Pre-photo shoot quick fix?

Let’s say that I will be doing a photo shoot on Friday, lunch time. Im in good shape, got my bf dialed in at 5-6% and Im keeping a good tan. Is there any measures I could take prior to this event that will make me appear more cut? My salt intake is very high, should I drop it? Carb intake is low, under 100gms a day, should I increase it? Give me your thoughts and experiences on this one. I realize that I cannot make any drastic changes in my physique but a little something would suit me just fine.

Eat an “ass load” of red meat for probably three days before hand. You might need some sort of laxative if this doesn’t agree with you. The effect of going mainly ketogenic for a few days should cause you to loose a lot of water in a short period of time. Don’t up the carbs. That would probably make you look more bloated. The salt question I’m unsure of though. Drink a lot of water though as your body will not hold onto it for long. You might even take the risk of not eating at least 4 hours prior to the shoot. This will pull in your trunk drastically. Those of us that get into the lower BF% tend to show a feeding instantly. To counter the flatness get some methoxy-7 and do maybe 80% 1rm (for maybe 2 reps) for each major muscle group you want to pump up. This will make you look like an animal but you’ll feel half dead.

Thanks a lot RS, but why should I eat such an amount of red meat? I will not have any breakfast nor any solid foods before the shoot. Im planning to do a light workout beforehand and sip on Powerade throughout the shoot( later when I go home Ill celebrate with a big carb load=).

I’ll get in on this one later today…

well bro I have done this before, and I looked best when I tool a product made by cytodyne called taraxatone. I cut out all of my carbos for three days and lifted with a lot of reps. About two days before I shot, I started to load, I ate some oranges before I shot along with some rice cakes, and it turned out really well. however I would opt for some fresh pineapple for the next time I do it. any how that is how I did it, I am sure there are many other methods. good luck with whatever you choose

A short lowcarb period (for water loss), followed by a quick, controlled re-carb might be a good option.

As for water loss, Prep-H is a good topical diuretic (yes, the hemorrhoid gel). Takes one to two hours to see the effects.

If you feel bloated, or think your bowels might be full but cannot go (due to low-carbing), a mix of caffeine, Ephedrine and nicotine does wonders for me. I usually have to run to the bathroom within 10-20 minutes of taking them (caffeine and Eph. are also diuretics)

Good luck with your shoot.

Well, I really look forward to Thunder’s reply, as I would call him the Guru for such.

That said, I would generally give the same advice that J did.

That is, two or three days of glycogen-depleting, full-body workouts; however, you may very well be depeleted already. If the latter is true, then I’d suggest at least one day of full-body depletion training (do a search for the first Gain Muscle/Lose Fat thread where I posted a link for Jason Norcross regarding Lyle McDonald’s routine for such).

The next two or three days would be dedicated to complete carb regeneration. The three days before hand, you should be drinking at least two gallons of water. Three days out, cut that to one gallon; two days out, 1/2 gallon; one day out, minimal.

Your carb choices should be kept dry, in this case. Lots of cereals and candy, cookies, etc.

You would also benefit from a diuretic, whether it be Lasix or OTC is at your discretion. If you prefer not to mess with too much, then just bump up your caffeine and get some Dandelion root.

If you’re actually as lean as you say you are, this should provide some noticeable changes in physique, acting like a highlighter.

If Thunder offers any counter advice, follow his:-)

stein & amarus- I was not aware that a short recarb period would work to his benefit. That makes a lot of sense though. If it is controlled the muscle will volumize with glycogen right before the shoot. This should add more of a pump when in conjuction with a “pump” oreinted workout. I don’t do this as I have done it before with limited experiance and will not do it again because of its negative effect on my physique.
helm- I suggest red meat because of the high amount of fat and the higher levels of creatine in it than other meats. It should cause your body to drop a lot of water very nearly immeadiately but the natural source of creatine will pull some water into the tissue thereby helping to keep a pump. Don’t take creatine straight though since you already know that that will make you look like you binged on carbs the week before.
I strive for the impossible- to look ready for a photo shoot even after I just woke up in the morning and hadn’t had a work out in days. I know, I know… that is a hopeless endeavor. But I look great nekid!

