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How To Lean Out And Get Photoshoot Ready in 7 Days

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Photoshoot Prep 101: How To Carb Load and Carb Deplete

This 7 day “photoshoot ready” nutrition and workout protocol is mainly for the people who are already have a lean physique.

For the purposes of this post a lean physique would be classified as:

  • Males: 10% body fat or less
  • Females: 20% body fat or less

The water and carbohydrate load and depletion manipulation protocols discussed in this post will help the body further “lean out” by ridding itself of stored water under the skin.

Don’t forget, all bodies are different.

Just because this photoshoot prep protocol works for most people, it doesn’t guarantee it will work best for you.

It’s up to you to test each variable, find out what works best for you, and manipulate when needed.

This post will discuss one of the most popular versions of carb depletion and loading within a 7 day window before the shoot.

So lets get into it.

How To Lean Out And Get Photoshoot Ready in 7 Days

Photoshoot Ready: Diet and Training Manipulation Protocols

If you’re wondering if these next 7 days will be more about nutrition or your workouts, the answer is clear.


Abs are made in the kitchen.

This 7 day photoshoot prep protocol is mainly focused on nutrition manipulation.

So lets dig deep into it so you have a plan of action to rock your photoshoot or event.

Nutrition Manipulation Protocol

First, lets create a 7 day schedule by working back 7 days from the day you want to look your best.

For this example, lets say your photoshoot is set for Sunday.

Based on this, we need to start the nutrition process 7 days out, starting on Monday, to give yourself enough time to carb deplete and load.

7 Day Schedule:

Day 7: Monday

Day 6: Tuesday

Day 5: Wednesday

Day 4: Thursday

Day 3: Friday

Day 2: Saturday

Day 1: Sunday (photoshoot day)

Photoshoot Ready: Carb Depletion Phase

The first three days, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, will be considered the carbohydrate depletion phase.

Muscle glycogen is simply the sugar stored in the muscle cells from carbohydrates.

There are two ways to deplete your muscle glycogen:

  • lower your carbohydrate intake
  • glycolytic draining workouts

If you follow a lower carbohydrate diet like I do, the carb depletion phase won’t be too drastic.

However, if you’re used to eating a lot of carbohydrates, these first 3 days may be a struggle for you.


Think short-term pain for a long-term gain.

Remember, these pictures and memories will be around forever, so it’ll be worth it.

Brad Gouthro Jessica Rumbaugh

3 Day Carbohydrate Depletion Protocol (Day 7, 6, and 5):

The first step is to figure out what your baseline quantity of carbohydrates is on a typical day.

Day 7 carbohydrate consumption: 50% of your baseline

For example, if you typically eat 200 grams of carbohydrates a day, on day 7 you will consume 50% of that, i.e. 200 grams / 2 = 100 grams of carbohydrates.

Day 6 carbohydrate consumption: 50% of the amount consumed on day 7

For example, since you consumed 100 grams of carbohydrates on day 7, on day 6 you will consume 50% of that, i.e. 100 grams / 2 = 50 grams of carbohydrates.

Day 5 carbohydrate consumption: 50% of the amount consumed on day 6

For example, since you consumed 50 grams of carbohydrates on day 6, on day 5 you will consume 50% of that, i.e. 50 grams / 2 = 25 grams of carbohydrates.

What about Sodium?

Since you should be eating clean, whole foods during this carbohydrate depletion phase, sodium shouldn’t be an issue.

Just try to avoid foods with high amounts of sodium added to it (i.e. processed foods).

Brad Gouthro

Workout Protocol (Day 7, 6, and 5)

During this carbohydrate depletion phase, your workouts will also change.

It’s recommended to perform full body workouts in a style referred to as glycolitic draining training.

Glycolytic draining workouts include:

  • higher reps (15-20 reps)
  • lower weight (50% of the weight you normally would use)
  • targeting full body
  • 3 exercises per larger muscle group (quads, hamstrings, back, and chest)
  • 3 sets per exercise (15-20 reps)
  • 3 exercises per smaller muscle group (shoulders, biceps, triceps, calves, abs)
  • 2 sets per exercise (15-20 reps)

Some people recommend cutting cardio out 10 days before your shoot as it can make your muscles stringy and not full.

I personally find cardio helps me lean out even further, so test and find what works for you.

Water Consumption Protocol (Day 7, 6, and 5)

During the carbohydrate depletion protocol, you’re going to be drinking a lot of water!

Water Consumption Calculation:

Here’s how to figure out how much water you should be drinking during this phase:

Water goal = 1.5 ounces of water x per pound of bodyweight

For example, I’m 175 pounds so that would equal:

175 pounds x 1.5 ounces of water = 262.5 ounces (7.75 liters) of water per day for days 7, 6, and 5.

