Are you preparing for your first bodybuilding contest? Here are some valuable tips that will help you achieve your goal and uplift your bodybuilding career.
“Peaking” is the first step towards preparing your body for a bodybuilding competition.
What Is Peaking?
It is the process to transform the calories, carbohydrates, and water levels of your body to increase the appearance of muscle density and fullness while offering maximum vascularity.
Bodybuilding is all about understanding your body aesthetics.
Do not try to “trick your body” in the last moment to maximize the glycogen storage system and minimize water storage to get a huge, dry, and vascular look.
To avoid such consequences it is good to start early to minimize your chances of appearing flat, bloated or smooth on the stage.
However, “Peak condition” cannot be maintained for a long period of time.
For any aspiring bodybuilder, it is very important to be well acquainted about your body’s way of responding to stress, changes in diet, risk glad, intestinal, and abdominal cramping, etc.
Stress is the biggest enemy of your hard-earned muscles. Too much stress can decrease the water content from the muscle and pool it subcutaneously, leading a ripped physique to flat of “watery” even at very low body fat compositions.
Your ultimate goal should be to make your body look its best during the competition. Not only on the stage but maintaining your physique all throughout the evening of the event is also very important.
Do not fall prey to any miscalculations or you may peak any time before or on the day of the event. Many well-experienced bodybuilders were also victims of this condition at least once in their career.
It is indeed tragic and heartbreaking to see a bodybuilder who has worked so hard with his diet and training, start losing his physique just before the competition.
The only solution to this last moment threat is to practice peaking as early as you can and experiment with your body’s needs.
Diet And Training For The Peak Week
Here is a weeklong diet chart which you may try in the week before your first bodybuilding competition:
- Consume 6-7 small meals, each containing protein from a wide variety of low sodium sources.
- Carbs should be approximately 0.5 gram per pound of your body weight. This will translate into 100 grams for a 200-pound male.
- Carbohydrates should include high-fiber carbs such as broccoli, other green vegetables, yams, oatmeal, brown rice, etc. They should be approximately 50% of your normal food intake.
- For protein, you may go for tuna, egg whites or other food sources rich in protein.
- Condiments containing a moderate amount of salt are considerably useful at this point.
While using the carbs to pull water into the muscles, if you eliminate the intake of salt completely but keep drinking water, it may result in an extreme water excretion from beneath the skin.
If you balance both these things correctly a full dry vascular look is what you can achieve.
Note: Drink plenty of water if you choose to increase the salt intake. It will confuse the body and make it work effectively.
2. Water Intake
Consume 16 ounces of water every hour and also sip water while having your meals.
Consume 5 grams of L-Glutamine four times a day. Continue to take your lipotropics, carnitine, pyruvate, etc. But cut out your creatine.
Perform a fast-pace upper body workout. Try to aim for two sets per each body part.
Do a session of light cycling/cardio at 40% max heart rate.
Posing for a minimum of one hour is mandatory. Try to hold each pose for around a minute or so.
This will contribute to building up your stamina, minimize the tendency of body shaking, and also give your body the much needed polished look.
You must also work on the transitions between your poses by using your arms to lead into a new pose. This will help enhance your pose dynamics.
Even if you are not an expert, following this routine will bring about the polished look in your poses.
The same routine is to be followed like Monday, except for the carbs intake.
Carbs should be approximately 0.75 grams per pound of bodyweight. This will transform into 150 grams for a 200-pound male.
To maintain the caloric intake, your protein intake should be reduced considerably.
Consume 24 ounces of water every hour and also sip water while having your meals.
Consume 5 grams of L-Glutamine four times a day. Around 60% of free-form amino acids floating in skeletal muscles is L-glutamine, which is reduced by as much as 50% after an intense body workout.
Muscle wasting can be prevented by supplementing with L-glutamine.
Apart from this, it can also help in losing your body fat as muscles increase your metabolic rate. Continue with your intake of lipotropics, carnitine, pyruvate, etc.
Perform a fast-pace upper body workout. Try to aim for two sets per each body part.
Light cycling/cardio at 40% maximum heart rate.
Posing for a minimum of one hour is compulsory. Try to hold each pose for at least a minute.
The same routine has to be followed like Tuesday, except the consumption of carbs, which should be approximately 1.2-2 grams per pound of body weight (240-400 grams of carbs for a 200-pound male).
Give up on processed food and do not use condiments containing salt.
2. Water Intake
Consume 24 ounces of water every hour. Sip water with your meals too.
Consume 5 grams of L-glutamine four times a day. Continue with your intake of lipotropics, carnitine, pyruvate, etc.
Posing for a minimum of one hour is mandatory. Try to hold each pose for at least a minute.
Light cycling/cardio at 40% maximum heart rate. If you happen to hold water in your legs, skip this.
Increase the intake of carbs up to 1.75-2.25 grams per pound of bodyweight. This will transform into 350-450 grams for a 200-pound person.
