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It’s interesting to compare the athletes of today to those of the 1990s. Many view the physiques of yesteryear to be much grainier and more aesthetic, and to just hold more “wow” factor than those that grace the competitive stage today. It’s been suggested that today’s iron warriors lack gym intensity, fail to really suffer when it comes to dieting, and just plain rely more on performance-enhancing supplements. I’d like to suggest that today’s physique athletes suffer because they lack one thing that was common among all the bodybuilders of the 1990s. A fanny pack or Crazee Wear pants, you say? Close. The answer is the four litre water jug. Of course I say that in jest, but you can’t undervalue the importance of water in the plan of a competitive physique athlete. In fact, it’s probably the most overlooked but critical aspect of a successful athlete’s program. An astute physique athlete should be concerned how water (or lack thereof) affects performance and appearance. Let’s touch on a couple of ways, and maybe I can convince you to dig out your water jug and pay homage to the bodybuilders of the ‘90s.
Lack of water reduces athletic performance
Most university textbooks on sports nutrition reveal studies finding that anaerobic sport performance is negatively affected with as little as 3 percent dehydration. This stat is focused on high-intensity muscular endurance bouts lasting 30 to 120 seconds. That’s an interesting fact, but not very applicable to a hypertrophy-focused athlete. Why is your TUT that high? Seriously? The instances that a physique athlete should pay attention to are prolonged exercise sessions. If your workouts are in the 60- to 90-minute range, it’s possible to lose 3 to 4 percent of body mass through perspiration. Remember, a well-hydrated muscle performs optimally.
Lack of water makes muscle appear flat
Have you ever heard competitors say that they looked better the day after the show? Mistakenly, athletes thought that it was the added carbs from their post-competition binge, but we now know that it has more to do with water. A common approach to the final stages of peak week is to employ a diuretic and cut off water consumption. This is thought to help make the athlete look sharper by depleting subcutaneous water stores. Sometimes it worked, but more often than not, it produced less-than-optimal results. Diuretics remove water not only from above the muscle but also from inside the muscle, resulting in a flat, deflated look. Today, smart coaches diet their clients to extremely low levels of body fat and redistribute the water from under the skin into the muscle. One part of that equation (I can’t give away all my secrets) is to ensure a constant supply of water. Don’t cut it off—keep the tap flowing for a fuller looking, vein-popping appearance.
Before you go dig out that old-school water jug, you may want to check out a clever product that just arrived in the MUSCLE INSIDER offices. The Mammoth Mug is a cross between a water jug and a modern-day shaker cup. Its oversized opening allows passage of larger ice cubes and all sorts of powder products (I like my BCAAs this way). It’s a convenient way to ensure that you maintain proper water consumption to keep your muscles fully hydrated. Don’t neglect the importance of water in your plan. Physique changes are really about the little things you do consistently. Get your water in and reap the rewards!
For more about the importance of water, click here!
To get your own Mammoth jug, click here!