There’s some controversy surrounding Sodium. It’s that classic condiment we all love to sprinkle on our food for a tastier, more enhanced flavor. But for the longest time, many health experts have been warning us all about the dangers of Sodium. And rightfully so, as the American diet in general contains so much Sodium, that many of us risk ailments such as Hypertension, Stroke, and Kidney Disease. Sodium also retains water, which could lead to bloat. It wouldn’t be virtuous of me to not admit that this did happen to me. Around this time a year ago I weighed in a 193lbs. The problem was it wasn’t all muscle, but rather bloat as 20 of those pounds consisted of water I couldn’t seem to rid myself of.
However, if used in the right setting and appropriate time, such as training for athletic performance of any kind, Sodium does have it’s advantages. In fact, the body is more reliant on Sodium in order for it to function than some of us may realize. Sodium does offer valuable benefits. So here are a few benefits of Sodium as used accordingly for improved athletic performance.
- Muscle Contractions – we sweat out Sodium during any form of intense training. And without the right amount of Sodium in the body your muscles might cramp up, a major no-no, especially if you run. So maintaining a decent amount of sodium will prevent that. This alone is why I, along with many others, tend to sprinkle some form of salt into our drinks before we train. It’s also why runners and Crossfiters rely on packets of flavored sodium gel while in competition.
- Hydration – sodium increases blood volume, which may sound contradictory at first. Increased blood volume can lead to water retention, which can lead to certain ailments. However, higher blood volume in athletes will regulate their body temperature, which in turn leads to a proper heart rate. Both of these things combined lead to higher endurance levels, so you can train for longer.
- Improved Strength – if you’ve been following Stan Efferding on YouTube for the last two years then I don’t need to tell you how much of an advocate he is of Sodium for improved Strength and Performance. As mentioned earlier, sodium retains water. However, it should be noted that the water is drawn into the muscles, just like Creatine Monohydrate. That intracellular hydration is exactly why your strength increases, meaning you can stop spending money on Creatine powder every month and save a good $13 – $20 per month!
Sodium may have it’s drawbacks, which are very well known and not to be ignored. But if used appropriately, in moderation, and in the right settings, especially if you’re training with a sports based goal, sodium’s benefits are equally as important. Don’t forget to maintain proper sodium levels to avoid any hindrances in your own training, regardless of your goals. As I mentioned before, you can simply spinkle a little bit of Himalayan Sea Salt into a glass of water before you train, as well as into whatever your intraworkout drink might be. This will ensure that you stay hydrated, and that your strength levels are optimal.