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TOPIC: Dr. Joe-Ultimate peak Part I n II n III

Dr. Joe-Ultimate peak Part I n II n III 2 years 7 months ago #35883

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We’ve all made the mistake of asking people for the magic formula. We ask top competitors for every detail of how they diet, what foods they eat, when they eat them—no minutia is left unrecorded. We want to follow their plan to the letter. I’ve seen copies of copies of copies of peak week spreadsheets I created for clients passed around and used by others. If it were that easy, the perfect plan would be known and used by all, correct? Think manage, not magic.
Stop searching for a playbook to follow and start understanding that there are key processes occurring in your body that have to be recognized and guided. Let’s explore what these are and how you can make them work for YOU. I isolate and pair the variables in the following way:
1) Carbs and water
2) Protein and fat
3) Training and cardio
4) Sodium and other minerals
These interdependent processes are best considered alone for their individual impact on your appearance but also together since altering one will affect the others.
CARBS AND WATER have the greatest impact on how tight and “dry” you will be as well as how full and separated you appear. Muscle tissue is 65 to 75% water. Hydration is what allows a muscle to be full, hard, and to function properly. Dropping water even moderately will instantly cause the muscle to appear smaller and will decrease density. I often use the analogy of a balloon. What does is look like with more air and with less air? More air (water) equals tighter “skin” and a fuller look. Less equals a soft, saggy, thick-skinned look. Each muscle is constrained by a fascial sheath and the separation between one muscle and another is drastically changed with the hydration level of the muscle. As the muscle gets flatter and smaller due to dehydration, there is less muscle volume to push out against and stretch against the fascia. The skin sags back against the now-smaller muscle group, the separation grows shallower, and you look far less crisp. So, how do you keep water in the muscle without having so much that it spills out between the muscle and skin? Carbs control the direction of water like the Hoover Dam. Most mistakenly give that respect to sodium and potassium, but they’re more like the small oars of a kayak channeling water compared to the massive effect carb intake has.
Carb manipulation controls water. I use the weekend before the show as a bit of a set up for the week. Carbs will either continue at the same levels or perhaps slightly increase to facilitate extra recovery. I typically won’t use the weekend to drive hard for more progress, but if someone is behind and every day counts, the diet rolls on. Preferably carbs would be moderately increasing.
The beginning of the week—starting Monday—the highest carb intakes will be scheduled to create a wave of glycogen storage to be seated deeply in the muscle tissue early enough to avoid worrying about spill over. Workouts are going to be spread through the week fairly normally, therefore glycogen replacement is necessary. One of the biggest mistakes people make in using old-school, conventional peaking methods is the carb depletion during the first half of the week when they also train to deplete. Consider any other workout any other time of the year. Would you agree that it’s important for recovery and anabolism/anti-catabolism to consume some carbs post-training? Of course. Most would fear muscle loss more than the Grim Reaper if they didn’t eat carbs after training. So, during the most critical week of your prep, you would go days without consuming carbs, while training yourself into the ground? Words like idiocy come to mind! When the decades-old theory of carb depletion and supercompensation were proposed for runners, catabolism wasn’t a variable to be considered. Worse yet is the fact that you can increase insulin sensitivity—part of the reason supercompensation can occur—but this makes you spill over more easily. Cutting starch out for three days, training every body part in three days with no glycogen replacement…it’s a perfect recipe to slow down your metabolism, lose some lean body mass fullness, and prepare your body for spill over.
