How to Master Peak Week and Win Your Show
You have to master peak week to dominate the stage. No one wants to step on stage smooth, holding water, or flat muscles that look strung out. Those types of physiques don’t get noticed by the judges or audience and certainly don’t win.
After MONTHS of dieting to compete in a competition you want to be at your absolute best and that’s when how to master peak week comes into play. A peak is the properly timed process you are at your absolute best. Every sport has a peak, and figure competitions are no different. Your peak week process will bring you in lean, well-defined, with full rounded muscles bellies, just the physique the judges drool for and choose to win.
One thing about fitness magazines is the photographers take pictures of the competitors in their peak condition, the day of their contest. If you want to look like you stepped off the cover of Muscle & Fitness Hers or Oxygen Magazine, you are going to have to go through a peaking process.
What Is Peak Week?
Peak week is the controversial final week before your completion in which you need to slightly manipulate your diet (carbs, fat, water, sodium, and potassium) to bring you in polished and ready. A peak is just that, just a VERY short amount of time you can hold a finely-tuned condition. When you implement a peak week plan correctly you can overstep your competition and place first. However, if you implement the final week the wrong way you can end up bloated, flat, cramped-up, etc.
You cannot peak if you are lean enough. You have to go through the standard contest prep and get a low enough body fat percentage so the peak week process can be successful. Remember, the process is not a magic trick. It’s manipulating your diet in such a way to bring you in more detailed with fuller muscles. If you are “ready” one week out, your final week process will work.
Tinker With Your Water Intake (Timing Is Everything)
Water constitutes over half your body’s mass. Water in your body can be divided into intracellular (inside cells) and extracellular (outside cells) compartments. During peak week you need to strive to lower extracellular water (subcutaneous water – water under your skin) as much as possible just before your show (not a week out) so you will be at your leanest on stage. So, the trick is to remove the subcutaneous water (just below your skin), BUT keeping your muscles hydrated and full.
The idea and working strategy behind peak week is lowering water intake in such a way that you redistribute it from UNDER your skin and INTO your muscles cells. With this in mind, it is critical that you avoid dehydration.
How And When To Carb-Load (Depleting And Loading Is The Key)
The carb manipulation tactic used during peak week is to deplete muscle glycogen levels via weight training and then replenish glycogen stores just before your contest. By lowering carb intake and muscle glycogen you can remove subcutaneous water quickly and easily. Once your muscles are depleted, begin eating carbs you fill up your muscles with glycogen making them appear larger and fuller.
If you eat too many carbs or the wrong types of carbs or drink too much water at the wrong time, then all the carbs and water may not go into the muscles (intracellular compartment) but end up in the extracellular compartment causing you to spill-over, making you smooth.
Training Your Final Week (Quite Different)
By the time peak week comes around, your training is done. You are not going to build muscle the final week. Your last week before your contest is to relax and let the diet manipulation and glycogen depletion workouts do the work. Any balls-to-the-wall training peak week can cause you to retain water. Heavy leg training such as squats can cause your legs to hold blood volume, taking away from any leg definition and separation. Peak week is about manipulation, that’s it. Remember, be “ready” for your show one week prior so your peak week tactics can work.
Cardio Exercise The Last 7 Days (Might Surprise You)
Cardio during peak week is not necessary. Remember, you need to be ready one week out so the peak week process can bring you in. It would be fine to do light walking 20-30 minutes the Sun – Tue of peak week. Anything more than that can be stressful to the body, causing water retention.
Critical Information (Must Read)
If you are ready to take your physique to the next level and see what you are really capable of and even win a trophy it’s time to get started.
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Karen Sessions NSCA-CPT
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