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Old 07-25-2012, 08:27 PM   #31
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Default Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation for Competitive Sport by J.M. Blakley

Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation for Competitive Sport
by J.M. Blakley


The Art of Cutting Weight

Is it wrong to call cutting weight an art? Maybe. But there are those who do it with such style and grace that the word art is brought to mind. Of course there are those who do it so crudely that the word abuse comes to mind. I have always admitted that there is always more than one way to do things. Cutting weight is no different. One of my favorite sayings is, "There is more than one way to kill a cat than by choking it with butter." That says a lot. You can get the job done with elegance or you can just get the job done any which way. There are no points awarded for style but oftentimes the brute way leaves one exhausted and can make quite a mess along the way!

I hope that this course will help you understand the methods of making weight that I have seen used in the last 10 years of top level competition. When it is done right, it is a remarkable thing to watch. I hope this course will help answer the question, "How do they do that?!"


CHAPTER ONE
Understanding the Premise


There are sports in which there exist established weight classes. I suppose that this is to afford some type of relative comparison for competitors of differing body sizes. I do find this a bit inconsistent across the sporting world. For example, there are no weight classes for the 100 meter dash but an individual who weights 30 pounds more than another competitor must carry a heavier load over the proscribed distance. Also, in the shot put, a lighter athlete is not compartmentalized to only throw against others his own weight.

It seems like a good idea to pit opponents of equal size against each other . . . at first. But I think a closer examination begs the question: Why? What if the NBA had different height classes for players 5'6" to 6'0" and from 6'0" to 6'6" and from 6'6" to 7'0" and the like? Wouldn't that dilute the sport? Or if marathon runners had weight classes? It is perfectly logical not to expect a man who weighs 225 pounds to run 26.2 miles just like a man weighing only 135 pounds.

Weight classification muddies the waters. And only certain sports subscribe to them. Most combative sports have weight classes. And while I fully understand reasoning for them, I can't say I totally agree with them. I do respect the fact that if there weren't classes, then much of the participation would dwindle. So for that reason alone I guess it's okay. But having competed across five weight classes on a regular basis, I feel I have a unique perspective on the issue; I've been big, I've been small. I've seen it from both sides and I think that if you want to hold a contest of strength and you have an agreed upon marker for that, then to find out who is strongest should have little to do with bodyweight or size . . . it should have to to with who can lift the most. Period. Not who can lift the most in relationship to their weight or height or hair color. Just how much they can lift. The biggest men would gravitate to the top of the sport because they have God-given advantage . . . they're bigger! (i.e., the NFL).

But as I've said this would exclude many fine athletes who compete at lighter classes. I have a tremendous respect for these guys. I admire what they do pound for pound and have set goals for myself based on their stellar performances in relationship to their weight. It's not that I don't admire them. I just think that 11 weight classes may be a little unnecessary to do the job. And it has presented the problem which we will address here: making the class limit.

Cutting weight has many detractors for a myriad of reasons not the least of which is health. I'm not going to defend why there are weight classes. There just are. The above intro tells you a little of what I think. Let's deal with it.

But that presents a problem for a lifter who weighs 210 pounds. Should he:

(a) Gain weight (10 lbs.) to compete in the 220 class and get the full benefit of weighing in at the top of the class (where many of his rivals will weigh in at);

(b) Remain at 210 and give away 10 pounds of bodyweight to his competition;

(c) Diet off 12 pounds and compete in the 198 division again weighing in at the top of this class.

Many of today's best competitors answer D - cut weight and make the 198 class and then reconstitute prior to the event to obtain a 12 pound advantage over those in their class. Actually weighing 210 at the time of competition but being grouped in the 198 category. That is the premise here. To weigh in above the class limit thereby gaining a weight advantage over the competition, yet still be included in the lighter class.


Next: Cutting Weight.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:44 PM   #32
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Strong is strong. Size is irrelevant to a large extent until the very last nth degree. Comittment over time is the relative factor.