But, is it worth it to get the supercompensation? A laughable question, but I’ll explain. Your body uses calories and carbs every minute of every day. If you get any benefit from storing more glycogen than you normally would after bringing carbs back into your diet, within a couple of days your body has trickled back to normal, baseline storage levels. Supercompensation doesn’t linger for days…unless you keep consuming carbs at that level, guaranteeing spill over. One more nail for the coffin of routine depletion tactics. If you’re lucky enough to be able to use the carbs that didn’t find muscle tissue, you could tighten back up and be okay. But most still look watery and filmy for a couple of reasons—the first being the residual results of the spill over. When muscle glycogen levels are full and glucose has nowhere to go, it’s floating around outside of muscle cell walls and ANY water in your body follows it. Even if you’re dehydrated, some water will find its way under the skin, outside muscle tissue. Smaller, flatter muscle, the loss of muscle separation, spill over…how’s the plan looking to you so far?
The second reason you look filmy from overcarbing is that you are converting some glucose to new fat with the carb repletion. Even when your body is starved for glycogen, if you consume more than your body can assimilate at that meal, you will convert some of those carbs/calories to fat. At the same time you are packing glucose in your liver and muscle, your liver is also converting some to cholesterol to ultimately be stored as fat, and body fat cells are taking in glucose and directly converting it to fatty acids. Are you with me yet? There is no—not one—reason to deplete in an extreme fashion and then overcompensate with a carb binge that is justified as “supercompensation.”
There are ways to ensure plenty of muscle-filling, separation-popping glycogen in the muscle tissue without spill over. I’m advocating higher levels of carb intake at the beginning week where the larger muscle groups—like legs—are trained. As you move to mid-week, I would typically start bringing carbs down to make sure any excess carbohydrate has a chance to be used. Carbs are still being consumed while workouts are occurring, creating glycogen turnover, but there’s still a small net loss during this time. It allows a chance for fine-tuning as you approach the pivotal days leading up to the contest. If someone is remaining full, weight isn’t dropping too fast due to glycogen being reduced (and water therefore being eliminated from the body), it may be a good idea to level off carbs and coast into the show ensuring hardness. This can be especially a good strategy for figure competitors who need tightness versus fullness, depending on their body type. For those who risk getting too flat—a fast metabolism—Thursday may be the best day for a moderate carb reload. You still have Friday to back off a little; almost 48 hours to utilize those carbs. Sometimes a client still needs more carbs after Thursday so Friday’s carbs can be increased to the same levels or even higher without too much risk. Hopefully you can see why I said the peaking process is about management, not magic. The ability to assess what’s happening in your body and creating the best course of action, either corrective or proactive, separates the boys from the men; the girls from the amazons.
The flow of carb and water intake is only one part of the peaking process, but it is the big daddy. Mineral control has to be used to fine-tune the process and also must have a proper set up through the week. Training and cardio has an enormous impact on carb need. These will be discussed and integrated into the discussion over the next couple of articles.
Once carb and water decisions have been managed day to day through the week, you’ll find yourself running to the mirror Saturday morning. How do you look? Tight? As full as to be expected before breakfast? What now? What foods will you eat, how much, how often, and what about water? Management. You must rely on a game plan going into contest day, but be ready to monitor, assess, and make decisions meal to meal. I plan the entire day for a client, including measured amounts of water per meal and between meals based on body size, body type, and potential tendencies. However, by the end of Saturday, they’ve had almost as much or the same amount of water they would have any day even as we control the flow through the day and the food may have been altered dramatically. It’s a dynamic day internally, anxiety and energy are high, and there are scheduling challenges at every contest. It reminds me of the Final-Four game that the tiny private college Butler won in the NCAA tournament recently. The players on each team were the same as the previous four months, the basketball rims were still 10 feet off the ground…the game was the same. The losing coach of the superior team walked up after the game and told the victor, “You out-coached me.”
I’m looking forward to tying the entire process together as the series continues; stay tuned and be ready for best-ever, best-possible peaks. Pay attention and I’ll try to out-coach your opponents!



