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The Science Behind Peak Week: Strategies for the Final Countdown to Stage

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

The week leading up to a bikini competition, commonly known as "peak week," can be a crucial time for competitors. This is when all the hard work and preparation come together, and competitors fine-tune their physiques to look their absolute best on stage. In this blog post, we'll delve into peak week strategies for optimizing your final week of preparation.

This is NOT a time where magic is going to happen or you will lose a significant amount of body fat. It is also not a time to introduce any new variables with your food or training or supplementation. Peak week is the last piece of the puzzle to bring all of the hard work you have put in over the past however many weeks, together.

Water intake

The goal of water manipulation during peak week is to achieve a temporary reduction in subcutaneous water, giving the appearance of tighter, more defined muscles. A common approach is to taper down water intake leading up to show day, however I never suggest cutting out water entirely for my athletes. We need those electrolytes to help with getting the carbohydrates into the muscle cells to make the muscles and physique really pop! The quantity of water for each athlete during peak week and show day will vary based on what their specific body requires.


Carbohydrate loading, or "carb loading," involves increasing your carb intake in the days leading up to or a specific schedule of loading prior to the competition to fill your muscles with glycogen, making them appear fuller and more defined. This can be achieved through a combination of depleting carbs earlier in the week, followed by a gradual increase, remaining constant, doing a heavy backload or front load approach . The key is to find the right balance and timing that works for your body .

Sodium intake

Sodium plays a role in fluid balance and can impact the appearance of muscle definition. As the risk vs.rewards of manipulating sodium varies, I suggest keeping sodium consistent throughout the week as to what you have been doing throughout your prep. As you become a more seasoned competitor, and your coach and you understand how your body best operates, you can play around with those variables more to help your muscles look fuller. Any manipulations should be done cautiously and under the guidance of a coach or nutritionist, as it can lead to electrolyte imbalances if done improperly.

Training adjustments

During peak week, you may need to adjust your training regimen to avoid overexertion and muscle depletion. We aren’t trying to put on new muscle tissue at this time, just ensuring that we are filling out appropriately with the nutrients we are consuming and elevating muscle glycogen to bring your best physique. Some focus will be on tapering down your overall workout intensity, with an emphasis on moderate weights, moderate reps, and less overall volume. This will help prevent muscle breakdown and ensure you're well-rested for show day.

Rest and recovery

Peak week is not the time to push your body to its limits. Prioritize rest and recovery by getting ample sleep, practicing stress reduction techniques, and giving your body time to heal and recharge.

Posing practice

Perfecting your posing is crucial for showcasing your hard-earned physique on stage. Dedicate time during peak week to practice and refine your stage presence, focusing on highlighting your best features and exuding confidence. Get into that “girl I’ve got this” type of vibe and have fun!

Debunking peak week myths

It's important to note that not all peak week strategies are effective or evidence-based. Fad practices like sauna sessions, excessive cardio, and extreme calorie cutting can be detrimental to your performance and health. Always consult with a knowledgeable coach or professional before attempting any peak week techniques.

By understanding the science behind peak week and implementing evidence-based strategies, you can optimize your final week of preparation and step on stage looking and feeling your best. Remember, peak week is just the cherry on top of months of hard work and dedication – trust the process, and you'll shine on stage!

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