Let The Countdown Begin: 1 Week Out!

I am now 1 week out from Tampa Bay Classic. Check out the latest changes I made to my diet, sample day, stats and much more...

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Well everyone I'm back. Sorry for skipping my scheduled three week out article but that was the week of my graduation and my entire family came to watch so I was quite busy. That's right ladies and gentlemen; I now officially have earned my BS in Biochemistry!

I'm not stopping there however; in the fall I will begin attending graduate school at University of Illinois to earn my MS/PhD in Nutritional Science. I will have the privilege of studying under Dr. Don Layman, one of the foremost authorities on amino acid research in the world.

Now without further delay, let's have a little discussion on my one week out preparations. To aid me in my final week of preparation I have enlisted the help of Dr. Joe Klemczewski (www.joesrevolution.com) who also is a writer for bodybuilding.com.

Joe is most definitely the authority on contest preparation for natural bodybuilding and has helped dozen's of natural bodybuilders earn their pro cards and has helped several pros win championships.

My philosophy to peaking for contest day is very similar to Joe's and so it was easy to work with him in developing a plan of attack for my upcoming shows. I'll spend some time discussing some of my philosophies and then I will lay out the plan for the final week.

Myths Of The Final Week

People often believe they can trick their body by using extreme techniques the last week before the show that will make them look super shredded. The truth is, if one has dieted properly, what they do in the last week will not make or break their show.

Few people win a show by tricks they use in the last week of pre contest prep. However, many people lose a show by using these extreme techniques. These techniques I speak of stem from myths that have been perpetuated by bodybuilders who use large amounts of anabolic steroids. These methods include but are not limited to…

  • Drastic carb depletion followed by drastic carb loading
  • Days of water depletion
  • Massive potassium loading
  • Laxatives
  • Diuretics

For bodybuilders who use large amounts of anabolic steroids, these methods are needed to shed water, as anabolic steroids will cause one to retain large amounts of water extracellularly (outside the cell or subcutaneously).

For a bodybuilder who doesn't use androgens, this type of preparation is a bit too extreme. One can think of the body as a pendulum. It will stay in equilibrium unless pushed.

One can push their body in one direction and they will experience a certain effect for a while, but eventually the pendulum will swing back in the opposite direction and they will experience the opposite effect.

For example, if one were to cut water intake drastically they would at first experience a great deal of water loss, but as the body senses water levels dropping, it will release anti-diuretic hormones which will cause the body to retain more water. On the other hand, in some cases we can use the body's reactions to our advantage.

Pushing The Pendulum

Many Competitors practice the technique of water depletion. Water depletion consists of reducing one's liquid intake to practically nothing as they approach the contest. Not only is this practice very dangerous, it is also ineffective.

Muscle tissue consists of 70% water. If one restricts water intake drastically, they will lose muscle fullness and appear flat onstage. In addition, reducing water will increase the likelihood of muscle cramps while onstage (this happens quite frequently and is very embarrassing).

Some competitors believe water is what causes them to appear smooth. This is not the case. Water retention intracellularly (inside the cell) will cause one appear hard and full. Subcutaneous (under the skin) water retention however, causes one look smooth.

When the body senses a drastic restriction in water intake it will release anti-diuretic hormones that cause subcutaneous water retention. This makes physiological sense: the body senses it is not getting enough water and releases hormones that cause water retention to prevent dehydration.

The result is muscles that appear look flat; from lack of water intracellularly, and soft; from retaining water subcutaneously. The competitor's goal is to maximize intracellular and minimize subcutaneous water retention. Part of this can be accomplished via proper carbohydrate manipulation.

Carbohydrate intake in the final week should be based on one principle, that water follows carbohydrates (approx 2.7g water is stored for each gram of stored carbohydrate), and it is the water following the glucose, not the glucose itself that causes the muscle to have tight fullness.

Therefore, we can deduce that it is not logical to deplete ones water and load up on carbs, more logical however, is to keep a high water intake, and manipulate our carbohydrates so that the maximum amount of water is stored inside the muscle tissue and not subcutaneously.