Thanks guys. I started low carbing yesterday after my Sunday cheat( and boy what a cheat=) and will keep carbs under 40gms a day until Friday. Im not really sure what amount of carbs to ingest just before the shoot? Should I opt for some liquid like Powerade or some real food carbs? And what amount? Gotta keep that bloat at bay! Thunder, im anxiously waiting for your reply.

I like to do a low carb depleting phase for 3 days followed by two days of glycogen replenishment. You want to drink plenty of water the first carb day because you need some for proper digestion and to give the carbs something to pull in with it. Don’t cut water too drastically. I would taper off about 18-24 hours prior to shoot. Start out with simple carbs then gradually move to starchy more complex carbs as the day goes on. Frosted mini wheats are good to eat an hour before the shoot or so. Stay away from too much water right before and during the shoot. Absolute Nutrition is a good safe diuretic as well as Dandelion root.

Ok, let’s see. I’ll try to give my personal opinion and experience where applicable on what’s been said:

  1. I don’t agree with the “red meat loading” technique suggested. You’re gonna end up nice and flat. There’s a lot of fat there, but it’s not a true “fat load” per se, and I don’t think you’ll be happy with your look.

  2. I strongly discourage you from not eating before the shoot…unless of course, your goal is to again look nice and flat.

  3. Taraxatone is a pretty good OTC diuretic, but to get full benefits you’ve got to start it early and let it build up in your system. It’s not a drug. You should, if you choose to use this, start it a good 5 days out and keep your water as high as possible.

  4. Timbo bro, good to see you jumping in here. If someone is low-carbing for some time (say in the 100g range) multiple full body workouts just aren’t necessary. In fact, you can get so depleted that it’s almost impossible to fill out fast enough. It would take probably 4 days to do so. Your suggestion on the 1 day full body depletion workout is spot on. 17-20 reps on a smooth tempo (maybe a 101), with about a minute rest between sets. Just do a cicruit and change exercises after each circuit. It is an awful workout if done properly and you’ll know when your depleted. You’ll be cruising along in your set and then BOOM, you fail. Your done at that point.

The water is tricky and is VERY individual. I’ll put this in the next post.

Ok. this shoot is this Friday I take it, and it’s already Tuesday. Before I answer, let me just say that this is going be a relatively generic response, since there is no cookie cutter approach. With my guys, there is always some slight difference in the approach, based on what I’ve learned about them over the course of the diet.

So, that’s my disclaimer. I wish I had taken the time to get in on this yesterday.

First of all, you should have had your last workout as of today. Ideally yesterday actually. Cardio would be done now as well. Normally, I would have had someone “loading” water already. Be careful of doing this now, if you’re not drinking huge quantities. Loading water gets your body used to the high intake and your rate of excretion goes way up (bathroom breaks every 10 mins). The decreased aldosterone and ADH levels going into the last few days will set you up for an easy water drop. Also you said your sodium is high – keep it high.

If your shoot is Friday morning, tomorrow morning is depletion workout time. It should be first thing in the morning and preceeded by a small meal 2 hrs before hand. This meal should have a little bit of solid protein (about 20 grams), and some fructose – yep fructose (maybe an apple or something). This will upregulate the glyolytic enzymes in the liver and get your body ready for the carb up. Not doing this makes a big difference I’ve found.

Your workout will probably take about 1 1/2 - 2 hrs and you should follow that immediately by 1.5g/kg LBM of maltodextrin and some protein. Repeat this meal again 2 hrs later. From then move to solid foods and cut out all shakes. (In fact, I cut out all shakes two weeks out). A general, and I stress general guideline for the first 24 hr period is 10g/kg LBM of carbs, which should comprise 70% of your daily total. Stick to high GI carbs like rice cakes, potatoes, pretzels and things like that. I’d also throw in two meals of oatmeal mixed with pie filling. Keep these about 6-8 hrs apart. You’ll notice those two meals. The remainder of the calories should be split between protein and fat – 15%/15% with most of your fat coming from EFAs later in the day. You’ll probably have to do a good 8-10 meals depending on your bodyweight. Water AND salt intake should be high today, otherwise your carb up will be seriously compromised. Sodium is a co-transport of sorts and everyone knows the need for water during a carb up.

That should get you through tomorrow.

Thunder, my man, that one’s going right to my save pile, brother. Great post!

I just would like to add that the carbs will have to be increased if you lead an active lifestyle. Glucose oxidation is going to be cranked up, so it will be your predominant fuel source also.