A 179 lb guy dusted the entire meet I was in. 1360 raw total with a 661 deadlift, biggest dead of the meet, would have won the 275 lb class deadlift.

Were those bigger guys weaker? Yes and no. Empirically on the day, clear losers. If they were to continue to progress along their path, maybe not so as they had a "genetic" advantage, but that is irrelevant unless they push that advantage for years to come.

Bottom line is that you will pick up or hoist what you choose to pick up or hoist. You go for it long enough, you will get it. Losing along the way to bigger guys is just road bumps along the path. Getting to the point where genetics is the determing factor is actually winning.

Get to your potential, then losing to a Kazmeier, Doug Young, or Tom Martin or whoever, is not so bad. ANd you will win way more than you lose in getting there, once you get over the initial shock to your system.
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:59 AM   #33
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I disagree with your statement that size is irrelevant. The deadlift is an anomaly as lighter guys regularly outlift heavyweights, however, squat and bench records go up in direct proportion to the weightclass. Highest squats of all time, both done by SHWs. Highest total of all time, SHW. Hoff will no doubt beat both of those weighing slightly less but he will be at least in the 275s.

Genetics are genetics and you can't out eat them forever but getting heavier will help your squats and bench.

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Old 07-26-2012, 03:48 AM   #34
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i found this whole thread very interesting it had me fixed and craving for more.
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:34 AM   #35
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My take,

For the greatest top-end strength increasing bodyweight right the way up to SHW almost inevitably WILL help. As long as you're training, and even if you're not, at least some of the weight you put on WILL be muscle and that will help leverage lifts like the Squat and Bench if you can use those leverages effectively.

There is a trade-off though, at some point the added bodyweight will actually make you worse of a lifter if your weight gain exceeds your strength. The common way around this is to go up in spurts as you mature as a lifter. Not dissimilar to a bodybuilder, going up in weight, dieting down, up again etc.

I know for example that should I eat my way up to 260lbs I WILL look sloppy, but I'll lift more. Do I want that? Not really, not only because i'm a vain bastard but because I would not be competitive at 260lbs. After many years I know that as long as I continue to train drug-free the 198-220 class is about where I will end up. And this is where choosing your optimal weight class is something you have to think long and hard about.

Regarding Martin, he is back from injury and a hell of a lot stronger now he's gained bodyweight up to 90kg. He currently has an 1850lbs RAW total @ 200lbs, something he would not have done at 180lbs. I imagine the same could be said for Mike's 179lber.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:20 AM   #36
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A couple thoughts from my 26 years. I've trained at every weight, from 155 to 300+. Over the years I've had 3 periods in which my strength increased fairly rapidly:

1) Newb - 1986 to 1988. Bodyweight started at 155 and ended 190ish. Strength on bench press went from 95x3 reps to 275 x 4-6 reps. Was also squatting 365x4.

2) 1997. Bodyweight went from 230 to 270. Bench pressed moved up to 430 pounds during this year, and my overhead pressing jumped to 120 pound dumbbells for 5 reps. My presses were never stronger than during this period.

3) 2011+. After a year of tight eating, my bodyweight went from 264 to 308. My deadlift went from 565 to 675 during this time, and my squats went from 500 to 600.

My squats were fairly stagnant during the training years in which my weight was dropping or holding steady. From mid-2008 to 2011 My max hovered around 500. My bench didn't move during this period either.

I am not presenting this as anything other than information. Folks can draw their own conclusions.

Regardless of weight, each of us is going to approach some pretty soft strength walls the closer we get to Elite status. There is nothing wrong with staying the course at this time and holding weight, especially if absolute strength is not a priority.

Either way, we're going to be training for years and years to come, and will have to be smart about it.

One last thought on muscle mass. I do think anyone who is serious about strength gains has to allow some weight gain room simply for muscle mass. If you enter the strength game at weight X, and want to hold that weight ad infinitum, mass gains will come more slowly.

