Tips How to Prep the Week Before Your
Fitness Photoshoot to Look Your Best
By: Fitness Photographer Sharon Lewis
For everyone that has ever experienced contest prep mode, you already know what I’m going to say. Contrary to popular belief, we do not wake up like this! Nor do we walk into a fitness photoshoot looking like this. Everyone has their own personal fitness journey. It’s hours in the gym, prepping food, counting fats proteins and carbs every day, day in and day out, for months. But that “stage ready” look (muscular lean but full) is a mixture of art and science. Prep week before getting on stage is no joke, but we love the way we look and are often photoshoot ready. For those that do not compete, you can still customize a “prep week” style preparation so you can look your best in front of the camera. This is for those that want to lean down a bit more and tighten up. The goal here is to lean and tighten. However, this is not required!!! I want everyone to know that as a photographer, I’m happy to meet you in whatever part of your fitness journey you happen to be in. My job is to help you document who you are at this particular moment of your life. If you are happy with how far you’ve already come then I love it! For those that are kinda obsessive like me and want to push for that extra tightness and lean down then read on!
This blog is only going to cover the 7 days leading up to your photoshoot to help keep off some water retention. There are separate recommendations for 12 week programs. Some photographers, like me, do offer “Train to Photoshoot” training packages that will get you photoshoot ready in 12 weeks utilizing a trainer’s help.
To help me talk about the 7 day prep before a fitness shoot I reached out to Transformation and Competition Prep Trainers DJ and Kimberlin Hanes at Bodyvisions.
******Medical Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription. These are opinions and considerations discussed and not set in stone. You are solely responsible for implementing any advice and it is advised to talk to your own doctor, nutritionist or trainer. *******
If someone is looking to get just a bit leaner and tighter for a fitness photo shoot what are some things they should consider for their diet?
Every physique is unique and depending on the theme of the shoot and baseline condition of the individual a combination of intermittent fasting, macronutrient and calorie manipulation, density/ depletion training, and the strategic application of a refeed prior to the actual photo shoot occasional cheat is a good formula for maximum leanness. Most individuals will benefit from a 5-7 days pre-shoot ‘prep’.
What should they consider when thinking about their training?
Depletion training is what it implies, the goal is to deplete the muscles of glycogen stores so when you refeed with optimal carbs (timing is key) the physique will showcase better. Any higher rep protocol will do for a depletion workout, but I have found that lactic acid training works particularly well for photo shoot prep.
Example: Cycle through a 10 exercise circuit, with each exercise done lactic acid style until you’re depleted. Depletion workouts are not ‘go heavy or go home’ you are utilizing a lighter weight load with proper form and burning through your energy/glycogen stores. Do not lift heavy and get injured before your photo shoot!
I know minimizing water retention is really key in tightening up. What are some natural ways to help further reduce water retention?
The combination of diet & depletion training are the foundation of photo shoot prep and will work synergistic with water loading/cutting (which varies for each individual) and the addition of supplements like Dandelion Root. **Dandelion Root assists the body in eliminating toxins and excess fluid without impairing the bodies natural sodium/potassium balance. Showcasing eye pleasing aesthetic lines in the physique, without looking too full/fluffy or the opposite, too flat is always the goal regardless of the photo shoot theme.
People want to look lean but don’t want to look flat. How can they avoid looking too flat?
It truly depends on the individual and what photo shoot prep if any they chose to do prior to their shoot. That will determine what they should ingest fluid & food wise the day before and specifically the day of the shoot. For individuals that are ‘champagne dreams on a beer budget’ they should play around with different prep approaches themselves which would be revered as a ‘trial run’ possibly 2-3wks before their shoot. For others, I’d recommend they obtain the services of a coach to outline a program specifically for their physique.
These tips are just an overview of some ways to help you look your best before a shoot. Everyone’s circumstance is different so getting into specifics requires more information about each individual. However, I hope this gave a few nuggets of info that will get you started on the right track to prephotoshoot prep. If you are interested in specifics or more guidance, please reach out to me and I will help recommend some trainers I know that do this or reach out to your own trainers for guidance. Special thanks to DJ and Kimberlin at Bodyvisions you can find them here: