Peak week is that final week leading into your show. The week, where every competitor tries to polish the final look in order to bring the best package to the stage.
Many people tend to stress about this particular week, trying to find the perfect plan, manipulate different variables etc. But, from my own experience I can say that here, one size does not fit all! Yes, peak week can really help you to bring slightly better package, but you can also mess things up! So be VERY careful!
FIRSTLY - every single peak week is different, and every single peak week plan needs to be adapted to you as an individual! There are so many tactics that can be used, but not every one of those will work for you. With me personally and every single client of mine, we do things differently based on my/their look and how my/their body reacts to certain variables.
But let’s look into some variables that can be manipulated:
- Diet – mainly carbohydrates
In case of your diet, I don’t believe and recommend making big changes. The more you change, the more you’re risking messing things up. Your body is used to certain food sources that you’ve been using throughout your prep. Why you would use something completely different and rising chances that your body will be shocked? By introducing “unknown” food source you’re risking that your body will have problem to digest it properly, which can lead to bloating or water retention. This may lead you to start panicking cortisol levels will rise you may start holding water. So, I recommend sticking to foods that your body is used to and only manipulate amounts.
Depletion and carb-loading:
Well, this is very complex topic with many different viewpoints. Especially, when it comes to bikini competitors. However, there are various techniques and choosing, which one to choose depends very much on your individual situation. I would love to give you the perfect plan for carbs manipulation, but this has to be adjusted based on how you respond to carbs and your appearance throughout this process.
Carb-loading, and water manipulation WILL ONLY WORK if you’re already lean enough! If you’re NOT, there is no point doing any of those and I would just keep things as they are throughout the week.
! Firstly, get shredded and only then you can start worrying about carb-loading !
In terms of carb-loading you can front load carbs or back load carbs.
- This means either reintroduce /increase carbs at the beginning of the week and start reducing them leading up to your show. This technique will give you enough time to “fix things” if something goes wrong.
- Another popular technique is depleting carbs at the beginning of the week and start to reintroduce them few days before the show.
I personally tried both and both worked well at that particular peak week. Choosing which one to use, again very much depends on you as an individual and your current physique.
When carb loading I would follow few rules:
- Use carb sources your body is used to
- Don’t overdo it - you’re not bodybuilder so you probably won’t need 500g of carbs (even that some people do – I wish, haha). I would go to maximum of 3x your carb intake (carb intake before depletion - if you’re depleting carbs)
- When reintroducing/increasing carbs, you need to drink water! Water is the tool how those carbs will get into your muscles. If you stop drinking water and keep eating carbs you will not fill out (you’ll just be flat, so there’s no point for this). Water is the tool that will store carbs as glycogen – this will make your muscles to look bigger and fuller.
- Carbs depletion – how much of depletion (how many days/how much carbs to deplete) depends on the individual. Some people deplete for 3 days with no carbs, some people for 3 days with very little carbs, some people for 10 days, some people not at all keeping their carbs intake stable. All of that depends how much time your body needs to get to that “depleted state”, prior to filling you up with carbs. These low/no carb days will empty your glycogen stores, which makes them more receptive when you increase carbs again. Your coach should know your body well and plan everything based on your situation before peak week.
- Don’t go into a show low on carbs! You will lack energy, which can affect your posing, make you look tired and have an impact on how you present yourself on that stage.
Okay so now when we’re done with manipulation of carbs – let’s talk WATER.
You can manipulate water as well. At the beginning of the week you can slightly start increasing your water intake. I would go +0,5l every day until 2 days out. Some people will get to 7l, some just to 5l. It all depends on your typical water intake. If you’re really small human and you’re usually drinking around 3l a day, you don’t need to go to 8l a day! No such extreme is necessary.
The aim of this “process of water-loading” is that your body gets used to increased water intake and it will start flushing all this water away (toilet breaks 50x a day :D). The whole “miracle” is, that when you suddenly decrease this consumption, your body continues to flush this water even that you’re not consuming this amount anymore.
So, the day before the show you can decrease water intake. I never cut water completely, but on show days I keep just around 150ml with my meals.
You can also use natural diuretics – vit c and caffeine, which help with “drying you out”. These are staple in my peak week and always ready before the peak week comes.
In terms of sodium, I don’t think it’s necessary to manipulate sodium. Sodium plays a big role in muscle contractions. If you drop your sodium intake, you may experience really bad muscle cramping (not something you want on stage) and you’ll struggle to get a pump. Just keep using the same amount you’ve been using throughout whole prep and you’re safe. Don’t risk messing things up, your body is used to something so don’t shock it! Especially manipulating sodium can be dangerous and there is no need of doing this for bikini girls at all.
If you already look great, keep things as close as you’re used to an you’re fine ☺
When it comes to training – it’s the last week so you’re not trying to gain muscle. Don’t try to hit PB’s because you can only risk injuries. Just follow your plan, keep it intense, but don’t push yourself to the limits, especially with heavy lifts. Reduce your training intensity to 75-85% to avoid excessive muscle damage, fatigue and muscle soreness.
In terms of trainings it’s a good idea to do your last leg-day around 5-7 days out and not training legs later in the week. Training legs can make them sore, hold water and look “swollen”. Some people then follow full upper body workouts for the rest of the week, some follow push/pull split.
Peak week is also the time when you should start reducing cardio. How much cardio you’ll be doing will depend on how much cardio you’ve been doing prior to peak week. Do your last HIIT session (if you’ve been doing these) 5-7 days out and switch to only steady state cardio sessions. I tend to reduce cardio by 10 minutes every day until 2 days out, when I stop it completely to let my body rest. In terms of training, some people stop training 2-3 days out. For me, if it’s possible, I do train every day prior to my show. Even that it’s just very short “pump workout” which helps to push those added carbs into the muscles.
!!! The most important thing in those last few days is to stop stressing! Work is done now, the last week is just about small tweaks. It’s the time to get ready, polish your posing, visit hairdressers, get your nails done, do some pampering because that’s what you deserve. It’s been a long journey and now it’s time to shine. So, put stressors and doubts aside and enjoy every moment!
Try to relax, recover and it’s SHOWTIME!
***Also, if you want to gain more knowledge about all processes in the body and how manipulating different variables may affect how your body responds, there are so many amazing podcasts or scientific studies online that can give you deeper and more complex insights.
Autor: Rebeka Tunegova