‘Peaking’ is the art of getting super lean and ripped. To most people, the art of peaking is elusive and they have no idea about how to achieve such abdominal definition, muscle striations, and vascularity. In fact, many seek this result using the wrong techniques only to end in disappointment. Bodybuilders cannot unfortunately maintain this super ripped condition year round. Training and dieting in a seasonal fashion, building up to a peak, then tapering down to a maintenance phase is a wiser approach. This doesn’t necessarily mean bulking to extreme levels only to have to trim back later, it means cutting up from a good shape to a super-ripped condition. There’s no need to stray too far off competition shape, but it’s still worth taking at least 12 weeks to get to competition ready condition.
Maintaining Low Body Fat
Sustaining such a super low competition ready body fat level is not sustainable. Even leading up to the competition, bodybuilders are so depleted that they would not aspire to continuing this condition if they had the choice. Getting, and staying at such a low body fat percentage takes a lot of effort. If anything, you can choose to ease back to normal eating, whilst trying to keep your body fat at 10% or less. This will give you the ability to ‘dial in’ for photo shoots after the competition rather than having to resort to another twelve weeks of dieting.
Periodisation For Fat Loss
Periodisation is an effective way that athletes and bodybuilders can get themselves ready for competition. See our other articles for incorporating periodisation into your training.
This should be avoided. Maintaining such a shredded physique year round would have you on a severely restricted calorie intake year round. This, without doubt would impede your training progress. The majority of people cannot master a simple diet, let alone cyclical caloric management for fat loss. If you do choose to stay on low calories for an indefinite period, your metabolism will slow down, leading you to plateau. By dieting for fat loss for three months, then easing off, your metabolism will not slow. Repeating this process in a few months will mean that you can enter into a new fat loss phase until you reach a level you would be happier to maintain. Whilst this wouldn’t be as extreme as a competition level of fat loss, it would still be rewarding.
Body Composition Management
Competitive bodybuilders have mastered fat loss to a level that they have control over their body composition. They are even able to hold a low body fat percentage year round, so that reaching a temporary peak is never too far away. Whether or not you aspire to compete in bodybuilding, everyone interested in fat loss can learn from bodybuilders. Avoid fad diets, and gimmicks. Manipulating your diet in a cyclical fashion between pre-contest cutting and off-season maintenance is the wisest approach.