Diary of a Bikini Competitor | Balanced BrunetteHello Dolls!

Peak week is officially here.

Diary of a Bikini CompetitorWhew! I can almost say “I made it.” 12-13 weeks of being meticulous about my food, counting calories and macros, working out 6-7 days per week… it’s tiring! I’m ready to just “be” for a while.

Before I jump into my week, I’m going to explain the process I’m following, some myths about what you should or shouldn’t do, and some science regarding the human body.

Everyone in the industry says “Peak week is where the magic happens.” While this is true, and there are many little “tricks” for coming in show day looking your absolute best, you don’t want to mess around with too much. It could cause you to ruin what you have worked so hard for in the previous weeks.

You will see many girls (and many coaches instructing their girls) to cut carbs, cut water, cut sodium, etc… These little “industry hacks” are ineffective & downright dangerous.

You will never see me endorsing or encouraging any of these practices. 

When it comes to nutrition, I coach myself. I have a fairly good grasp on macronutrients and how to manipulate them to meet my goals. That being said, every coach still needs support and guidance.

I use Layne Norton as my primary resource when it comes to nutrition & bodybuilding. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Layne Norton, he is a pro natural bodybuilder and holds a PhD in Nutritional Sciences. For those who regularly follow me, you know how much emphasis I put on education and science over myths and #broscience.

While the article isn’t a comprehensive competition guide, Bodybuilding.com put together a piece called “Peak Week – Full Series” by Layne Norton that has been incredibly useful during the last week of this process. The reason I absolutely adore Layne is because he calls the bullshit. Sodium & water depletion? WHY? He wants you to explain how you think that makes someone appear better on stage. You can’t explain why because there is no scientific evidence supporting the practice. Instead, he walks us through {simplified} science of the human body and why certain “tricks” work or don’t work.

If you are competing, or thinking about competing, I highly suggest you immerse yourself in all Layne has to offer.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Peak Week

That being said…

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Peak WeekThis week is going really well. I adjusted my macros Saturday night so I could carb up on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

The reasoning behind carbing up early, as opposed to cutting out carbs and carbing up later, is to fix any “mistakes.” By carbing up Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I have time to either a. add more carbs in later in the week if I feel flat or b. cut more carbs out if I “spill over” and look watery.

You will see many competitors cutting carbs completely during peak week. This practice makes me cringe. No wonder all these competitors complain of foggy brain!

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Increased Carbs!I am already feeling more “tight & full” with increased carbs.

Quick lesson: After carbohydrates are eaten, they are broken down into smaller units of sugar (including glucose, fructose, and galactose) in the stomach and small intestine.

The glucose is then used for energy or stored in the liver and the muscles as glycogen. Replenishing glycogen by increasing carb intake means muscles appear full and hard.

When I increased my carbohydrates, I also decreased my protein. (When one macro goes up, another must go down.) As I progress through the week and slowly decrease my carbs back to normal, my protein will slowly increase back up to where it started to prevent any muscle loss.

These few days of increased carbs have been fantastic because I can really push through my last few workouts.

Here is a breakdown of my week (nutrition + fitness)

  • Sunday: Increased Carbs 20%, Decreased Protein 20%, Upper Body Circuit & Core
  • Monday: Same amount of carbs as Sunday, same amount of protein, Leg Day & HIIT Cardio
  • Tuesday: 5% lower carbs, 5% increased protein, Upper Body Circuit & Core
  • Wednesday: 5% lower carbs, 5% increased protein, LAST LEG DAY! (Eeek!)
  • Thursday: 5% lower carbs, 5% increased protein, light weights & Cardio
  • Friday: 5% lower carbs, 5% increased protein, light cardio

For show day, I will be following Layne Norton’s guide. Why? Because I trust him and trust his process completely. This is also my first show so until I know what works for me on stage day, I’m sticking with the professional advice.

Show Day

Meal 1: (8 Hours Before Prejudging)
Meal 2: (6 Hours Before Prejudging)
Meal 3: (4 Hours Before Prejudging)
  • 3 oz Protein Bar (with glycerol, containing 20-30 g protein, 30-40 g carbs, and 10-15 g fat)
  • 1 small Banana
  • 8 oz Water
Meal 4: (2 Hours Before Prejudging)
  • 9-inch sub with Turkey, Cheese, and Honey Mustard (about 30 g protein, 85 g carbs, 20 g fat, and 1,500 mg sodium) ** This is where some sodium manipulation comes in handy**
  • 10 oz Water
Meal 5: (Half Hour Before Stage)
Five Minutes Before Going Onstage:
  • 1 small Candy Bar (quick-acting sugar and fat)

In between those first four meals, drink 12 oz of water. After Meal No. 4, sip water as needed to quench thirst.