Joe Klemczewski, Ph.D. is a WNBF Pro who helps bodybuilders and figure competitors achieve their best condition through his unique online “Perfect Peaking” program. Dr. Joe can be contacted through his website, perfectpeaking.com.
Craig Yarnall, CSCS, CPT, WNBF Pro
"Want a Bigger BODY, shut up and SQUAT, DEEP!!!!"
"Lifetime Natural Bodybuilder"
"Train Hard and Stay Natural"
"Dr. Joe, Jr."
Last Edit: 2 years 4 months ago by Cytrainer913.
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Part II 2 years 7 months ago #35884

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Is on newstands right now in the Natural Bodybuilding and Fitness-November Issue
Craig Yarnall, CSCS, CPT, WNBF Pro
"Want a Bigger BODY, shut up and SQUAT, DEEP!!!!"
"Lifetime Natural Bodybuilder"
"Train Hard and Stay Natural"
"Dr. Joe, Jr."
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Re: Part II 2 years 4 months ago #36578

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The Ultimate Peak: Part II
By Joe Klemczewski in Team Klemczewski · Edit Doc
Joe Klemczewski, PhD

The Ultimate Peak
Part II: Maximizing Variables


Managing your peaking process is the mindset you should have after reading Part I of The Ultimate Peak. Hopefully I’ve talked you out of expecting a miracle at the end or a magic formula to follow. Mindlessly moving through someone else’s plan has a very small chance of succeeding. Last weekend Nancy Andrews hosted the Northeast Classic, one of the most competitive, largest pro/amateur events of the season. A client of ours commented that two of her friends utilized the services a contest prep coach who used extreme methods and she watched them deteriorate to the point they looked far worse at the contest than they had in months. Questioning their coach on his nutrition methods and their poor results, he replied, “I use a system and it doesn’t work for everyone.” That, my friends, is not only a commercial abomination, it’s flat out dangerous. We’re all too different genetically and metabolically to follow a cookie-cutter plan.
If you haven’t read Part I of this series; I would encourage you to do so. If you have, you know carbohydrates and water hold the dominant roles in peaking, but there are other variables that combine to complete the puzzle. I consider them in pairs as such:
1) Carbs and water
2) Protein and fat
3) Training and cardio
4) Sodium and other minerals
Carbs and water dictate how full AND how tight you’ll be. I like to keep protein and fat stable through peak week. Some variables need to be relied on to maintain stability. They may remain unchanged from start to finish or you may need to subtly move them as you manipulate the larger players. Carbs and water are the sledgehammers of your week; you’ll use them to control 90% of your look. Protein, even during dieting, should be set at a level that provides what you need to maintain lean body mass, but too much more isn’t helpful. More than you need actually takes away potential calorie intake from more helpful macronutrients like carbs.
Fat should be low during peak week, though that’s a relative statement. If you are ahead of the game and you’ve been increasing calories at the end of your contest diet—the fourth phase of contest dieting: The Metabolic Building Phase—you may have had to increase fat back up to 25 or 30% of your calories just to keep from losing too much weight. Whether this is the case or not, I’d suggest a fat intake as low as you need so that carbs can play a more dominant role.
That was easy, eh? Protein and fat: keep them steady and consistent. Admittedly, carbs and water will confound the wisest and bring the strongest to his knees; enjoy the easier parts of the peaking process; don’t make it any harder. The fewer moving parts we have to contend with, the more impact you can have with the variables that will make a difference.
With all the macronutrients resolved, another epic controversy lies in the sodium/potassium debate. I can only assume that decades ago, armed with borrowed and misapplied information from the medical community, someone purported the idea that cutting sodium and loading potassium would syphon subcutaneous water and keep you dry and tight looking all day. Even today cardiologists recommend those with high blood pressure limit sodium and eat potassium-rich foods. However, even for such patients, the result is minimal at best. Remember, carbs and water are sledgehammers—actually more like 90-ton D11 Caterpillar bulldozers. Trying to use sodium and potassium to channel body water where you want is grandma with a hand trowel in comparison.
