1)what have you tried? Both my “mock” contest prep in 2010 and my actual contest prep were the same. I did a 3 day depletion and 3 day load.
2)do you play with water? Water was high 1 to 1.5 gallons until last day, water cut off in the evening. Only sips on show day. However, I would do it differently after judging how the first two experiences went. (see Competition Q&A thread)
3)sodium? Never worried about it during most of contest prep. However, it was intentionally higher during depletion and then lowered during the load.
4)do you carb up? When? Yes, 3 days out.
5)how do you train the week pre show? Last heavy session was 1 week out. Then depletion style workouts for 3 days (concentric based, high reps) then only posing last 3 days. I would do this a bit differently as well.
6)which muscles do you pump backstage, if at all? Chest, Back, Arms with bands and bodyweight mostly. I also did weighted ab works. I read that most don’t pump up their abs because it can be easy to blur the definition (like legs), but I figured I could get away with it because I have pretty thin abs.
7)tanning? Shaving? What when how? Spray tan. Shaved a few days before the show then maintained.
8)anything else? Yes, as posted in the Competition Q & A, I would be more conservative in the future. A hybrid of Layne Norton and Lee Labrada’s approaches would probably be what I would do. (basically taking in more water on the day of the show and not doing a crazy depletion protocol)