It is my opinion that every lifter should allow room for a 20-30 pound weight gain over a several year period, at least while they are building their base to 300, 400, 500. Mileage may vary. Please consult your wife before eating Ding Dongs, Fruity Pebbles or excessive amounts of nacho cheese.
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:32 AM   #37
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Excellent post Btb.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:36 AM   #38
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One of my biggest challenges is regaining the strength I once had now that I weight 220 lbs instead of 250+ lbs.
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:16 PM   #39
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Secrets of Bodyweight Manipulation, Part Two
by J.M. Blakley


Cutting Weight

Cutting weight is not dieting. It has nothing to do with dieting. It has to do with the weight. The idea is to maintain one's bodyweight just over the class limit all through training. Then through as series of drastic manipulations in water, food, and thermoregulation, drop the excess pounds prior the weigh in. Once having weighed in, the process is reversed and a phase of reconstitution ensues. This begins the moment the athlete the athlete steps off the scale. It continues right up to the competitive event. If an athlete is well versed in the process, it is very likely that they will enjoy a "rebound". This is to say that they may cut 11 pounds but with sufficient reconstitution actually gain back 13 or 14! By the time for the actual event they may out-weigh their competition by almost 15 pounds! Even a modest effort will return 90% of what is lost by cutting. Still quite an advantage! But, of course all athletes don't always meet with this kind of success and that is solely due to lack of knowledge. And then, too, there are the horror stories of the foolhardy among us.

The sport of powerlifting has a built in promotion for cutting weight. Almost all the big federations recognize a 24 hour weigh-in rule. A few do not but they are the exception. This rule (always in effect at state, national, and international competitions) allows a lifter to step on the scales for official bodyweight measurement 24 hours prior to their scheduled lifting time. So if the flight a lifter is in starts at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, that lifter is allowed to weigh in at 11:00 on Friday.

This rule was intended to help those who are very close to the class limit (say 2 to 5 pounds over) to adjust their weight temporarily by sweating, avoiding fluids, and eating light. After they had made weight,they were assumed to eat and drink as usual and it was accepted that they would be a few pounds over by the next day (2to 5). But leave it to some zealous individuals to take that to the extreme!

They realized they could drop copious amounts of water weight, and having a full day to replenish their fluids, be right back where they started in bodyweight by the time it was their turn to lift. Some found this to be quite depleting and it wreaked havoc on their performance, yet others seemed to be unaffected by the swing in hydration. The difference is somewhat due to individual personality, but more due to the timing and mechanism of the process they had chosen. I believe that most anybody can endure the process with little effect on their strength. But certain individuals do adopt an attitude that it just won't work for them. And to that I have always believed that attitudes are more important than facts. And I never agree with a mans who says "I can't."

With even a 12 hour weigh-in much of the lost weight can be recouped. With all this time between the weigh-in and the event, it is only natural for athletes to begin to look for ways to take advantage of the fact. That's just good competitive spirit! But when it is done improperly or halfheartedly or poorly, it can ruin the meet and cause serious health problems. It's not as easy as some people make it look. But the fact that some people are ultra-successful and others abysmal failures at it points to techniques which are better than others. Finding the good ones has been the crux of the biscuit!


What Happens to the Body

The goal of the athlete cutting weight is to hold their weight up as near to the competition as possible, drop the weight precipitously, then reconstitute the weight back on just as rapidly. To quote a line from a popular movie, "That can't be good." And it's not. The body must pay a price. But in an age where athletes willingly put themselves through amazing amounts of what would be considered torture by most, it's not so bad by comparison (think of the damage, stress, and risk of running on pavement for 4 hours that a marathon can do).

One important thing to realize is where the weight comes from. There are only a few options.

First of all, none of it comes from fat. There isn't any appreciable metabolization of fat in this short-term process. Fat is burned in the long term. Drastic manipulations in bodyweight involve negligible amounts of adipose tissue. There just isn't time.

The majority of the weight lost is water. And the body has plenty of it. Everybody knows that the human body is mostly water. 75% in fact. Get this straight. Take a 200 pound man. Completely dehydrate him right there on the scale and all the "stuff" you'd have left would weigh only 50 pounds! That's right! Muscle is 73% water, bones are 31% water, even adipose tissue (body fat) is 22% water or more. It's true to describe humans as walking sacks of water! The 200 pound man has 150 pounds of water on hand. (Of course not all of it is available for cutting, but you get the idea.)

