Doing a photoshoot isn’t anything I’ve ever done, but I wanted to get a post written here on how you should prepare for one (eating and working out wise) for those who were interested in fitness photoshoots.
Although it won’t be any type of professional photoshoot, I will probably be following these guidelines for my “after” picture (showing my progress) in a few weeks for one of my upcoming fitness products.
How Long in Advance Do I Start Preparing?
Besides working out and eating healthy for a few weeks or months before your photoshoot, you don’t really need to start zoning in until about 2 weeks before the photoshoot date. I would say ideally anywhere from 10-14 days, but you could get away with maybe 6-10 days if it popped up on your really quickly for whatever reason.
What Should I Eat When Preparing For a Photoshoot?
The general rule of thumb is that you will need to slowly cut your carbs leading up to the day of your photoshoot. You will get yourself to eating absolutely no carbs (minus a few carb light vegetables) about 2-3 days before the date, and then for those last 2 or 3 days will you start loading up on healthy carbs such as sweet potatoes, rice, and oatmeal to fill out your muscles.
It might look like this (let’s go with 12 days until photoshoot):
Day 1 -5: Start reducing carbs each day. By day 5 you are at about 1/2 of your normal carbohydrate intake
Day 6-8: Go down to 1/3 and then 1/4 of your normal amount of carbs
Day 9: ZERO carb day
Day 10, 11, and photoshoot day 12: This is where you start loading back up on carbohydrates. I’ve heard about 2 or 2.5x the your bodyweight in grams of carbohydrates. This will fill out your muscles leading up to the shoot.
Other then that you will be eating less calories all together, a lot of protein, and low amounts of healthy fats.
You also want to start loading up on water when you are about a week out from the date. This means adding about 0.5 litre to what you normally drink each day until you are up to about 2-3 litres higher than normal. Keep drinking a lot of water until 2 days out, and then you will drop down to about 2 litres. 24 hours before you want to keep water intake minimal (less than 2 litres for sure). This will trick your body into getting rid of lots and lots of water daily, and then all of a sudden you don’t have as much water to get rid of so when it does get rid of your water it will help lean you out and give you that “dry” look.
How Should I Workout When Getting Ready for a Photoshoot?
You really don’t need to change your workouts leading up to the big day, although most people will think they need to really crank it up. Stick to your same workout (you can increase your intensity a little bit) leading up, until you get about 3 days out. When you start loading up on carbs 72 hours before the shoot this is when you need to absolutely do NO WORKOUTS. You want to replenish glycogen stores to give your muscles that good look and working out will use up that glycogen.
Before reading up on the no workout rule that is where I would have gone completely wrong. Like many I would have liked to get that pump going leading up, but after reading about why you aren’t supposed to workout is makes sense.
This is something I’ll have to report back on when I try it myself for my “after” picture I’ll be taking this summer.