Bodybuilding Diets - Pre Contest / Competition

After training as hard as humanly possible for an upcoming competition or photo shoot, the final week of your bodybuilding diets and training program is crucial to your ultimate appearance. Here are some tips on how best to maximise your final results.

Water Consumption

Altering your water intake can actually have a huge impact upon your final results. Water tends to sit directly under the skin making you look bloated and after all the hard training you have been putting your body through, that is the last thing you want.  Assuming your contest or photo shoot is on Saturday, you should start altering your water intake on Sunday the week before. From Sunday to Wednesday you should be drinking between 4 and 8 litres of water depending on your body weight. This will help to flush toxins out of the body. On Thursday you need to halve the amount of water you drink. On Friday and Saturday water will be reduced again to just sips throughout the day. You don't want to dehydrate yourself but the lack of water in your body will make your skin seem tighter and the water stored straight under the skin will disappear, showing off those hard earned abs.


Nutrition is the most important part of training. You know what they say, "Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym"; so this final week needs to be as clean as possible. By now you should be familiar with the idea of carb cycling but if not, it is basically one day of high carbohydrate consumption followed by two or three low carb days. Most trainers will already have been using this technique for the past two weeks. You should carry on with cycling from Sunday to Wednesday as normal. Sunday should be a high day with Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all low days.  Here comes the fun part; carbohydrate loading. Eating such few carbs for the past few weeks definitely helps to shred leftover body fat but it can leave you looking thin and small. Carb loading involves eating a mass amount of carbs 2 days before your competition to replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles. This will ultimately make your muscles look full and large on competition day. Finally an excuse to eat bread, pasta and potatoes!

A general rule is to consume approximately 40grams of complex carbs in every meal. You now should be eating every 2 hours, 8 meals per day.  I tend to stick to a mix of sweet potatoes and regular potatoes as they are generally the best source of food when carb loading. Your protein consumption on these two days does not need to be as high as regular, as you will not be training as hard as normal. Every second meal should have a protein source in it, however, this should be half your regular amount. On Saturday, just before you go on stage you are able to consume some form of simple carb such as a slice of cheesecake. This may sound ludacris considering all the hard work you have been putting in not to eat junk, but this actually has a benefit to you.

Sodium Consumption

Another vital thing to remember, to ensure your bodybuilding diets success, is sodium consumption. You should increase your sodium consumption from Sunday to Tuesday with Wednesday being an extremely high amount of sodium. I'm talking about shots of salt and spoons of vegemite for snacks.  It won't be pleasant but everything helps!  Thursday, Friday and Saturday should all be little to no sodium intake. Sodium draws water out of the body so for the best results on show day it is very important to dramatically reduce your sodium ingestion.

Right before you get on stage, as well as eating a delicious slice of cheesecake, many trainers drink a glass of red wine or a shot of vodka. This gets your blood flowing and oxygen to your muscles, once again making them look fuller.

Training During Competition Week

Weight training during the last week should be done with light weights and fewer sets to ensure your body has completely recovered by show day. As the legs take the longest to heal, you want to have your very last leg training session on Monday to ensure they are fully healed by Saturday. On Tuesday you're going to train Chest, Biceps, Triceps and Abs. On Wednesday you're going to train Back, Traps, Shoulders, and Calves. Thursday is a full body day. Make sure you remember to keep it very light and do not train quads or hamstrings. Friday is your day off. Make sure you give your body a chance to rest and fully recover so your muscles look full on stage. Saturday, show time, you want to pump up right before you get on stage. Perform a few full body exercises to get your body looking its best.

Hopefully after these tips you will be ready to compete and win! Good luck and train hard.

Click here to read our Disclaimer