Competitive bodybuilders are judged on muscle size, shape, symmetry, balance, separation, definition, and conditioning. To achieve a peeled look that exposes muscle detail and separation, a bodybuilder must have a low body fat percentage and eliminate water from their system.
On Sept. 5, 2023, Evogen Nutrition published a video on their YouTube channel wherein 22-time Olympia-winning coach Hany Rambod revealed the methods he uses to help his athletes achieve a dry, hard, grainy physique for a bodybuilding show. Check it out below:
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Hany Rambod’s Methods for Drying Out
Here is a summary of Rambod’s process to help his athletes improve their conditioning:
Ensure the Athlete is Lean
Rambod puts an athlete on a water-cutting plan after he’s convinced the athlete is lean enough. If they are, eliminating under-the-skin fluids will reveal their muscle definition, separation, and vascularity.
The leaner you are, the dryer you get.
Rambod didn’t reveal the exact body fat percentage he looks for before he allows his athletes to transition to the water-loss phase, suggesting that it is a case-by-case basis.
Rambod puts an athlete on natural diuretics two to three weeks before a bodybuilding show. That’s typically enough time to analyze how an athlete reacts to the supplements and adjust the dosages, if necessary, before peak week begins.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “Diuretics are a large family of medications that increase urine flow and induce urinary sodium loss.” (1)
Diuretics often get a bad reputation in bodybuilding. Athletes prepping for a bodybuilding show strive for maximal muscle hardness and dryness. Diuretics are a quick, though sometimes dangerous, way to achieve this objective. Diuretics can interfere with the body’s natural homeostasis, disrupting multiple body processes.
According to the British Journal of Pharmacology, “Diuretics are often abused by athletes to excrete water for rapid weight loss and to mask the presence of other banned substances.” Due to their abuse in sports, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) added diuretics to its list of prohibited substances in 1988. (2)
Algerian bodybuilder Mohammed Benaziza died in 1992 soon after competing in a contest in Europe due to a diuretics overdose. Paul Dillett and Albert Beckles are famous bodybuilders who collapsed and cramped on stage because of diuretic use. Eight-time Mr. Olympia champion Ronnie Coleman is one of the most prominent critics of diuretics and has called for banning the substance from the sport.
There are four main types of diuretics:
- Osmotic —These drugs inhibit the reabsorption of water and sodium, resulting in the excretion of solutes (3). Osmotic diuretics are non-discriminatory and remove water in the kidneys.
- Potassium-sparing — These reduce sodium and water reabsorption through the kidneys, leading to excretion through urine. Potassium-sparing diuretics can result in a potassium excess in the body, leading to an electrolyte imbalance and subsequent cardiac dysrhythmia (irregular heartbeats) and even sudden death in extreme cases. (4)
- Loop Diuretics — These are the most common type of diuretics used by bodybuilders. Loop diuretics are non-discriminatory and remove all fluids through the kidneys. Side effects of loop diuretics include plummeting blood pressure, thickening of the blood, fainting, renal failure, and extreme cramping. It can also lead to sudden death due to cardiac cramping.
- Natural Diuretics — These supplements contain herbal ingredients that can help deplete water without risking health. They also have an electrolyte blend to prevent muscle cramps during water loss. (5)
Rambod uses Evogen Super Dry, a diuretic supplement, to induce water weight loss and improve his athletes’ muscle hardness and dryness. The proprietary formula comprises a blend of natural diuretics and electrolytes for muscle definition, separation, and detail while guarding against muscle cramps.
Monitor and Tweak Sodium Intake
Rambod closely monitors an athlete’s sodium intake leading up to a show and tweaks it depending on their muscle fullness, how their body reacts to the natural diuretics, and the amount of water they are holding.
While Rambod generally doesn’t completely eliminate sodium during the shredding phase, he might opt for this approach if an athlete’s body isn’t responding as desired to the natural diuretics.
“It starts with taking off a layer [of water] a couple of weeks out with Super Dry and then seeing how their body responds,” said Rambod. “Then, I create and devise a game plan as we get closer [to competition].”
While this is the general framework of Rambod’s drying-out process, it changes depending on how an athlete’s body responds. Rambod added that if an athlete is already peeled as they enter their cutting phase, Rambod foregoes diuretics and focuses on cutting the water weight by tweaking the athlete’s sodium intake.
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Diuretics. (2021). In LiverTox: Clinical and Research Information on Drug-Induced Liver Injury. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
- Cadwallader AB, de la Torre X, Tieri A, Botrè F. The abuse of diuretics as performance-enhancing drugs and masking agents in sport doping: pharmacology, toxicology and analysis. Br J Pharmacol. 2010 Sep;161(1):1-16. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.2010.00789.x. PMID: 20718736; PMCID: PMC2962812.
- Lang F. Osmotic diuresis. Ren Physiol. 1987;10(3-4):160-73. doi: 10.1159/000173127. PMID: 3133729.
- Horisberger JD, Giebisch G. Potassium-sparing diuretics. Ren Physiol. 1987;10(3-4):198-220. doi: 10.1159/000173130. PMID: 2455308.
- Wright CI, Van-Buren L, Kroner CI, Koning MM. Herbal medicines as diuretics: a review of the scientific evidence. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Oct 8;114(1):1-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.07.023. Epub 2007 Jul 31. PMID: 17804183.
Featured image: @hanyrambod on Instagram