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Where's Ya Wata?
By Torre Washington

I would imagine that everyone reading this article understands the importance of water consumption. It is paramount to the existence of all living things and how our bodies operate on a daily basis. It is a well known fact that a person can survive longer without food than without water. Considering that the amount of water in the human body ranges from 50-75% (average adult human body: 50-65%; infants: 70-75%), it is no surprise that we would shrivel up like a prune before we would starve. Just a short list of the health benefits, as it pertains to general wellbeing, include: shuttling nutrients to different areas of the body that need them, hydrating the kidneys to efficiently breakdown and filter waste, then aiding in waste removal which allows for more efficient nutrient absorption, as well as assisting in muscle strength and growth. (www.simplyshredded.com)

Now, from a competitor’s perspective, water means oh, so much more. Water retention under stage lights can make the difference between “winner” and “runner up”. Increased physical activity, in addition to supplements, increase the work of the kidneys, which means above average water consumption is a MUST in the daily life of a competitor. Then there is the ever important “leaning out” process, which typically includes water and calorie/carbohydrate depletion with some last minute 2x/day cardio sessions as the weeks to “show time” get closer. For my first few competitions I used the most common and traditional methods of getting “shredded”: I depleted my water. I was so dehydrated on the day of the show that I cramped up, to the extent that it looked as if an alien was about to jump out of my stomach (due to abdominal spasms when I flexed). However, I was also so determined to reach my goals that I just sucked on ice chips then spit out the precious life giving liquid.  As I have matured and evolved as a competitor, I have found that I don’t need to dehydrate myself and compromise my homeostasis in order to be “shredded” on stage. Unfortunately, many times when competitors dehydrate to get that “dry”, “shredded” look, it means they don’t drink any water for sometimes 12-24 hours before the show! Keeping body fat percentages well under 20% in the “off” season would help eliminate this unhealthy practice.

Anyone interested in competing for an extended period of time (i.e. several seasons) would more than likely enjoy the process more when there is balance all year. Even in a mass-building phase, a competitor should keep their body fat within 5-10% from their target stage percentages. In this way, water can and should be consumed up to and during the competition without compromising appearing lean on stage. Although some of this information may not be completely new, I hope it motivates some competitors out there to consider the health benefits of maintaining a healthy body fat range based upon their body composition, in order to enjoy a leaner` no matter what season. And remember to “Drink ya WATA!” (in Tha Vegan Dread voice)