What is Water Retention and Ways of Preventing it

(Last Updated On: May 24, 2017)

Worried about that thick layer of skin on your belly? You’re probably one among many who are suffering from water retention. This thick layer of skin, covering your perfect musculature, is quite common, especially in bodybuilders who didn’t have a lean body before deciding to pump up their muscles a bit (or a lot). Even if you’re doing a heck of a lot of cardio, chances are that what you thought was a layer of fat is an amount of fat that your body chose to retain due to a number of further outlined reasons. In addition, this article will help you find ways to get rid of this nasty problem and get those lower muscles showing.


What Causes Water Retention

Our bodies have a natural way of making sure there’s enough water stored just to be safe. If you take low amounts of water daily, your body will naturally assume there aren’t abundances of it around you, and store it in your abdominal area as a failsafe procedure, even though this isn’t the case in most countries of the western hemisphere. To make matters worse, it is in this subcutaneous liquid in which sodium ion deposits are stored. Luckily, there are many ways to fix this issue.


Testing for Water Retention and Preparing to get Rid of it

First of all, a disclaimer: unless you’re at 8% body fat, or below, chances are you’ll need to take more measures than simply relying on the further outlined advice. If you are at body fat levels which are at the mentioned lows, the easiest way to check yourself for water retention is by pinching your target area skin (usually the abdominal area or the love handles) and letting it go – if it shakes with a quick, wave-like motion, there’s probably a lot of subcutaneous fluid under there, which you probably assumed is fat. Now, you are ready to start getting rid of it.


More Water

You’ve probably heard this advice from numerous gym and nutrition experts. Our very distant (and this is an understatement) amphibious ancestors came out of water and we, by far, still consist of it. There is a reason for the saying that life came out of water – so you need to be ingesting large amounts of it. The reason water is retained subcutaneously in this area is due to the fact that it provides storage for sodium, which needs to be utilized and flushed from your system. In addition, water pays compliments to your skin, internal organs, hair and general health.



If you’ve ever tasted your sweat, which I’m sure you have, you must have noticed that it is salty. This is exactly due to the high levels of sodium stored in your subcutaneous water reserve. If you try going to a sauna and continuously drink water as you sweat, after a while, your sweat will start getting decreasingly salty. Large amounts of sweat are a sign of a fast metabolism, which is definitely something to strive for, if you’re aiming at lean body mass.


Fiber, Fiber and Fiber

In addition to being healthy overall, fiber cleanses the urinary tract, intestinal tract and kidneys. A common mistake made by many gym rats is focusing entirely on taking protein and excluding carbs from their diet. While this will certainly help you lose fat, eating a lot of foods such as vegetables, which are rich with fibers, will help you rid yourself of all that nasty, unhealthy sodium your body is storing.


Other Supplements that will Dwindle the Retention

Diuretics such as black coffee and tea do more than simply provide you with enough caffeine to keep you feeling energized and awake – they are well-known for promoting sodium cleansing.  However, never forget the importance of drinking plenty of water daily. In addition to these two natural diuretics, you can get a plethora of supplements online, which will promote water loss.


Dial it Down with Salt

You need no more than 2500mg of sodium daily – if you’re taking more than this amount, you need to consider finding a replacement for salt, such as ginger, black pepper, garlic or chives. Once you’ve gotten your salt intake within the mentioned limits, the amounts of subcutaneous water will dwindle.

Even if you are far from the mentioned 8% of body fat, following this advice will undoubtedly pay compliments to your health. Drinking a lot of water and taking appropriate amounts of fiber daily will help you promote weight loss, as well as help you get rid of those unhealthy levels of salt within your body.


About the author:

Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating from the Faculty of Health Sciences, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing tips for better life. Follow him on Twitter.