Foods To Eat Before Your Fitness Photoshoot
Diet is one of the most influential factors you can focus on when preparing for a fitness photoshoot, and is in fact one of the most important influences in everything we do. Our energy, skin, body composition and health are all directly affected by the food we eat. Sure, exercise will get you the strength and muscle, but how your look is complimented by the right diet. Most models start preparing for a photoshoot weeks before. It requires a special diet for optimal results, as your muscles respond to water retention and peaks in insulin, carb intake, and fasting. You can work for months in the gym and still be bloated or appear heavier than you want if you fail to eat right before a photoshoot. Here are some tips to help guide you through the last days before the final cover shoot.
Hydrate With Water for Your Fitness Photoshoot
It’s common knowledge that at least 8 glasses of water is the recommended daily intake to prepare for a fitness photoshoot. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin hydrated and reduce water retention and bloating. The best way to appear lean is to remove extra body fat and water from under the skin: holding water will make you look loose and less sculpted. The goal is to reduce the appearance of bloating—by pushing your body into “flushing” mode. When you do this, you give the appearance of a having less fat. This is key to both male and female models – drinking over a gallon a day for the week leading up to the shoot and then cutting back on the water the last two days before the shoot.
When it comes to carbs, every body is different. Some body types function better with carbs before a fitness photoshoot, and some without. It’s the same with watching your carbs before a shoot. Some people will need to, and some won’t. As such, there are a couple of ways to look at carbs before a photoshoot. Here’s the current trains of thought.
If you are looking to appear bigger—as is the case with many bodybuilders— you can combine water “fasting” with carbohydrate loading. The result being a more muscular physique for your photoshoot. Carb loading can be performed using two methods: the first is eating large amounts of carbs at the beginning of the week leading up to the shoot, a technique known as “front-loading”. The other option is to eat a little more every day, or perform “back-loading” of carbohydrates. Some trainers will pair this with water depletion, but it is not recommended to try for the first time before a photoshoot since the results vary depending on each body type. It can also lead to dehydration and fatigue.
If you’re focusing on being lean and “cut”, then the safer option is to avoid carbs altogether. Our body stores carbohydrates in our muscles. When we drink loads of water with carbs, your muscles swell. If the goal is to appear lean, then avoid carbs as they will pull water in. You want the opposite effect: to flush out toxins and have clear skin, drink lots of water without eating carbs—your body will flush this water out. The effect is muscles that appear toned and not water logged. Make a daily limit of 50 grams of carbs—eat mainly vegetables, and avoid processed foods such as bread, pasta, and any manufactured snack food. It seems counter-intuitive, but eat very little fruit too (the sugar content is also responsible for retaining water). If you do this, then you’ll shed your stored carbs and attain a thin appearance.
Sufficient Quality Protein
Every meal should contain protein, since it helps build muscle, restore muscle mass, and is a clean-burning fuel source for your body. Many trainers promote eating only lean protein, such as plain chicken breasts (usually boiled or grilled with minimal olive or coconut oil) egg whites, and fish.
Eating small snacks every two to three hours will help avoid the tendency to overeat at meal times. It is also easier on the digestive system to burn the energy of small food amounts. If overwhelmed by food, your body will tend to store energy for later as fat.
Eat Right, And Smile!
The point of a fitness photoshoot is to show off all your hard work: remember to be confident, smile, practice your poses, and have fun. Dieting is one of the more difficult aspects: it’s hard to sustain a strict diet, but by basing all of your meals around vegetables and lean protein a few weeks prior to the shoot, you’ll see and feel the difference. Drink only water and be sure to avoid high fat and complex carbs for maximum results.