Sodium, table salt, sea salt, pink Himalayan: all within the salt category that are consumed in the average American diet. We often hear that sodium intake should be reduced to avoid high blood pressure; and while this may be true for some, increasing salt intake has many benefits to athletic performance.
Okay, so chemically speaking, salt is essentially sodium attached to chloride (NaCl). This means that the chemical makeup is about 40% sodium and the rest is chloride.
You often hear some people trying to stay away from salty foods and avoid adding extra salt to their meals; however, salt provides electrolytes essential for workouts!
When you exercise, blood volume thickens because it is being pushed from the heart to the muscles being worked. The contribution of salt comes to play because sodium increases blood flow by retaining fluids. As you exercise, the body will need additional electrolytes to send nerve impulses throughout the body!
Why Should You Take Salt Before a Workout?
Not only does taking salt before your lift help with a crazy pump, but it also has many cardiovascular and strength benefits!
Increased sodium intake may not be for everyone, but for those who are able to add a little extra to their pre-workout meals or drinks, then this article is for you!
1. Increases Blood Flow
As previously mentioned, sodium increases blood flow by retaining extra fluid in the bloodstream. Increased blood flow while training and/or lifting will overall improve systemic cardiovascular responses (carrying oxygenated blood where it needs to go throughout the body).
2. Improves Strength
Not only does consuming salt prior to a workout improve blood flow, but it also improves strength. How?
When increasing salt intake before a workout, energy levels increase. Thus, our endurance, strength, and power peak due to intracellular water retention.
3. Improves Hydration
It almost seems like increasing salt would do the opposite of keeping you hydrated, right?
Sodium actually does not dehydrate you, but rather hydrates you by replacing what is lost through sweat in your workout! Salt makes it easier for the individual to absorb water better, keeping your bodily fluids properly balanced.
On average, a person loses a little more than 1 liter of water per hour of exercise. Correspondingly, your sweat is approximately 0.1% sodium. With that being said, it is understood that you're losing around 1 gram of sodium per hour, which is replenished and balanced by the contribution of salt.
4. Body Cooling
Increased sodium intake before your workout has been shown to lower core body temperature. When the body has better blood flow and circulation during exercise, it will better cool down and retain excess water!
One thing to note is that everyone sweats differently. Some sweat more during exercise than they would like to, while others hardly break a sweat! Sodium intake can be altered for the individual based on exercise demands, body size, core body temp, and temperature of where you're working out!
5. Calls For a Better "Pump"
As we know by now, sodium increases blood flow. This is the same way sodium helps your muscles contract. With increased fluid in the bloodstream, calls for a larger muscle pump.
So, what calls for a better pump during your lift? Salt.
Salt and sodium can be consumed by adding about 1/4 tsp into your water, on top of your pre-workout meal, or simply drinking an electrolyte sports drink before the gym!
You can also try our AstroFlav A-Pump which will help you out with your pump without salting up your meals!
How Much Salt Should You Take Before A Workout?
If you are someone who can consume extra salt in your diet, then having salt prior to a workout might just benefit you. Keep in mind, there is no specific amount that someone should take, but the recommended dosage is around 500mg of sodium prior to your workout! You can adjust based on preference, taste, and ways of consumption!
Keep in mind that individuals who live in a warmer climate may need more sodium intake. This is because more electrolytes are lost with more sweat from the heat!
The best way to increase sodium before a workout can be done based on your preference. I recommend electrolyte drinks (AstroFlav Aminos are loaded with essential electrolytes), or simply salting up your pre-workout meal!
Salt intake is not a bad thing! Bring your workouts (and pumps) to the next level by upping your salt prior to your training session!
Plataforma SINC. (2015, March 4). Salt increases physical performance in resistance competitions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2022 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150304075220.htm
Gym Plan. (2022, July 28). The Benefits Of Salt Pre-Workout. Retrieved from https://gymplanapp.com/the-benefits-of-salt-pre-workout
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