Post-competition physical changes show the power of proper nutrition.
Larry Wheels may have looked slimmer than ever in the lead-up to the 2023 Olympia Amateur, but it didn’t take him long to move the needle in the opposite direction after failing to secure his IFBB Pro League card.
After an impressive performance at NPC Ultimate Warriors 2023 in which he won his Classic Physique debut, the popular weightlifter-turned-bodybuilder still had to trim a few inches from his considerable frame. Unfortunately for Wheels, his peak week efforts to go from 240 to 232 pounds did not result in a first place finish in Orlando, FL, as Ejike Enwereuzor Jr. captured the Amateur Olympia Classic Physique championship on November 2, 2023.
However, less than a week later, Wheels’ body looked very different than it did when he was on stage at the Orange County Convention Center. On November 5, 2023, a noticeably larger version of the versatile strength athlete shared a video on his YouTube video detailing how He gained 53 pounds in five days after competing in the Amateur Olympia. Wheels not only talked about his diuretic use, but also provided a full breakdown of the cheat meals he consumed that contributed to such a substantial jump.
Having last taken the stage at around 265 pounds, Wheels made a serious cut to prepare for the contest for the Classical Physique category. In addition to severely reducing his calories and essentially eliminating carbohydrates from his diet for several weeks, his weight loss process also involved the use of diuretics, which bodybuilders typically use during peak week to reduce water retention in their muscles, increase urine production and excrete sodium to present. a more aesthetic physique. (1)
“This was the first time I was completely sold out for a show,” Wheels explained. “I used diuretics to gain weight and have that dry, hard look on stage.”
Despite falling short of his goal of earning his IFBB Pro League card, the record-setting weightlifter-turned-bodybuilder certainly demonstrated how powerful combining diuretics with a calorie-restricted diet can be in quickly transforming your physique. However, after tipping the scales at 231.4 pounds during weigh-ins on October 30, 2023 and competing in the Amateur Olympia at 238 pounds two days later, Wheels surprised himself by ballooning up to 284 pounds on November 4, 2023.
“I don’t think I consumed enough liquids and solid foods to gain 40 pounds,” he said. “I don’t understand where all that weight came from.”
[Related: Walking for Weight Loss: A Guide to Drop the Pounds]
While Wheels’ massive weight gain may seem shocking, it shouldn’t be based on his diuretic use as much as his post-competition diet. After using diuretics twice in three days to gain weight for both programs, it would be natural for your body to start retaining fluid instead of eliminating it. Also, when you stop taking diuretics and If you start binge eating like Wheels did, you’ll likely see the number on the scale increase as you replenish your muscle glycogen stores.
In a classic example of the effects of a post-contest cheat meal spree, this is what the social media star ate that left him 53 pounds heavier.
Larry Wheels Full Line of Cheat Meals
After abstaining from any type of comfort food for quite some time, Wheels went all out for two days with nine high-calorie cheat meals:
- Cheat meal one: Two double bacon cheeseburgers and a large fry (five boys)
- Cheat meal two: 16-ounce ribeye steak and sweet potato puree (Ruth’s Chris Steak House)
- Cheat meal three: A bag of pop tarts
- Cheat meal four: Two cups of noodles
- Cheat meal five: Cinnamon pancakes, potato croquettes and fried eggs
- Cheat meal six: Cinnamon bagel with cream cheese, orange juice and a bowl of cereal
- Cheat meal seven: Double Bacon Cheeseburger, French Fries, and Lemon Biscuits
- Cheat eight meal: Fried chicken sandwich, six bone-in wings, three chicken strips and fries, plus chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for dessert (Wild buffalo wings)
- Cheat meal nine: 14-inch margherita pizza, garlic knots and salad
In the end, Wheels estimated he consumed about 20,000 calories in the first 24 hours after taking the Amateur Olympia stage. But after taking a no-holds-barred approach to eating and seeing the number on the scale skyrocket by more than 50 pounds in such a short time, he seemed ready to return to a more disciplined lifestyle.
“It’s time to get my head back on straight and eat clean,” he said.
Featured Image: Larry Wheels / YouTube
- Escalante, G., Stevenson, S.W., Barakat, C. et al. Peak Week Recommendations for Bodybuilders: An Evidence-Based Approach. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabilitation 13, 68 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-021-00296-y