Ideally, you should be pretty close to contest ready one to two weeks out
from your show. This allows you to do the final dialing in of your
physique without being rushed. The final countdown to the show begins 8
days out (this assumes a Saturday morning contest).
During the next 6-7 days, it's important to keep water intake high.
Beginning water restriction too early will cause the body to upregulate
aldosterone, the hormone which makes the body retain water. Only on Friday
and the day of the show should water intake be limited. Additionally,
sodium loading and or restriction isn't recommended unless you've proven it
works well for you. Don't go out of your way to add sodium, but don't go
crazy trying to avoid it. Adequate sodium is needed for a proper carb-up
anyhow. Calories on the low carb days should be kept at maintenance or
even a bit higher. You should already be as lean as you're going to get by
this point so don't risk any muscle loss by panicking. The countdown to
contest looks more or less like this:
Friday: last heavy day of training, low carbs
Saturday: do cardio if necessary, stay in low carbs through this weekend
Sunday: last day of cardio if necessary, stay low carbs
Monday: low carbs, no training
Tuesday: take in 50 grams of fruit 2 hour pre-workout, do depletion workout
in morning, begin carbing with liquid simple carbs, goal is 16g carbs/kg
lean body mass in the first 24 hours.
Wednesday: continue carbing switching to complex carbs, 9 g carbs/kg lean
body mass during the second 24 hours
Thursday: continue carbing if not completely filled out yet, hard to say
just how many carbs to consume but go by your condition. If you're flat,
eat slightly more (stick with complex though). If you're full enough, cut
back to small amouts of fibrous carbs.
Friday: go back to mostly protein and fat with small amounts of carbs
(perhaps 20%) at each meal, take a herbal diuretic (such as buchu leaves)
as required but make sure that all carbing is finished
Saturday: hit the sauna in morning if you're holding water and go kick tail
at your contest
I feel that carbing prior to the contest should be similar to what you did
each week. With good record keeping, you should have a good feel for how
your body responds to different types of carb-ups. And, as the saying goes
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" Whatever carb-up got you in your best
condition during dieting is the carb-up you should follow.
Bio: Lyle McDonald, CSCS received his BS in physiological sciences from
UCLA. He has spent the past 25 weeks on a CKD and if he has to eat another
meal of pink salmon in mayo for lunch, he may kill somebody. Or turn into