You may have heard the term ‘peak week’ being thrown around recently especially with our Team ELITE now in their final descent to show day on Saturday.
You may be thinking what the hell is that? If you’re not sure, you probably haven’t dared ask.
Peak week is the jargon used to describe the final 5-7 days leading up to an actual bodybuilding competition.
It can be “where the magic happens” …
A great deal can change during that final week, sometimes good (the bodybuilder will “come in” just right) and sometimes bad.
For the onlooker, watching those going through a peak week, it’s often seen as “the week where all the magic happens”.
As you can see in the above image, the prerequisite Conditioning and Muscularity need to have been attained BEFORE a competitor can hope to be competitive on stage.
The reality of peak week is that this final “run-in” will only contribute to 1-5% of the finished result that is presented in the stage physique.
But this begs the question...
Does this 1-5% even matter?
Put it this way...
If you have chosen to prepare for a show, for the timespan of anywhere between 16 to 30 weeks, you and the other people that you are sharing the stage with are doing everything you can to bring home a top place.
Each of you on stage has invested copious gruelling hours of weights/cardio training, intense dieting and posing practice, to bring a Top 3 worthy physique to the stage.
Arguably, everyone on stage will be looking the best they have ever looked and arguably, each physique that is presented is just as impressive as the last.
Long story short, the peak week will bring to the surface all of your hard work in a way that showcases everything that you have done that sets you apart from the competitors to the left and right of you.
Let’s break down each layer of this hierarchy:
` 1. Conditioning & Muscularity
As stated above, in order to be a competitive athlete on the day of your show, you (and your coach) must determine–ahead of time–if your physique is going to be hitting the required criteria needed for your chosen category in your chosen federation. Being lean is simply not enough. Without a certain level of muscularity suited to your category, you will not be considered competitive.
2. Stress Management
At this time, your main task is to rest, relax, reflect on the months of work you have put in and most importantly shift all of your focus to the concept of performing your best on the day of the competition.
3. Carbohydrate Loading
Too often I see coaches and competitors try to make unnecessary and nonsensical changes to nutrition during peak week in hopes of completely changing the physique a day or two before the stage.
Basically what you are trying to do with this process is, fill the muscle bellies with glycogen, pushing the muscle to the surface of the skin - this gives the “full” and “pumped” look on stage.
This is not a time to change to different food sources all of a sudden in hopes of “shocking the body” to make magic happen. Changing carb sources completely or too aggressively could very well cause GI distress which then comes with a myriad of symptoms like cramping, vomiting, bloating and more, all of which are not wanted in the last week of prep.
This process can be a one or several-day process depending on each client.
This is NOT a time to be smashing PBs or working yourself to exhaustion. This is a time to be training for the sole purpose of keeping the muscles full and “pumped up” and ideally, the plan for your peak week training is done in a way that coincides nicely with your carb up.
5. Fluid & Electrolyte Manipulation
In the years that I have spent learning about bodybuilding prep and preparing my own clients for shows, I have come to the conclusion that:
There are too many ways around this process to count
The less manipulation, the better.
While each individual is different and there are different methods that can be taken, what we need to understand is that manipulation of fluids and electrolytes–if done too drastically–can be a dangerous process resulting in severe dehydration causing headache and in some cases dizzy/fainting spells - obviously not something that you want during the last week leading to the show let alone on the show day. A process that errs on the side of caution with minimal negative side effects is to keep water and sodium present with minimal depletion up until the day of the show and then on the show day, completely fast water.
Looking to compete or wondering if the stage is where your dreams will come true? We are opening a limited amount of spots for 2023 in Team ELITE.
Results start HERE.