Christine Envall Female Bodybuilder Australia

HITTING YOUR PEAK - PART 2

In Part 1 I looked at one of my most successful 'peaks' as a lighter competitor.  As I put on more muscle size I realized that the same method no longer achieved the desired result, so I started to experiment until I came up with the following peaking system which helped me to 'peak' successfully and win the '98 NABBA World Championships.  Compare and contrast this method to the one I used as a 58kg competitor, experiment on yourself and find your own best method for hitting the perfect peak.

AS A 72kg COMPETITOR

MONDAY

As with the previous peaking method, the show is on Saturday and I have eliminated excess sodium from my diet by cutting out artificially sweetened products and am no longer eating tuna.  The main difference at this heavier bodyweight is that I no longer use the Nobles Pure water.  I found that switching to pure water causes my muscles to go flat so I continue to drink normal tap water.  However, with the contest being in Spain, I chose to drink bottled water rather than tap water, so I selected a water which was relatively low in sodium, but high in other compounds such as carbonates and chloride.

Again, as per the other method I keep all food quantities the same as the previous week.  At this weight, my protein is derived from chicken and a blend of whey protein isolate and calcium caseinate (I eliminate soy protein isolate 2 weeks from the show due to it's salt content).

Training is the same such that my body will get worked once between now and Wednesday, but I increased my aerobics today (mostly because I have the time for a change). I do an extra 30 minute walk, taking the total aerobics to 3 x 30 minutes.

As always, practicing posing is a must.

TUESDAY

The only change I make today from Monday is that I consciously drink more water to really flush my body and prevent it from retaining water.  I do not carb-deplete as I did when I was 58kg.  With my aerobics level being slightly higher this has a moderate effect of depleting the muscle of carbohydrate.

WEDNESDAY

No changes again today from yesterday.  I continue to drink a lot of water (about 9L per day, including what is used in oats and rice).  Today is the last training session prior to the competition.

This is a major difference to the peaking system used as a 58kg competitor as on this day I would normally be fully carbohydrate-depleting.

THURSDAY

Again, today I change as little as possible.  I drink as much water as I can.  In contrast to the other peak, today I would normally start to dry.  At my heavier contest weight I find that if I start to dry this far out from the competition (3 days) I either cramp severely too soon before the competition, or I have started to rebound and retain water by the day of the competition. 

Today I start to increase my calorie intake a little.  I double the size of my morning tea (about an extra 300 calories) and add some fats (peanut butter) in at my evening meal.  I use fats to get extra calories rather than just carbohydrate to allow a slow release of the energy into my system and to control the release rate of the carbohydrate I am eating.  At this size I also find it very hard to eat enough 'clean' food to fill up my muscles for stage.

FRIDAY

Today is when I really start to make some big changes to what I have been doing all week. I find the protein powder makes me look 'watery' after I eat it so I cut it out and derive all my protein from chicken today.  I eat chicken with every meal I eat today (compare this to the other peaking method where I used to eat virtually no protein on the Friday).  I now find it easier to eat carbohydrate when there is some protein with it, and some people believe that the carbohydrate is metabolised better when there is protein with it.

I increase the amount of carbohydrate and fats I eat today by eating approximately 1 1/2 times the amount of carbohydrate at breakfast and adding in some rice cakes, bananas and chocolate throughout the day with my other meals.  Unlike the other method of peaking I didn't plan an amount to eat, rather I just snacked on the extra food as I felt hungry.  I didn't 'force feed', but rather kept myself on the 'comfortable' side of feeling full.  I also kept my basic meal times about the same as they had been all week.

For the evening meal I replace my usual vegetables with a large plate of salt free chips (French fries, not crisps).  Having this meal the night before the show  ensures my muscles are full on the day, but my stomach is not bloated as I have given the food time to digest. 

Up until midnight I continue to drink as much water as I can to flush out  any excess water.

As per the other method I go to sleep early the night before the show so that I am fresh the next day and that my body is well rested and the food well absorbed

SATURDAY (CONTEST DAY)

It is very hard to estimate at the World Championships exactly what time you will be on stage as there are so many competitors in each section.  Usually you have to be at the venue at about 9am even though it would not be out of the question to be on stage at 2pm or 3pm.

As always, I wake up at about 5am to prepare my food for the day.  I have a large meal of coffee rice, raisins, honey and peanut butter.  This is very similar to what I used to eat on contest day except now I include the peanut butter for the extra calories and to slow the release of carbohydrates.  I also eat a few rice cakes with blackberry jam (for the potassium) and make sure that I feel comfortable but not full.  After breakfast I go for a short (20 minute) walk to relax.

To take to the show I make a huge container of coffee rice and raisins.  I graze on this throughout the morning while I wait for my turn on stage.  I add honey and peanut butter to it as I did at breakfast.  I also snack on rice cakes, honey and peanut butter.

I drink very little water today.  After drinking so much water all week, my body happily gets rid of extra water and doesn't register that I have stopped drinking.  I do have some little sips throughout the day, and also get water out of the rice  I am eating.  Water is still essential to digesting the food I am eating and without it, the food won't break down and get into the muscles where it is needed.

As with the other peaking method, I try to eat about half an hour before I go to pump up.  I find at this larger size I need to pump up a lot harder than I used to.  My muscles need a lot of work for them to pump to their full potential.  While I am pumping up I eat marshmallows (they are easy to eat and have a good combination of sucrose and glucose) to give me a sugar hit which improves vascularity and helps a bit with muscle fullness.  I also drink a some fruit juice to add more sugars and potassium and to get fluid into the muscle (if you are too dry it is hard to get a good pump as the muscle is also dehydrated).  If your potassium levels are high and sodium low, the water will go into the muscle and not under the skin so the muscle will be full and tight on stage.

At NABBA, all the judging is done in the morning except for the overall.  Some people choose to 'relax' after the pre-judging, but I like to still look good at the night final as this is when most of the spectators come to watch.

BETWEEN PRE-JUDGING & FINALS

After the pre-judging I continue to limit my fluid intake.  I try to go back to the hotel and rest and then a walk.  I also like to eat a high protein meal (usually because I am sick of carbohydrate) and some fruit.

What I eat between now and the night show will depend on how full I feel.    I always like to be prepared so I take more coffee rice and rice cakes back to the night show with me and eat it as I feel I need it.  The same thing applies as when I was 58kg, if I feel flat and hungry, eat some more, if not, just hold it.  The same as for the other method, the pump up for the night show is a little less energetic but I do about the same as in the morning.

Once I'm off stage, it's time to re-hydrate so I drink as much water and dilute fruit juice as I can.

As you can see, there are some distinct similarities and some huge differences in the two methods I have outlined.  Both produced what I consider very successful 'peaks' when they were used.  Hopefully you can take from my experiences and save on the frustration of a missed peak.  Happy competing.

 

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