The water that the body chooses to lose comes first from the plasma compartment. This is water that's in the blood. A normal adult has several liters of blood and most of the blood is water. Blood without the red cells (and a few white blood cells) is known as plasma. Plasma is almost all water except for some serum factors and platelets. This is the most labile of compartments from which to pull water.

Sweat ducts pull water from capillaries in the skin and the kidneys filter the blood constantly, and the water they produce as urine comes directly from the blood. When a person sweats or urinates heavily, their blood volume goes down. The water that leaves the body was most recently plasma just minutes prior.

When the plasma volume drops, the blood gets thicker. There are more red blood cells per unit volume because one is not bleeding. The number of red blood cells (rbcs) stays constant one doesn't lose those) but the amount of fluid they are swimming around in goes down quickly. This changes the hematocrit value and makes the blood more viscous. The blood becomes more soupy and less watery which makes it flow a little more sluggishly. This is a normal sign of dehydration.

If the plasma volume loss is great enough the cardiovascular system will see a drop in blood pressure. This can be understood by thinking of a water balloon. If the balloon loses water, the skin of the balloon isn't stretched as tightly and the pressure inside goes down.

The body responds to this drop in pressure by vasoconstricting the arterioles which makes the actual "pipes" that the blood flows through smaller. These arterioles are elastic and can either stretch or contract to cause blood pressure to rise or fall by increasing or decreasing the diameter of the blood vessel that the blood must flow through.

When the blood volume goes down the body tries to squeeze the blood pressure back up to normal. (And I'm using the terms blood volume and plasma volume interchangeably, for our understanding they are the same, although technically a loss of blood volume would refer to bleeding in which rbcs are also lost. For this discussion assume that the term blood volume and plasma volume mean the same . . . fluid lost, not cells lost. One can not have blood loss without plasma loss, but one can have plasma loss without true blood loss although blood volume would be affected.) But it can only squeeze so much. If pressure still is not achieved, the heart rate may increase as the heart attempts to pump the pressure back up. This can be very fatiguing. The heart may also contract more forcefully in an attempt to increase stroke volume.

All this paints a picture of cardiovascular stress upon dehydration. This is only one of the reasons that maintaining a dehydrated state for as short a time as possible is preferable in regard to both health and performance.

The body is very resourceful and if the athlete does not ingest fluids to replenish the plasma volume, the body will look within to get the necessary fluid to replace what was lost and restore proper cardiovascular function. The body begins to siphon water away from the interstitial spaces. This is the area between the cells. It is also known as extra cellular space. The area around the cells. It is highly hydrated and gives up its fluids readily.

This is a passive process and water flows "down hill" from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. Water follows an osmotic gradient. That means water seeks to equalize itself between compartments. When the vascular compartment loses fluid, the concentration of things dissolved or suspended in it goes up. There is less water per every molecule of "stuff" in the compartment. The interstitial compartment is adjacent to this compartment and the water in it is pulled away by the imbalance between them. It's as though the membranes say, "Hey, there's lots of water over here with only a few particles swimming in this compartment, and a shortage of water over here with a crowding of particles. Let's even it out some." Water passively flows down the gradient. The plasma volume begins to rise at the expense of the interstitial fluid volume.

This is OK. In the short-term there is no real downside to this. The interstitium serves as a sort of bank for fluid and making a withdrawal has no real impact on the system. It is a good reserve to pull from and can restore plasma volume without any undesirable effects on health or performance. But that is only in the short-term. Keeping the interstitial volume depleted for longer periods can lead to the most harsh form of dehydration . . . cellular dehydration.

