Ah, peak week, the week you’ve worked so hard for as a figure competitor. All those hours in the gym and on the cardio equipment, all those egg whites and protein shakes. What could be more exhilarating than pulling in hard and tight for your competition?
But let’s face it. The journey to peak week can get pretty exhausting. As you progress during your prep you do more cardio, eat a little less, and manipulate those carbs. But that added re-feed day can take the edge off, at times.
No doubt, competing in a figure contest is fun, but it’s also quite the chore if you are 100% dedicated. You have to have complete mental focus and you have those little sacrifices too.
As you zone in those final 7 days, there are some things you need to keep in mind so that you don’t screw it all up! I’m going to cover a few mistakes figure competitors make in prep for their peak week journey. What you do that final week before your show can either make you look 15% better, or 50% worse!
First, you need to be ready, and mean 99% stage-ready one week out from your figure contest. You can’t lose fat your final week. All you do during the last 7 days is pull-in tight and hard to get that well-defined look the judges drool, and I do mean drool over.
PITFALL #1 – Not Enough Muscle (Rushing the Process)
Here’s the first, and usually Number One mistake most first time figure competitors make, and that’s not having enough muscle mass to compete. *GASP* She said I need muscle mass. Yeah, you do need muscle in order to stand on the stage and compete in a figure show. The judging criteria for a figure contest is based, primarily on, muscularity, balance and presentation.
Too often the eager and motivated figure hopeful will jump into a figure prep program without having any solid muscle foundation built. When she begins to diet, she loses body fat along with lean muscle tissue, which is to be expected.
She then ends up on stage flat and stringy, almost anorexic looking on stage. She may get her good body parts somewhat lean, but the body parts that are under par take the rap and end up holding body fat.
PITFALL #2 – Water Depleting (Can Be Dangerous)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Do Not Ever Stop your water intake. I’ve heard of competitors cutting off their water supply Thursday before a Saturday show. Do you know how dangerous this is?
www.illpumpyouup.com discusses dehydration and contest prep; “When the body perceives itself in a state of “drought,” one of its first reactions is to slow down the elimination of water from the system by curtailing urine output. Dehydration, therefore, paradoxically always leads to a state of excess water retention.”
If you cut your water out, your body will retain water! Water is the most ESSENTIAL element to life! There is a certain way to lower your water intake to get tight, but if you do it wrong, you can have some DRASTIC consequences.
PITFALL #3 – Carb-Loading (Watery Mess in the Worst Areas)
Here’s the deal. When you are at your absolute leanest the final week you can add carbs back in your diet. Generally you want to deplete carbs for a few days and then add them back in your diet. However, keep in mind that when you eat carbs, water is drawn to them.
The water will go to your muscle tissues first and hydrate the muscle cells, making your muscles full and round. Nice. Just what the judges like to see. This fine water and carb balance requires some management skills.
This goes back to the water mistake we talked about above… If you cut off your water supply too soon your muscles will be flat. Ewww…
PITFALL #4 – Training (All Out Hardcore Training)
If you are doing hardcore, full-blown workouts during the last 7 days before your show, you’ve already lost. Peak week is NOT the time to be implementing training principles, going to failure, getting personal bests, or training for more than an hour. You will not build any muscle the final 7 days before your figure competition. In fact, peak week training is much, MUCH different from your regular training format you’ve been following to get you to this point.
Your training goal the final week before your figure contest should be to get all the glycogen out of your muscles. That’s it. Any other type of training format will flatten your muscles out and you won’t be able to fill out your muscles or even keep a pump on stage.
PITFALL #5 – Cutting Sodium (Essential Mineral)
With all the information AGAINST sodium in the “health care” industry and the fitness industry, somewhere along the way someone forgot to mention that sodium is a NECESSARY element required by the body that allows your muscles and nerves to function. Excess sodium is bad, but there aren’t too many figure competitors that consume huge quantities amount of salt.
Sodium is a part of your working body, and to totally cut it out of your diet can have devastating results. Of course, there is a time to lower your salt intake to peak for your one big day, but it comes along with a little know-how. You can’t just go cutting sodium out 7 days from your show, or even 4 days at that! It is ESSENTIAL that you lower your salt intake the proper way so you don’t suffer harmful side-effects. With the PROPER carb, sodium, and water balance you can have full round muscle bellies, be tight, hard and defined, and NOT cramp up on stage!
How To Win Your Figure Competition
Now, how do you win your actually look GREAT and win your figure contest? It’s easy. You just need the right tools and information to make weekly progress. In fact, you can make a total body transformation in just 12 short weeks, be on stage, compete, and win! How’s that for success? So, check out my best-selling eBook, “Figure Competition Secrets” and learn how to really lose fat and prep to win.
Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
Thanks for reading over my article! I hope you found the information helpful. If you have any questions you can contact me directly using the “Contact Link” at the top of the page. I answer all emails.
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