Peak week is the week leading into a show, it is where you try to fine tune your figure to peak for stage.
Peek Week Strategies
After competing for over 15 years, plus being a prep coach I have experienced many "peak weeks" along the way. If you have never gone through your first peak week, you might wonder what it is all about. Does something magical happen, and do you need a super complex plan for it to be more effective leading into a show?
The answer is NO! In fact, the less you actually change the less risk you will have of messing things up. I always aim to be stage lean about 2 weeks out from a show. This way you are not panicking to get every last little bit of weight off. This prevents you from being stressed (which can make you hold water) and you can start to ease off your training (again helping to eliminate water from your body). If you are not lean enough, entering "peak week" then dropping a bit of water will really not make that much difference in your overall package. It is all about giving yourself enough time during your prep to be ready slightly early.
"Do I need to carb up during peak week?"
I have in the tried and tested different ways to drop water. The more I have tried to be "fancy" and change things, the worse I have looked. Yes- each and every one of you is different, however if you nail your conditioning then you should not have to do too much in peak week to come in looking at your absolute best.
Peak week will vary for each competitor, depending on what category you compete in. For bikini category, the judges are wanting a fit but softer look. Bikini competitors don't need to be hard and dry looking, you don't want to be vascular and have muscle striations so you really should not need to drop water at all. You also probably won't need too much of a carb up prior, again as you should not be excessively depleted. If you do require a carb up, then maybe only a day before. For categories such as Figure and perhaps Fitness Divas then you will probably need between 2-3 days carb up depending on your own body type.
It helps to have a second pair of eyes during this time, we often don't see ourselves the same as someone else, you can't see if you look lean, harder, tighter, smoother, flatter...the mind games can make you see something that is not there. I have always under carbed up prior to shows (apart from my latest show where I did 2-3 days carb up) I don't see how depleted I am until I see stage pics after and then I can't believe I couldn't see it at the time!
The most important thing is to not worry about anyone else, stick to your own plan (or one your coach has set) and trust the process. As for dropping water to look drier this varies from girl to girl also. It can be a learning curve, some shows you might have got it right and others it might not be as effective. If you didn't get things right then try a different approach the next time you compete.
Peek Week Training
Training during peak week is also important. As I mentioned previously, you shouldn't be stressed and frantically training to lose weight, your cardio should taper down the last 7-10 days. You shouldn't do cardio 2 days out from a show (cardio makes you hold water and stopping this will let the water come out of your legs more) As for weights, you can't "grow" at this stage, you are probably at risk of injury if you are very lean, so just be careful. Weight training the day before a show is not going to give you better results. It will only help keep you depleted, so it defeats the purpose of carbing up. I think most people do it purely to feel like it will help, or their muscle will magically disappear overnight. This just won't happen. Focus on relaxing as much as possible, your figure will tighten up so much more.
On show day don't eat anything you wouldn't normally or have not tried before, again this could cause your body to hold water or upset your stomach. Things get very sensitive after months of dieting so just use foods you know works well with your body. I actually don't tend to eat much on show day (apart from chocolate when pumping up). I find I get too nervous/excited and don't want to feel bloated onstage.
So keep things as simple as possible, plan well ahead so you can just coast into a show, reduce any stress, relax and enjoy every moment of your time competing. You will miss it as soon as it is over!
Get more Bikini Competition Show Day tips from our other Blog Posts