What kind of protocols do you advocate for peak week?
Peak week is a funny thing. Everyone thinks of the week before the show as being the difference maker and the thing that’s finally going to get them looking stage-ready. Hint: if you’re expecting a miracle, it ain’t happenin’. Peak week protocols have a larger impact – and are potentially more dangerous – the leaner you get. For bodybuilding, you can see significant changes hour by hour if you manipulate variables correctly. For bikini (and this is no slight to the division), there’s a lot less value just because no one up there is rocking 4% body fat – you’re not holding water, you’re holding FAT and that is ok because some of that is expected and, yes, even helpful for that division.
I hear so many stores of coaches putting clients through absolutely ridiculous protocols. Sitting in a sauna for an hour a day 3 weeks out from a show because, you know, water weight. Nevermind that whatever is lost via sweat in the sauna is almost immediately replenished as soon as you start drinking again. The absolutely mind-numbingly stupid Preparation-H/saran wrap protocol. Limiting water intake to 16 oz per day the final week of the show. All of these are recipes to A) feel terrible, and B) WORSEN your condition, not help it.
For some of my clients, peak week is no different than any other week. For some, we do manage a moderate-to-aggressive carb-up, depending on the individual and their division. Water intake is controlled and closely monitored, but not stupidly low as it just doesn’t help.
I do not recommend diuretics. Over-the-counter ones are not terribly effective and prescription varieties are potentially very dangerous to be playing around with.
Do you offer planning and programming for off-season growth?
I do, and I treat it no differently from being in prep – plan pricing for what I offer is not altered from one phase to the next. Most people fail to realize it, but off-season is the most difficult phase for nearly all of us. Exhibit A: the OVERWHELMING majority of competitors who look the same from 1 show to the next. It’s prep prep prep SHOW <post-show depression, skipping workouts, feeling unmotivated, God I need to pick a new show and get back on it> prep prep prep SHOW – looking exactly the same, if you’re lucky.
I am a huge advocate of treating the off-seasons with the same aggressive, highly-motivated mindset that you approach contest prep with. There should be goals, deadlines, focus, consistency, precision on the diet, and a few more indiscretions that you might normally get away with during prep. Helping people maintain their focus, prioritize their training, and continue pushing and growing through an off-season is one of my favorite things to do. Being on point and actually growing/improving through the off-season ensures a higher level of metabolic function as well, making the next prep easier and making it more likely you’ll be able to keep calories higher and for longer while still leaning out. For the serious competitor, it really is a year-round commitment.