Not long ago I did a post about building the best body possible in as little as one month – in case you’re panicking that summer’s almost here, you can check out that post at Secrets Of The Beach-Body Illusion – One Month. In that post you’ll find plenty of information on how to build a decent summer physique in as little time as possible.
This article is going to be a little different though. Let’s say that you’re already in decent shape, and you just want to look your absolute best for an upcoming event – let it be a festival, a pool party, a fitness show, or a photoshoot (speaking of photoshoots: make sure to follow me on Instagram @vikingfinity)! If you really want to show off your gains for any reason, then keep on reading, this post was written just for you!
Before diving in, please note that this is not fitness-advice! This article was written for those looking for ways to transform their bodies from good to amazing – from a purely visual point of view – in as little as one week. With that being said, let’s dig in!
One week before…
Okay, so you’re working out, watching your diet, making steady progress, and suddenly you realize that you only have one week left till your big event. Time to start your final prep to take your physique to the next level!
You’ll need to make small adjustments to your diet to lose as much water as possible (passing on all of the risky methods that pro bodybuilders regularly use), burn that last little bit of fat, and completely eliminate bloating.
To do this, you’ll need to start drinking as much water as possible throughout the day. While this may seem counterproductive at first, consuming excess water will actually cause you to lose more water, since your body won’t feel the need to store any extra water-weight (you’re already supplying it with more than enough). You don’t need to go crazy here, but drinking about 1 liter of water for every 20-25 kgs of bodyweight should be enough to do the trick!
Secondly – if you still have some fat to burn – do a dramatic mini-cut, with about a 30% caloric deficit (you can find the most effective calorie-calculator here). Make sure that you’re cutting your calories primarily from carbs and fats, while keeping your daily protein intake at a steady 2-2.5 grams of protein per kg of lean bodyweight (this will help preserve your muscle mass while cutting).
Finally, just keep sodium, carbs, and fats as low as possible this week. Sodium will cause water retention and cause you to look soft as a result. Instead of putting salt on everything you eat, try spices (chilli is my personal favorite, but you know…whatever).
As with carbs, they too can cause water retention – but this isn’t the main reason why we’re going to cut them to only 1 gram per kg of bodyweight. By reducing your carb-intake, you’ll force your body to burn through your glycogen-stores during your workouts (once you deplete your glycogen, you’ll start shredding fat at an incredible pace).
Also, keep your fats relatively low; if you’re eating 2.5 grams of protein and 1 gram of carbs per kg of bodyweight (on a 30% caloric deficit), you won’t have much room for fats anyway.
I’m going to be honest: you’re going to feel like shit and even look a little smaller than usual. Don’t worry though, this is all temporary: as your muscles lose water and glycogen, they dry out and give you a smaller appearance – we’ll do something about that later on.
As for your workouts, you shouldn’t make any dramatic changes: keep doing your “normal” workouts (using your normal weights to maintain strength) with two slight modifications.
Firstly, keep your rest periods to a maximum of 60 seconds between sets. This will make your workouts shorter, not only minimizing muscle-breakdown (that you’d inevitably experience from longer workouts), but also making sure that the boost you get from your pre-workout lasts all the way to the end of your sessions. Basically, be in-and-out of the gym as quick as possible without sacrificing volume.
Secondly, add a few pump-burnout sets for each muscle group that you trained that day at the very end of your workouts. You can do this by choosing a basic isolation exercise (like a biceps curl for example) for each muscle, pump out as many reps as possible at a fast – but controlled – speed, take 20-30 seconds rest, then repeat for another set or two. By doing this you’ll increase the blood-flow to the targeted muscles (getting a nice pump), and completely deplete your glycogen stores. The whole thing shouldn’t take over 5 minutes, but those 5 minutes can really make a difference…
I also recommend doing fasted workouts. Yes they suck, and yes you risk losing a little muscle in the process. But it’s an incredibly effective way to maximize your fat-burning, while you can minimize – or even completely avoid – the unwanted side-effects with the right supplement-routine.
First thing’s first, stop taking creatine. While creatine is an amazing supplement that can increase your strength and help you build quality muscle mass over time, it also causes water retention – something we want to avoid right now.
A good pre-workout is probably the most important supplement you should be taking this week. It increases your energy-levels in the gym – even if you’re doing fasted workouts – and helps you burn a few extra calories in the process. Not to mention the Hulk-like pump you’ll get on the right pre-workout! Now, there are many under-dosed, useless, or even dangerous pre-workouts out there, so you’ll want to make sure to take the best one there is! Pulse from Legion Athletics is my personal favorite – and for a good reason: it has the scientifically proven dosages of the most effective ingredients, without all the junk that other companies usually pack their supplements with.
