I have just returned from the Junior Nationals in which I placed fourth in the lightweights. I am 37 years old and I don’t really know how many years I have left in this sport. Next year I plan on trying to line up some sponsorship so that I can keep competing at the National level.I plan on doing the Team Universe and the Junior Nationals one more time next year. I an 100% drug free and I need something that will give me some sort of edge. I recently read in Muscle Media that you could take glycerin with water to rid oneself of the water that covers the muscles. Was he talking about Nitroglycerin that you buy at the drug store over the counter and mixing it with water. I was concerned because the bottle says not for internal use.. Is this legit?
A: No, this was not nitro glycerin (which is used sublingually for heart attacks) it is simply glycerol (also called glycerine). Glycerol is an interesting compound. It’s the backbone of triglycerides but acts sort of like a sugar in the body (it can be converted to glucose in the liver under the right circumstances and might be used as a caloric source during ketogenic diets). It’s more interesting application however, for bodybuilding at least, is the potential to pull water from under the skin. Glycerol is hydrophilic meaning that it is attracted (chemically) to water.
Glycerol was originally used to hyperhydrate endurance athletes. In long distance endurance activities, dehydration becomes a very real issue. Dehyhdration of as little as 2% will hinder performance, dehydration of 10% is fatal.
By taking glycerol along with a ton of water, it was possible to force the body to store extra water (in the bloodstream) which helped to prevent dehydration of muscle tissue. As well, it helped to keep body core temperature down, which can cause other problems.
So how does this apply to bodybuilding. Well, the theory is that taking glycerol WITHOUT all the extra water (as recommended for endurance athletes) will pull water out from under the skin and into the bloodstream. This is basically an osmotic kind of reaction. Since glycerol attracts water, if you take glycerol without water, it will pulls water from other tissues, in this case from under the skin. I would surmise that the reason glycerol is not pulled from the muscles is that water in the muscle is complexed with glycogen and potassium.
This has a major advantage over typical diuretics used for bodybuilding contests. Most diuretics pull water out of the body and cause it to be excreted as urine. Which causes the bodybuilder to become dehydrated (also increases electrolyte excretion) which can be dangerous if taken to too great a level (Mohammed Benaziza is thought ot have died from diuretic abuse coupled with not drinking water for three days. He screwed his electrolyte levels and his heart stopped). Since glycerol doesn’t increase the excretion of water, it may improve appearance without dehydrating a bodybuilder.