Peak Week Depletion Phase

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Depletion week, well what a week.

I wanted to do a blog in addition to this video, because I don’t think the video went over everything in enough detail. 

Now you can see how hard it got, to a degree, you can see how I trained, in a sense, but I definitely think there are some thing missing, especially the details of my depletion week. However, we have also covered my depletion week in an episode of Revive to Stage & so I do recommend you check that out also – here.

I also want to give credit to Broderick Chavez & Jared Feather who helped me design my peak week strategy, learnt a lot from this process that I can use with myself & clients in future.

 


Variables Manipulated for Depletion

So when it comes to my depletion week there were some key variables being controlled; water, carbs, sodium, training & cardio. In summary water & sodium was loaded & carbs were depleted across the week. The point being to deplete glycogen, strip off lots of fat & to up regulate the bodies release of water, whilst keeping electrolytes in balance. 

By the end of the week the aim is to be fully depleted, dry, stringy & very very lean & very very sensitive to glycogen replenishment to allow for a super-compensation during the loading phase (which will be covered in a future blog).

Water

  • 8.3 litres tapered to 5.5 litres

Tracked week prior to get an average to work from.

Sodium

  • 9.5g tapered to 8g

Tracked week prior to get an average to work from.

Macros

  • Carbs 190g tapered to below 50g net carbs

Tapered from usual low intake.

  • Protein & Fats kept level or a slight increase
  • Obviously this lead to a large deficit towards the end of the week

Training

  • Usual overreaching (which I could not complete)
  • Additional drop sets & full body depletion workouts (multiple sets of 15 to failure)
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All same mesocycle exercise variants used to prevent excessive soreness before loading.

Cardio

  • 15k steps per day
  • 200 calories cardio per day

Notes/experiences

So the first 3 days were pretty OK, I mean training was hard, but I still managed to hit my usual workouts & live a pretty normal life. From day 4 shit effectively hit the fan, brain fog, low energy, inability to process information, mood swings…everything you can imagine happened. 

I will also note due to the high water intake I was waking up through the night, up to 5 times, to get up for a whizz! This obviously made me feel worse & made the process harder, but this was to be expected right? To help aid the water intake & get me through the low calories I was drinking lots of coffee & lots of diet drinks, some days got up to 1 litres of diet lemonade & 3-4 coffees. I know this wasn’t healthy, it would not be recommended, but it was short-term & a necessary evil to get me through.

Food selection

  • Mushrooms – lots & lots – low carb, low calorie.
  • Spinach – lower carb than lettuce (yes I was looking this into my carb choices).
  • Smoked Salmon – getting my healthy fats & obviously low carb & providing sodium.
  • Cauliflower – riced & added to my oats to help bulk them out, so 20g of oats didn’t look too silly.
  • Unsweetened almond milk – very low carb, low calorie.
  • Light baby bells – a nice little drop of protein with little tag along fats & no carbs.

My meals essentially looked like:

  • MEAL 1: Protein shake (added spinach for bulk)
  • MEAL 2: Cauli-oats with a mug cake
  • MEAL 3: Egg white omelette with tinned mushrooms & low salt/sugar ketchup
  • MEAL 4: Massive spinach & mushroom salad with smoked salmon & a light baby bell
  • MEAL 5: Cauli-oats with casein frosting

This isn’t too dissimilar to my usual prep meals, just a few changes to food selection, amounts & I chopped out one meal so that each meal was slightly larger. I found my skin getting a little dry & just a general feeling of ‘bad heath’ – not sure if related to low micronutrition or what, but it wasn’t nice, I did however supplement with a multi-vitamin.

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Training/steps

So as I said, the first three days were fine, it was my overreaching week of my mesocycle & so I knew it was going to be hard anyway. However, with the addition of drop sets & depleting carbs training got super super hard. I managed to complete my usual Pull, Push, Legs but after these I couldn’t do my typical workouts & switched to ‘depletion circuits’ in which I took movements through 3-4 sets of 15 reps close to failure. 

Getting light headed in workouts was typical, and even when I was doing my steps. To get my steps I had to re-structure my day, extend my usual walks & add in additional shorter ones, this wasn’t too bad, but I did find myself dragging my feet & ending up doing steps in my flat marching on the spot.

Cardio…well it sucks & basically it was just taking me longer than usual to complete.

Work/life

So lets skip straight into the final 3/4 days, because before this things were unaffected. But once the fatigue kicked in I found myself taking longer over client check ins and even feeling light headed during video updates. In fact I could feel my face was depleted, my cheeks were drawn in & I was in true ‘diet face’ mode. 

My day ended up looking like:

  • 6am wake & go for a walk & record #steveonthecommon
  • 7am to 11am client check ins
  • 12:30pm till 2-3pm first gym session & cardio
  • 3-6pm basically dead to the world, slept, laid down, felt sorry for myself
  • 6pm-7pm second gym session & cardio
  • 7:30pm dinner & watch tv with Charlotte
  • 10pm bed

I think that pretty much covers it for now!


 

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