by Kris Pitcher
Welcome to your "Peak Week"! A lot has gone into getting you to this point. Months of preparation have come down to the week before your contest where all the final details come into play. Unless you panic, everything will be fine.
What I did last time may not apply this time. I'm different, my body is different, my conditioning is different...see? So, if you're reading everything you can about what someone else does, thinking it's going to be magical for you - it may not be.
There are some similarities especially amongst divisions, during peak week. But trying to apply what bodybuilders do to a bikini athlete is just...mean.
If you are not working with a coach my advice is, if you are in shape and look good - coast in. Don't change things. And next time, work with a coach.
For those of us who do work with a coach, know your protocol is different from their other clients'. What you should expect is to taper off your workouts. Peak week is almost a "rest" week. This makes some people nut balls.
I love it. You can also expect to be busy with appointments getting all beautiful. Hair, nails, waxing, all of that. Or just spending time shaving the last bits of hair from everywhere. You can expect to be busy packing your bag for contest day. You may need to pack for an overnight as well.
There's plenty to keep you busy. You can expect some changes in your nutrition, in your water intake, in your micro nutrients (salt). And you can expect to be told to REST. That's right, feet up and rest. Do it.
The goal is to reduce all the inflammation, for some we want to deplete then load carbs as glycogen in the muscles, we want to manipulate hydration. Those are the main goals of peak week.
When you hear about drastic tactics during peak week, people are grasping for time. They aren't ready. And I can tell you, you can't "drop" fat during peak week. If you're fat, you're fat. Period.
Making weight for a bodybuilder is one thing, but when I hear about a bikini competitor in a sauna suit on the treadmill...my hackles go up. Dangerous. When I hear about a woman who is 118 pounds drinking 4 gallons of water...also dangerous. Again, applying methods used for male bodybuilders to women is ill informed, and liable.
The key is don't stress. You have done all the work. You aren't going to lose all of your muscle because you stop lifting the Wednesday before your show. I promise. RELAX. The more chill you are, the better. Peak week should be called, chill week.
Don't expect drastic things. I've done national level figure competitions with a very moderate natural water drop. If I insisted on doing a diuretic because "everyone else does it" I would look like an empty bag. That would be bad. Everyone doesn't do it. Stop reading all the bro science.
Your manipulations are based on actual science, everything will come together, and you will get up there on stage and present your best self ever. Your job during peak week is to relax, and get to your appointments.
Having the right set of expectations should help you relax about this mystery week. And now you know about your contest peak week.