I thought this would be interesting to show people who haven’t seen how quickly things can change during a prep week, assuming you’re lean enough (if you’re not, it’s entirely pointless) for it to matter of course. The left picture is Holly Wednesday morning of last week (3 days out). As you can see, she is very tight and separated, but she is also flat and depleted here.
The picture in the middle? This is only about 15 hours after the left picture, Wednesday evening, but look at the dramatic difference in her physique. She is much, much fuller, BUT also holding water, not as streamlined or separated. Holly not so happy about her pictures that night. I am glad she wasn’t at our house yet, lol.
This is why, when a peak week is applicable (and it’s not always), I feel that it should be treated on a day-to-day basis. Yes, you have a “plan” laid out for the week, but you have to operate in “real time” and base your next decisions on the outcome of your previous decisions – daily. That often includes adjusting your plan based on what is happening. This is exactly why you should never just “plug yourself into” someone else’s peak week. Case in point, I helped Holly with a prep week for one of her clients who recently competed (and did very well) and we had a plan in place, but had to change it based on the daily updates. That’s operating in real time. We made a decision to change our plan for the rest of the week and her client wound up getting better each day and looking great on the day of the show. HER week however, was substantially different than Holly’s.
I will say however, that the one constant in every prep week is water loading (at least here) because this is pretty much fool proof in everyone. It can’t go wrong because we all have hormones like Aldosterone and Antidiuretic Hormone (also affected by sodium intake) that respond in negative feedback loop fashion to promote massive water flushing when they are suppressed. How do we suppress them? Water and sodium. Ironically, when most people are cutting these things, we are keeping them up (note, we do not sodium load, we simply keep sodium as a dietary constant – a high constant – throughout prep). Since your body keeps an extremely delicate cellular balance of sodium, potassium and water, if these hormones didn’t adjust to changes in water (and sodium) intake, your cells would basically burst.
In the case of Holly I originally had a week’s schedule laid out (not the diet, since I do this one day at a time), but decided to raise carbs back up (about 275g) on Wednesday instead of my original plan of Thursday. The plan was to do a short workout of just 2-3 sets of 6-15 reps (depending on bodypart) per upper body muscle group to stimulate the activity of the glycolytic enzymes and then start eating. By the way, we don’t train legs in the last week at all.
The advantage of my moving to Wednesday was that, if Holly was retaining too much after raising carbs back up, we now had two days to adjust and tighten back up instead of only one. Given this was her Pro debut and you only get to debut once, I wanted to be extra cautious.
So as you can see, while fuller at night, she lost a significant amount of separation and as I said above, Holly was stressing. LOL
Thursday morning she woke up tighter than Wednesday night of course, but still had a noticeable amount of water to drop. So Thursday I decided to bring the carbs back down (not the original plan) and given there was no more training, there would be nothing that would cause the filled out muscle to deplete, provided water intake remains sufficiently high. All we wanted to do at this point was get the water off. That said, we don’t do this by cutting water … since we don’t cut water. No diuretics either.
The picture on the right is Friday morning. Water dropped, fullness remains – looks great with great separation. (it would have been ideal to have all three in the same outfit, but oh well).
Picture 1 – Wednesday morning (depleted and dry)
Picture 2 – Wednesday evening / 15 hours later (full and watery)
Picture 3 – Friday morning / 48 hours later (full and dry)
Pretty dramatic changes over the course of only 48 hours don’t you think? Friday we held the line with diet and fat loaded a bit Friday evening.
Done. No witchcraft, just a bit of science.
Our goal for the next one is to come in a little leaner overall.