T Nation

'Peaking' Articles


I'm trying to put together the peaking articles here on T-Nation for bodybuilding. The best example I could find is here with Shugart:


There's two other good ones I think by Thibadeau and Dr. Hyght if I recall correctly. Any help on these?


Shugart and CT doing there peaking article together I thought.


Below is some general info on carb loading/depleting that I've found useful. I had to modify it because I was riding so close to my weight-class, couldn't risk over doing it

[i]Carb depleting and loading is a two-part formula for bodybuilding success. Competitors use this technique in the final week before a contest to create the appearance of a harder, denser and more impressive physiques.

Depriving your body of carbs and then putting the carbs back is an effective approach for two reasons. First, this procedure redistributes water in your body: Water beneath the surface of the skin is shed to reveal deeper cuts and separations. Second, as a bonus, once you load carbs, your muscles are pumped with glycogen(a sugar that is the principal form in which carbohydrates are stored in tissues) which helps to create a fuller look. Here are a few tips that will help anyone to carb deplete and load for maximum gains.

Burn fat before depleting carbs
The objective of carb depletion/loading is to make your physique look lean and muscular, but do not think that manipulating carbs at the last minute will make up for not burning enough fat in the first place. The depletion and loading approach is a complete waste of time if you�¢??re not lean enough.

Determine depletion time according to size
Larger bodybuilders(over 190 pounds) can store more muscle glycogen than their smaller counterparts. Its no surprise, then, that it takes longer for the big guys to deplete their bodies of stored glycogen. Typically, larger male bodybuilders should deplete carbs for four-days and load for four days; smaller men require three days to deplete and three to load. Most female bodybuilders require only tow days for depleting and two for loading.
Note that, regardless of a persons size, the depleting and loading phases should be of equal duration.

Deplete, but don�¢??t overdo it
Depleting on zero carbs is too sever and can result in a loss of hard-earned muscle mass. A bodybuilder who goes to extremes in carb depletion will often try to recapture lost muscle size by packing in hundreds of grams of carbs. At that point, its too late to minimize your losses.

Cut carbs by 50% during the depletion phase
As you reduce carbs, muscles use up much of their glycogen reserves; your then stuck with flat-looking muscles that are sponge-like. In turn, lowered glycogen levels increase the activity of enzymes that help to form new glycogen when a greater amount of carbs are reintroduced into the body.
The plan of action is as follows: If you�¢??ve been eating 300 grams of carbs per day while dieting for a contest, cut back to 150grams of carbs during depletion. A woman dieting on 140g of carbs can easily deplete in two days by consuming only 70g of carbs each day.

Train with high reps on depletion days
High-rep, low-weight training ensures a loss of muscle-glycogen stores without any loss of muscle. Pick two exercises per body-part and do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.

Maintain levels of fat and protein intake
Many bodybuilders increase the number of calories coming from fat and protein sources during the depletion phase. This is a mistake because the body can make sugar from protein, and can use dietary fat for fuel instead od depleting its muscles of glycogen.

Increase carbs by 50% during the loading phase
In the depletion phase, cut carbs by 50%(see the fourth suggestion); in the loading phase, eat 50% more carbs than you did during your precontest diet. Think of it this way: if you eat 300g of carbs during your precontest diet, and you deplete by consuming only 150g of carbs per day, then you should load by consuming 450g of carbs per day. A woman whose precontest carb count is 140g per day should deplete on 70g and load on 210g.

Don�¢??t train on loading days
The reason for this edict is quit simple: Training calls upon muscle glycogen for fuel, which will leave muscles looking flat.

Opt for high glycemic-index carbs on loading day one
Glycogen-starved muscles stimulate the glycogen-producing machinery in muscles. On the first loading day, take advantage of this situation by eating carbs that are simple in nature, easy to digest and high on the glycemic index. Examples of recommended carbs include Cream of Rice cereal, white rice, mashed potatoes and sodium-free white bread. Half of your daily carbs should come from these sources. On the other days of loading, you should go with complex carbs(yams; potatoes; long-grain, brown and wild rice), or whatever carbs you relied on during your precontest diet.

Reduce water intake during loading
If you follow the tips to the letter, you will lose water under the skin, because loading carbs into glycogen-deprived muscles require water. Cutting back on the water you consume during carb loading will lead to a fuller and tighter appearance. Reduce your intake of water by 50% on the days you load carbs.

Author: unknown[/i]


I've never heard that,... actually, nor have I ever done or prescribed it. I usually use a 1-1.5 day carb up after a 4 day depletion. Most of my thinking though has its roots in reading Duchaine's old stuff, as well as (I forget the authors) various writings on CKD refeeds. Apparently the rate of supercompensation is considerably less for the 2nd 24 hours post depletion than the 24 hours immediately following.

As such, it just makes sense to me to take advatange of the quick absoprtion rate, and then play by ear if need be for hours 25+ (This is probably why Christian, as well as various other comeptitors, coaches etc like to start with fruit as a carb source)

Just my thoughts :slight_smile:



Thanks for the feedback Stu!

I use about the same guidelines as yourself, at middleweight I can deplete efficiently with my carbs at 112 and will bring them up to 165 thursday, and 336 friday. I'll add some fats in also, usually from 40-60 thursday, then friday bring it to 75g. Do you like to consume most of your carbs by mid-day friday?

And fruit makes sense to start out with, like you said quick absorption--I've heard High GI prescribed often for that reasons.


I believe CT begins with fruit so the liver glycogen can be filled with the first and second meal so then all subsequent carb meals go to muscle glycogen.