Nutrition Competitors Fitness: Peak Week

Today we will talk about the week before a fitness competition, whose methodology responds to very specific patterns: Peak Week.

What is Peak Week

The peak week, or final week, includes the last 5-10 days before a competition in which competitors adopt a variety of nutritional and training strategies to dramatically improve their physical appearance.


However, the reality is different from that pursued by competitors, since it is very common to find cases where through the changes made, they significantly worsen their physical appearance.


Bodybuilder on the platform.

You will find many times images like the previous one, mainly due to:

  • Lack of definition at the beginning of the final week le.
  • Subcutaneous water retention.
  • Abdominal distension.
  • Malabsorption and gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Dehydration.
  • Lack of vascularity.

Which ultimately result, many times over, in a worse picture than we had before the start of the last week.


Importantly, peak week has a potential small positive effect on the physical image.

However, can negatively affect our image and even our health.

So don’t trust the coaches who claim “one-of-a-kind sets” with big adaptations, since everything has been invented and we know that the set with fewer modifications is generally better.


Pre-competition physique.


94% of competitors do the tune-up in the last week (Chappell y Simper, 2018).

However, I would not do a general tune-up, as unless the body fat percentage is low enough , the positive aesthetic effects of a tune-up dissipate and also do the things are not going to get better, but we can see a lot worse.

What is the definition point you would recommend starting a tune up?

Not I can give an absolute value, since in fact in this period (peak week) there is practically no serious process , so it is a mixture of biol bases giche + experience with my athletes.

With over 5% of body fat calculated by skin test or 8% calculated by DEXA would not perform a tuning ; would simply continue to define and two or three days before moderately loading carbohydrates.

In people who reach the aforementioned percentage of fat, they may possibly choose to peak weel to improve their “point”.


At the beginning of the week

Eliminate carbohydrates, drink a lot of water, eat a lot of salt and work out to the limit.

Two or three days before

Suddenly eliminate the water and salt, add diuretics; sometimes drink small amounts of distilled water and eat all the carbohydrates we are able to take.


Fainting on the platform by Dallas McCarver (DEP) at Arnold Classic Australia 2017.

The result is a swollen, tight physique, diarrhea, dehydration, cramps, hospitalizations and sometimes death.

It is known the large number of victims that exist in all competitions at the regional level and the deaths that occurred in course of the history of body building due to aggressive attitude.

Why people miss peak weak

The tuning has a very clear goal:

Reduce subcutaneous water by adhering the skin to a super compensated muscle, in so you can observe the streaks of the tissue and a great vascularity.

This is why they make these changes nti in water and electrolyte consumption and make carbohydrate loads so aggressive.


Figure III. Rich Piana (DEP) drinking from a gallon.


Once again, I tell you that the work must be done before starting the installation , I always say the same thing to my competitors:

“… If I told you to put on the paint and get on the platform now, would you feel ready? … ”

  • If the answer is no, don’t you’re not even up for a tune-up.
  • If the physical point is good, to compete, they can changes have been made that will improve our image, but this has to start over.

Whether to perform the tuning or not must be known at least one month in advance.

Since it is very important to do at least one preliminary test to see the effects of the strategies adopted on the physical image, far enough away from the competition to correct any possible alteration we cause by that date.

Settimana prima della competizione

Peak… week? O month?

About 3 weeks before the day of the show , I would slightly increase the salt consumption, gradually, until about 7-10 days before the competition , and from that moment I would not make any further changes.

If I consume 6 grams of salt per day, every 3 days I add 1 gram more, so in 15 days I will consume 11 grams of salt per day which will remain stable over the last 7 days.


  • Because the sodium contained in salt is an osmolyte and is the main determinant of our blood volume.
  • If we want to see ourselves vascularized and large on stage, we need a good amount of water that circulates through our circulatory system and fills our myocytes. i>

Concentrazioni di sodio

Figure IV. Direct relationship between sodium concentrations in the medium and osmolarity. More sodium, more plasma.

Standardized diet

All this makes no sense if our diet is not standardized.

So about a month before the competition, the nutrition system I use with my athletes and which I mentioned in the on-season article, is changed to a traditional diet system closed and governed to 100% from me.

Because if the amount of sodium that comes from the selected foods is changing , it generates noise in the measurements.

However it would only be necessary to do this in the last week to be strict.

Last days, the final week comes, what do we do?

10 days before

I begin 10 days earlier with a significant reduction in the amount of carbohydrates consumed, not less than 1 gr / kg / day .

If the intake was already low before, it should not be changed.


Workouts change and focus on less demanding muscle work, as well as failing.

In particular, in these days of exhaustion I use training schemes based on “latex” circuits, with aerobic exercise of medium intensity.

Nothing too new since what matters less is generating muscle damage out of the ordinary, therefore exercises known and to which the competitor is used.


7 days before

Carbon hydrates

Carbohydrate consumption starts to increase, every day X amount of carbohydrates is added to the previous day’s net consumption.

