Ok, so where to start? How about approximately 1 week out? I’ll probably post in multiple posts so not everything is in one post. And again, let me preface this by saying that this is based on my opinion and my experience working with competitors. It’s definitely not the only way, as I’m sure many can attest to. However, more often than not, many a competitor have said they just didn’t hit it right on the day of the show. Whether that means they were dry, yet flat, or nice and full, yet watery, the story is the same – they didn’t get it right.
Ok, I’ll just assume we’re talking about Saturday being the big day, since that’s when most contests are.
What is done in the last 10-14 days or so largely depends on what’s been done leading up to this point. For example, if you’ve been really low-carbing it for an extended period of time, there isn’t much to do in the way of depletion outside of a depletion workout. If you haven’t, and have been following a more modest carb intake, then about 10 days out you should start to deplete. Many people cut out all carbs and I think this is an error. The purpose of depleting is to simply prime your system for the onslaught of carbs that will soon be coming. You just want to set up for the supercompensation and the tank doesn’t have to be completely empty to do so. In fact, in many cases being too depleted can make it very hard to fill out in time for the big day. I’d probably drop the carbs down into the 50-70g range for the duration of the depletion and replace calories with fat as opposed to protein.
As well, long before one gets to the depletion they should have jacked up the sodium intake. Actually, ideally it would be nice and high throughout the entire diet. That way, a new ‘baseline’ (high sodium becomes normal and your body upregulates the excretion of it. Remember, sodium is one of the most delicately controlled minerals in your body) is set which makes it very easy to drop water. On top of that sodium is very much needed to properly carb up and increasing it during the carb up when you’ve been fairly low sodium throughout the diet is a bad idea.
At the 10 day point, water intake should also be jacked up – probably trying to reach the 3 gallon range (12L for Canucks). The high sodium and high water intake will keep the nasty aldosterone low, again making it easy to drop water.
I’d say the last heavy day of training should be Sunday, maybe Monday, and leg training should have been cut out about 2+ weeks out. You don’t want to go into a carb up with sore muscles since the muscle damage will impair the activity of the glycolytic enzymes – bad carb up.
So this would bring us right to the “2 days out” point (when all the fun begins). At this point, assuming you’re already shredded, you’d look reaaaaaaaally flat, yet pretty dry.
So far, there hasn’t been much interest in this thread, so I’ll post more later.