Water can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. It is necessary for human survival (we can only go a few days without it) and represents about 65% of the human body. Water retention can be a good thing if you're retaining it inside the muscle cells, where 75% of the volume comes from water. Conversely, subcutaneous water retention (outside the muscle, beneath the skin) can be a very bad thing. Cosmetically, you'll have a puffy, smooth look and your skin will feel as if it's going to explode. Now, you may be wondering how you can avoid looking like the "Michellin Man." Pay attention, as these 5 tips may be the difference in whether or not you're able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans.
1.) Drink plenty of H20. This is sometimes quite a conundrum for a lot of people to wrap their heads around because they think drinking more water will bloat them. The opposite is actually true. The more water you drink, the more you will excrete. It will also help you lose fat. If you don't drink water then your liver has to help the water needy kidneys to pick up the slack. With this happening, your liver cannot metabolize your fat resulting in fat storing. Consume at least 1 or 2 gallons per day.
2.) Limit Sodium intake. One thing you must know about sodium is that water follows sodium. The average American consumes upwards of 5,000mg of sodium per day. Without salt, you will die but anything over 2,500mg is really excessive. Stick to low sodium protein sources such as: chicken breasts, whey protein, tilapia and low sodium carb sources such as: oatmeal, brown rice, vegetables, sweet potatoes and fats from: fish oil, flax oil.
3.) Add a high-rep drop set. After finishing the normal amount of sets you do for an exercise, insert one high-repetition drop set, where you start with a weight you can handle for 6-8 reps, perform 6-8 reps, drop the weight for another 6-8 reps and finally one last time for the last 3 reps.
This will take the wind out of you, but will be excellent from a cardiovascular standpoint and in taxing the muscle fibers to "bring out striations."
4.) Lower Carbs. A gram of carbohydrate attracts 2.7 grams of water. Naturally, the higher your carb intake the fuller your muscles will look. This can be a good thing if you're very depleted but most of the time the carbs spill over. I'm not encouraging you to go on Atkins but I mean lowering the amount of carbs you eat. Lowering carbs will keep your body burning fat most of the time since it has to look to other energy sources. Your body burns carbs first and once it runs out turns to fat. Consume most of your carbs in the morning along with protein to keep you energized through the day.
About the Author
Gym Owner and Personal Trainer, Keith Diedrich has a B.A. in Exercise Science and has been professionally involved in health and fitness in various capacities since 2005.
"My initial thought about Keith was that he seemed very casual and not as frenetic as other professionals. I quickly learned that he was gauging my stamina, movements, and technique. He wasn't after a fast burnout, but he wanted to exhaust every muscle every time. He said we were working on a "mind to body connection." With this connection I'd be able to gauge whether a set was 15 reps or 20 reps regardless of the initial "goal of 15!" I believe much of my gains came from Keith always seeing my potential even when I couldn't." ~ Saul "Mr. Biceps"