With Olympia Weekend approaching I thought I would provide a little glimpse into The Contest Prep Coaches Course about protocols for the final week. Many times this week can become over-mystified in terms of what should and should not happen. This opening section to what is actually 3 separate Lessons (which includes 15 video lectures) covering Peak Week can hopefully add some perspective on the physique competition side of fitness.
(Taken From Week 4 – Lesson Seven)
Peaking: The Final Week- (Part 1)
This period of time can make or break a competitor as far as how they fair onstage. More often than not it’s what is done wrong and diminishes the final look than what is done right to enhance it. Many times people tend to attribute success or failure to something that was either random or had limited effect on their overall appearance. There is no magical “voodoo” protocol that can make an out of shape competitor look at their peak. Sometimes an excuse like “holding water” may be more about simply not being lean enough for whatever reason. Always try to correctly evaluate each individual situation and take the approach that there is always room for improvement and learning. The body is affected by many different variables and even the top pro’s with multiple wins under their belt can do the exact same things and be spot on one time and a bit off another. The closer you can monitor your athlete during the final week the better. If you can look at them every day (via pictures or in person or both) or even at different points throughout the day, so much the better. It is quite common for them to look one way in the morning and another way during the evening. Monitoring how their body responds and changes will give you valuable information as to understanding and then controlling the reason and cause for some of these changes.
Above all else never do anything that might cause illness or harm to your athletes. There is no trophy or cash prize that is worth a trip to the hospital or worse. You will hear and see many practices that are adopted that push the envelope of safety. Sometimes those competitors do quite well and everything seems to work. Just as often, those practices do very little and occasionally they can cause major problems. Just because something looks or seems exotic or complex does not make it more effective. Often the best strategy involves doing nothing or very little out of the ordinary. Many of the things commonly used to bring about a peak are simply monkey see monkey do, hand me down principles that were originally intended for specific situations that may not even apply to your athletes. They were strategies developed to solve particular problems that certain athletes had (mostly due to side effects involving chemical use). If there is no problem to solve, automatically employing a technique to fix a non-existing problem simply makes no sense. By staying in tune with your athletes and their ever changing look throughout the duration of their prep period you will have a better understanding of what is something that needs to be addressed and what is not.
Peak Week Do’s and Don’ts
Don’t eliminate or reduce water to a dangerously low level at any time.
Don’t give your athletes some type of foods that they haven’t had in too long a period or anything so out of the ordinary as to cause gastrointestinal problems.
Don’t allow your athlete to train the final few days leading up to the show. They need rest and a reduction in the stress hormones that accompany hard training. Also training can inhibit their body’s ability to properly fill out.
Do try to have your athlete to the desired leanness level 1-2 weeks before their show date. This will give you a better opportunity to rest them and allow them to fill out properly and really be able to see what their body is doing day to day.
Do encourage your athletes to be as stress free as possible and have managed all aspects of their contest as far as; travel, lodging, suit availability, tanning arraignments, posing and stage preparedness, etc.
Do have your athletes fully prepared as far as foods purchased and available the final week and the day of the show. Shows have gotten increasingly longer so the athletes must be ready for anything.
Next: Carb Depleting/Loading-Pro’s and Cons-
Understanding Strategies-Carbohdrates, Sodium, and Water –
Photo: K. Myles