To Top

Water Manipulation for Cuts and Striations

bodybuilder posing

I’m often asked how to manipulate water prior to a contest or photo shoot to get as ripped and hard-looking as possible. Everyone is different and may react differently to fluid manipulations, but here is what I do during the last week before the event.

I’ve tried salting some of my meals during the first part of the week while simultaneously increasing my fluid intake. That can produce fuller muscles onstage, but it can be somewhat tricky because the sodium will cause you to retain more water, so increasing your fluid intake at the same time will naturally lead to your body holding more water underneath the skin.

That’s fine as long as you eliminate all that subcutaneous water in time for the contest at the end of the week. To do that, eliminate the excess sodium from your diet two to three days before your event, and then cut back on your fluid intake early enough that you lose the subcutaneous water while retaining muscle fullness.

What I have done in the past is to increase my water intake to two to 2 1/2 gallons a day during the first part of the week (Sunday through Tuesday). Then I cut back on the sodium (egg whites and protein powders) on Thursday and Friday and start to cut back on my water intake starting on Wednesday. I drink 1 1/2 gallons on Wednesday, one gallon on Thursday and 1/2 gallon on Friday.

Many bodybuilders mistake bodyfat for water retention. They think that they’re just “holding water,” which they believe they can eliminate in a day or two before the contest; but in actuality they have more fat left to lose. Don’t let that happen to you.

You should be very close to ready to step onstage one week before your actual contest. If you are lean and ripped with one week to go, you will know that you have eliminated most of your bodyfat, and the little bit of water retention that you have remaining can be easily expelled in the last few days before the contest. If you’re expecting a big change due to taking out the sodium and cutting back on your water, you will most likely be disappointed in the results.

—John Hansen

Mr. Natural Olympia

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Contest Prep

  • Peak Week

    Learn what a top competitor goes through in the final days before a contest. By Mike Carlson Most of us have...

    Sharon OrtigasDecember 17, 2016
  • NPC West Coast Men’s Physique Results

    Click on the link to see all the results: WC_16__Final-Mens Physique Men’s Physique Class A   Men’s Physique Class B Men’s Physique...

    Iron Man MagazineJune 27, 2016
  • NPC West Coast Men’s Bodybuilding Results

    Click on the link to see all the results:  WC_16__Final-Bodybuilding Master Men’s Bodybuilding over 40   Master Men’s Bodybuilding over 50...

    Iron Man MagazineJune 27, 2016
  • The Advent Of Classic Physique

    A new NPC category will breathe competitive life into athletes who are stuck between divisions.

    Iron Man MagazineDecember 26, 2015
  • Blurring The Lines And Birth Of The Hybrid Training

    The classic era of bodybuilding and weightlifting undoubtedly occurred in the 1970s and early 1980s. Back then, gyms weren’t deemed “hardcore,”...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 8, 2015
  • The Future Of Men’s Physique

    The relatively young sport is only in its adolescence, but it’s experienced explosive growth. What will the division look like 10...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 5, 2015
  • Go Pro – Thinking Outside The Gym

    Training outdoors can provide a valuable mental and physical boost. We go to the gym, we work out, and we move...

    Iron Man MagazineSeptember 14, 2015
  • Staying Motivated for Competition

    Q: I’ve just started to learn about natural bodybuilding, and after being a tad disappointed when coming across a lot of...

    John HansenNovember 21, 2014
  • Prime-Time Bodybuilding Goals

    First off, let me explain what’s been happening with me in terms of major shifts in my perspective since I announced...

    Ron HarrisJune 19, 2014