If you decide to take my advice on fasted workouts, then a pre-workout fat-burner will help you shred more fat during your workouts, while preserving your muscles! Sure, it will also give you a slight edge at the gym, but not enough for me to recommend it unless you’re working out on an empty stomach – but if you are, this is a must! Forge from Legion Athletics is a unique product that is packed with everything you need to burn the most fat while holding on to your hard-earned muscles!
I know it can be challenging to meet your protein-goals while restricting your calories. That’s where protein-powder comes in. While it is possible to get all of your protein from regular food, I know from experience that protein-powders make it a hell of a lot easier! Whey+ from Legion Athletics is my personal choice, since it’s high in protein, lactose-free, and free from artificial sweeteners (and also pretty damn delicious).
Get a tan. Seriously. It sounds like stupid advice, but trust me: it does make a difference. Why do you think bodybuilders spray-tan theirselves before competitions? Or why do you think fitness-influencers increase the contrast and saturation on their photos (I’m guilty of this too…)? It’s all because it gives them the illusion of having more muscle-definition. So start tanning – optimally just spend more time shirtless outdoors, but you can always use a sun-bed as a last resort.
Also, make sure that you’re getting at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night! While on this extreme diet, your cortisol levels will become elevated, your recovery will slow down, and your energy-levels are going to drop. The most you can do to prevent – or at least minimize – these side-effects is by giving your body the rest that it deserves!
I shouldn’t even have to mention this in a fitness-article, but obviously stay away from alcohol, nicotine (in any form), drugs, and partying this week (well…at least this week). Alcohol won’t make your muscles fall off, but if you’re trying to get yourself in peak shape in only a week, then you’re better off staying away from anything that will slow (or ruin) your progress!
3 days left!
With only 3 days left, you’ll have to do a few minor changes in the things you’ve been doing all week. If you followed the diet-plan, you probably look – and feel – skinny and weak, but that’s normal at this point. But now is the time to stop shrinking and start growing again!
Your body is now used to eliminating water, so you’ll start to decrease the amount of water that you’re drinking and trick your body into flushing out any excess water that you might still be carrying around. Decrease it by 40% each day (for example: 4 liters – 2.4 liters – 1.4 liters). This way your body is getting rid of water, but you’re not resupplying it with more. This will help you achieve that dry and shredded look.
Now is also the time to carb up. Increase your daily carbohydrate consumption to about 6-9 grams per kg of bodyweight. Since your glycogen-stores are completely empty at this point, all these carbs are going to rush to your muscles, making them look fuller, bigger, and harder. At the same time you should actually decrease your daily protein-intake to about 1.2-1.5 grams per kg of bodyweight. Otherwise, just eliminate any food that causes you even minor bloating, and cut back on fats even more!
Ok, so you’ve made it to the big day, congratulations! But the work is not over just yet.
Start your day by shaving your body. Does that sound weird? Well, it shouldn’t. If you’re willing to go on an extreme diet for a week, spend money on supplements, and still feel like shit for days, then you should be willing to take the extra step and make sure that there aren’t any hairs covering your muscle-definition and casting unwanted shadows on your body – ultimately making you look softer and less shredded.
Make sure that you don’t drink more than one liter of water before your big event (if it’s at night, then try to aim for no more than 1.5 liters), since you want to look as dry as possible.
Keep on eating a high-carb diet, but keep your food-intake to a minimum (a full belly doesn’t really look that good). Still, a few hours before you want to be show-ready, start eating fast carbs (sugars) to really fill your muscles with glycogen (without filling your stomach with food).
Approximately an hour before you want to look your best, have a full dose of the Pulse pre-workout and get a full-body pump-workout in, putting greater focus on the aesthetic muscle-groups (while continuing to eat sugars throughout – and after – your workout).
There you have it: you’re going to look dry, ripped AF, and insanely pumped and vascular. Peak physique in just one week! Keep in mind though that most of the advice in this article is not healthy – nor is it sustainable – by any means (normally I wouldn’t even give you such advice). This article was written as a science-based guideline for those of you who are really going for the looks – if you actually want to build the body of your dreams in a healthy and sustainable way, I recommend you check out my articles on training and nutrition.