On Sodium Depleting And Potassium Loading

I see that many competitors seem to think that cutting out sodium and raising potassium to ridiculously high levels is the best way to shed excess water. Not only can this process be dangerous, (even fatal if grossly overdone) it is not that effective.

You see, in terms of ADH (anti-diuretic hormone that causes you to retain water) decreasing sodium intake will reduce ADH output. However, your water and ion levels are controlled by several hormones, not just one. This makes sense, as your body does not want to lose a lot of water.

Why? Because an increased urine volume means decreased blood volume, decreased blood volume means decreased blood pressure; which is dangerous in the short term as it decreases the amount of blood to and from the heart. Therefore, if you lower your sodium and increase your potassium, the body will fight water loss by increasing aldosterone production.

Aldosterone is member of the steroid hormone family and it causes water's reabsorbtion in the kidneys (water retention) and triggers you to become thirsty. Production of aldosterone is stimulated by EITHER an increase in blood concentrations of potassium or a decrease in concentrations of sodium (exactly what most competitors TRY to do!).

Wait, it gets better... aldosterone attaches to receptors on the distal tubule and on the collecting duct (part of the nephron... the functional unit of the kidney) and causes water to be reabsorbed into the interstitial fluid.

So instead of excreting this water via urination, your body will retain it to increase your blood volume and return your blood pressure to normal.

The best strategy for losing excess extracellular water (if you don't want to take illicit drugs) is to use a moderate approach. Sodium loading isn't a bad idea starting about 10-15 days out, but when you deplete don't take it to ridiculously low levels... stay within 1.5-3g per day.

By the same token don't load on a bunch of potassium, just eat the foods rich in potassium, no need to take potassium pills every hour.

Final Week Diet


  • 300g protein
  • 150g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4g of sodium
  • 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio and no weights.


  • 300g protein
  • 150g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4g of sodium
  • 30 minutes of moderate intensity cardio and no weights


  • 275g protein
  • 300g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4g of sodium
  • 20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, and a leg training session


  • 300g protein
  • 275g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4g of sodium
  • 20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, and a chest, delts, and tris session


  • 300g protein
  • 250g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4g of sodium
  • 20 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, and a back and bis session


  • 300g protein
  • 225g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 4g sodium
  • 15 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, and circuit whole body training


  • 325g protein
  • 200g carbs
  • 50g fat
  • 2 gallons of water
  • 3g sodium
  • 15 minutes of moderate intensity cardio, and light upper body work


  • 1-2 am-Meal One: 3 oz chicken breast, ½ cup sweet potato, and 10 oz water
  • 5-6 am-Meal Two: 4 oz steak, 1-cup rice, and 16 oz water
  • 2 hrs later-Meal Three: ½ protein bar, banana, 10 oz water
  • 2 hrs later-Meal Four: 4 oz steak, 1-cup sweet potato, and 10 oz water
  • 2 hrs later (if prejudging runs long): 3 oz steak, ½ cup sweet potato, and 10 oz water
  • 30 minutes before prejudging: ½ protein bar, 2 rice cakes, 1 tbsp peanut butter and jam on each, 10 oz of water
  • Right before prejudging: 2 Reece Cups
  • After prejudging: Repeat eating cycle and increase water intake for first meal after prejudging to 16 oz.

At 1 week out from the Tampa Bay Classic and 2 weeks out from the NGA Internationals.


Three site bodyfat measurement (took 5 at each site and the averages are as follows):

  • Average chest skinfold - 1.6 mm (-3.2)
  • Average abdominal skinfold - 7.2 mm (-2.8)
  • Average quadriceps skinfold - 6.2 mm (-3.0)
  • Average bodyfat measurement - 3.44% bodyfat (-2.80%) (Over 4 weeks)

Muscle Measurements:

  • Weight - 191 lbs (-8)
  • Calves - 15.9" (-0.1)
  • Thighs (at largest part) - 25.8" (-0.2)
  • Chest and Back - 45.7" (-0.3)
  • Shoulders - 53.5" (0.0)
  • Arms - 17.4" (-0.1)
  • Waist - 32" (-0.5)

I will continue to update this log every couple of weeks. Please send any questions or concerns to me at biolayne@yahoo.com

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I am very busy but will do my best to answer your questions in a timely fashion.