How to prep for a photoshoot is one of the most common questions I get asked.  I have talked about it on Facebook before, so I thought I would share on my blog. Personally, I don’t rely on crazy, last minute “tricks” to peak for a shoot or special event and I do NOT recommend drugs, diuretics or water pills etc. I have seen all sorts of crazy measures models and competitors go through to look lean enough on the day of the shoot, but I believe you can do it naturally with proper diet and timing- and just a few minor tricks of the trade. 😉

The goal of this peaking procedure is to minimize subcutaneous water (just beneath the skin) while keeping the muscle as full as possible. So here goes…


-In general I follow a carb cycle with low, med, high days. I stay on this up until the week of the shoot.

-4-7 days out: I begin to limit sodium intake (condiments and dressings, cooking methods etc)

-2-4 days out: I begin cutting carbs (except from green veggies) and eat lean white proteins with asparagus (a natural diuretic) or other veggie at most meals. Consume a lot of water (1-1.5 gal) as well. (Note: Low-carb and high protein diets are notably diuretic, aka: puts your body into a fluid flushing mode. Dropping carb intake alone will cause just about anyone to lose a couple of pounds of water bloat.)

-The day before the shoot I consume less water, about 3/4 gallon and begin carbing up with dry carbs like rice cakes or dry oatmeal. At this point your muscles will be screaming for fuel so most carbs consumed will be ushered into your muscles.

-The day of the shoot I eat rice cakes and real fruit jam (simple sugars will metabolize to the muscle faster) and only drink water when/if I start to sweat during the shoot or sip on it throughout the day


-7 days out I stop my usual workout split as I don’t want over-fatigued muscles or soreness (which causes water retention and swelling of the muscles). I do full body workouts with lower weights and higher reps. 1 exercise per body part, 4 sets, 18-20 reps. You should already be lean enough a week out so I don’t do a lot of cardio. Sometimes I will do walking on treadmill or sauna sessions depending how I feel.

-No workout the day before the shoot or day of.

Miscellaneous Tips

-I drink distilled water starting a few days out and usually add lemon. (works to cleanse the system and acts as diuretic)

-Dandelion root tea at night is a great natural diuretic if water retention is a concern

-Epsom salt baths the 2 days before the shoot, the last one is before tanning

-I always spray tan the night before, as my last prep task and rinse the morning of the shoot

-Preparation H (weird, right?) can be used the night or two before (after baths) over problem areas (ie- back of legs) to tighten, because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

The main thing I learned is that proper preparation and balanced eating, training should get you in the shape you need well before the shoot. I have been able to manipulate my physique naturally and feel that being healthy and safe is the priority. Again, this is just when prepping for a big day and NOT to be sustained for longer periods of time.

Leave a comment with any questions you may have!