“Every year my family hosts an Christmas party,” says Amelia Tank, a physique competitor from London, England. “And the first was two weeks before but I knew I would be surrounded by food and prosecco …there would be turkey, plates of roast potatoes, jugs of gravy. It’s party food that I would have had if I didn’t compete.” In the week leading up to a contest, bodybuilders may decrease their consumption of water, sodium, and carbohydrates, the former two to alter how water is retained by the body and the latter to reduce glycogen in the muscle. The day before the show, water is removed from the diet,and diuretics may be introduced, while carbohydrate loading is undertaken to increase the size of the muscles through replenishmentof their glycogen. The goal is to maximize leanness and increase the visibility of veins, or “vascularity”. The appearance of veins is further enhanced immediately before appearing on stage by darkening the skin through tanning products and applying oils to the skin to increase shine. Some competitors will eat sugar-rich foods to increase the visibility of their veins. A final step is the use of weights to fill the muscles with blood and further increase theirsize.

Tank, who works and lives in her flat in London, weighs under 123 pounds and consumes 1900 calories a day in six meals. Her diet consists of lean chicken breast, steak, sweet potato, brown rice, fruit, nuts and protein shakes.

Nail your nutrition, work smarter in the weights room, and shake up your set styles. When you put it that way, it sounds easy. But there are two more pieces to the puzzle. The first is recovery. Get to know your foam roller.

You hear it time and time again, but the most important thing is to listen to your body. “I see how I feel on the day,” affirms Terry. “If I’m feeling strong, if I’ve had ample amounts of calories and rest, I will go for the heavier lifts – whereas if I’m dieting, I’m in a calorie deficit, I’m tired, then I’ll focus on form and volume.”

Based on the number of Instagram photos she posts in workout clothes, it appears Amelia hits the gym on reg. She even shared her leg and butt workout routine on her vlog, which includes barbell squats, Romanian deadlifts, reverse lunges with barbell, barbell hip thrusts, leg curls, leg extensions, abductions, and adductions. In the video, she explains she generally does five sets of eight to 10 reps for each move.

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