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Bodybuilding 101: How to minimize loose skin for a competition

How to minimize loose skin for a competition
How to minimize loose skin for a competitionWikimedia Commons

Loose skin is problematic for bodybuilding athletes. In bodybuilding, loose skin stems from many reasons. Some include baby belly from pregnancy, aging, weight loss, weight loss and weight gain cycles (cutting/bulking), or is a side effect of growth hormone. This overblown, pot bellied look is called growth gut.

Arms, legs and tummy are trouble areas for loose skin

Areas with the loosest skin are the arms, tummy and legs. Each are seen from the stage, but the tummy has greater surface area, and is completely visible during the front compulsory pose. Loose skin is also seen during side mandatory turns because it hangs over your bikini bottoms or trunks. Although you can manipulate bodybuilding poses to minimize loose skin that's not always enough to hide it. In some cases, the use of tanning beds and hemmorhoid cream can help tighten skin, while other athletes need a drastic approach like surgery.

Preparation H is for more than hemmorhoids

The hemmorhoidal cream Preparation H has long been a staple for bodybuilders, but not always for the use of hemorrhoids. Many bodybuilding athletes use Preparation H on areas with loose skin to help shrink and tighten it. For instance, some athletes use Preparation H for several weeks or more (at night) before their bodybuilding show.

Use the tanning bed

The Surgeon General recently warned consumers that sun and indoor tanning cause cancer, but some bodybuilders still use tanning beds when competing. Athletes use tanning beds for more reasons than to get dark. The truth is, the tanning bed will never get you dark enough for a bodybuilding show, and that's why competition tanner is very important. Athletes often use the tanning bed to help tighten the skin especially if the loose skin is not too excessive.

Abdominoplasty, also known as tummy tuck

Surgery may be your only option if you have excessive skin from pregnancy or severe weight fluctuations. Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, removes excess fat and skin. It also restores separated and weakened muscles in the abdominal area. The purpose of a tummy tuck is to create a smoother, firmer profile, which is exactly what you want when standing on stage.

Take care during cutting and bulking cycles

In the off season, bodybuilding athletes are notorious for gaining back all of the weight they lost, and even more. Some athletes gain excessive amounts of weight, and it's more fat than muscle.

Much of it is from careless eating, or over-eating from tight dieting for so long. Unfortunately, this fluctuation causes the skin to stretch even more. During the off season, or while bulking, try to gain or maintain a reasonable amount of weight for muscle growth, but not so much that you have to worry about minimizing loose skin during the in season.