Accounting for, planning, and controlling minerals in your body is important during this process, but it’s fine-tuning and it’s insurance. I like to see minerals stable and high enough through the week; no loading or depleting. Your brain is monitoring millions of chemical reactions per second to maintain homeostasis. If it couldn’t keep the body in a life-sustaining balance regarding every possible need, the party would be over. Studies have shown, for example, that blood sodium remains unchanged whether you gorge on salty foods or eliminate every trace of it from your diet. The body will retain balance—it will do whatever it takes. Unfortunately for someone trying to swing from one extreme to another, the body will swing right back creating waves of instability and compensation.
Sodium is actually necessary to keep water in muscle tissue. Eliminate it and your muscle tissue will push water out, no doubt about it, but that leaves you flat, small, and soft. It also doesn’t guarantee it’s leaving your body entirely—your body will start retaining water, but now it’s not in your muscle where it can make you look fuller and tighter. Ever wake up on contest day and all your vascularity is gone, you have a thickness/wateriness in your skin, and you can’t get a pump? Drop water, drop sodium, and that’s what you should expect.
The average adult needs around 2,000 to 2,400 milligrams of sodium per day. When you drink a lot of water, workout, and sweat, you can use even more. It’s not necessarily harmful to consume less, but some people who are chronically low do feel a significant energy boost when they come up to normal levels. Using more than you need can create problems. As unconventional as it sounds, I’ve even seen people lose body fat faster if they brought excessively high dietary sodium levels in check. Consistency is the key during peak week.
The recommended level of daily potassium is actually double that of sodium, but with a diet rich in vegetables and some fruit—even many starches like potatoes—it isn’t hard to reach. If your food sources are consistent during peak week, I’d only make sure you are stable and potassium levels are adequate. What you don’t want to do is take straight potassium tablets throughout the day. This practice only contributes to you retaining water in your body and creating instability in the sodium-potassium pump of cells, used to create a healthy hydration level. Think rebound. If you can change, even slightly, the cellular balance of water, your body is quickly boomeranging the other direction to reverse the effect. It’s never pretty. It’s also never healthy. A couple of years ago a young figure competitor in her 20’s recounted her contest experience with a coach who prescribed the typical peaking approach. She carb depleted and sodium loaded the first half of the week, she started carb loading three days out, she started cutting water—half of her normal on Thursday, only sips on Friday, and per her trainer’s instructions, she took 99 milligram tablets of potassium every hour. Friday afternoon her husband was on the phone with an emergency room physician as she lie curled up on the kitchen floor in pre-cardiac arrest. As I said, no sodium means muscle can’t hold water—your heart is a muscle—and overdosing on potassium can wring out the last drops of cellular water. Incidentally, it’s the same method used in lethal injections for capital punishment to stop someone’s heart. Nice.
So, how do we use minerals to our contest-winning benefit? First, use adequate, appropriate, consistent, and stable amounts. This includes even things like calcium and magnesium—very important in fluid dynamics. Next, understand the circumstances. If carbs are slowly coming down during the week—as I would suggest—to slowly flush subcutaneous water from your body, minerals will head out with it. You may need to increase sodium at the end of the week or at least be ready to use it on contest day when needed. On contest day I will often use small amounts of sodium or a high-sodium food in place of a big surge of carbohydrate if a client needs fast increases in fullness and hardness or if they’re simply carb sensitive. A bit of well-placed sodium when all other variables are known, accounted for, and planned, can draw fluid into the vascular system including from under your skin. You can see immediate vascularity and a tightening of your appearance. Subtlety and practice is important—recall that your body can rebound in the other direction if too aggressive.
Plan carbs and water first (read The Ultimate Peak Part I), plug in protein and fat, objectify your sodium/potassium plan, and you’re almost there. In the final installment of this series I’ll cover peak week training and cardio, but I’ll also wrap up the concept of managing the entire course of the week. The best plan will yield you nothing if you can’t monitor, assess, and adjust on the fly. Manage, baby; manage—predictability and consistency aren’t always found by employing the right method—it’s all about making the right decision at the right time. Just ask any coach in any sport.


