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Learn what to eat and what not to eat — especially where carbohydrates are concerned — during this critical week. Of course, protein and fat are covered too.
By the time you’ve reached your final week of contest preparation, dieting has taken over from training as the ultimate key to success (or failure).
You’re counting carb and fat grams as meticulously as an auditor scours the books a sketchy start-up company, and misstep can be hard to undo or overcome.
This video tells you how to avoid those mistakes in the first place.
Learn To Dial In Your Nutrition
Watch The Video – 03:41
Avoiding Dietary Disaster
When it comes to peak week nutrition, it’s all about carbohydrates. They’re the star of the show to come, with protein and fats playing supporting roles.
Here’s what to do:
1 / Do only very moderate carb loading
If your body is accustomed to 100 g of carbs per day, and then you load 800 g for three days, disaster awaits. That’s why I recommend never consuming more than three times your normal contest-prep carb load during peak week.
Front Loading Carbs
2 / The absolute amount of carbs to load, and how long to load them, is a matter of trial and error
I usually front-load carbs earlier in the week because I’m still training hard and my body can tolerate them. I taper them down as the show draws nearer.
3 / This also gives you more leeway to adjust depending upon your body’s response
Spill over and you can still reduce your carbs before the show and recapture tightness. Closer to the show, such adjustments are no longer an option.
4 / Protein and fats should be held more or less steady during peak weak
Any adjustments should be minor: I tend to start off with lower protein earlier in the week, when carbs are higher, and slowly bring that back up to normal levels over the course of the week.
5 / On show day a moderate carb load should fill you out
Starting 6 to 8 hours from prejudging, consume 30 to 80 g of carbs every 2 to 3 hours.
A 220-pound ectomorph will want to err toward the high side of that range, whereas a 150-pound endomorph will want to err on the lower side.
6 / Eat low-fiber, low-bulk sources of carbohydrates
Consume small amounts of protein (10 to 20 g) and fat (5 to 10 g) with each meal. To allow enough time, ectomorphs may want to begin loading on Friday, a day before the show.
Bread and Cheese
7 / The right meal consumed 2 hours before prejudging can help you fill out
The protein/carb/fat/sodium mix varies by person, but 20 to 30 g protein, 40 to 100 g carbs, and 15 to 30 g fat with 800 to 2,000mg of sodium works well for me.I’ve had good luck eating a sub.
8 / What you choose to eat to hit these targets depend on your metabolism and food sensitivities
If you’re lactose intolerant, allergic to gluten, or both, consuming a large amount of bread and cheese on a sub isn’t for you.
Remember, nothing substitutes for trial and error, so the earlier you can test-drive some of these techniques, the better
Truth Vs Myth
MYTH /// I must cut out protein shakes during the final week because they’ll make me retain water
TRUTH: If your body tolerated the shakes during your diet, why would the final week be any different?
Unless you’re allergic to some of the fractions in these shakes (such as the beta-lactalbumins in whey), there’s no reason not to continue drinking them.
MYTH /// I must cut out creatine out because it will make me retain water
TRUTH: Creatine actually shifts the water balance where you want it by putting more water inside the cell. It will help you maintain your fullness.
Now that being said, many people try to load creatine in the final week to amplify this effect. Don’t do it!
If your body isn’t accustomed to taking creatine and you start loading it, your digestive system may not be able to dispose of all the creatine in the bloodstream, drawing water into the GI tract and causing you to bloat.
Rule of thumb: Continue taking creatine as you’ve been taking it during contest prep, but if you haven’t been using, don’t start in the final week!
Finally, I’ve included miscellaneous dietary tips for peak week:
Limit vegetable and fiber intake during the last 16 to 20 hours before the show to prevent excess gut fill and possible bloating from fermentation of the fiber.Take a non-drowsy antihistamine the morning of the show. You’re more prone to allergies and sickness in your final week because depletion suppresses immune function.
Allergies and illness can cause the body to increase levels of histamine, a compound that can trigger water retention in addition to many other cold symptoms (i.e., stuffy head, stuffy nose, etc).Taking an anti-histamine can help prevent this action should illness or allergy occur.