That may seem like a lot, but it’ll play a major role in tightening up your body during this 7 day period.

Consuming a lot of water will help flush out even more stored water from under the skin.

You should also carry a water bottle around with you to ensure you’re drinking your water evenly throughout the day.

Although you’ll probably be going to the bathroom all the time, it’ll be worth it once you see those amazing photos.

Brad Gouthro

Carbohydrate Loading Phase: Day 4, 3, 2, and 1 (photoshoot day)

All right, we’re now hitting day 4, 3, 2, and day 1 (photoshoot day).

Day 4 is considered the carbohydrate loading day!

It’s time to fill up the depleted muscle cells by eating a higher carbohydrate intake.

You should be smiling right now 🙂

Day 4, 3, 2, and 1: How many carbohydrates do you need?

Since your muscle cells have been depleted of glycogen over the last 3 days, they should be like sponges now.

This means your muscle cells will soak up all the sugar to make your muscles look round, big, and full.

Therefore, it’s time for your carb re-feed to re-fill your muscle cells with glycogen.

The first step is to figure out what your baseline quantity of carbohydrates is on a typical day.

Day 4 carbohydrate consumption: 2.5-3 times your baseline

If you typically eat 200 grams of carbohydrates a day, on day 4 you will consume 2.5-3 times that, i.e. 200 grams x 2.5 – 3 = 500-600 grams of carbohydrates.

Important: Day 4 – Meal 1:

The goal of the first meal on day 4 is to get an instant rush of sugar into the cells.

You’ll accomplish this by having your carbohydrate consumption come from a mixture of 50% high glycemic carbohydrates and 50% low glycemic carbohydrates.

After this meal, you’ll cut most of the high glycemic carbohydrates out and focus the majority of your carbohydrate consumption on lower glycemic, complex carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes.

Day 3 carbohydrate consumption: 50% of the amount consumed on day 4

For example, you consumed 500 grams of carbohydrates on day 4, so on day 3 you will consume 50% of that, i.e. 500 grams / 2 = 250 grams of carbohydrates.

Focus on consuming mainly lower glycemic carbohydrates.

Also consider eating a lot of asparagus over the next 2 days, as asparagus is a natural diuretic which can help further dry you out (i.e. reduce water retention).

Day 2 carbohydrate consumption: 50% of the amount consumed on day 3

If you consumed 250 grams of carbohydrates on day 3, so on day 2 you will consume 50% of that, i.e. 250 grams / 2 = 125 grams of carbohydrates.

As you get closer to photoshoot day, we’re decreasing the carbohydrate intake to reduce the risk of the spill over effect.

The spill over effect occurs when the muscle glycogen cells are full, thus the sugar from the carbohydrates get stored in the fat cells.

Not what you want before your photoshoot.

You can also enjoy one glass of red wine the night before the shoot as it may help with muscle vascularity.

Day 1 carbohydrate consumption: 50% of the amount consumed on day 2

This obviously depends on what time of day your photoshoot is.

Eat light.

Hopefully your photoshoot is scheduled in the morning so you can load up with a good cheat meal afterwards.

What about Sodium?

When it comes to sodium, once again stick to whole foods to avoid foods with high amounts of added sodium.

Brad Gouthro

Workout Protocol (Day 4, 3, 2, and 1)

On day 4 and 3, you will not workout (you could do a glycolitic draining workout on day 4 if you think you need it).

For day 3 and 2, you could relax in the sauna for a short period of time, twice a day, to help sweat out more water.

On day 2, you can do a quick, very light program of 1 set, of 12 to 15 reps, for each body part.

However, use very light weights (up to 70% lighter than your usual weight).

The reason for skipping workouts is because the goal is to replenish, and fill out the muscle cells with glycogen, not deplete them further.

In fact, depending on how you feel, you could also skip the day 4 glycolitic workout.

On day 1, the day of your shoot, you can complete some bodyweight exercises like push ups and crunches to get a good muscle pump.

Water - Fitness Superfood #5

Water Consumption Protocol (Day 4, 3, 2, and 1)

During the carbohydrate loading protocol, you’re going to do the opposite with water.

In the carbohydrate depletion phase, you drank a lot of water and ate less carbs.

During this phase we’ll be progressively cutting back on water while carbohydrate consumption is higher since carbohydrates stores water in the body.

The goal for the next few days and to deplete the body of any extra water under your skin.

Day 4 water consumption goal: 50% of the amount consumed on day 7

On day 7 I drank 7.75 liters of water (lets round it up to 8 liters for simplicity), so on day 4 you will drink 50% of that, i.e. 8 liters / 2 = 4 liters of water.

Day 3 water consumption goal: 50% of the amount consumed on day 4

For example, on day 4 I drank 4 liters of water, so on day 3 you will drink 50% of that, i.e. 4 liters / 2 = 2 liters of water.

