Reduction of subcutaneous water


Megane Di Loia, Fitness Champion and Personal Trainer


During a competition and fitness, one must optimize the appearance by maximizing the muscular definition. Depending on the category, the desired level of muscular definition can vary from a simple mincer (bikini), to a separation (slits) of each muscle (figure, physical), to a complete transverse striation of each muscle (bodybuilding).

This definition improves by reducing the body fat content as well as the amount of water (water flush) subcutaneously, and is accentuated by muscular hypertrophy (particularly sarcoplasmic, giving a roundness via a preferential volume in the center of the muscle).

What determines the amount of subcutaneous water

It is known that a medium human contains about 70 kg has about 5.5 liters of water, and that about 70% of the whole body is water. Water is essential for life, and optimal levels of water are needed for proper cell function and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Since the availability, consumption and loss of water by sweating may vary according to physical conditions and activities, the body has developed very precise water regulation mechanisms to maintain its hydration and blood pressure to normal or optimal. These are called regulating processes of homeostasis.

Homeostasis is the set of regulatory processes by which the body maintains the different constants of the internal environment (all body fluids) between the limits of normal values. Characteristic of an ecosystem that is resistant to changes (disturbances) and maintains a state of equilibrium.

Homeostasis, as much as reproduction is a fundamental process allowing individuals and species to survive. It is therefore important that any action taken does not alter the hydration beyond the body’s tolerance limits, as well as to expect the body to be able to activate some of these regulatory mechanisms to counteract the effects of these mechanisms. actions.

Mechanisms of regulation of blood pressure

Hydration factors

  • Mechanical
  • Control of heartbeat
  • Control of contraction or dilation of blood vessels
  • Displacement of water volumes from one fabric to another to meet local and critical needs
  • Biochemical
  • Regulation of diuresis by modulation of the production of DHA (antidiuretic hormone) by the neurohypophysis
  • Control of thirst signals

Effects of dehydration

Desirable effects

These benefits can be observed if the removal of water is reasonable but may not be observed or even counteracted if dehydration is too pronounced.

  • Subcutaneous dehydration
  • Increased muscle definition
  • Reduced joint diameter and illusion, by contrast, of greater muscle development
  • Reduction of intramuscular water volume
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduction of blood volume
  • Reduced blood pressure (which can be beneficial for the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys)

Adverse effects and risks

  • Reduction of intramuscular water volume
  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduction of blood volume
  • Low pressure may cause fainting
  • Demineralization (loss of electrolytes) by sweating, diuresis and / or demineralized water consumption
  • Potassium loss:
  • Movement of water from the muscles to the interstitial tissues (e.g. skin) – causing a reduction in muscle definition
  • Cardiac arrest

How to reduce subcutaneous water

While the reduction in body fat is achieved over a period of time ranging from a few weeks (in the case of athletes who are already lean) to several months (when a large amount of body fat has to be lost), the reduction subcutaneous water occurs over a period of a few weeks (gentle method), or only a few days (high-impact actions) or a few hours (by drastic methods).

Soft methods

Gentle methods are methods that do not have adverse health effects, and can be used, unless there are special medical conditions, permanently without any risk to health. Their effect is generally less pronounced but can be significant if they are carried out over long periods and / or combined with one another or with strong methods.


  • Avoid contraceptives causing water retention (talk to your doctor about the ideal contraceptive choice)
  • Avoid sugars and high glycemic carbohydrates
  • Reduce salt consumption (sodium)
  • Sleep enough (8 hours a night) and deeply (in absolute darkness – use an eye mask)
  • Take icy showers for 30 seconds after hot showers (improves blood circulation by strengthening vascular muscles)
  • Consume sufficient water to maintain an acceptable level of hydration and thus maintain active regulatory mechanisms including diuresis by inhibition of ADH secretion.
  • Avoid foods that cause allergies (via lectins or other allergens) or inflammation, including legumes, eggplants, tomatoes, gluten, milk casein, fruit and pome or seed foods, peanuts, etc.
  • Take saunas regularly (Finnish and far infrared saunas)
  • Reduce and manage stress (through meditation, breathing or yoga)
  • Sleep at regular times
  • Exercise that stimulates the circulation of blood
  • Raise the legs at rest
  • Take salt baths of espon (Magnesium salts)
  • Massages by drainage (from the ankle to the heart)


