What you do the week before a show or shoot is far less influential on your physique than many prep coaches would have you believe, says Layne Norton

Dr Layne Norton is a physique coach and natural pro bodybuilder and powerlifter, who holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. He is based in Tampa, Florida.

ow many times have you heard someone say, ‘I looked like crap a week out but that peak week fixed everything and I looked amazing on the day.’ And how many times have you heard someone say, ‘I looked amazing a week out, and the day after, but I looked terrible on show day.’ I hear the latter all the time.

My point? The importance of peak week is overblown. A lot. I believe that 99% of what you’re going to look like on stage or at a shoot is through your training and diet programmes. Peak week got blown up a lot because prep coaches needed a reason to charge clients an exorbitant amount of money.

My job as a coach is basically not to screw them up in the last week. They’ve done the hard work so why mess around with a formula that has up to now been working extremely efficiently.

Undoing the good work
There are a few things that you can do, which I explain in more detail in the video, but for the most part, what these coaches tell people to do in the final week actually makes them look worse. Like cutting water and cutting sodium. I don’t know how sodium got this bad rap as the thing that makes you retain water. It’s because people don’t understand fluid dynamics very well, if at all. Cutting sodium is a big mistake because it will make you look softer. Guys often complain that they couldn’t get a good pump before the show and a lot of that is down to cutting sodium and water.

How often do you see people posting pictures a week or two out and they look amazing and they’re probably drinking a gallon of water a day. Then they cut their fluid and sodium and don’t look as good on the day. Then they post pictures a week or two after and they look great again. Are you starting to see a pattern yet?

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