as needed – to really fill you out.
Now here’s the thing… And the reason WHY I prefer to carb up midweek as opposed to the day before the show…
IF YOU SPILL A BIT, YOU CAN EASILY CLEAN THINGS UP!
And that’s super important because the last thing you want to do is end up looking watery on stage – and have not enough time to adjust it.
In fact – YOU WANT TO SPILL A BIT. This way you end up filling up enough to hold you over as you continue to pull water – and essentially come in tighter as the week goes on.
So Monica’s high carb day menu was as followed:
Her water stayed at 2 gallons a day here as well.
One of the other things that I adjusted was her training during her carb up.
Our main goal is to give the body a reason to shuttle every single molecule of glycogen (along with the two molecules of water it carries with it) to be soaked RIGHT into her muscles.
The high volume depletion workouts have ensured that, in helping to use up all of the stored glycogen she had (and prime her body for the carb up).
But on this specific day, we changed her workouts over to a low volume, heavy weight focused program.
She was instructed to hit up her final cardio session in the morning before meal 1 to use up any last bit of glycogen she had. Soon after that workout, her carb up would start with meal 1.
Throughout the day, she’s following her plan, and her body is doing the work in storing the nutrients coming in.
To help even further push things along (and into her muscle cells), that low volume workout gives the body a reason to keep partitioning her macros in the way that we want it to.
So by the end of the day, she’s feeling energized from the increase of carbs, and starting to see her vascularity pop out as her body fills up on the stuff it’s been simply craving for days and days.
Figure Competitor Peak Week: Day 5 – The Carb Up Aftermath + Clean Up
By the time Thursday came around, Monica was looking nice and full – just as I suspected she would. We had a little bit of spilling going on, but it wasn’t too terrible.
She was kind of exactly where I wanted her to be at this point during her peak. And from here, getting her to tighten up would be SUPER easy.
The first thing I did to clean off the excess water was to simply get her back onto her lower carb plan she had been following during her depletion phase. This would essentially take carbs WAY down, and simply allow us to have enough in the plan to hold her over for the next few days into her show.
By this point, her training is done. So she had no more workouts to do, and no more cardio. In this way, we also wouldn’t be depleting glycogen as quickly as we had going into her carb up.
When a client is peaking, I have them send me photos AND videos EVERY SINGLE DAY.
And on some days, I might even have them submit those to me two or three times a day. I really feel that it gives me a chance to not only see them in pics, to see their conditioning in motion – allowing me to make the intelligent adjustments that I need to make.
What you have to realize is that during this peaking process, things can change in a blink of an eye. So keeping a close tab on biofeedback, and how things are generally looking is your best bet.
So always be prepared to follow the plan you’ve laid out – but also have the freedom to abandon it, if necessary, should things not shape up the way you need them to. Being malleable during your peak week is an important asset.
In Monica’s case, we didn’t really have to do much.
So continuing to sail in, keeping her water very high at 2 gallons still, and simply following her plan as written was all that she needed.
She was also traveling to New Orleans on this day (from Colorado – I’m in Los Angeles, so she works with me 100% online), and her focus was basically on just getting to the host hotel in once piece and then resting up.
Figure Competitor Peak Week: Day 6 – 1 Day Out and Almost There!
Upon waking in the morning, Monica shot over some pics as instructed.
I had noticed she was a bit watery, and that could be attributed mostly to the travel. I had already started a mild diuretic for her the night before, taking a VERY small amount to finish off her look – and so after seeing her pics, I knew she would need a tiny bit more.
I instructed her to have her first meal of the day, and to take another dosage of her mild diuretic. In addition to that, I have her doing more of a fat load in order to keep her nice and full as the diuretic is in place – pulling water from her body.
One thing you have to realize about using a diuretic is that it will pull water from BOTH intracelluar water AND extracellular water.
So basically, water within the muscle AND subcutaneously as well.
So if you use too much, or go crazy thinking it’s going to make you look leaner (when body fat is actually your problem – not water) THEN YOU WILL GO FLAT!
Because she was already very lean, this acts as just the finishing touch and polish to bring her look together – so she doesn’t even need a whole bunch.
All the while…
HER WATER IS STILL KEPT HIGH AT THIS POINT!
And I can’t stress that part enough. It’s completely erroneous to DROP ALL WATER a full day out before a show. Dropping water at this point is a surefire way to HOLD ONTO more water in the body – softening you up in ways you don’t want.
So we cut her water down to 1 gallon here, which is still enough to keep her hydrated – and still keep the body flushing out any excess she has that we want to get rid of.
I want to also make note that I NEVER EVER EVER cut a client’s sodium intake during a peak week.
In fact, it’s dangerous to do so since sodium plays a crucial role in the regulation of the heart. Adding a diuretic to the equation, AND cutting sodium, AND cutting water is a complete recipe to disaster. Furthermore, it can be a deadly combination as well (and that’s no exaggeration).
Not only that, but sodium also plays a crucial role in your body’s ability to hold a pump. So when you are backstage trying to make those muscles pop, sodium plays a crucial role in this – as well as helping to bring out even more vascularity.
Knowing all of this… There is one final trick to the equation that I’m going to add to Monica’s plan.
But first, let me show you how she’s looking this afternoon, about less than 12 hours til she hits the stage:
The pics and video above were shot around 2pm local time.
And as I saw – and what she admitted – instructing her to take a nap did absolute wonders for her body.
She ended up dropping a ton of the excess water her body was holding onto, and things were starting to look nice and crisp again. So basically the only thing she needed to do now was coast in.
With her tanning appointment, and athlete’s meeting coming up shortly – I told her to simply stay in the bed with her legs elevated until she HAD TO move or get up.
And now, the final “magical puzzle piece” now lies in eating a burger and fries…!
Remember how I mentioned earlier that I have one final trick up my sleeves to help to really make things pop for her? Well that’s the trick.
The burger and fries is something we had tried the week before to ensure this would fill her out adequately on Friday night, without spilling her over or making her ill.
And that move worked like a charm. She woke up harder, fuller, and more vascular by Saturday of last week after our test.
So naturally, I am throwing it in again, and I actually use it as a go to for a lot of my clients.
What’s great about this meal is that it’s packed with a good amount of protein, a ton of carbs, fat, and sodium. All the things needed to fill out the body (as I touched upon earlier).
With the diuretic still at work – and the body acting as its own diuretic as it continues to flush off excess water from the water load all week… We need to make sure she doesn’t flatten out, so the food somewhat helps with that.
If you’ve ever competed before, you might notice how much BETTER you look after a show when you’ve already had a big celebration meal. Well, why waste that look when the show is done – yet you look better than you had on stage.
Being SMART about strategically placing a meal like this before the show can help to truly make the difference in the final look.
And again, keep in mind that you might not ALWAYS need to do this… But if in the event you see that it might help, try it out in advance of your show, see how you look, and map out your peak week strategy from there.
So that’s it! Now we calmly wait until the day of the show!
I’m so proud of her work, and how things are turning out for her!
I will keep you posted on how things go on my Facebook Page – and on my Instagram Page as well. And after the show, I’ll be sure to follow up with you here on the blog about what we did for her the day of the show…
Along with her placings and results!
Got questions or comments?! Post them below! I’ll definitely help you out with anything on your mind regarding her peak week process!