Figure and Bikini Competition Prep - Final Week
Contrary to popular belief, the final week before your competition is not as tricky as you might think. Generally, what you’ve been doing all along should have been working pretty well up to this point. So you don’t want to stray too far from that or you’ll walk on stage looking tired, depleted, stringy and flat. This article flies in the face of popular beliefs.
You’ve likely been dieting for 10 to 12 weeks at this point and have it down to a science.
If you're planning on working toward a bikini competition and still weeks out from from your show, click here for a bikini competition diet ebook that will get you stage ready.
For bikini competitors, you generally don’t want to change things up. If it has been working for you thus far, why ruin a good thing? Figure competitors however are a bit different.
Figure competitors generally want to decrease their protein a bit in the beginning of the week and increase their carbs. This will help to increase the glycogen stores in the muscles, giving you a fuller look. After increasing them, then gradually adjust your carbs back down until the day of the competition. Don’t change the types of carbs you’re consuming, just the quantity. Again, if you’re diet has worked thus far, don’t mess too much with it, risking all your hard work!
Also be sure to cut out an gas-producing foods that may make you look bloated. These are:
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, onions, artichokes, and asparagus
- Fruits, such as pears, apples, and peaches
- Whole grains, such as whole wheat and bran
- Soft drinks and fruit drinks
- Milk and milk products, such as cheese and ice cream, and packaged foods prepared with lactose, such as bread, cereal, and salad dressing
- Foods containing sorbitol, such as dietetic foods and sugarfree candies and gums
---DO NOT DECREASE WATER INTAKE---
You’ve heard it a thousands times - deplete your water the last week. DO NOT DO THIS. You will step on stage looking stringy and flat.
Because studies have shown that water is mostly stored within our muscles. So if you decrease your water intake, your body will adjust by actually retaining more water outside the muscles, making you look bloated. Additionally, your total water retained will decrease, but since most of it is stored in your muscles you will lose precious muscle mass.
The only time you want to limit your water intake is the day of your competition, and the only reason is to not have a full-looking tummy. So only sip water that day when you are thirsty.
---DO NOT DECREASE SALT INTAKE---
This is another one that gals have preached for a long time, but it simply isn’t good. Decreasing your sodium intake during that last week will prompt your body to retain more water.
So what are you to do? You’re going to love this... actually consume MORE sodium in the last a hours before your competition. The effect is that your muscles will fill out, only enhancing your hard work.
The goal is for you to step on stage looking full, somewhat defined, and tight. Up to now your workouts have probably been pretty intense, causing you to be sore and needing a few days of rest and recovery for that muscle group.
You’ll want to continue your normal workouts for the first part of the week, just back off on the intensity somewhat so you’re not sore and retaining water.
In the last couple of days before your competition you should back off considerably on the intensity and only perform circuit training. This will keep your muscles full and charged, without tiring you out too much before the big day.
That last week you’re scrambling to lose those final pinches of body fat to look your best, tight and toned. So you increase your cardio right?
Nope. (I can hear you say... “Whuuuuuuuuuut????”)
That’s right, nope.
Doing more cardio can actually make your legs swell and retain water undesirably. This last week you should be at the body fat you need to be when you step on stage. If you’re scrambling to rid yourself of more then you’re not ready.
Taper off the amount of cardio each day until you’re down to 25%-30% of normal time. Again, you don’t want to change things up too much that have been working for you all along. There aren’t any tricks or magic to this. It’s just doing what you have been doing only tweaking it slightly so you’ll look your best.
You’ve made it! You’ve accomplished the weeks of clean and consistent eating and steady and solid training.
On competition day you want to eat lightly and sip water as need to quench thirst. Ensure you don’t eat any of the gas-producing foods listed above and certainly don’t fill up on carbs. Chicken and steak, sweet potatoes or a little brown rice, and a little fruit is fine.
You should consider eating a higher sodium, higher carb meal a few hours before you step on stage to help fill you out. But again don’t go overboard and wind up with a bloated belly from eating too much.
Your tan should be applied the night before with touch-ups on competition day. If you’re having a professional spray-tan (highly recommended), you don’t have to worry about the depth of color. They know exactly how much to apply. If you’re applying your own make sure to follow the directions meticulously. Also consider a sheen for that polished, healthy glow.
Wear loose, dark clothing over your suit and flip flops. There’s nothing worse than having a sock line (yup - seen it).
Bring your cooler with plenty of food, your resistance bands for pumping up before stage time, and dark towels to clean your hands or wipe excess tanning product.
And most of all, don’t forget the bikini bite! Too many competitors get “the creep” and show WAY more than they intended to. Trust me, it won’t help with the judges. :-o
I hope this helps dispel some myths about that final week before the big day. Congratulations on your journey and be sure to rejoice in your accomplishments!
This is awesome! A HUGE THANK YOU! I'm a first time competitor, Oct 1st..and doing this solo! I need all the help that I can get! My trainer, Natalie Waples, is very helpful!!
I'm so glad you like it! Natalie is a wonderful trainer so just do what she advises and you'll do wonderfully. :)
after reading this.... its clear I've been taught all wrong... LOL but being almost 4 weeks from my show, I am worried and nervous to switch things up. :/ Granted, what I do works... but it seems so much more difficult than what it SHOULD be!
I will definitely keep this article in mind next time around.
great link! thanks a lot.
Does this go for Bikini & figure too? This is great info. I thank you! This is what has been bugging me for a long time. I not need to worry so dang much of the water/sodium part.
Yes, this works for both bikini and figure. :)
This is such great information! Thanks for sharing! I am so excited for this journey!!!
Wonderful scyocsd! It's such a fun and exciting journey. :)
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