By Juan Rojas
Sounds gimmicky? Yes! Is it a lie? NO, will you get the same results? 99% of you won’t. Why? Because it is not true tissue lost. Then what is it? THE POWER OF WATER!
Walking by the grocery store we see headlines of magazines claiming these outrageous diets or workouts will make you shed more than 1-2 lbs. a week. For the average person, losing more than 1-1.5% of your body weight continuously per week can be detrimental. Not only does it come with a whole lot of physical issues but mental issues as well. So, why and how did I manage to loose so much weight in just 4 days and is this safe to do or healthy?
As many of you know, I recently competed in 2 back to back shows a week apart and had the time of my life. I love bodybuilding and I see it as one of the greatest pursuits of my life. What I love most about my personal bodybuilding journey is when people come up to me and tell me how sometimes an action I do might have inspired them to be their best self, or to make a proper decision that guides them towards health and fitness. This means the world to me and nothing can replace this feeling.
In order to get ready for a show a few things must occur. One of the most agonizing things is cutting your water. The reason why bodybuilders cut their water can be for 2 purposes:
I typically cut my water to very small sips as the show gets closer and I ended up weighing in at about 192 for my first show. The first show was a 2 day show so the dehydration lasts a lot longer which can be mentally challenging to endure. In order to carb up I got to eat lot of delicious foods that were high in both carbs, fats and sodium by using a method my former coach Skip Hill uses called Skiploading. You can see some of the foods I got to enjoy for my carb ups below!
After the show it is time to re-hydrate quickly for health reasons; but your body is very smart. Due to the fact you had drastically restricted water, a hormone called aldosterone rises dramatically which will make you retain even more water when you come back to re-hydrating. Some people will retain more than others, but in the past my ankles have looked like marshmallows! Another factor that determines how much water you will retain is the amount of carbs and sodium you are having. The last few weeks before the show I was on a very reduced carbohydrate diet and once I carbed up for the show and enjoyed Saturday and Sunday to eat whatever I wanted my body retained water like crazy. I purposely did want my muscles to be really full of glycogen (stored intramuscular carbohydrates and water) as I had a photo shoot on Monday and I did not want to flatten out too much by the time the next show came around 1 week later.
The photo shoot was a success on Monday but as you can see from the picture, I am not as defined as I was a few days prior. I weighed in at around 209 fasted in the morning. People ask “But as a bodybuilder don’t you want to look as big as possible on stage, why don’t you go in looking huge?” As a bodybuilder you have to find that nice balance between size, symmetry and conditioning (or muscle definition). Usually conditioning always beats the other 2. I would rather come in 99% full and be super conditioned than 101% full and look big but slightly blurry.
Monday I was back on my regular low carbohydrate diet and as I reintroduced my cardio and training I quickly shed the water weight again. As the next show was quickly approaching I implemented a few different strategies that I feel would make me look better than the previous week and voila! I do feel I looked slightly fuller and sharper than the week prior. I weighed in at 190 or 2 lbs. lighter but by the time I hit the stage I was a lot fuller, dryer and heavier than the week before!
Now that the shows are over and I am back to a lower to moderate carbohydrate diet and a regular water intake. My normal weight is hovering at around 197-202 lbs. throughout the week. This is my starting off-season weight and I plan to make some really heavy duty muscle gains over the next few months. I want for all of those who pay so much attention to the scale to base their progress to see that weight can rapidly fluctuate and it does not mean lasting weight loss or weight gain. I have fallen into this trap too of chasing the scale, the best indicator for progress will me the mirror and measurements. Pay close attention to how your body is reacting by comparing pictures or if you have an accurate way to measure body fat by using that.
When you see magazine ads that have outrageous claims, they may have been true but these results are not lasting and oftentimes manipulated. If you want true fat loss, better health and more muscle I recommend all my clients lose no more than 1-1.5% of their body weight a week. This is why it is so important to have somebody helping you out who is knowledgeable as they will optimize everything and make your journey a lot easier! If any of you need help with their training or nutrition please never hesitate to reach out as I would love to help you out in any way I can!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.