Week Before Peak: Carbs, Hormones and Cheeseburgers
If you are familiar with any sort of bodybuilding you may have heard the term peak week.
Peak week is the week before a bodybuilder goes on stage.
There are rumblings and rumors about how this week can be “magic” and pull everything together. I haven’t done one yet, so I can’t speak of any magic, personally. Although if I could get some sort of fairy godmother to wave a wand and make some magic happen, I would jump at the chance.
I did get my tentative peak week protocol yesterday — tentative because your body can vary quickly this week.
Carbs are manipulated (low to high, high to low) water is increased or depleted, salt may be added or restricted. The process is to make the muscles appear fuller. Of course if the competitor isn’t lean enough at this point, all of the manipulation in the world will not make much difference.
Am I lean enough? Jury is still out.
There is another monkey wrench.
I think I have mentioned that I am 50 years old. I haven’t entered the world of menopause yet but I am teetering on the edge. Periods have been inconsistent. I had a span of a few months in which I was getting hot flashes — several a day. The monthly cycles were painful and heavy.
Last month I called my Gyn and asked for some help and she prescribed the mini-pill, a birth control pill that is progesterone only.
It has been many years since I was taking any hormonal pill — at least two decades. I remember having symptoms like nausea when I first started and water retention, so I was a little uneasy trying this so close to show date. I also don’t want to be bloated, in pain and streaming blood either so I took the plunge into progesterone universe.
Except it doesn’t seem to be working. This week I am bloated, cramping and…bleeding. The next option is to up the dose and I’m worried about the repercussions of that. Am I going to look three months pregnant on stage?
But getting back to the peak week protocol, there are instructions outlining every little thing to do from how much water to drink, how many rice cakes to eat and how many progress pics to submit in for review. This is somewhat new since I have followed a macro approach this whole time. Basically I get a set of macros and do my best to get all the numbers right — no specific meal plan.
I am a Type B personality and following instructions makes me want to throw the whole plan in the trash and go get an Impossible burger with some nice vegan cheese and a big plate of fries.
Speaking of which, one of the women I will be competing with posted that she was instructed by her coach to eat a burger and fries this week. Reading that made my head spin a little.
My carbs are low. My fats are lower. I am hungry almost all of the time.
Yet, when I look in the mirror and practice my posing, I don’t see myself lean enough. Will I be ready? Will I fall off my shiny, high heels and break an ankle? Will I look like I know what I am doing out there? Will I be exposed as a fraud — the woman who has almost zero confidence? The shy girl who grew up with glasses and permed hair and braces?
For now I will dream of cheeseburgers, I guess. I keep looking at the peak week protocol, though. Maybe some magic will happen.