A general pattern I use with competitors weighing more than 85 kg at this point and which came from the consumption of very few carbohydrates, it is:

Suppose you consume 1 g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight.

Sunday 1 * 1,2 = 1,2 gr / kg
Monday 1,2 * 1,2 = 1,4 gr / kg
Tuesday 1,4 * 1,4 = 2,0 gr / kg
Wednesday 2 * 1,5 = 3 gr / kg
Thursday 3 * 1,5 = 4,5 gr / kg
Friday 4.5 * 1.5-2.0 = 6.75-9 gr / kg

This pattern is not immovable and will be adapted based on athlete reports such as gastrointestinal tolerance and changes in aesthetic image .


During these 7 days, fiber intake is minimized and carbohydrates mainly come from refined grains; a very well tolerated source, in fact it is almost always rice / rice cereals / rice flour.


The water consumption should not be changed in the previous 7 days.

If you have to enter a weight category you can do a sharp drop in water consumption (up to ~ 8 ml / kg) 12-24 hours before weighing.

But the effects this can have on the final image, especially in federations where weight is far from the competition, they can be very negative .

Therefore, the effects of loading and the association of between 3 and 17 grams of water for each gram of glycogen stored must be taken into consideration, taking into account that the maximum concentrations of an athlete are about 870 g and that in a state of super compensation this ability can increase up to x 1.79.

Normally, yes experience a weight gain of 3 kg during loading , so this should be considered in advance in case a weight class needs to be entered.


Figure V. Pre weighing -competition of a classic physique.

It is possible to slightly increase the water consumption at the start of the load , but in any case, a few weeks earlier, together with the increase in sodium intake, we should have increased the intake of water.

In the case, say, that we consume 4 liters of water per day, on Monday we can increase it to 4.5 liters and on Wednesdays to 5 liters.

However, they are more in favor of not changing your water intake and producing as few alterations as possible in the last few days.

If we want to consume more water because we will have an intense carbohydrate load (after having previously tested it), we must adjust the water weeks before peak week.


During this week the workout will be fullbody muscle pumping, torso-legs or push-pull-leg, far from insufficiency muscular, sen za cardio, and will continue until the day before the competition where the last training session in the morning, this will not be leg training.


The last 4 workouts should be particularly light, focused solely on stimulating the entry of glucose into the muscle cell by translocating GLUT4 receptors in the absence of a hyperinsulinemic state.

That is, the right and without going further.

If you like “no pain no gain” workouts and, especially now with the load, you feel more energetic, go out on the balcony and scream a little or let off steam, but pay attention to the working pattern.

Altering cellular function by generating damage to its membranes due to the muscle tension you produced in training is a first-rate problem that will end up with the accumulation of interstitial edema (retention) and poor glucose absorption, so rest assured.


The salt remains unchanged , the changes we made weeks ago .

The day before the-competition

12 hours first you can reduce (not eliminate) your water and sodium intake.

This is not a particularly relevant factor, since when it is done you get more urine production, but it does what we do not understand is that the water compartments in the body [intracellular-extracellular (plasma-interstitium)] are watertight and maintain a stable relationship.

Quind i, if we lose water, we lose in arithmetic form, also of our muscle tissue that we want it to explode with water so that our muscles look hard and our veins dilated by the volume of circulating water.

I let my athletes drink water until they go to bed the night before.

The day of the-competition

The competitor gets up, goes to the bathroom normally and starts getting ready.

  • You will not have to drink water until the pre-platform.
  • If you normally use supplements that need to be swallowed, stop using them.

During all these days I check the competitor’s body changes, so I already know how she is physically; in any case, that same morning I ask him again for a photo on an empty stomach.

The image must be to go out now, if you are not very vascular (obviously because you just woke up) and you are hungry (which is usually not the case), I allow you to do a “cheat-meal” of about 4 hours before leaving the platform.

ATTENTION! There is a problem, the athlete has not eaten anything out of the ordinary for a month, suddenly putting all the food of his liking, such as pizzas, hamburgers, ice cream and the like, can make his gastrointestinal system explode.


  • I do not order him to weigh everything he eats, he only eats until he is full, he must not burst but not even stay with hunger.
  • I encourage him to chew his food well, chewing is a key aspect of digestion and nutrient absorption. He must eat without anxiety.
  • If I have a competitor who has had gastrointestinal upset during the preparation, FOR NOTHING IN THE WORLD I recommend this food.

In cases where everything is ready, just have a normal meal like any other day, perhaps a little more abundant, with a little bit of s extra ale, and some food you like (a portion of ice cream for example).

Before getting on the platform

Before getting on the platform, drink water in small sips , without going crazy and without bloating, to avoid the urge to urinate during the competition.

I recommend that you eat french fries, crackers or the like while pumping yourself backstage and I remind you that:

One of the most famous scenes in bodybuilding history at Mr. Olympia 2006 between Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler.

The months of preparation work are reflected in fun on the platform from start to finish, not in the position where you arrive in the leaderboard.

Force champions!

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *