Be On Your Mark Contest Day, With INBF Champion Philip Ricardo

10 days before your photo shoot or competition, how do you look your best!? Philip Ricardo shares his secrets on how to get shredded for your big day!

This article applies to the last week/10 days before the show or photo shoot, which is the most important time during the dieting phase.

The last 10 days can make or break you when it comes to achieving peak condition!

10 days prior to the event, the major changes I make in my diet are the manipulation of my water, sodium and potassium. If done correctly, you can shed a good 2-5% body fat in those 10 days. This process will make your skin so paper thin that you will look like an anatomy chart and be one of the leanest athletes for competition or photos. Here's the trick...

10 Days Prior To The Show:

First, 10 days prior I add more sodium than I usually had during my normal 8-12 week diet...usually I just add more salt to my boiled eggs, chicken, and steak, and eat a lot more fish. Don't be afraid that this extra sodium will bloat you or blur your condition...this is where your extra water consumption will help you. During my prep, I usually consume about 1 to 1 and a half gallons of water a day. During my manipulation phase, I increase my water to 2 to 2 and a half gallons. I use the bathroom every 10 to 15 minutes, but this will trick your body into getting rid of water and it will also flush out the excess sodium.

3 Days Prior To The Show:

Three days prior to the event, I make another drastic change...I now begin to drop my water and sodium by 1/3 and start to add either potassium pills or dandelion root (which contains potassium in it and works wonders for getting rid of water from under the skin during this evolution). I also switch my water from regular drinking water to Distilled water, which contains no minerals at all. In fact, when you drink the distilled water, you will not feel bloated like with regular water and you will probably feel thirstier, but you will still urinate a lot.

I also drop my carbohydrate consumption each day starting on Monday until I hit just 25 grams on Wednesday. Two days prior to the show I slowly add more carbs into my diet until the event. Two days prior I also reduce the salt and water again...this time getting rid of almost all sodium I possibly can and dropping my water down to only 1-1 and a quarter gallons.

The Day Before:

Front Pose

The day before the event, once again no sodium and drink about a half gallon of distilled water till around noon, and then just take sips when need for the dandelion root pills or multi-vitamins. Each day you will literally see and feel your skin tighten and you weight drop and the water from your skin vanish. It is important to pose hard to squeeze out all of the water (I start to practice my posing about 1 month prior to a competition to build up stage presence and muscular endurance) and to tan weeks prior to also draw water from out of your skin as well, but don't use tanning booths 3-4 days before the event to allow your skin to heal from possible burning from the booths. Artificial tanning lotions are recommended during the last few days to give your skin a healthy, toned look that enhances definition for the stage and photos.

I advise everyone not to stay on the low sodium and water portion of the diet for an extended period of time. Sodium is vital to many bodily functions and aids in performance, and without it you can suffer serious cramps and discomfort. I also advise you not to go without water for more than a day as serious dehydration can land you in the hospital! In fact, if you are not competing in a contest, I would continue to drink the distilled water up thru the photo shoot...you will still look great and shredded.

If you follow these rules, you will be amazed at how quickly your body will transform. It may take you a while to find out which formula works best for you (some may have to drop there sodium and water sooner or later and manipulate your carbohydrates differently as well), but you will see a difference. Each time you go to the bathroom and urinate, you will literally see and feel your skin get tighter. Water manipulation can be the difference between 3rd and 1st place and for models it can be the difference between being in a magazine article and being on the cover of the magazine!