LESS WATER, SODIUM & CARBS:
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 to increase the size of the muscles through replenishment of their glycogen. The goal is to maximize leanness and increase the visibility of veins, or “vascularity.”
If you want to get into great shape and look sharp, then proper water balance in your body is important to you. Here are some things that can help you:
- MAKE SURE THAT THE QUALITY OF YOUR WATER SUPPLY IS OPTIMAL.
Drink bottled spring water, or invest in an osmotic membrane filter to filter your local tap water. This is a small price to pay for the benefits of having pure, clean, low- sodium water every day.
- MINIMIZE HIGH SODIUM FOODS IN THE DIET.
Pick up a sodium counter book at your local bookstore and familiarize yourself with the sodium content of the foods you eat. Eliminate excess salt from your diet.
- DRINK PLENTY OF WATER THROUGHOUT THE DAY. SPACING OUT YOUR WATER INTAKE IS BEST.
Remember that if water is in short supply, your kidneys will have a tendency to hoard water, causing fluid retention. So it is better to drink constantly throughout the day. I have a favorite saying that I like to tell my trainees: “To lose water you must drink water.”
- TAKE A GOOD MULTIMINERAL TABLET DAILY TO ENSURE THAT YOUR ELECTROLYTES REMAIN BALANCED.
Electrolytes include: sodium, calcium and chloride in the fluid outside cells; potassium, magnesium and phosphorus in the cellular fluid. Electrolytes regulate many of the life sustaining processes of each of the millions of cells in your body.
- PERSPIRATION AND THE INTAKE OF DIURETIC DRINKS SUCH AS COFFEE AND TEA CAUSE THE ELIMINATION OF ELECTROLYTES FROM THE BODY.
On a related note, one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac arrest in young, healthy athletes is the depletion of electrolytes.
- . KEEP THE PROTEIN INTAKE IN YOUR DIET FAIRLY HIGH.
One gram of protein per pound of body weight. This can easily be accomplished by incorporating chicken breast, turkey breast, fish and lean meats in your diet, along with high quality protein powders such as my ProV60 Multipurpose Protein Blend, my Lean Pro 8 Super Premium Protein or my IsoLean Pro Whey Isolate Protein Powder. Along with electrolytes, protein helps regulate the water balance in your body. Proteins are water loving or hydrophilic. Water molecules tend to follow proteins. Without sufficient protein in the body, water in the bloodstream and vascular spaces leaks into the spaces between cells and the result is “edema” or water retention.
- DO NOT USE DIURETICS UNLESS YOUR DOCTOR HAS PRESCRIBED THEM TO YOU FOR A SPECIFIC HEALTH CONDITION.
The use of diuretics can cause rapid loss of water from the body and can upset electrolyte balance, which can lead to serious health conditions and even death. Using drugs to rid the body of excess water can also lead to the false illusion of weight loss. Typically this type of weight loss (water weight) is quickly regained as soon as fluids are ingested.