Water Loading: The Quick and Dirty (video)
If upon reading this article you feel as if it gets a little choppy…it does. I am in the midst of a “water-load” in order to make weight for my upcoming strongman contest this weekend and it involes peeing...a lot.
It is Sunday and my weigh in is on Friday night.
I need to make weight at 198 pounds. I am currently sitting at 212…
How is this possible?
Disclaimer: Cutting weight is always dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. I am not liable for the bad shit that happens to you if you try this or any other method of cutting weight. Consult your doctor and don’t be a dummy. That is all.
What is Water Loading?
Water loading is the weight cutting process used by Strongmen, MMA fighters, Power-lifting, Boxers, Wrestlers, and any other weight class oriented athlete. This style of weight cut tends to be less harmful on the body than running in garbage bags or sitting in a sauna. This is the method that most athletes agree provides you with the best results without taxing your physically, mentally, and emotionally. (Running in a garbage bag and sweat suit is torture trust me)
How does Water Loading work? (Careful. This gets science-y)
The key reason Water Loading works is because of ADH. ADH is Anti-Diuretic Hormone and its job is to tell the brain how much water the body holds on to. This is the hormone that your body will produce in order to keep water when you do not drink enough, and get rid of water when there is the abundance. This is why your urine will change color based upon your level of water consumption. If you are not getting enough water, ADH kicks in and reabsorbs water into your body. This is because your body is trying to prevent dehydration. The results of this would be darker urine and having to pee less and less during the day.
However, we are focusing in on what happens when you over-consume water. When your body is in an abundance of water, the ADH is suppressed. This is because the increase of water will need to be regulated out of your system in order to not throw off your blood pressure or other systems in your body. What happens is you begin to excrete more water through your urine, and boy do you pee a lot.
This process of constant peeing is your body’s reaction to the huge amount of water coming in. This process takes a few days to regulate back to normal. Your body always wants to be in a state of Homeostasis and will do what it needs to get back to that.
This is the point where the magic happens. The plan is to consume a large enough amount of water (roughly 2 gallons per day) to get your body to suppress the ADH and begin flushing out water rapidly. Since it takes several days to regulate that much water, your body keeps flushing and flushing at that high level. It is during this time we begin cutting back the water you consume (2 gal a day >1gal a day >sipping only on weigh-in day). Before your body can recognize the decreased amount of water coming in, it has already flushed out more water weight than you started with, thus decreasing your body weight.
Here is a chart for the more visual learners.
What to eat during this time:
During this time carbohydrates will be kept in the form of green, leafy, veggies and kept to around 30 grams of carbs a day. The starchy carbs such as potatoes, rice, pasta, and breads are going to be kept at zero during this time. This is because carbohydrates (as the hydrate part of the name tells you) help draw water and glycogen into the muscles, which is essential for competing, but not essential for the weight cut process. The less glycogen you have in your body, the less water you are holding on to. The less water you are holding onto, the less you weigh. I will explain more in the next section but until then, keep the fats and the proteins high, the carbs low, and the water flowing.
So you made weight. Now what? (Refuel, Refeed, Rehydrate)
So now that you have made your proper weight it is time to refuel, refeed, and re
hydrate. This part is CRUCIAL for your performance and strength to be back to where it was. What you want to do is focus on getting your body the electrolytes and glycogen it needs. I personally down a bottle of Pedialyte which contains sugars and electrolytes that your body needs to rehydrate itself. You need to make sure that you are sipping on fluids constantly and consistently before your contest or competition starts. The next thing you will need to do is eat as many carbs as you can. You need to reload your glycogen stores so that your muscles have the fuel they need to perform. I always eat pasta, or sushi, or something I crave during this time. A good idea will be to buy candy or other foods that have a lot of sugar because your body will be craving it at this time. Think of this as your reward. The goal here is to weigh in the day of the competition what you weighed before the cut. That is the goal anyway. The main point is to make sure you refuel your body with what you deprived it of for the week and shift your focus to winning your contest or competition.
So there you have it. The quick and dirty on Water Loading in order to lose weight for a contest or a competition. During the course of writing this article I peed 6 times. Not sure if that is a record or anything, but it sure as hell feels like one.
Live your damn Life