One of the final stages of preparation before a bodybuilding physique contest is to remove subcutaneous water from just below the skin in the body. This in done through the use of saunas, water deprivation, and most commonly, diuretics.
A diuretic is a supplement that forces the body to very quickly urinate several pounds of fluid from the body, usually within 2 to 5 hours. Diuretics are used to allow the bodybuilder to display muscle striations and veins usually hidden. Long-term or extreme use of diuretics can lead to organ failure or death. Caution should always be taken, and never without the supervision of a physician.
Furosemide is a common potassium-sparing diuretic used by bodybuilders. One 40 mg pill usually results in a 5-pound fluid loss within 2 to 4 hours. Furosemide is marketed under a wealth of brand names, including Aisemide, Beronald, Desdemin, Discoid, Diural, Diurapid, Dryptal, Durafurid, Errolon, Eutensin, Frusetic, Frusid, Fulsix, Fuluvamide, Furesis, Furix, Furo-Puren, Furosedon, Hydro-rapid, Impugan, Katlex, Lasilix, Lasix, Lodix, Lowpston, Macasirool, Mirfat, Nicorol, Odemase, Oedemex, Profemin, Rosemide, Rusyde, Salix, Trofurit, Urex, and Frudix.
Furosemide is classified as a loop agent. Not only will it cause water and potassium loss, but also depletes the body of sodium and chloride. There is a very fine line between the electrolytes that regulate the heart. One would be better advised to take 20mgs at a time allowing 4 to 5 hours before taking the next dose. One must ensure that the first dose has worn off before starting another. An ideal plan might be to take 100mg Furosemide daily for 3-5 days prior to the show, giving the body a more gradual reduction of subcutaneous water, and allowing the bodybuilder to retain more intracellular water. If a ‘flattening-out’ effect occurs, the bodybuilder should consume small amounts of water with a few carbs, drawing water back into the muscle group. Alternatively, many athletes choose to use diazyde as a water-cutting agent.
Water depletion is risky business. Many top professional and amateur bodybuilders have retired due to kidney failure, which is directly related to diuretic abuse and water deprivation. Although absolutely required for any level of bodybuilding success, it is often the least-studied aspect of pre-contest training, which is ironic, as it is the aspect, which can have the most long-term negative effects on health. Do your homework, work with someone experienced in this arena, and remember that health always comes first.