A Week Prior
to a Show
by Tanya Pennigton
Preparing for a show can take anywhere
from eight to sixteen weeks depending where you are starting from. However,
the most important part is what you do in the last week before the show.
Your consumption of carbohydrates, sodium and water play the largest
role in the results you can achieve before walking on stage.
After doing a few shows and trying different methods each time, I have
found what works best for me. Whether I am dieting for a show or am
off-season, I always keep a moderate amount of sodium in my diet. This
way my body is used to ingesting it and getting rid of it.
Monday through Wednesday
I make sure and drink two to three gallons of water each day. I eat
five meals consisting of chicken and asparagus, and make sure to keep
ingesting the same amount of sodium. By not taking in any carbohydrates
your muscles start to appear “flat.” The goal is to get all of your
stored glycogen out of your muscles. When you add carbs back in at the
end of the week, you have dropped most of your water and those new carbs
will fill your muscles back up without the extra water giving you that
I will drop my water intake to one gallon. I continue with the five
meals of chicken and asparagus, however, stop taking in any sodium.
This sodium manipulation is probably the most important part of how
you will look on Saturday. I will also begin taking Dandelion Root today,
three pills, three times daily. Dandelion Root is a natural and effective
diuretic to help shed the excess water under your skin so your muscle
shows through nicely.
I drop my water intake to ½ gallon. I continue taking the Dandelion
Root to keep pushing the water out. I continue with my five meals of
chicken and asparagus, and again, no sodium at all. In the evening I
will bring back in carbohydrates. Starting at about 5pm I will eat ½
cup of sweet potatoes, then again at 7pm and again at 9pm.
It's show time! Today I will sip water making sure not to take in more
than 16oz. I will continue with the same meals, no sodium, and continue
with the dandelion root. Upon rising at 5am I will eat ½ cup of sweet
potatoes, then again at 7am and again at 9am. Depending on what time
I am going to walk on stage I may take in another ½ cup of sweet potatoes.
If it is after 11am I make sure to eat more with a goal of keeping my
full look. Then, walk on stage proud of everything you have accomplished!
Many people ask about the use of diuretics
with the desire to drop as much water as possible. While there are potassium
sparing diuretics out there, I prefer to drop my water throughout the
week and then use natural diuretics. There are too many mistakes that
can be made with diuretics, and yes, I have seen people pass out while
on stage! It would be horrible to give everything you have to this show
for 12 weeks and then not be able to compete that day because of one
mistake. Be safe, be smart and most importantly believe in yourself.
About the Author...
Being a competitive cheerleader for
ten years and running track for three, I have always been interested
in fitness and health conscious. I began working out at 24 hour
fitness as a sophomore in high school in 1997. Upon graduating,
I became a personal trainer and loved assisting people attaining
their fitness goals and changing their lives. I admired Monica
Brant and Kelly Ryan and made the goal of walking on stage one
In 2002 I got serious about competing
and began to train and diet for the San Jose show. After 12 hard
weeks, I placed 3rd and was so happy to accomplish that goal.
That was only the beginning; I caught the competition bug and
have competed in six shows since then. I recently took 2nd at
the Sacramento show and 1st and overall at the San Francisco show.
My next step is the USA’s in July. My goal of becoming an IFBB
Pro is one I strive for everyday.
I am currently working toward a degree
in Kinesiology at Sacramento State University. I love what I do
and most importantly, I love my support system. I believe a support
system is just as important as your training and your diet. My
boyfriend Armando, my mom Lorenza, my aunt Elbs and uncle Victor
have never missed a show believe it or not. In state or out of
state, they are always there. My dad is also a huge support and
they are the reason I am able to be so successful in this sport!
…Always remember, believe and you will…