After months or even years of dedicating yourself to rigorous workouts, carefully crafting your diet, avoiding guilty pleasures, and pushing your body to its limit, how would you feel if water retention obscured your otherwise fantastic results? Water retention is caused by the buildup of excess fluid in the body. Although sometimes mistakenly assumed to be fat, you can prevent this “water weight” by paying close attention to the foods and drinks you consume each day and taking care of your body through exercise and relaxation. Use the tips below to learn how to prevent water retention.
How to Prevent Water Retention
If you’ve worked hard to achieve a lean physique and yet you still cannot attain the sculpted and defined look you desire, you may need to learn how to prevent water retention. By managing your electrolytes (especially sodium, potassium, and magnesium) and focusing on nutritional balance, you may be able to lose retained fluid, which will help you look more toned without becoming dehydrated. Use the following tips for help:
Drink more water.
This may seem counterintuitive, but drinking more water can actually help you reduce water retention. It flushes out your kidneys and your digestive system, assisting with the function of your metabolism. In addition, hydrating your body can improve your skin’s tone and appearance. It may even help release water in the body through excretion. Although you may wish to restrict your water intake as your competition nears, this could cause you to feel weak and lose your sharp, healthy-looking physique. Instead, drink plenty of water to ensure that you’re well hydrated.
Break a sweat.
Your body regulates its temperature and cools off through sweating. So by breaking a sweat during your workout, you can kick your metabolism into high gear and release trapped sodium ions. If you aren’t up for more exercise, you could always stop by a sauna for some perspiration. Whether you choose to work out in the gym or unwind in a sauna, bring along a bottle of water to rehydrate.
Steer clear of excess sodium.
The American Heart Association recommends that Americans eat less than 1,500 milligrams of the mineral sodium each day for good health (source). Our bodies need sodium to function properly. Sodium helps control the body’s fluid balance, sends nerve impulses, and affects muscle function. Although we must include sodium in our diets, overindulging on salty foods can cause you to retain water, because the mineral brings water into your cells. Cutting back on sodium won’t just help you reduce water retention; it can also decrease your blood pressure, reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and provide health care savings.
When eating processed foods, check the label to ensure that the manufacturer hasn’t overloaded the sodium content, and choose low-sodium options when available. In addition, try replacing excess salt with flavorful additions like black pepper, garlic, chives, or hot sauce. You don’t need salt to pep up a food’s flavor.
Consume more potassium.
The mineral potassium also assists with the regulation of fluids in the body and the balance of electrolytes. It helps ensure that water is evenly distributed amongst the body’s tissues. Where high levels of sodium can add fluid to your cells, high levels of potassium will flush out fluids. Research even shows that restricting your consumption of potassium can result in increased fluid retention (source). To augment your potassium intake, you could eat bananas, black beans, potatoes, grapes, raisins, salmon, carrots, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, yogurt, or milk, amongst other foods and beverages. Plus, did you know that chicken naturally has about twice as much potassium as sodium? Try adding a nutritious chicken broth to your diet.
Fill your diet with fiber.
If you’re like most Americans, you don’t eat enough fiber on a daily basis. Fiber helps you feel full, which can prevent overeating and indulging in snacks. It also cleanses your urinary tract, kidneys, and colon/intestinal tract. Basically, it helps your digestive system run more smoothly and, in doing so, removes excess fluid.
Review your medications and drugs.
Some medications can cause electrolyte imbalances, disrupting your body’s water balance and leading to water retention. Review your medications and their side effects and make changes if needed. This can help you reduce the amount of water beneath the skin, leading to increased muscularity.
Reduce your stress level.
Cortisol, a steroid hormone, acts as a diuretic (which means it increases the production of urine) and increases sodium retention and potassium excretion. For all of these reasons, if you want to learn how to prevent water retention, you need to reduce your cortisol levels. Luckily, one of the best ways to decrease the amount of cortisol in your body is to focus on relaxation and low-stress activities. For example, you could listen to good music, drink tea, take a nap, or get a massage. Since hard training sessions in the gym can release cortisol, it is important to balance your workouts and stressful activities with sleep and relaxation.
Choose the right protein powder.
Some people find that whey protein powder causes them to bloat and retain water. So if you’re worried about water retention, try CHiKPRO™, a nutritious chicken protein isolate powder. Versatile and easy to use, this protein supplement will not cause water retention or bloating, making it perfect for those critical two weeks before a big competition. It contains a natural, beneficial balance of sodium and potassium. In addition, it is non-allergenic, dairy-free, and gluten-free. To learn more, please visit the CHiKPRO™ website.
Stick with it.
Great results won’t happen over time. You need to stick with these changes for a prolonged period, because your body won’t suddenly change overnight. Give it time, and be patient.
Especially before a big competition, water retention can hide your muscularity and downplay your hard work. Until you flush excess fluid out of the body, your fat loss and increased muscle mass won’t be visible. Use the tips above if you’re wondering how to prevent water retention.