Pump up for 10 minutes after Meal Nos. 1, 4, and right before hitting the stage to help deliver glucose to muscle cells.

So, basically, I will be eating steak for breakfast. 😉

Here is what my personal schedule looks like for the week

  • Monday: Off work (I don’t work Mondays.) Workout, pose, finish up last-minute errands (makeup, Target run, stocking my “comp day bag,” etc…) and meal prep for Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • Tuesday: Work 8-5, Workout, Pose
  • Wednesday: Work 8-5, Workout, Pose
  • Thursday: Off Work! Highly recommended that you don’t cause yourself stress by trying to work the few days leading up to your competition. I have a dentist appointment in the morning (No stress for this girl – Oddly enough, I love the dentist and a good cleaning!) and then I will be getting my nails done. I opted to do my own toes to a. save money and b. because my toes are going to be all jammed in my heels. I am actually an undercover nail wiz so doing my own toes doesn’t bother me. Light cardio & light weights. Shower and exfoliate. Grocery shop for Saturday.
  • Friday: Off Work! Last shower. Shave everything (yup – goodbye arm hair.) Scrub myself really good to get all the dead skin cells off. Head off to get two coats of my $120 competition tan. Yes. It’s $120.00 to get sprayed down, naked. Like I’ve said before, competing isn’t cheap! We have check in at the venue Friday afternoon. That is where we get weighed, measured, and evaluated in our suits to make sure everything meets NPC requirements. Prep my 6PackBag for Saturday, check my comp day bag, and try to relax and get some sleep.
  • Saturday: Show day! I will post a recap next week.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Stage Makeup & HairI have been playing around with my hair & makeup all week.

My ideal hair is full curls but I have way too much hair for curls to hold all day (and I am not the type of girl to waste my time pining up my hair in-between shows) so I bit the bullet and I am going with just bottom curl and full volume.

The photo you see on the left is without any sort of product in my hair. On show day, I will be using some sort of product to add volume.

For my makeup, simple but dark. My face needs to blend into my tan body but certain features also need to be highlighted under the harsh stage lights.

Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Stage Make Up This is a really great competition makeup tutorial I found that explains the ins and outs of stage makeup. I also put on fake lashes for the first time on Sunday. Really creeping me out… So large. 😛

I’m going with a very “bronzy” beachy look with dark eyes and pink lips. Still looking for my perfect pink… (Off to Sephora this evening.)

Other than that… I’m just relaxing, trying not think about show day (I will throw up), and just getting myself through the week.

I have done everything I can do and now is the time when you sit back and enjoy the process.

Amanda Signature

13 Comments on Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Peak Week

  1. Katie G
    April 6, 2015 at 6:39 pm (3 years ago)

    This is SO EXCITING! Just remember to have fun. You’ve worked so hard for this, you’ll be great!

  2. Angela
    April 17, 2015 at 11:49 am (3 years ago)

    Are you posting your photos soon?

    • Balanced Brunette
      October 10, 2015 at 8:52 am (2 years ago)


      I post photos daily on my IG account. 🙂 @balancedbrunette_

  3. Sandy
    July 10, 2015 at 5:48 pm (3 years ago)

    Thanks for the great article! Just wondering if you followed the exact eating plan he prescribed for himself for your show day?

    • Balanced Brunette
      October 10, 2015 at 8:53 am (2 years ago)

      I did not. That plan is set for someone much larger than myself. I did follow the basic outline and adjusted the numbers for a 130 lb person. 😉

  4. Zoe
    October 4, 2015 at 5:02 pm (2 years ago)

    Just read Dr. Norton’s article and wonder does it work on girls!!!
    Perfect, thank you so much!!

    • Balanced Brunette
      October 10, 2015 at 8:50 am (2 years ago)

      No reason why it wouldn’t. Females and males are both humans with muscles and metabolisms. 🙂 Obviously, certain dieting numbers need to be adjusted based on body type and size. I wouldn’t follow his exact peak week schedule because it’s set for a 245lb person but you can modify it with numbers that work for a 135lb person.

  5. danica
    January 26, 2016 at 7:47 pm (2 years ago)

    did you end up competing i cannot see pics on inst?

  6. vanessa
    March 20, 2016 at 2:11 pm (2 years ago)

    This is awesome! Loved it! Greag job! So helpful! Thank you !

  7. Kori Meloy
    April 24, 2016 at 7:36 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Amanda! Entering into my first peak week and have used no information other than Layne Norton to take me through prep, and that’s how I found myself on your article! Love that you’re a fan of him. Can you show me how you calculated his peak week nutrition to adjust it on your weight? Thank you!


1Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Diary of a Bikini Competitor: Peak Week

Leave a Reply