A Stupid Simple Guide to Water Manipulation

Disclaimer: Don’t do a bunch of potentially dangerous bullshit you randomly read on the internet. Salty the bear says, “Only you can prevent Hypernatremia.”

Artist Credit: Charles Manson
Artist Credit: Charles Manson

Moving down a weight class sucks. Usually, it involves lifestyle changes, long term planning, a lot of heavy breathing when you drive past a Five Guys, and just a general feeling of being a husk of your former self. Odds are though, you are looking to bump down a few belt sizes because you compete in some kind of individual sport. For me, I need to make sure I stay within certain weight guidelines for the various weight classes in the sport of Powerlifting. Obviously, powerlifting is a strength oriented barbell sport. Going into a competition emaciated and feeling like I have worked my way back down to my birth weight is going to not only increase the risk of injury, it is also going to make me suck at moving heavy things. With all of that in mind, there is a relatively simple way to drop some water weight and not have it affect performance in individual sports.

A few things to consider first:

-There might be better ways to do this. This is just what I do and what I have clients/training partners do. No one has ever had an issue making weight.

-This is geared towards a drug tested 2 hour weigh-in. It is a whole different ball game when you are allowed to use hard core diuretics and have 24-48 hours to refuel yourself.

-Lightly salt all food and water until 36 hours before weigh-ins. After that, no salt until after you weight in.

He died doing what he loved. Starving to death.
He died doing what he loved. Starving to death.

This protocol starts 7 days out from your weigh-in and requires a little math conversion (sorry meatheads). Firstly, find your bodyweight in kilograms. All you need to do for this is divide your bodyweight in pounds by 2.2. For example, I am 265lbs most of the year. 265/2.2=120kg. Once you have that number, find 10% of your bodyweight in kilograms by multiplying your kg weight by .10. Using my weight, 120*.10=12. Now add that number to your kilogram bodyweight. 120+12=132. This is your Baseline Fluid Intake (BFI) and is how many ounces you start your water manipulation protocol with. You will use this amount on your first two days. Here are all 7 days laid out:

7 Days Out: BFI

6 Days Out: BFI

5 Days Out: Find 50% of your BFI. Add that number to your BFI. Using my BFI: 132*.5=66. 132+66=198 ounces

4 Days Out: Same as Day 5

3 Days Out: Multiply your BFI by 2. Example: 132*2=264 ounces

2 Days Out: Same as Day 3

1 Day Out: Drop all sodium at 36 hours out. Only drink 25% of your BFI. 132*.25= 33 ounces

Weigh-in Day: As little as possible.

Once you have weighed in, I strongly suggest having some powdered Gatorade and some powdered pedialyte mixed into at least a one gallon jug of water. Start chugging that immediately after the weigh in. You only have 2 hours to replenish this stuff so liquids should be your first option here. Down a protein shake as well during this time period. If you want to stuff your face, start doing so when you get at least half of the gallon of your magic elixir put down first. Stick with foods you are accustomed to. The last thing you want is a violent and immediate evacuation of your bowels while going for a PR squat… I mean, unless you are into that kinda thing. Personally, I like to get carryout from a nice restaurant the night before. I always go for some kind of pasta and meat dish that isn’t too heavy on the creamy sauces. I also like to pick up a cheeseburger to eat between deadlifts… secret of the pros.


There you go. Pretty stupid simple. Without getting into other complicated topics like carb cycling during this time period; this protocol, without changing my diet at all, usually yields a 10-15lb weight loss with no effect on strength. Since it is a transient mildly dehydrated state, getting my weight back up after the weigh in has never really been a problem.

I have done way more hard core weight drops in the past. A couple years ago, I went from 280 to 229 in 15 weeks via carb cycling and sweating out a ton of water weight. That was for a 24 hour weigh in. From the time of the weigh in to when I started my warm-ups for the meet, I went from 229 to 252. Nuts. Anyway, that’s a post for a different day when I am in the mood to cry all over my keyboard.


Sprint. Kill. Eat…. wtf is a Salty Bear?



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One thought on “A Stupid Simple Guide to Water Manipulation

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the great article. I just want to clarify what you mean by ounces. Are these US ounces? So in your example, your BFI would be 132 ounces = 3.9 litres of water? Thanks!

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