By Tammy Patnode
We are always told to avoid sodium for the negative effects it has on the body.
But what about the positive effects?
WHAT DOES SALT DO
Salt helps maintain the normal volume of blood in the body, and also helps keep the correct balance of water in your cells and tissues for proper function. It aids in digestion and is essential for achieving a regular heartbeat. It helps the body regulate blood pressure, and it is essential in balancing the amount of potassium in your body for optimum muscle and nerve function.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE GET TOO LITTLE SODIUM
A bodybuilders diet is clean, ‘whole’ foods which means most of the choices are naturally low sodium. So it’s important to actually add salt to your meals. It doesn’t have to be a lot, a couple shakes on each meal is plenty.
Low sodium diets can cause low blood pressure because sodium helps carry blood to your heart. It can cause dizziness and even fainting. A good pre workout or a BCAA drink will have some sodium to keep you balanced while you sweat through your workouts.
When you hear about bodybuilders cramping up on stage it’s usually because they cut water and sodium in the final hours/days leading into a show. In my experience as a coach, it is crucial to include potassium rich foods the final days before a show to keep electrolytes properly balanced.
Don’t be afraid To add a little salt to your meals. A good gauge is 1800-2500 mg a day. More if you sweat profusely or are doing long training sessions. This, along with proper hydration, should keep you going strong.
Tammy Patnode is an IFBB pro physique competitor and NPC judge. She is a certified personal trainer and sports nutritionist. She offers contest prep, general training and weight loss programs for men and women that are customized for each client.
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