By Kate Horney
The time has come… It’s bikini competition peak week!
But first… catch up on any of the posts you’ve missed:
- How I set up my Bikini Competition Diet: 7 Weeks Out
- How I set up my Bikini Competition Workouts: 6 Weeks Out
- A Sneak Peak at my daily routine/schedule: 5 Weeks Out
- How (and why) I use a Carb Cycling Diet: 4 Weeks Out
- How I’m using Refeed Days for Advanced Fat Loss: 3 Weeks Out
- What I Do When I’m Craving Sweets & Carbs: 2 Weeks Out
Consistent training and a strategic nutrition nutrition plan are the most important parts of contest prep.
If you are lean enough, bikini competition peak week (the last week before your competition) should be easy. In fact, many competitors may not have to change much at all.
But to ensure that you’re dialing everything in during the last week of your competition prep, here are some tips. (And my current plan now that I’m officially just 1 week out!)
(Even if you’re not training for a bikini competition, the information I’m sharing with you below can be used for dialing in your current physique for a wedding, vacation, or any other special event where you want to look your best.)
Bikini Competition Peak Week Nutrition
Most of the nutrition work has been done by this point.
Creating the proper bikini competition diet, staying consistent, and using advanced fat loss techniques like carb cycling and refeed days are the best way to ensure you come to the stage tight and toned.
Your nutrition is key to reaching your goals.
Bikini competition nutrition won’t change much during peak week, expect for the use of carbohydrates. In most cases, you’ll leave your protein and fats stable and will slightly adjust carbs.
Here are a few peak week carb tips for looking your best:
- Don’t over do it. There are many misinformed coaches in the industry who promote “carb loading” to an extreme. But if you want to look your best on stage, the key is not to over do it. You should not be consuming any more than 3x your normal carbs- even during peak week
- Taper intake. To look your best, schedule the majority of your peak week carb intake for days that you’re training at the beginning of the week. If your competition or big event is on the weekend, I suggest having your highest carb days on the Monday-Wednesday of that week timed closely around your workout.
- Fill Out. If you want a tight and toned look, you’ll want to fill out your muscles. Flat muscles don’t provide nearly as much definition and shape as muscles that have been filled with muscle glycogen. For optimal carb loading, you should start about 8 hours from your event and consume your allowed carbs every 3 hours or so.
- Choose the Right Carbs. Up unto this point, fibrous carbs are golden. But for peak week carb loading, you’ll want to choose carbs that are lower in fiber to avoid any digestive issues, bloating, etc.
Bikini Competition Peak Week Supplements
My supplements during peak week will stay the same.
- Whey Protein- Whey protein immediately supplies the muscles with high quality protein, which directly correlates to an increase in physical performance and enhanced body composition. I use at least one scoop of whey protein 30-60 minutes after my workouts.
- BCAAs- When lowering your carb intake on a bikini competition diet, BCAAs are amazing for lowering your stress hormones, but by controlling hunger and cravings and giving you the energy you need to keep up with your daily life. BCAAs are a staple in the lives of many athletes and active individuals, accounting for nearly 1/3 of the amino acids in muscle protein. They also play key roles in the repair and growth of muscle tissue, so this is one of the best supplements for peak week, hands down. I mix up BCAAs to sip pre workout + during my workout and usually have another scoop throughout the day to hep with cravings.
- Healthy Fats (CLA, Fish Oil, etc)- Even with the best, most balanced bikini competition diet, many women (myself included) benefit from adding a supplement of healthy fats. These fats do things like fight inflammation, reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, promote healthy metabolism, support appetite level, and more.
- Multivitamin- While this may not be necessary for everyone, if you’re not 100% sure that you’re getting all of the micronutrients that your body needs each day, then I highly suggest considering a multivitamin to keep your body, bones, muscles and skin supplied with the right amounts of vitamins and minerals.
- Probiotic- To ensure you keep bloating and digestive issues at bay, I recommend a probiotic. I take mine with my multivitamin. If you’d like more info on what I use specifically, click here.
For my last few weeks of contest prep, I’ve also added:
- Caffeine- Whether through a pre-workout supplement or just good ol’ fashioned coffee or green tea, caffeine may be helpful for giving you energy (what mama doesn’t need more of that?!) boosting workout intensity as well as burning fat. Studies show that caffeine may temporarily raise one’s metabolism, provided the individual does not regularly use large quantities of caffeine (>300mg/day).
- L-Carnitine- I take this pre-workout. While it may not be necessary for everyone, if you are looking to get lean and are in competition prep, then this amino acid may be helpful. L-carnitine transfers long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into mitochondria, where they may be oxidized to produce energy. L-carnitine has also been shown to reduce fatigue and serve as an appetite suppressant as well. You won’t need this supplement year round, but in the last few weeks of a bikini competition diet, it can be helpful. Red meat is one of the highest sources of L-carnitine (about 56-162 mg per serving) so in a normal diet, you can get this without a supplement. L-carnitine can also be found in foods like pork, seafood, and chicken, but at much lower levels, between 3 and 7 mg per serving. Dairy, like ice cream, milk and cheese, has between 3 and 8 mg per serving.
Bikini Competition Peak Week Water & Sodium
There are many myths around water and sodium during competition prep. My best advice: keep water intake and sodium the same.
WHAT? That’s right.
All the so called “gurus” in the industry who promote diuretics, sodium manipulation, etc have no science to back that up. In fact, studies show that cutting sodium the week before your show can actually interfere with your carb load.
My rule of thumb: keep things the same.
If you’re eating a lower sodium diet, stick to that. But you don’t need to do anything crazy or buy a special pill to load potassium, deplete sodium, etc. Save your money. Drink your normal intake of water until an hour or two before your competition or big event (to avoid a potty interruption).
Bikini Competition Peak Week Workouts
Your biggest goal for peak week workouts is to stimulate your muscles enough to keep them looking full (remember muscle glycogen from the nutrition tips?).
If your competition or event is on the weekend, I recommend continuing to workout as you normally would Monday- Wednesday. (I’ll get two of my BeyondFit Life workouts in this week).
You may notice that you need to decrease weights slightly, and that’s ok.
You want to stop a few reps before failure and focus on proper form and avoiding potential injury or increased need for recovery.
When you’re 3 days out from your competition or big event, take a couple of leisurely walks, do a light weight training circuit if you’d like, and relax.
Active recovery (leisurely walks, foam rolling, etc) is the name of the game from this point on.
If you need help with determining how to set up your workouts for your bikini competition plan, check out my post from 6 Weeks Out.
I hope this series has been helpful.
If you have any questions about bikini competition training or would like more help on creating a training and nutrition plan that takes your fitness and fat loss to the next level, I’d love to work with you.
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