Peak week is a time that can be make or break for so many individuals. It’s a term that has been overly hyped up by mainstream bodybuilding media as a magical period where your physique makes significant changes but the truth is a peak week is not going to make up for any of the work you did not do during your prep. It should be used as a time of refinement, rest and mental preparation and training for the stage carrying in a physique that you have already insured is ready prior to the week even starting. Below I have laid out 5 of the most beneficial points to having your peak week be a week that helps “make” you and not “break” you.
1 – Be Ready Early
I put this one first for a reason because I truly believe this is the number one key variable to a successful showing. Whenever you pick a show reduce two weeks from the show date and that is the day you should truly be ready by. “Peak Week” for all intensive purposes should be a time for fine tuning variables that are already in place not replacing variables and adding entirely different variables instead. Not only is being ready early going to increase your confidence but a body that is truly in shape leaves much less room for error and you will still be just fine if everything does not go perfect.
What many do is try to “peak” like they are ready when in reality they are far from it. You cannot diuretic off fat that has not been burned, you cannot carb load in an environment where fat and water is still present, and trying to play with your electrolytes is another recipe for disaster. Be ready early and you will not have to stress about any of these common mistakes.
2 – Don’t abandon ship
Often times once we arrive to our show destination nerves take over and the ability to think objectively is completely thrown out the window. Stick to the game plan you had before arriving to the hotel and carry it through to completion. Don’t throw a bunch of foods in that are foreign to your body or ones that you have not used your entire prep. Don’t eat every 45 minutes just because everyone else is doing it.
If you look around often times the athletes who are at check ins and back stage that are the calmest and most relaxed are usually the ones who are also the most successful. You have a game plan for a reason carry it through to completion and don’t do what everyone else is doing just because it sounds good in the moment. A lot of things sound good when we are tired, depleted and tension is high but in hindsight it’s a bad idea.
3 – Work smarter, rest harder
Going back to my first point peak week should be a time to refine variables, not play catch up. In order to be able to display and present your body at its best your body needs to be somewhat rejuvenated, rested and fresh once your feet hit the stage. Peak week is not a time for marathon training sessions, extended drop sets, adding multiple intensity techniques or means to extend a set. The goal is to get in the gym, stimulate the muscle through movements that your body is used to training in order to not induce a new stimulus thus creating an environment for soreness and allowing your body to truly recover and rest. The more you can rest, nap, and just shut off mentally the better.
Some of the best looks and feedback that I have heard from athletes come following pre judging after they take a nap. There is nothing magical about pre judging but what I truly believe from a physiological standpoint is occurring is that the stress of the show is over and the body is truly able to rest. The nap just resets your body and you wake up looking crazy. So take this to heart and seek to do your best to do what is needed not overdue and spend the extra time you would often be in the gym resting and recovering both physically and mentally for the stage that is still ahead of you.
4 – Don’t emotionally eat backstage
This is by far one of the biggest mistakes I see during a competition week is the amount of food consumed backstage without merit. You should aim to make it your goal to walk backstage ready to step on stage as is. One of the most common things is to use a lot of simple sugars and fats backstage again two sources that your digestive tract is not accustomed to.
Both of these are very likely to cause gastric distress or in the case of fats there is a rate of digestion/absorption aspect as fats are slow to digest and most are not consuming the fats in enough time to even be processed rather they just remain sitting in your digestive tract and distention is the result not a better look on stage. Trust in the work you have done to this point and while everyone else is throwing down like it’s a buffet and not a physique contest be confident in your physique and look that you walked backstage with.
5 – Be Confident
I purposely chose this point as my last because in my opinion all of the previous points mentioned and how you handle them will show how confident you are or lack there of. Confidence cannot be coached, it can be nourished and encouraged but ultimately confidence has to come from within. Being at your own highest state of readiness means that you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you have done everything within your power to be at your best. That is what you should be confident in, it does not matter what anyone else is doing. Trust in your work, trust in your approach and game plan and out there know you have done what it takes to be at your best when the lights come on.