It’s no secret by now that people have been using diuretics for bodybuilding to help get drier and more defined leading into a bodybuilding competition and/or photo shoot. I’m going to give you my personal take on diuretics here.
I have used Aldactone and Dyazide in the past to help dry out for a contest. These 2 diuretics are probably 2 of the more milder ones you could use. They’re safer and not as rapid as something such as Lasix would be.
I could come on here and try giving you the perfect recipe for nailing diuretics but honesty prevents me from doing so, because usually you’re never going to “just nail it.”
Diuretics can destroy everything you’ve busted your ass for at the last minute before taking stage!
Not only that, diuretics are extremely hard on your body and definitely stressful on your kidneys. I believe diuretics are responsible for a lot of kidney problems among bodybuilders nowadays.
Yes, diuretics can help shed water, but they can also make you flatter than a pancake and take away your pump! I’ve had times where I couldn’t even get my lats out during a pose because I was so depleted of fluid.
If you had busted your ass and did everything right leading into a show then diuretics aren’t even necessary. The only time I’d ever recommend them is if you’re within 2-3 lbs of trying to drop weight to make a certain weight class.
But anytime your body loses more than a few lbs at the last minute the results will probably be very disappointing.
You’re already at a point of extremely low body fat and forcing anymore out of the body in the form of water and sodium isn’t something that is going to leave you very pumped up.
My advice is – if you can – don't use diuretics.
The only thing I would recommend is dandelion root as a natural diuretic. Dandelion root is much slower and a hell of a lot safer.
Diuretics Side Effects
Diuretics can cause:
- heart problems
- kidney issues
- muscle cramping
- loss of motor function
- mental blocks
- heart attacks
Your body needs a certain amount of fluid to function!
I know some people are going to use diuretics regardless so I’ll share with you how I used them back when I did use them.
Aldactone (spironolactone) for Bodybuilding
Aldactone should not be used for more than 2 – 3 days at most. There are 2 ways to use this diuretic and precautions must be followed in any way you choose to use it.
For starters, this diuretic is potassium sparing, meaning that as your body sheds water and sodium it doesn’t excrete potassium with it. This also means that you shouldn’t be taking added potassium during Aldactone usage because it can throw off your nutrient and electrolyte balance.
This is good because cramping is less likely on Aldactone, however cramping from low fluid in the body alone can still happen, so you're not totally out of the woods if you take this one far!
On dosing Aldactone I have found that 50 mg/day is best, and I would try to use 25 mg tabs of it and do it twice/day. If the show is on a Saturday then I would use it on Wed and Thurs, and MAYBE FRIDAY if I still thought I was holding fluid.
But in most cases using Aldactone at just 50 mg on Wed and Thurs should be enough, and on Friday you won’t be drinking as much water anyways so you really don’t want to risk doing more Aldactone on Friday unless water retention is still very noticeable.
I’ve had cases in the past where I have hit just 50 mg of Aldactone on a Wed and woke up the next morning wishing I never took it because it flattened me out. Thankfully I filled back out by Saturday, but it’s easy to overdo it on diuretics if you’re already lean and dry.
I wouldn’t just take them to take them. Actually, I don’t recommend taking them at all really. I think if you bust your ass enough and diet hard enough you shouldn’t need them.
Dyazide for Bodybuilding
Like Aldactones, Dyazide is also a potassium sparing diuretic and most commonly comes in 12.5 mg tablets. Again, you shouldn’t be taking in added potassium during Dyazide use, and its use should not extend out longer than 2 days.
The safest way to use this diuretic is on the day before the show, and morning of the show if needed.
Dyazide has a peak effect the day you take it so timing on this one is even more critical. Time this one wrong or use it when you don’t need it and you can say goodbye to your hardness, vascularity, and muscle pumps!
Dyazide is more of a last minute deal where most competitors just take 1 pill at night and 1 the next morning, but fuck it up and you probably won’t be able to bring your condition back until it’s too late and the show is over with!
Lasix for Bodybuilding
I have no experience with Lasix so I really cannot say much on this one. The one thing I do know about it is that it’s one of the strongest diuretics and strictly a last minute deal.
I never used it because there just wouldn’t be enough time to bring my condition back if I went overboard with it. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone because a last minute surprise usually isn’t a favorable one in bodybuilding.
Dandelion Root for Bodybuilding
(My #1 recommended diuretic for bodybuilders)
Dandelion root is a much more mild natural diuretic and one I’d actually recommend. With dandelion root you can slowly adjust and gauge how you’re coming around the week leading into the event.
Most dandelion root I’ve come across is 520 mg per dosage, and my recommendation on using it before a competition is simple; take 1 pill in the morning and see how you look by evening.
Take another pill in the evening and see how you look by morning. Continue to do this until you feel as though you have a perfect balance between muscularity and definition. That’s it!
If you take dandelion root for 3 days and feel as though your skin is paper thin and you’re lean enough, quit using it. If you feel as though you could keep going then continue on the regimen up until the show if you need to.
What's the best brand of dandelion root?
I recommend Nature's Way Dandelion Root Veg-capsules, 525 mg, 180-Count.
I also sometimes use MHP's Xpel. It contains dandelion root but also includes other ingredients like caffeine and guarana which you may or not wish to take.
My general outlook on diuretics and bodybuilders
My opinion on most bodybuilders is that they never feel as though they’re doing enough or taking enough no matter what. So naturally they’re going to take whatever they can get their hands on in their quest for perfection (newsflash, you’ll never hit perfection!).
Much of the time if they just busted their asses and let nature take its course they would have been far better off rather than forcing their body to drop water at the last minute with diuretics.
There are a lot of bodybuilders who can suffer the last few days but cannot suffer for 12-16 weeks like others can. These are the ones who could take anything they could get their hands on, but guess what? It’s not going to magically drop body fat in 2 days!
A lot of what bodybuilders are trying to do to get rid of water isn’t even water… IT’S FAT!
Whatever route you may go just remember that health should be priority! It’s also not worth cramping to the point you cannot execute a pose onstage. Think about all of the effort and time that you put into competition prep work. Do you want to destroy it all at the last minute?
Train hard, BE SMART! – JD
3 thoughts on “Diuretics 101: Diuretics for Bodybuilding”
I am currently taking a natural bodybuilding diuretic that contains B vitamins and various trace minerals as well as apple cider vinegar and green tea, and the primary ingredient is dandelion leaf… yes, leaf. I guess I wasn’t quite paying attention when I bought it, and didn’t immediately realize that it has dandelion LEAF instead of root!
Do you have any experience as to how effective dandelion leaf is, as opposed to the root? In any case, I seem to be getting decent results from this.
Hi there. I am struggling to find much info on this and hoping you could help. I am a 55kg weightlifter, and weighing in at 56kg on monday. I compete on sat, and my nutrition coach started me on 25mg of aldactone on Tues morning. I weighed in at 55kg on Wed morning (today). I have never taken a diuretic and im feeling really uncomfortable taking it based on a bunch of negative side effects / reviews on various sites. I feel fine physically. If I stop it today (wed) will I likely retain more than normal water again by saturday? I can be 100% with my diet and limit my water on Friday and i feel this should allow me to weigh in at 54.9, but if i stop the aldactone now will it cause excess water retention?
Let me tell ya man, most of the time I used diuretics they made me flatter than a pancake and I looked like shit compared to how I would have looked if I never used them!!! Take that advice as you may, best of luck