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How lean is "too lean" for bikini competitors?

With your Rapid Backload Peak, how do you adjust it for a client trying to make a certain weight class?

This is a good question that not only applies to Rapid Backload Peaking, but pretty much any style of peak week. First off, let me start by saying that there is no one size fits all when it comes to adjusting things during peak week. You have to consider the entire context of the situation when making a call.

With that said, my general approach is to not really pay attention to weight classes. I know it is common for people to scramble for the lower weight class but generally I like to find each person’s individual “best look” and whatever weight they are at then, we will just go in with that. After all, their best look will likely make them most competitive.

Most competitors hate the idea of being the smallest guy in a class. One thing I think most people fail to realize is that oftentimes the toughest classes top to bottom are in the lighter divisions. You’re usually going to find that the heavier weight classes are filled with guys that probably should have been in a lighter class but failed to diet. In fact, there have even been times where I have had clients chug some water before a weigh in with the goal of pushing them into the heavier class where their conditioning will stand out.

Once again, this needs to be based on the individual, but generally I don’t think that weight classes are a huge thing to worry about. You will be most competitive with your best look.

What do you do when a bikini competitor starts to become too muscular or too lean for bikini?

There comes a time in every growing girl’s life when her body will start to change. These changes are completely normal but when this happens girls are often left wondering….should I compete in bikini or figure? What…Did you think I was talking about something else?

Most girls that compete in bikini for long enough (years, not months), will eventually hit a state where they begin to become too muscular for bikini. I should begin by saying that girls competing in bikini should train with programs that are appropriate for bikini. There is a big difference in the exercise selection of a female bodybuilder compared to a bikini competitor. Even still, this can be an issue.

When this begins to happen, I first suggest that the competitor decides where her desire lies. If she would like to compete in figure then I say keep building muscle and go for it. However, if her heart still pushes her to compete in bikini then there are a few options.

  • Greatly reduce training volume. Give significant volume and intensity of training ONLY to the areas that need to come up. Everything else should be reduced in intensity and volume in order to prevent them from building too much muscle.
  • If getting too lean is an issue then the first step is having the restraint to not over diet. If you are a bikini athlete you will need to have some fat on your body, this is just a given. You shouldn’t be standing on stage with striated glutes. If you feel you have gone too far with your diet, you can reduce your water intake in order to soften yourself up just a bit.
  • Lastly, my favorite method to control bikini competitor’s size is to have them build as much muscle as they want in the offseason, then when contest prep comes around I simply reduce their training in an effort to purposefully lose muscle. This allows my clients to train hard which they enjoy, and then come show time they can lose the muscle to look like a bikini competitor and do well on stage. Keep in mind that it is incredibly hard to build muscle, but it is very easy to lose it. It doesn’t take long.

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