If fluids are still not ingested after interstitial dehydration, the plasma will be refilled because that is an immediate concern to the body, but the expense was depletion of the interstitium. This sets up the same osmotic gradient in relationship to the cells. The cell was presents a barrier to fluid loss from the cells into the interstitium which makes it more difficult for water to move out, but the osmotic pull is strong and slowly but surely the cells begin to lose fluid to the cell spaces (which are losing fluid to the vascular space . . . see the cascade of events?

So the plasma pulls fluid from the interstitia and the interstitia pulls fluid from the cells. Where do the cells pull fluid from? NOWHERE! That's the end of the line, pal. Once the cells deplete you've got some very serious dehydration on your hands. The type that can and has sent a few boys to the emergency room.

Cellular depletion is devastating to performance as well. One might as well just go home. The cells lose turgor and everything feels flat. Plasma volume is still not quite up to stat and a massive headache ensues from vasoconstriction for extended periods of time. The body tries to hold fluids with charged particles called electrolytes. Some are elevated and some are depleted and the whole electrolyte balance is blown all to the devil, causing severe cramping. (If the electrolytes are held out of whack for too long, cardiac function can be impaired. The heart can't pump right when the electrolytes are imbalanced. At this point, you're really asking for it.) This is truly no way to compete.

The only resolution now is to administer fluids. That is the body's limit for fluxation. But it is still a quite amazing capacity. Just how many pounds can a person lose? Physiology texts cite that about 3% loss of bodyweight in water will have a detrimental effect on performance. A 200 pound man then could lose 6 pounds and feel little effect. But anyone who has played high school football knows that on a hot day in August in full pads it is not at all uncommon to see boys losing 10 pound in an afternoon session lasting only 2 to 2-1/2 hours. They do this day in and day out for weeks. Even an out-of-shape middle aged man can sweat out 10 pounds mowing his lawn on a hot, humid summer day without much complaining. In all these cases there is also usually little attempt at reconstitution. All coaches and athletic trainers admonish their athletes to drink more water during practice but still at the weigh-in and weigh-out they have hardly kept up.

In a competition where full reconstitution is a real option (24 hour weigh-in) and the dehydration is removed by many hours from the event I am convinced that 10 pounds is a reasonable rule of thumb for anyone weighing 130 and over.

True, 10 pounds is a lot more to a 150 pound man than to a 295 pound man. But the vascular compartment is remarkably similar in size in liters although a larger man will feel the loss less and pull from the cells and interstitial less (a man weighing twice the weight does not have a heart 2x bigger or 2x the blood in his body).

I have been witness to remarkable weight fluxations such as 13 pounds in a 137 pound female, 15 pounds in a 147 pound male, 21 pounds in a 153 pound male, 22 pounds in a 265 pound male and so forth with no apparent ill effect on strength. Amazing! With this in mind it seems that 7 to 10 pounds is a reasonable expectation and just round that up to 10 for convenience sake. The body has a great capacity to endure dramatic swings in water weight. And, to be certain, I have also witnessed lifters crash and burn with only a slight change of only 4 or 5 pounds. How can some lifters undertake a 15 pound shift and see no detriment to strength and others be decimated by dropping only 5 pounds? I suggest that it's all in the way they go about it.

What is reasonable to believe is that if one person can do it, so can others. And if several people can do it, so can anyone. I doubt that genetics or any other self-selecting determinant truly omits anyone from being able to produce similar results. I believe the limiting factor is know-how.

So, how do they do it?


Next: Methods of Transient Bodyweight Manipulation.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:29 AM   #40
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Methods of Transient Bodyweight Manipulation
by J.M. Blakely


Fluid Intake Restriction

The easiest and most body-friendly method of dehydration is fluid intake restriction. This is a sure way to delicately and quite naturally diminish the body's total water content and subsequently lighten the load.

What must be understood is that the body is constantly losing water. The routes of loss are not always obvious. There are three main routes through which the body is always losing fluid.

First and foremost is through urination. The amount varies daily due to fluid intake, diuretic influences (such as caffeine), electrolyte ingestion (salt), and state of hydration.

