A look inside: the last week before a competition

This is it, competition day!  The week leading into the show is known as “peak week” and has us doing some different, and seemingly strange things to get ready.  Here’s a look inside the week leading up to the stage. I always try and take some time to relax on the Friday, so I had the time to put this together.

For the previous two weeks, I’d been fairly low carb and doing 5 cardio sessions (each 20 mins long) a week, with 6 training days. Nothing too crazy, I was happy when my cardio got stopped a week ago though, saving me a little more energy.  The plan changes the Sunday before the stage with carb depletion and circuit style upper-body workouts only.  The purpose behind these workouts is to fully drain your muscle cells of glycogen. They focus on supersets with lighter weight and slightly higher reps than I usually train with. Pair that with the low carb intake you start to look progressively worse as your body is drained. This part is sad and where you really have to trust the process. I had trained my legs with a usual (killer) leg day last Saturday and wouldn’t work them again before competing. Generally, our legs are sore for days after training them, they have the tendency to hold fluid and blood more, so the time off is to allow them to fully recover for all the flexing to be done on stage.

For me, we started to load back up on Wednesday, using higher carb and fat intake – um, potatoes, rice, ground beef? Sounds good to me! My last training session was Wednesday evening, and I woke up on Thursday looking a little bit different from the carbs on Wednesday.

Now, to be totally honest, days off the gym are horrible for me. That one rest day a week is like torture. I feel lazy and bored. Usually, Friday is our rest day and we get all our shopping and cooking done for the following week – so it only made sense to make Thursday our shopping and cooking day (need to fill the time somehow!). Not going to lie, going to Costco each week is a fun outing that I look forward to. The goal was to stock up with a few days of buffer for when we get back from vacation – avoid having to rush right to the grocery store off the plane.

If you're ever stuck for a gift idea for me.... this'll do. Just a helpful hint.

If you’re ever stuck for a gift idea for me…. this’ll do. Just a helpful hint.

Thursday evening was also geared towards my other favourite activity – baking! It seems to be tradition for most competitors to go on a baking frenzy the week of the show. We’ve been dreaming of fun food for weeks, so our dessert ideas and lists are usually pretty comprehensive.  Also, I wanted to bake some healthy options for the few days after the show, as well as for snacks in Vegas. We have a pretty good stockpile in our freezer now:

  • Carrot apple cinnamon muffins
  • Almond sugar cake cookies (these are ridiculous, but I need to make them again to figure out WHAT and HOW I did it)
  • Pumpkin protein bars
  • Mini pumpkin cheesecakes (post show UN-healthy treat for the team)
  • Banana pumpkin protein muffins

Most items became muffins from the simple standpoint that they would travel / store better than a tray of goodies would.

My original plan for Friday was to take the day off work to just relax, but then a workplace-wide meeting was scheduled to discuss some of the newly released policies which were causing some chaos so I figured I should be there. It ended by 10:30, so it was basically like having a whole day off anyhow. After that drama, I got my nails done (!). For those of you who actually know me – this is NOT NORMAL.  I actually hate getting manicures done. I’m totally good with pedicures, but HATE manicures because they never last very long and, well, I’m just not that girly. BUT, I had seen some pics online of some incredible nails and thought it would be a fun change (plus, getting them done now would mean they’d be fancy for Vegas next week too – it’s all about Vegas).

My mom used to get gel nails done, and when she finally stopped, her nails were a mess and she told me to never bother. Like the fantastic, perfect child I am, I never did – LOL. These are shellac, which may be just as bad (I have no clue), but they look freaking amazing for now.  I definitely don’t plan on continuing to get them done (again, NOT GIRLY ENOUGH for this high maintenance stuff), but it was a fun change for the competition and the party city. Thank you Spa X!!

They had to match my suit, and be a little edgy. I couldn't go too girly. Love the matte black!

They had to match my suit, and be a little edgy. I couldn’t go too girly. Love the matte black!

After that, I went home to get a little more cooking done, ate a few meals, cuddled with the puppies on the couch and watched terrible day time TV (while thinking of the stuff I should have been doing instead). Guilt got me up and I did a few more productive things such as packing my bag for the competition and for a photo shoot I’m doing on Sunday, showered so I could shave and wash my hair before getting my spray tan done, and headed out to hang out with the rest of my team before registration.  All the athletes need to be at a meeting on Friday night to register, get height / weight checked, have your suit approved, and listen to some rules. My tan was booked for after the meeting, and then it was the best part – dinner! No, I didn’t have this, we’ll save it for Vegas.

Well, this looks incredible.

Well, this looks incredible.

After getting home, I just double checked that I had everything ready for the morning, my alarm was set, and let Kyle take care of everything else! LOL. Thankfully, it’s not an obscenely early morning on Saturday with my touch up tan booked at 8:15, but I’ll be up around 5 to eat and do my hair and makeup prior to that.  I’ll do my best to take lots of photos backstage so you can have a glimpse into some behind-the-scenes action of show day.  Have a great Saturday everyone – I leave you with this incredible thought (you can bet I already have about 6 ideas lined up):

16 Ways to Make a Better PB&J

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
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