Day 2 water consumption goal: 50% of the amount consumed on day 3

On day 3 I drank 2 liters of water, so on day 2 you will drink 50% of that, i.e. 2 liters / 2 = 1 liter of water.

Make sure you spread out this limited amount of water throughout the day.

Day 1 water consumption goal: just sipping water

You want to look like an anatomy chart at this point, meaning your skin is thin and your muscles are ripped and shredded, with no water under your skin.

Remember, don’t forget to enjoy the moment, cause you made it!

What about Supplements?

On day 3 and 2, to help with glycogen absorption and sodium excretion, you could try supplementing with these minerals and antioxidants with each of your meals during the loading phase:

Also be sure to take Omega-3s throughout the day.

3 Simple Ways To Make Your Metabolism Love You

Bottom Line:

There you have it.

I hope this clarifies one way to carb deplete and carb load during the 7 day peak week before your event.

Once again, there are many different ways to do this, and everyone’s body reacts differently.

These 7 days will be a little bit of a shock to your body, but realize in the end, it’s short-term, and the photos and memories will last a lifetime.

Give this plan a try and see if you can get photoshoot ready in 7 days!

Let me know in the comments what your experiences have been and your tips to get ready for a photoshoot or an event.

[wd_hustle_cc id=”team-live-lean”]


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31 responses to “How To Lean Out And Get Photoshoot Ready in 7 Days

  1. Hey man so for the carbs. When you go down from day 7,6,5 are those carbs such as rice, oats and bread you are counting? Or veggie carbs as well. I was kinda confused on that! Thanks a lot

  2. I believe that is among the most important info for
    me. And i am satisfied studying your article.
    However wanna remark on some general things, The site taste is perfect, the articles is in reality great
    :D. Good activity, cheers.

  3. A couple questions,

    1) For days 7,6,5 are you supposed to train every muscle group (like a circuit) every day for the 3 days or hit every muscle group, once, each, over the course of the 3 days?

    2) Also, when you say “baseline” My baseline for carbs normally is 425g per day(based off my daily recommendations for calorie intake), I’m an ectomorph/hard gainer and that’s my baseline for a clean bulking. Should I base my baseline for the 7 days out from my photo shoot off maintenance instead of bulking? because there is no way I could put back over 1000g of carbs in 1 day. I’m concerned my maintenance would still be extremely high.

    Much appreciated


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  5. Hey Brad, thanks for the great info.
    I had my own shoot today that came very unexpectedly 10 days before. I’m not a bodybuilder or anything, instead I coach competitive ski racng and I just include myself in some of the athlete’s routines while mostly supervising. This article was great and made me completely ready and confident to do this shoot. In fact, I got booked for another in 3 weeks by the photographer!
    Here’s my question: What can I do to make sure I stay shoot ready for 3 weeks? Do I simply go to a regular diet and take the same steps again? With the timing this close, will my results be affected?

    Thanks again,

  6. Hey Brad,

    Thanks for the article, its very informative.

    Just got one question to you. You see I am on paleo diet, so my daily carb intake is less than 50gm and those are mainly from green leafy vegetable.

    So should I have to do the carb depletion? Or can I just jump to carb loading as I am already carb depleted..

    Thanks again for the post and keep up the good work.


    1. if you’re taking in that little amount of carbs already, and your muscles are looking flat, your cells are probably already pretty depleted so there’s not much more to do. test to see how you look after your carb up. you just have to test things and see how they work with your body.

  7. onemore question…with the post workout shake do i still add carbs also as normal,or just protein and water? I’m sorry,I should’ve been more specific the first time. Thanks for your last reply as well. Oh and as far as a diuretic such as Xpel,it has directions on dosage,but would you recommend me taking it the day before the shoot,or couple days out? Thanks

  8. The days you workout,do you need to have a recovery meal such as a shake or no? And during the week do I still keep protein and fats high for the day?

  9. Carb Loading:

    It’s time to fill up the depleted muscle cells by eating a higher carbohydrate intake.

    This is the time to let your muscle glycogen replenish. No workouts are recommended for Day 4 & 3. On day 2 you can do a quick, very light program of 1 set of 12 to 15 reps for each body part with very light weights (up to 70% lighter than your usual weight). Your muscles will be depleted and are like sponges as this point. Rather than further deplete them, allow the glycogen from the carb load to replenish and fill out your muscles.

    I dont understand is this part^ on day 5 or day 4?? pls respond

  10. I’m a bit confused on which day is 7, the video and text are different. If my photoshoot is on a Sunday, would day 7 be the previous Sunday or Monday?

  11. It’s actually a nice and useful piece of information. I am happy that you simply shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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