One of the most controversial topics in the health and fitness industry is salt/sodium consumption.
Most doctors say you should consume as little salt as possible as if it were the trigger of all bad things such as high blood pressure, heart problems, kidney problems, etc. However,
99% of them tell this to people in poor physical shape and not tough exercising athletes and bodybuilders.
So if your workout consists of walking from the couch to the fridge and occasionally running to the bathroom; you should follow your doctor’s advice …
But since you are very likely here because you are active in sports and sweat regularly; the rules regarding low salt consumption do not apply.
Hard training athletes who do not consume enough sodium have more problems than if they overeat. Too little sodium causes muscle cramps, dizziness, or an electrolyte imbalance, causing neurological problems or even fatal consequences.
It is well known that drinking a lot of water is healthy, but if you drink too much and have too little sodium in your body; you can get water poisoning, causing epileptic seizures, impaired consciousness, or a coma.
In this Blog, You are Going to Know,
What is sodium?
Sodium is a mineral and plays an important role in our body balance. It controls the amount of water in the body and the acid level. About 40% of our sodium is in the bones, 55% is in the blood plasma, and the rest is in our organs and cells. It is necessary for proper nerve conduction, balanced blood pressure, and the cell uptake of nutrients.
The body regulates the sodium balance itself if you have consumed too much or too little sodium; for example, the kidneys and intestines balance it out. During the day, the intestines absorb sodium while the kidneys excrete approximately the same amount in the urine.
The sodium level in the blood depends on the amount of sodium and water in the arteries and veins. The body regulates sodium and water differently but uses both correct blood pressure when it is too high or too low.
Should the body have too little sodium (also known as hyponatremia); the body can increase the sodium level or reduce the water in the body. The opposite is true when there is too much sodium in the body (hypernatremia). Here the sodium is reduced, or the water supply increased.
Sodium intake for bodybuilders and athletes
For example, if you do hard weight training or endurance training and sweat a lot, you need to replenish the sodium or sodium stores; you lose to ensure a healthy electrolyte balance.
Especially if you are trying to lose weight and eat fewer carbohydrates, you should increase your sodium intake. Carbohydrates force your body to hold back water and sodium. For every gram of carbohydrates you eat, your body will hold back 3 grams of water.
In a weight loss program, you should always salt your food or use sodium-containing flavor to enhancers such as soy sauce or maggie. It will make you feel stronger, and it will help you keep your sodium levels in balance.
In reality, the many negative side effects of a “low carb diet” such as feeling weak and having no energy are no reactions to too few carbohydrates but rather because the body has too low sodium. Should you experience symptoms like this, just consume more salt, and you will soon feel a lot better.
You can even go so far that you always have small salt packets in your training bag (the same as you get at McDonald’s or Burgerking). As soon as you get any signs of muscle cramps or dizziness while exercising, take a packet with water, and after about 5 minutes, the sodium should take effect, and you should feel better again.
Athletes and bodybuilders should increase their salt or sodium intake rather than decrease it. You have to replace what you lose while sweating to keep the electrolyte balance in balance and to be able to train hard.
That doesn’t mean that you have to use the calculator to calculate your sodium needs, but don’t be afraid of salt. The best thing to do is to listen to your body and how you are feeling, your energy levels, etc. If you feel dizzy, get muscle cramps, etc., the chances are that you are sodium deficient.