Don’t Wreck Your Physique with WATER & SODIUM Tricks in PEAK WEEK
STOP with the Crazy PEAK WEEK Strategies that are wrecking your physique on show day.
With Peak Week for shows just around the corner, and taking someone through this right now, the amount of absurd tactics that gets thrown around among coaches and competitors in regards Peak Week strategies is always concerning. Plenty of coaches and competitors like to think they have the secret to looking lean, dry and massive on stage, and that the “magic” is held in water and sodium manipulation.
Your body is a complex organism, and thinking you can out-smart it is a dangerous game. It’s built for survival. When you try any manipulation or trickery the body will start to compensate within minutes or hours.
Messing with your sodium and water during peak week is a damn good way to ensure you look and feel crap on show day.
The goal of contest prep is to be in show condition at least a week/s out, and look so good that you wouldn’t even need to think of resorting to any magic tricks. How many time have you heard competitors say “I looked awesome a week out, but on show day I was holding water and couldn’t get a pump”. It’s because they or their coach resorted to magic tricks and totally stuffed up a perfectly fine physique. Or un-admittedly they just weren’t lean enough to begin with, and it wasn’t holding water, it was bodyfat.
Let me take you through their magic formula and rationale, and break down why if doesn’t work, and show you an approach that make sense!
Your body holds water under the skin. This has led coaches and competitors to believe that to look as lean as possible, you needed cut water intake, so you will flush water under the skin so you will look dry and the skin clings tight around the muscle. Here is their attempt to flush water from under the skin:
Their Magic Formula and Rationale:
Start of Peak Week massively ramp up water intake so your body gets use to flushing water (peeing) at a high rate. Then 2 days out from the show cut water. Now they believe the body is still tricked into flushing water at a high rate so it will continue to magically flush water, and it will disappear from under your skin, so you look dry!
The Approach that Makes Sense:
First off, simply put, about 70% of water is stored inside the muscle, the remainder is stored outside (under the skin, etc). The goal onstage is to store as much water inside the muscle to give the look of fullness. To get water into the muscles we use carbohydrates. Once carbohydrates are digested they are stored in the muscles. Water will follow wherever carbohydrates go, therefore in the muscles. For every gram of carbohydrates stored there are 3 grams of water stored as well, therefore water making up majority of muscle fullness.
Therefore, if you cut water there will be none available to be drawn into the muscle and you won’t look full. No matter how many carbs you eat you won’t fill out as you need water. It’s now clear that we shouldn’t cut water!
So what happens if you don’t cut water but you have too many carbs? Then the so called spill over occurs. This is when the muscle can’t hold any more carbs and water, the excess spills out of the muscle and floats around under the skin. Giving the look like your holding water. If you don't consume more carbs than your muscle can hold, the excess water you drink will simply urinated out as normal. So spill over is not due to water intake, it’s due to too many carbs.
It’s now obvious that you don't need to manipulate water during Peak Week and show day, keep it constant throughout. Carb up appropriately, drink plenty of water, and your body will flush out any excess. This is how you come in full and dry on show day.
As a side note I haven’t mentioned important role water plays vital body function and all the dangerous non-aesthetic related side effects of cutting water.
There is a belief that the more sodium you hold, the more water you’ll hold, and that by cutting sodium, you’ll reduce how much water you’ll hold, especially under the skin. Here is their attempt stop you holding sodium:
Their Magic Formula and Rationale:
Start of Peak Week massively ramp up sodium intake so your body registers that there is too much sodium and starts to flush it out. Then 2 days out from the show cut sodium. Now they believe the body is still tricked into continuing to flush sodium so you won’t retain water, because apparently that’s what sodium does!
The Approach that Makes Sense:
Unfortunately the body is smarter than you. Studies have showed that the body will maintain sodium levels in the blood even if you cut sodium from your diet. The body releases a hormone causing you to retain water in an effort to decrease the amount of sodium that is flushed from the body through urination. So cutting sodium makes you retain water that would otherwise be flushed out. Therefore, by cutting sodium you will hold water.
Another role that sodium plays is helping move carbohydrates into the muscle, which as mentioned before also attracts water into the muscle giving the look of fullness. So then cutting sodium will reduce the amount of carbs stored in the muscle, in term less water is stored, therefore muscles won’t look big and full. Therefore, by cutting sodium you will not get full.
Finally another role sodium plays is assisting in muscle contractions (getting a pump) and vascularity. Obviously this is important on show day to sustain posing and not getting muscle cramps, and also to achieve the vascular look. Therefore, by cutting sodium you will not get a pump and vascular.
It’s now obvious that you don't need to manipulate sodium during Peak Week, keep it constant throughout. This is how you come in full, dry and vascular.
Again, as a side note I haven’t mentioned important role sodium plays vital body function and all the dangerous non-aesthetic related side effects of cutting or loading sodium, but Google edema and hyponatremia.
There is One Trick with Sodium
It can be beneficial to increase sodium on show day. Studies have showed that short period of high sodium intake can increase vascularity and causes swelling of the blood cell making you look fuller, without causing water retention under the skin. This is the exact result we want on show day, therefore there is a good reason to have a high sodium meal on show day a couple of hours before you’re on due stage, and even another dose of sodium whilst pumping up just before stage time.
You have come a long way and made many sacrifices but the end is in sight, so make the most of peak week, stay consistent with everything, and look forward to a great show and reaping the rewards.