Joe Klemczewski, Ph.D. is a WNBF Pro who helps bodybuilders and figure competitors achieve their best condition through his unique online “Perfect Peaking” program. Dr. Joe can be contacted through his website, perfectpeaking.com.
Craig Yarnall, CSCS, CPT, WNBF Pro
"Want a Bigger BODY, shut up and SQUAT, DEEP!!!!"
"Lifetime Natural Bodybuilder"
"Train Hard and Stay Natural"
"Dr. Joe, Jr."
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Re: Part III 2 years 4 months ago #36579

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The Ultimate Peak: Part III
By Joe Klemczewski in Team Klemczewski · Edit Doc
Joe Klemczewski, PhD

The Ultimate Peak
Part III: Training and Cardio



Time to dive into the fun stuff! I realize the carb and water debate will linger for years to come and the mainstream misconceptions will pass through forums unchecked. It’s tough to unseat decades of perceived dogma. Even pictures and testimonials are hard to believe sometimes—it’s all marketing, right? Put it to the test yourself. If there’s one thing I can say that is correct for everyone, it’s that nothing is entirely correct for everyone. Not even for the same person in different contests. Biology is vigorous and as soon as you think you have it figured out, the next time is a different story. Just watch Jurassic Park. You’ll figure out what works best for you, but it will still be a matter of fine-tuning and reading your body to make the right changes at the right time. Training and cardio can be anchors in this week of dynamic variables.
Review Parts I and II of this series. It has been several years since I laid out the entire peaking process under one banner; it’s important to understand all variables and how they interact. I consider them in pairs:
1) Carbs and water
2) Protein and fat
3) Training and cardio
4) Sodium and other minerals
Let’s cover training and cardio to wrap all this science around your striated physique.
I consider this the easiest pairing to plan and execute. Once you outline a schedule and decide what you will do, it’s just a matter of going to the gym and getting it done like any other week. I’m going to explain the patterns I use and the reasoning behind it, but once it’s set on your calendar, you don’t have to worry about making changes like you might with macronutrition.
There are two faults with classic peaking methods when it comes to training. The first is rooted in the carb depletion/carb loading fiasco. If your plan is to aggressively deplete in the first half of the week, invariably you’re going to use training as part of that. I’ve read the same script from the early ‘80s through last month. Nothing has changed. Drop starch/carbs down to nothing and work your entire body over the course of those three days. Perform endless reps and sets to wrench every last gram of glycogen from every muscle fiber. The thought goes that it would be a great set up for a massive supercompensation of carb loading where you look like you’ve gained 40 pounds of muscle overnight and will easily destroy every competitor on the stage with sheer monstrosity. That’s what we look forward to when employing these extreme techniques, right?
What happens in normal training when you eat virtually no carbohydrate? Even in lower-carb dieting, when do you prioritize carbs? Would you still want some carbs post-workout for recovery? Don’t we all rush from our last set on the gym floor to some food stuffed in our bag or locker due to the “recovery window”? Of course we do—because if we don’t, we’re losing potential size/fullness/muscle. The week of the show, you’re not going to lose pounds of muscle, but if you become exceedingly depleted by withholding carbs for days, you become very carb/insulin sensitive and any supercompensation is going to come at a price of noticeable spillover for most people. Another error with real supercompensation is that it occurs when a muscle has been trained, not two or three days later. You’re not getting supercompensation as lightly studied in runners; you’re just enjoying a binge…days before your show. You flatten yourself out completely, which is very hard to overcome in just days, you miss the chance to recover properly during the most important week of your prep, and you are spilling over—hoping like hell you can recover your hardness before the show. Some don’t. Some end up still flat and still soft by contest morning.
The second problem I see with traditional peaking when it comes to training is working too light or resting too much during the last half of the week. Workouts use glycogen and then it’s replaced. That creates a fluid dynamic. If you’re timing it well by causing water to follow glycogen into the muscle, you end up fuller and can control tightness far easier. I space training through the week as I would any other week with a workout on Friday and sometimes…gasp!...even on contest morning. That’s an advance technique you don’t want to try at home, unsupervised, or with small children present. It may actually be illegal in some states. However, I can send a starter kit complete with charts and video footage for three small installments of…
Though I said training and cardio are the easiest pairing to work through, doing it poorly can cost you. Use carbs after your training sessions to replete glycogen on the spot—timing is important now just like any other workout. Most of it will stay there all week as long as you’re not training that body part again. You’ll stay consistently fuller all week, you can more predictably control tightness, and you feel great. Avoiding extremes during peak week will pay off. Be the Warren Buffet of peaking.
I do advise taking the edge off of cardio during peak week. You don’t want to be performing your longest sessions and if you do respond well to some high-intensity bouts, make sure they are well timed so you recover well. Your body may be used to it and dropping the intensity back too far would be a mistake, but err on the side of staying fresh. I won’t often increase or decrease cardio once it’s planned for the week, but it can be altered if more or less glycogen usage is warranted. I’ll sometimes include a moderate session on contest morning along with a workout. It will increase body temperature, which will keep subcutaneous water evaporating from your skin faster. What you lose in sweat will be replaced with water consumption—and should—but the effect is often dramatic for those who experience significant fluctuations in tightness throughout the day. There’s nothing I like hearing more when communicating with a client on contest day than, “I’m still very tight…”
Being tight on contest day is like winning the lottery for some competitors. It’s unlikely, it’s rare, but we cross our fingers hoping it happens. It can also be predictable and consistent and you can have confidence all week that you will look your best. Take your pick. Learn to read your body as it transitions through changes, adjust these variables with the touch of a surgeon, and you will see that it’s not magic; it’s management.

Joe Klemczewski, Ph.D. is a WNBF Pro who helps bodybuilders and figure competitors achieve their best condition through his unique online “Perfect Peaking” program. Dr. Joe can be contacted through his website, perfectpeaking.com.
Craig Yarnall, CSCS, CPT, WNBF Pro
"Want a Bigger BODY, shut up and SQUAT, DEEP!!!!"
"Lifetime Natural Bodybuilder"
"Train Hard and Stay Natural"
"Dr. Joe, Jr."
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