  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli, and other foods rich in sulphoraphane
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Melon (do not consume at other times than post workout – due to sugars)


  • Coffee (before noon)
  • Tea (before 7PM)
  • Lemon water (post workout)


  • Fennel
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Watercress


  • Dandelion
  • Juniper
  • Goldenrod
  • Cherry tails
  • Horsetail
  • Hibiscus
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Cranberry tails
  • Cleavers for Edema
  • Goosegrass (or Cleavers)
  • Uva Ursi


  • Guarana (shock effect) – stimulates diuresis for 10 hours – use only 1 x
  • Magnesium (oral, or dermal via Epson salt baths)
  • Yohimbe (free sale is not allowed in Canada)
  • Blockers or Anti-estrogen
  • Indole-3-Carbinol And Diindolylmethane (Dim)
  • Calcium D-Glucarate
  • Vitamin D (2000-5000 iu per day)
  • Grape Seed Extract
  • Rhodiola Rosea Extract
  • Chrysin
  • Vitamin B6
  • Ginkgo biloba

Strong methods

Strong methods can, if necessary, be used (i.e. if the mild methods are not sufficient) for a few days without significant adverse effects. Their effect is generally more pronounced than soft methods and can be accentuated if they are combined with one another or with soft methods.

  • Severe water restriction for 7 to 21 days – limitation of the consumption of mineralized water to 250-500 ml per day. Avoid water containing too much sodium. This method could be dangerous.
  • Hyperhydration (consumption of 5 to 7 liters of mineralized water) per day, followed by a period of severe water restriction for 6 hours or at most 2 days. Avoid water containing too much sodium.

Drastic methods

Drastic methods should not be used, even if sometimes by successful athletes, unless they are authorized and supervised by a health professional. Their effect can be very marked or even too great, and lead to health problems, or even death. Finally, drastic methods should never be combined with water restriction.

Medicated diuretics (should not be administered without the consent and supervision of a physician) – the effects of such diuretics may be very, see too much, strong. In addition, the effects of such drugs are unpredictable both in terms of efficiency (amplitude of diuresis) and over time. For example, the effects of such a drug may seem insufficient, prompting the individual to increase the dose, and then strike at a single cost, causing a strong and incontrollable diuresis. It should be noted that many professional bodybuilders have died due to cardiac arrest caused by excessive use of such medications. Also, diuretic drugs should never be combined with each other or with severe fluid restriction.

In any voluntary manipulation of hydration, it is important to always prioritize health and well-being. An individual should never jeopardize his health or even see his performance affected and feel bad during or following such actions. Anyone practicing water manipulation should first be attentive to their body, and refrain from increasing or even discontinuing their practices should adverse effects be observed.

How to prepare for a fitness contest

  1. Define the level of muscular definition required
  2. Reduce body fat (adipose tissue) to the lowest possible level
  3. Use all soft methods (especially methods highlighted in yellow).
  4. If the muscle definition level is too high
  5. at. Wait for the day before the contest and consume salt water and carbohydrates as needed to hydrate the body. Proceed slowly gradually, evaluating the result every few hours before continuing the hydration procedures, to avoid overhydration that may be difficult to reverse.
  6. If, at approximately 2 weeks, the muscle definition level is insufficient, determine the appropriate strong method, taking care to ensure that the athlete’s cardiovascular health condition is adequate to proceed without any risk to his / her health.

I personally strongly advise the use of drastic methods, because the results are unpredictable, and especially because the risks to the health of the athlete are too important.

Pierre Vinet, BSc. Biochemistry, Master Studies Biomechanics

Health & Fitness Professional


About the Author

Pierre Vinet is a Master Trainer who graduated in Biochemistry at Quebec University, and continued post graduate studies in Biomechanics. His fields of expertise include biomechanics, nutrition, exercise physiology, strength training, muscular hypertrophy, fat loss and longevity. to Over the last 40 years, he has trained thousands of individuals, including Professional athletes, as well as personally won the State Championships and was finalist at the National Championships at several occasions in both Bodybuilding and Olympic Taekwondo. For more information, you may visit, or reach him at


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