The body has a remarkable ability to either concentrate or dilute the urine to rid itself of waste products (namely urea( without upsetting the overall hydration method too much. That is to say, if you need to get rid of waste material but are slightly low on body wter, then your urine will be very concentrated, getting rid of the waste with as little water as possible. The body tries to conserve the water and the urine is dark.

If the body has normal hydration, it will dilute the urine and let more water go with the waste. If the body has very high hydration, it will dilute the urine greatly and it will appear clear getting rid of the excess water with little waste product in it at all.

But no matter what, some fluid is lost daily via this route. It can be a small amount of even several liters.

NOTE: 16 oz. of fluid is roughly one pound of body weight. That means that if you weigh 205 pounds on the scale, step off and chug down a bottle of Coca-Cola and step back on, you will instantly weigh 206. That's just the physical weight of the liquid in your stomach. A leter is just over 32 oz. (a quart) and can be thought of a a bit more than 2 pounds of body weight. Thus, if you were to urinate 1-1/2 liters in a day, you would be losing 3 pounds via that route. Which you would not even notice under normal circumstances because you would be replacing it through the day by drinking. But all the same it is being lost and if un-replaced will lead to weight loss.

The second route of fluid loss is usually referred to as moisture loss and occurs through the routine and unending act of breathing. The air leaving the lungs each time you exhale is 100% saturated. That's right. 100%! If you breathe on a cool pane of glass you can see for yourself all the moisture that is leaving your body every time you breathe. This has no relationship to temperature or relative humidity of the ambient air. It is always 100% saturated when it leaves regardless of how it went into the lungs.

You cannot escape this moisture loss. The only thing that affects how much total fluid is lost is how often you breathe and to some small extent how deep the ventilations are. The average breaths-per-minute is 11 to 13. The more active you are the more breaths you take, the less active, the fewer breaths you take. Still, a daily loss of around 500 ml. is not uncommon. That's about a pound. On a particularly strenuous day even more. Just by breathing!

How much moisture is lost to the air does depend on how dry the air is (remember it always leaves the body 100% saturated but it can come in wet or dry). The drier the air the more water that is taken from the body to get it fully saturated. If the air comes in moist then less moisture is needed from the body to fully saturate it. So dry climates are notorious for causing dehydration unknowingly. This is unavoidable. The only remedy is to drink more than normal (this can also work during the tail end of a dead relationship or long visits from relatives).

A third route of fluid loss is through sweating and imperceptible evaporation. It is obvious that water is lost when you are sweating. You can see and feel it on your skin. This is a normal thermoregulatory response that we are all familiar with. When you get hot your body sweats and tries to cool off. Physical exercise causes great amounts of heat to be released metabolically and the body's reaction is familiar to us all. But even if the body is quiet and inactive, sitting still in the sun at a picnic table on a 92 degree day will cause the same response. You sweat profusely! The loss can be large or small daily and depends directly on ambient temperature and activity level. Several pounds can be lost easily.

There is another type of fluid loss that occurs in this way but you never even know it. It is called imperceptible evaporation. The truth is you are pretty much constantly losing moisture through the skin. On all but the coldest of days we are all usually sweating a tiny bit. We don't see of feel it because the rate of sweat production is matched by the rate of evaporation. It never really gets a chance to accumulate on the skin. We are always losing heat this way (and moisture). The body always needs cooling. It's a machine and it's always running even at rest (you still breathe, your heart still beats, etc.). Your body temperature is over 90 degrees but you feel comfortable in the 70-74 degree range of room temperature. Why aren't you comfortable when the room is 94 degrees? At 94 degrees, you get hot! This is because as the room begins to approach the temperature of your body, it can no longer lose heat to it. And if the air temp in the room gets much over 96 your bod will begin to pick up heat from it.

So even when the room is cool, say 72 degrees, you are still losing heat to it by the evaporative pathway (as well as the conductive pathway somewhat). You don't notice this because the process of evaporation, which is dissipating the body heat, is occurring just as fast as the rate of sweat production. Again, all the same, water is lost. How much is directly related to the air humidity and temperature as well as the activity of the body. On a very dry cool day where the body active, one may never noticeably sweat yet lose over 2 pounds of fluid!

