In Part 1 of this discussion I explained the carb-water dynamic. You may want to review that and the illustrations as we mix in the variables of mineral manipulation—or lack thereof. Carbohydrate and water are at least 95 percent of the game in peaking. Go all in, bet the farm, but whatever you do, get your carb and water intake right.
No matter how many times I say that, competitors want to focus on sodium and potassium. The lore of their roles and the lure of the belief that there’s a magic formula are tough to overcome. They are important elements—just not in the way you may have heard.
Water means muscle fullness. The water will only spill over if you are so overcarbed that excess glucose attracts water outside of muscle cells.
I have written about this topic for more than 15 years, and it has inspired a movement. Many in the newest generation don’t know about so-called conventional practices, which would have them sodium load, then deplete and then drop water to near zero the last day or two—or deplete carbs early in the week only to chase a mythical supercompensation. That said, there are still many who don’t realize that conventional peaking methods are deficient and deadly.
First, let’s review the reason that carbs and water are your biggest assets. Water means muscle fullness. The water will only spill over if you are so overcarbed that excess glucose attracts water outside of muscle cells. Too much carb will cause spillover even if your water intake is low, but you’ll be soft, smooth and—to your surprise—you’ll still be small because there isn’t enough water in the tissue to create fullness.
You want enough water to follow glucose into the muscle cells, but it’s a delicate dance. You can end up flat and tight, flat but smooth, full and tight or full but smooth. Flat and tight is okay, flat but smooth is the worst of all worlds, full and tight is the benchmark, and full but smooth won’t win the day.
If you can get carbs and water even close—flat but tight—understanding minerals can be your best peaking strategy for fine-tuning. The goal, as I said, is full and tight, but starting conservatively enables you to build toward a perfect peak. If you spill over a day or two prior to your event, you likely won’t recover in time, and you’ll end up soft onstage—game over. On to minerals.
Sodium and potassium make up most of the mineral content used to control the flow of water in and out of cells, but I find it more important to view mineral balance on a broader level than just isolating those two. Magnesium, calcium and even less-considered minerals have a role in fluid dynamics.
Dehydrate so your blood pressure is lower while you leach out the necessary sodium from your heart musculature, and, well, you may want to see if your life insurance policy has a stupidity clause.
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