PHOTOSHOOT PREPARATIONS AND TIPS
By Keith Cormican
Personal trainers in California are frequently asked for the best ways to prepare for magazine photoshoots, and suggestions for the last few days before the shoot.
Firstly, I would like to say that it is useless to leave preparing for a photoshoot to the last minute – it really is a lifestyle that should be followed. However, I have seen many models in LA & elsewhere work hard for months preparing for a competition/shoot, only to blow it in the last few days and end up looking either ‘flat’ or ‘bloated’. Here are a few strategies to optimize a lean, vascular muscular look on the day:
Proper hydration (or controlled dehydration) is the key. In order to look as pumped, lean, ripped and vascular as possible, you need to pull as much water out from under the skin as possible. To do this you must:
CONTROL WATER INTAKE
Contrary to some popular belief, you ‘do not’ want to cut back on water intake for days on end before your shoot. If you do this your body will simply adjust by slowing renal clearance from the body. So keep drinking plenty of water right up to 26 – 36 hours before the shoot. At that time, drop your water intake to about 1 -2 quarts on the day before, then only take sips of water on the day.
SODIUM LOADING AND DEPLETION
This helps to trick the body into releasing subcutaneous water in the days preceding the shoot. Ten days before, double your usual sodium intake. After four days, cut sodium to 2 grams a day or less. This is from ‘all’ food sources, not just table salt.
Interestingly and quite surprisingly, red wine is a strong vasodilator and can help improve short term vascularity. 4 – 6 ounces of good red wine 30 – 45 minutes before the shoot works well.
Glycerol is a water ‘sponge’ that tends to pull water from elsewhere and hold it in the vascular system. So, take about 30 grams of glycerol (2tablespoons) about 45 – 60 minutes before the shoot. Mix it in 4 ounces of water.
CARB DEPLETING AND CARB LOADING
The typical California personal trainer will often use this strategy to increase the amount of glycerol stores in the muscles. The more glycerol in the muscles, the fuller and more pumped they look. To achieve this, cut the carbs in your diet back by 50% six days before the shoot. Make sure to replace the missing carb calories with fat and protein. Then, two days before, hit the carbs hard! They make up to 65 – 70% of the diet in these days. You can also add 300 milligrams of alpha – lipoic acid with each high carb meal. This helps to ‘super load’ muscle glycogen.
During the last few days do not eat over 100 grams of protein per day. This is because as you intentionally dehydrate the body, high protein loads may be hard on the kidneys.
Finally, bodies differ and so do their reactions to these methods. Therefore, I suggest that anyone wanting to try them should do a ‘trial run’ beforehand to see how they affect their own body. Also, consult your online personal trainer if you have that luxury. These suggestions can be tweaked to suit each individual.
I hope these tips help to shed some light on what may seem a very complicated process!