What Does Peak Week Mean?

In the health and fitness industry, there are numerous terminology and phrases that are used by both clients and professionals. You may have overheard the term ‘peak week’ in the gym and been perplexed. Is this something you should try? When exactly is peak week? Please allow me to enlighten you right now. I don’t want you to believe you’re missing out on the current fitness fad, but if you’re unfamiliar with the term “peak weak” and aren’t a competitive bodybuilder or fitness expert, it’s generally not anything you need be concerned about. As the saying goes, knowledge is power, so let’s get started.

Peak week refers to the final five to seven days leading up to a bodybuilding or other professional fitness competition. It’s a crucial moment for people who compete, as it’s when they make their final preparations to reach glory, or, in some situations, when everything goes horribly wrong. It’s easy to see why this can be a vital phase for certain people when they’re focusing all of their attention to being in top competitive condition. It’s the point in their career when months, if not years, of hard work and dedication are culminating in a moment that might make or break their career.

Water intake, or more precisely, water manipulation, is one of the most significant variables for individuals who are invested in peak week (a.k.a. water loading). By varying the amount of water you take aboard, you are effectively deceiving your body and how it reacts. Because water is a diuretic, drinking a lot of it regulates both aldosterone and the anti-diuretic hormone, which regulate fluid balance in the body. When aldosterone levels are low as a result of excessive water consumption, your body will push sodium and water out of your system to prevent you from bursting.

Literally. Bodybuilders want to seem shredded for competition, so they move from consuming gallons and gallons of water to nearly completely avoiding it as the competition approaches. Because the body doesn’t have time to respond and continues to expect a large amount of water to enter, it continues to evacuate it at the same rate, even when the intake has dried up.

Carb depletion is another important part of peak week. Of course, how effective this is relies on the type of bodybuilder (i.e. size) and whether or not they’ve been on a low-carb diet, as well as how lean they were to begin with. Many bodybuilders may fully eliminate carbs during peak week, taking in none at all as the competition approaches. Workout depletion will go hand in together with carb depletion. Although it may seem counterintuitive to some, many people may exercise less during peak week in order to remove glycogen from their bodies. It’s possible that, as a result of the absence of it, even light exercises will be exhausting.

Peak week will not and should not effect the majority of individuals. Unless you’re a pro-bodybuilder or want to be one, it’s not anything you should be concerned about. The rest of us simply want to look and, more importantly, feel fantastic all of the time, not just for a few weeks per year. I believe we should all strive for a healthy, long-term approach to fitness. Sure, you’ll want to look your best for your beach vacation or a photoshoot if that’s your thing, so you can adapt your lifestyle accordingly, but I wouldn’t worry about peak week. There’s nothing you’re losing out on.

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Sarah@fitical.co.uk

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