In addition, just think about all those carbos during your depletion workout. It’s seriously hell in a handbasket, but if you focus on what you will be rewarded with, you’ll make it through just fine.

Finally, I don’t necessarily think you have to eat set meals, per se. Rather, if you know exactly what and how much you’re going to eat, you can simply graze all day long.

This is also a case where sucrose (i.e. sugar) doesn’t need to be limited. Fat-free fig newtons work well, as do those Orville Reden-whatever popcorn cakes. Anything low-fat and high in carbs. Like I mentioned, I tend to like the idea of sticking with dry carbs.

Thunder- VERY informative and authorative post. Guys- this is one for the archives.

Anyway- just a couple of questions which I’m sure you have an explanation for:

  1. You suggest ideally no shakes 2 WEEKS out. Why? What difference do you see compared to a few days out?

  2. You suggest a fructose meal pre-workout for up-regulation of liver enzymes to help the carb-up. Very interesting, and seems logical. However, won’t this work better if you take in 2-3 fruit containing meals over the preceeding 12-16 hours vs. so acutely close to the need for those enzymatic changes? Have you tried both approaches?

  3. You mention water intake should be kept high at this stage (2d out). Does this mean you are still trying to water load, as hinted at earlier, and achieve changes in ADH/Aldosterone, or are you just aiming to get enough water to counteract the high dry carbs, and prevent too early an onset of dehydrating? (i.e. HOW MUCH WATER at this stage?)

    As a relative amateur in this area, I greatly appreciate the detailed post, and look forward to your next “installment”. SRS

Thanks guys, especially Thunder, that was quite a response I got there. Seems to me that pre-photo shoot preparation is a most delicate science. Most of the models just told me “just drink water two days before”, crazy bastards. Anyway I had my carbs this morning, 50-60 gms and now Im headed for a full body w\o, let’s see how that turns out. Im not using any supplements btw, except caffeine if that counts, so there won’t be any diuretics involved. Im pretty sure its gonna turn out fine, even if I don’t follow the prep rigourously. Quite frankly, I just want to get it over with because the low carbs and calories, combined with my sinking leptin levels( this is my sixth week of dieting, one refeed a week…) has set me up in a foul and depressed mood. Well, what won’t you do for another few good pics in your portfolio=p. I might post the pics if im satisfied with them.

I obviously don’t know much about this aspect either. I’m glad I posted and got this thread rolling though. There is a lot to learn.

Timbo, agreed that carbs should normally be increased if you’re active, but ideally, during this period, you should be completely inactive. Not doing so, makes the whole process more of a gamble.

As far as set meals, I am definitely partial to this. This isn’t the time to be estimating things. When I do it, I have the numbers all figured out and prefer not to take any chances. When it’s as structured as possible, it’s easier to trouble shoot in the future.


  1. I’ve just found that sometimes shakes can make you hold a little more water – sometimes. I’ve observed this a couple times and really don’t know why. THe only thing I can think of is that maybe there are some other chemicals in there that just don’t agree with some people. Again, I’d rather be safe than sorry, and you can never go wrong with whole food.

  2. I think 12-16 hrs is too long before hand. Actually, my recommendation originally was to do this 5 hrs before the depletion workout and again 2 hrs before, but didnt notice a difference with anyone.

  3. Water is kept high all the way through the carb up. I really don’t find tapering works that well with everyone, unless certain diuretics are used. My approach differs whether someone is natural, or using diuretics, and it depends on the diuretic. Water is usually in the 12L (or 3 gallon) range, depending on a few different factors.

How about doing a full body “pump” style w\o 2-3 prior to shoot? I might have the opportunity to do it, but what kind of carb load are we looking at since it’s being so close to the shoot? Will downing a powerade be sufficient? Sorry guys, I might be totally off track, but please help me out.

Thanks for the reply Thunder.

So, are you saying that if one has access to Lasix/ other OTC’s, then should one indeed take in less water in the preceeding days? i.e. Would one then rely more on the Sodium uptake effects of Lasix, and worry less about using the natural mechanisms of decreasing Aldo/ADH you are proposing?

Bottom line, why should water intake differ between the 2 regimens? i.e. can’t the effects be additive- Keep the high intakes AND use the Lasix?

Thanks for clearing this up. (And looking forward to your “last day” post!) SRS