There are also small losses through various other routes such as feces and tears but they are negligible compared to he large losses that occur daily via the major routes discussed above.

What is to be understood is that with every hour that passes, water is slowly lost and if it goes un-replaced, will most definitely lead to body weight loss through dehydration with minimal effort.

All of these routes also be enhanced. But that requires effort. It requires no effort to not-do something. And by far, the easiest way to lose 3-5 pounds is to restrict water for 30-40 hours and let the body do all the work.

It becomes quite uncomfortable and of course there is considerable mental effort to avoid drinking anything. But physical effort and strain are at a minimum. This lack of physical effort can be important when trying to conserve energy prior to a big event. Thirst is a powerful motivator and some find it too overwhelming to restrict water totally. Regimes have been set up to taper water intake down and only completely restrict it for 12-20 hours. It has been my personal observation, however, that for many people it requires more discipline to moderate something than it does to abstain from it.

One way of enhancing the process is to super-hydrate the body for several days by drinking abnormally high quantities of water. This essentially tricks the body into a routine where it is constantly trying to rid itself of the excess fluid. The hormones that govern the process get used to pushing out all the extra fluid and are in high gear so to speak. Then when the intake is abruptly cut off, they continue to run full speed for quite some time before the body fully realizes what's going on. Then, of course, it's a big "whoa!" and everything begins to conserve water. But in the interim, it sets off a good start and makes the whole process more successful and easy.

I have read of programs that advise 1 gallon extra (above normal consumption) per day for 4 days. This sounds sufficient to super-hydrate but can be easily checked on the scale. The goal is to hold extra fluid and extra fluid has weight. An increase of 2 pounds minimum would show if the super-hydration was successful.

I have also seen programs that advise increases in sodium and other manipulations of key electrolytes prior to full water restriction. While the idea is sound it will probably only complicate the matter. If the athlete intends on using a diuretic to facilitate the water loss process then certain electrolyte manipulations seem justifiable, but on a simple restriction, could cause more harm than good.

Nevertheless, I have seen athletes consume copious quantities of salt with their food in the 6 days prior to sodium restriction (near total) accompanied by water restriction for 40 hours and do fairly well. But if the water restriction is to be short 20-30 hours, this will probably backfire. The body will begin to rid itself of the excess sodium (and water will follow in the urine) but possibly not have enough time to fully do the job. On long restrictions (over 40 hours without water, this is not an issue).

When the sodium is increased for 4-6 days then a period of sodium restriction is started 2 days prior to the water restriction, results are much more consistent. Hit and miss protocols can undermine weeks and weeks of training and preparation. Athletes have enough to worry about as it is. If an athlete wants to sodium load then deplete, it seems wise to begin the depletion 1-2 days prior to the water restriction and try to avoid any residual sodium retention.

Super-hydration and sodium loading can raise blood pressure significantly. Nose bleeds, headaches and cardiovascular disturbances have all been noted. Athletes with heart conditions, on heart medicines, or with blood pressure issues need to be especially careful when undergoing even the simplest of hydration manipulations. Although this is a simple technique, it has all the potential to cause dangerous health consequences.

* Fluid restriction
* Potential loss: 3-5 pounds
* Duration: 20-40 hours depending on the amount to be lost

Technique: abstain from (or taper) water consumption which includes fluids in solid foods. Super-hydration is attempted by drinking 1 gallon of water above the normal amount for 4 days prior to abstinence. A sodium loading technique can increase the results. Salt is added to the diet in larger than usual amounts for 4-6 days. 2 days prior to water restriction the sodium is removed from the diet as much as possible and remains out for the duration of the manipulation. Water is restricted for about 2 days and sodium is restricted for about 4 days prior to weigh-in.

* Effort level: exceptionally los
* Risks:
To health, present but low; it is a natural process
To performance: very low. Strength will be unaffected if reconstitution is sufficient.
* Up side: very easy, natural, and no strength impediment
* Down side: only a few pounds can be lost and one gets very thirsty.


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