How to Prepare Properly for the Rock Hard Challenge 'After' Shot

Follow our Week 9 "Peak Week" workout plan and photo shoot tips to end the challenge on a high!

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Click here to go straight to the RHC Week 9 workout plan

Congratulations! By now you should be experiencing some pretty incredible results in both your physique and in your lifts in the gym. Your body fat is probably at it’s all-time lowest, and your muscularity is through the roof. Feeling like you can win this whole RHC? All you have to do is have the most impressive before and after photos. But before you go and snap that winning “after” shot, use our advice on how to make your after photo the most impressive. And no, it does not involve Photoshop!

Follow these steps and you’ll be doing some physical photo-shopping right on your own body. These are the steps that many of our cover models use to get ready for their big photo shoots. These steps involve about 2 weeks of prep. Start these steps in the eighth and final week of the RHC. Then you can take a ninth week of final photo shoot prep to really hone in your physique.

Fourteen days from photos shoot (Week 8 of the RHC) - About 2 weeks from our planned photo shoot day you’ll actually want to start loading up on sodium (salt). How much water your body holds is tightly related to how much sodium your body holds. However, your body will only hold so much water, regardless of how much sodium you consume. This is due to homeostasis. When you first increase sodium levels, your body will hold more water. But after maintaining high sodium levels for several days, your body will adapt and end up holding about the same amount of water as when your sodium intake was low.

This step will help you shed more water when you finally cut your sodium intake in a few days. Increase sodium levels by choosing higher-sodium foods and of course, salt your food. While there’s no precise daily dose of sodium to hit, you should be shooting for at least 3000-4000 mg per day, if not more. Protein sources like cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses, lean deli meats, sardines, anchovies, canned tuna and chicken, are good sources of sodium. Other places you can get extra sodium from include canned and jarred vegetables, as well as soy sauce, pickles, and even pickle juice.

7-10 days from photo shoot – Now is the time to really drop carbs. Depending on how far you progressed on the RHC diet, you’re already eating a low-carb diet. However, at least one week before photo shoot day, it’s time to really cut carbs in an effort to deplete your body’s glycogen levels. Glycogen is the storage form of carbs in your body. Whether it’s the starch from bread and potatoes, or the sugars in fruits and candies, your body converts these carbs into the sugar, glucose. Glucose can be burned for immediate fuel, and it can be stored in muscles and the liver for later use. To store glucose, the body connects glucose molecules into a long chain, known as glycogen.

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