Water drop - Pre-contest Prep!
Here is some of the best info i have compiled from various sources on dropping
Water prior to competition. Always remember, do a trial run prior to the actual
week out and write everything down so you know exactly how your body reacts.
Never take chances when it comes to last week prep!
The body functions in feedback loops, including Water homeostasis, that work
like the thermostats and the AC (or heater) in your house, car, etc.
If you set the AC to 70 (its set point), the temp must reach some threshold (say
72) before it kicks in. It will cool until it reaches some value below its set
point, say 68. There is overshoot in the system. There must be some off-set or
error to turn the AC on (temp reaches 72) and it will cool to provide somewhat
of a temperature buffer (68? = 2? below the setpoint of 70?).
Now imagine how your thermostat, if it were "smart" like the body's, would react
if you turned a heater on near the thermometer, but on the other side of the
room from the AC. The heater would blast the thermometer (sensor) and the AC
would be going full blast to cool the room. If you cut the heater off, the
"smart" thermostat would not just cool the room to 68? - it would cool it to
some level below that, b/c it remembers that there's a "threat" of heat AND the
thermometer is simply is still hot even though the rest (most) of the room is at
or below 70?. (It senses a hotter room than is actually the case!)
Water homeostasis is a bit more complicated, but you can use this principle to
trick the body into drying out - losing Water to a level of dehydration below
its normal setpoint. Here's how:
-Turn on diuresis in the body by drinking LOTS of Water, flooding it with fluid.
-The body will respond homeostatically by removing this Water from the system.
It senses that there is too much Water b/c electrolytes (especially Sodium) are
diluted in the blood. When the Water is lost, there will necessarily be some
-KEEP drinking Water and the body will continue to lose Water to try to keep up,
but will lose some electrolytes as well. In fact, outpace the body's ability to
lose Water by INCREASING Water intake gradually over several days and it will
not quite be able to keep up. You'll be peeing like a racehorse by this point
(but even get somewhat drier). (The body (hypothalamus) "senses" you have more
Water than you do, b/c electrolytes are so diluted.)
-ABRUPTLY stop drinking Water and watch as the body continues removing it and
"smartly" overshoots previous level of hydration, leaving you dry as a bone.
Additions to this:
-Use every means of diuretic (non-pharmacological) at your disposal, increasing
dose as you increase Water, turning on diuresis even more: vitamin C (3-5 g),
caffeine, herbal diuretics, and finally for the last day of drinking Water, a
no-carb, purely protein diet. AFTER YOU STOP DRINKING Water, CONTINUE with these
natural diuretics, driving diuresis and keeping yourself dry.
-Take in minimal Sodium as you are finishing your Water intake and thereafter.
-supplement with Potassium to prevent cramping. (quinine if running lasix)
Here's a sample:
Mon, Tue: No carbs - glycogen depletion workouts
Tues: carb-up, some Sodium (none added to food), 7L Water
Wed: as above, 8 L Water, Add in non-pharm diuretics
Thurs: as above, 9L Water, Up diuretics
Fri: no-carbs (more on this later), only protein diet, minimal Sodium, 10L of
Water, finished by 6PM, up diuretics even more.
SALT: THE pre-contest NUTRIENT
When discussing diuretics and Water retention it only seems logical to dispel
another pre-contest myth: Salt is a bodybuilders friend, not enemy,
pre-contest. Many bodybuilders eliminate Sodium like an ex-spouse at a honeymoon
assuming the result will be the coveted 'dry look' on contest day.
When salt intake is reduced, a series of 'dry look' nemesis arise. Salt contains
Sodium, and to a less degree potassium in the form of potassium iodide. When
salt/Sodium is reduced or eliminated from the diet the result is increased
Aldosterone release. This makes the body excrete more potassium and hold more
Sodium/Water. The resulting Water retention gives the athlete a puffy wet look.
This is due to electrolyte imbalances.
Reduced slat intake also negatively affects the all important Sodium-potassium
pump. This is the mechanism the body used to shuttle many nutrients into cells
like those that all muscle fibers are composed of. (Gee, ya think?) This would
therefore inhibit creatine and some amino acid structures from adequately
transporting, as well as inhibit glycogen synthesis.
If the salt content is reduced in muscles so is the Water content. This means
catabolism, flat muscles come show time, and a lack of vascularity. (It would
also inhibit erectile function, but that is another issue altogether.)
The body has three major areas it stores Water and there is an actual hierarchy.
The order of important is:
THE body's Water HIERARCHY
*The most important Water store is in the blood and the vascular system. Without
adequate Water in the vascular system blood volume is compromised, and if severe
enough, the result is death. So this rates a big number one in the Water store
*The second on the big three list is muscle tissue. Water is required within all
muscle tissues, both smooth and fibrous, to support life sustaining metabolic
*The last area of importance for Water storage is subcutaneous (under the skin)
areas. This of course is the area that a bodybuilder wants to eliminate as much
Water from as possible the day of the show. The results a ???make-it or break-it???
issue. Here's how you do it:
The key to subcutaneous Water control depends upon control of the hormone
Aldosterone. Obviously estrogen control is part of this hormone cascade
action/reaction. But, our main focus is salt and Water control, so Aldosterone
is the key.
Beginning 15 days out from a show, an athlete should increase salt intake
20-30%. This of course means salt intake was never reduced to begin with. The
amount must remain reasonably high and steady each day. This creates an
environment in which the body does not have to release Aldosterone. This causes
salt to stay in the muscle tissue and the subsequent attraction of Water stores
there. Also, the all important maintaining of the Sodium-potassium pump is
accommodated as well. (During diet phases, this also reduces catabolism).
During the 15 day period, Water intake must absolutely remain high. 1.5-2.0
gallons daily is a base line in fact(I prefer 4-6g). This helps your body
excrete any extra Sodium, which of course it will, because Aldosterone secretion
in the body has been controlled by elevated salt intake/Water intake. The body
will continue to dump all excess Water and Sodium as long as this is followed.
On the Friday before a Saturday show, the athlete stops Water intake. The body
thinks it will still get the 1.5-4.0 gallons of Water daily and continues to
excrete Water at its normal rate. This causes a decrease in blood volume and of
course muscle Water volume. Remember the body's Water hierarchy? Well, as a
survival response or reaction, the body gives up Water from the area of least
importance as a means of compensation. Yup, you got it. Subcutaneous Water is
pumped into blood and muscles. The result is vascularity, full muscles bellies,
and paper thin skin.
*It's always a matter of working with, not against, the body's action/reaction
factors to accomplish the greatest progress and/or results.
*This works well with Creatine/Dextrose carb-loading also.
High Water intake inhibits ADH release (high blood volume --> low anti-diuretic
hormone release --> less Water reabsorption in the kidneys)
....Since ADH is supressed from the high Water intake, once you cut out Water
you will lose more because less is reabsorbed as it is cycled through the
kidneys.........it usually takes at least a couple of days until ADH secretion
is back to normal (via feedback loop), so you don't want to cut it out too
Tapering Water causes ADH secretion to increase in response to the slow
reduction in Water intake. It is counterproductive to taper Water!!!
The big question is, at what time exactly do you cut it right out......and how
much, if any, diuretics do you take. I have found 24-36 hours is about the best
timing possible...any more and you will be flat..any less and you may not have
the time to get rid of all sub q h2o. you need to be drinking Water in order for
you to release it.....without drinking this will not work.
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