Lower the protein intake accordingly. Protein can be acquired from low sodium sources like boiled chicken, turkey breast, etc.
If you read the labels, you will be surprised to know that everything contains sodium.
You must be ready with your shopping in advance for this time. Avoiding salt and processed food is highly recommended.
2. Water Intake
You must consume 16 ounces of water every hour. Also, sip water with your meals.
Take potassium tablets and 5 grams of L-glutamine four times every day. Continue with your intake of lipotropics, carnitine, pyruvate, etc.
None. Take a day for rest.
Light cycling/cardio at 40% maximum heart rate. If you happen to hold water in your legs, avoid this part.
Pose as much you can to help enhance that hard look.
Increase the intake of carbs up to 2.25-2.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. This will transform into 450-500 grams for a 200-pound person.
Lower the intake of protein accordingly. Pay extra attention to sodium intake and try to keep it as low as possible.
It is advisable to lower water intake to 64 ounces this day, from the morning until the evening. However, sip sparingly and only as required from 6 pm onwards.
Water is a must when your muscles begin to fill back up with glycogen. If you decrease your normal intake of water, glycogen is dragged from beneath the skin and stored in muscles which creates less retention of water and a clear definition.
Take potassium supplements and 5 grams of L-glutamine four times a day. Continue with your intake of lipotropics, carnitine, pyruvate, etc.
Light cycling/cardio at 40% maximum heart rate. If you happen to hold water in your legs, skip it.
Pose as much as you can.
7. Other Preparations
You should also apply two coats of Pro Tan bronzer in the evening.
1. Other Preparation
Be an early riser. With a fresh mind have an extra meal and apply several coats of Pro Tan bronzer. Also, try to reach the contest site as early as possible. Apply bronzer only after reaching there.
Opt for very small meals, no intake of sodium, and simple non-bloating carbs. You can have raw honey, natural no-sodium peanut butter, apple butter, etc.
3. Water Intake
Sip water only when your body needs it.
At this point in time, it is obvious that you should decrease the intake of water as much as you can. Avoiding water will make your abs very defined, and also will increase your muscular definition and vascularity.
Do not even try to add anything to your diet at this crucial point. Any miscalculation and all your hard work will go in vain.
Other Tips For The Bodybuilding Contest Prep
Here are a few general tips to help you reach your best figure on the contest day:
1. Posing Trunks
Start with your posing trunks as early as possible to ensure a proper fit and balance. Nowadays solid color trunks with no external markings are more in trend in place of baggy or full cheek ones.
Go for the style that best suits your skin color and complements your physique.
2. Skin Preparation
Get all the visible hair from all the parts of your body removed for the contest. You should do this the night before the competition itself.
Get yourself as dark as possible to increase the appeal of your muscles on the stage. Though it is a difficult task, you can do it by using Pro Tan or Jan Tana Competition Tan.
Continue to apply more coats to make your body looks darker and well defined.
Pro Tan is a more preferred choice as it is comparatively less messy to apply. You may use a sponge applicator to apply this agent. Ask someone to apply it on you in a neat and correct manner.
Use as many coats as required to achieve maximum color saturation.
Caution: It is highly advisable to use gloves during the application of such agents on your body. Never apply them with your trunks on. It is so because the dye stains might get quite messy and harmful at times.
Note: Instead of spraying it from a bottle, it is safer to use a sponge for its application.
Try to stand erect and tight with abs in head up while posing on the stage or even in the background.
To give your pose polish look try holding your poses for at least a minute or so. This will be helpful for building your stamina and minimizing your chances of shaking.
Enhance your pose dynamics by working hard on the transitions between your poses. This will also make you look like an expert even if you are just a beginner.
Eyes are the most powerful way of communicating. Maintain eye contact with the judges and slightly turn your mandatory poses to allow them to have a proper view of your body.
Also, have a smile of confidence on your face and keep your head up while you pose.
If you get an opportunity to “free pose” during the prejudging, simply use it to your maximum benefit. Emphasize more on your strong points and try to cover your weaknesses.
Before leaving for the contest make sure to double check your important documents like your NPC card, music, food, trunks, oil, etc. You must leave no stone unturned on the final day after investing so much of time and energy on your body.
Prepare a checklist for all the things that you will need beforehand. It should include things like a map, the site address, NPC card, trunks, posing CD’s, posing oil, food list, supplements, etc.
Also, carry a towel and sponge to apply the Pro Tan, which should be carried in large quantities in case if you need to reapply.
Bring Pedialyte in case your body happens to shut down. You may be at a life-threatening situation and need emergency medical attention. So be prepared with all the necessary requirements on the day of competition.
If you are a beginner in the field of bodybuilding, all these guidelines can surely take you a long way. However, never torture your body for the sake of achieving a medal in the bodybuilding contest.
Be true to yourself and your body to understand its needs and requirements. Understanding your body aesthetics is the key to a successful bodybuilding career.