Water plays an important role in our health and wellness. In fact, water makes up 64 percent of the skin, 79 percent of the muscles and kidneys, and even 31 percent of the bones, according to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158.

Though athletes and bodybuilders should stay well hydrated to improve their stamina and performance there are times they may become concerned about water retention.

Water retention can be an issue in the bodybuilding industry, particularly just before a competition when contestants need to look in top shape. Experienced bodybuilders typically prepare to drop excess water to look as lean and cut as possible. It can also be a problem for people on a fitness journey since it can produce bloating and other unpleasant symptoms, which can make it difficult to track success in terms of pounds lost.

Water retention, for example, is most common in women in the weeks leading up to and during their menstrual cycle, resulting in a three to five-pound weight gain. If you’re an individual wishing to safely drop water weight, whether you’re a bodybuilder needing to cut water before a competition or a fitness enthusiast looking to shed extra water, here are some efficient strategies to try.

1. Sweat it Out

Sweating causes you to lose water in the short term, and exercise makes you sweat. Sweating can help reduce water weight, especially in the hours immediately after a strenuous exercise session. Regular exercise also increases circulation and blood flow, which can help to minimize fluid buildup throughout the body, particularly in the legs, ankles, and feet.

What’s more, regular cardiovascular exercise burns glycogen energy stores, which helps to further reduce water weight. To avoid dehydration, however, it is critical to replace lost fluids after any physical exertion. Contrary to popular belief dehydration can make water retention worse.

2. Stay Well Hydrated

Dehydration can cause water retention because the body clings to whatever water it has if it is not well hydrated. If there isn’t enough water in the cells, the body will retain fluid. There will be no need for the body to hold onto fluids if it gets enough water on a regular basis.

Additionally, drinking water aids in the removal of salt from the body, which can reduce water retention and help you lose weight.

3. Reduce Sodium Intake

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of Americans consume too much sodium. Excessive salt in a diet can cause water retention, making a person feel bloated and because salt is found in practically all manufactured foods, many people are unaware of their total salt intake. A high-salt diet has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and weight gain making it vital for people to monitor their sodium intake in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle overall.

4. Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

A high-carb diet causes the body to store water in the form of glycogen molecules. Each gram of glycogen (g) contains 3 g of water. Carbohydrates such as bread, rice, and pasta are typical carbohydrates in the American diet. Glycogen stores can be lowered by substituting daily carbs with high-protein foods such as lean meats, eggs, and soy protein. Cutting down on carbs is a safe and effective way to use up the glycogen stores, which means that the water weight will also be reduced.

Medical Reasons for Water Retention

This post is for individuals who want to learn how to cut water for fitness reasons. However, if you find that you are retaining water on a regular basis, you should seek medical advice. Edema, or the retention of water weight, could be due to serious medical conditions. Acute water retention can be caused by renal, liver, or heart problems, in such cases, water weight usually goes away with time, typically with the help of medical treatment. Consult a doctor if you notice that you are retaining water despite your best efforts to lose it.

Body and Way of Life Fitness

Cutting water should always be done in a safe and healthy manner. Our personal trainers at Body and Way of Life Fitness can provide expert advice on how to maintain a healthy diet and wellness routine that will work best for you.