11 Days of Hell – Diet Preparation for a Swimsuit / Fitness Photoshoot

I’ve just finished a body building diet that I found online to prepare for a swimsuit / fitness photoshoot. Now, I agree that this might have been overkill for the shoot but part of the challenge was to prove to myself that I could follow a diet like that and see it through. I’m just waiting to see photos from the shoot to validate whether it was a good decision or not.

I learned about this diet from a personal trainer in my networking group as he recently completed a fitness photoshoot as well for his gym, Fit Studio in Danville. In essence, you start out high sodium, then add a high water diet, then cut the sodium and increase/continue the high water diet while cutting carbs before cutting water and eating high carb to build out your muscles while shrinking your skin to your muscles.

I found these two links to be of great help, I ended up relying heavily on the first article and supplementing details from the second. I created my own excel sheet of daily requirements for water, carbs, sodium and protein and tallied my water throughout the day.

Now that the shoot is over, I’m still trying to decide if it was worth it.

After 10 day bodybuilding diet
My abs at the end of 10 days – after eating a full meal and drinking a half gallon of water (so no longer at optimal)


It was a great learning process… I’ve always tried to eat very healthy and for the most part had plenty of energy. At the countdown to about Day 3 I was cranky and grumpy with everyone and by Day 1 and Day 0, I had no energy for anything. I couldn’t keep my eyes open and my workout on Day 0 was useless. (I learned afterwards that I probably shouldn’t have worked out as I was using up my newly rebuilt glycogen stores.

If I ever do it again, I need to eat more! I had no appetite while on the low sodium days (no bacon!) and couldn’t think of food to eat/be motivated to eat. Then once I was carb loading, I still didn’t have the stomach to eat as much as I needed too. I focused on sweet potato, potato and pixie stix but they didn’t seem to be much help (or I was just constantly crashing from the carb overload…)

Drinking 1.5 – 2 gallons a day felt like torture, but drinking only 20oz in a day was definitely a worse torture. Overall, this is not a fun diet and definitely not a healthy one but now that I know I can do it, I would know what to do to improve it for next time >< If there is a next time… I lost water weight but I also lost some muscle mass too due to my lack of eating. Now I need to go back and regain my leg strength.

Overall, this seems like an effective diet but only under the correct supervision (making meals ahead of time when you still have an appetite or someone else making your meals would be great!)