Athletes eat for different reasons. They eat as a preventive measure to help them stay free from illness, for fitness by ensuring optimum energy stores and recovery, & physique athletes especially, find it very important to follow certain eating regimens to produce a cosmetic effect ( leaner, harder physique.)
A high-sodium diet fulfills all of the above for athletes eating to improve performance. As a matter of scientific fact, many negative problems having to do with athletic performance or even failure to improve begins when athletes and people in general mistakenly eliminate sodium from their diets.
No nutrient acts on metabolism only by itself. Any discussion on sodium is incomplete without mentioning potassium and the hormone aldosterone. Sodium is responsible for regulating blood volume and blood pressure, although it serves other functions as well.
During a set of high-intensity muscle contraction blood pressure rises; this is a primary response of high intensity training. During exercise the metabolism of the body is better served by a higher blood volume since this translates into better oxygen and nutrient delivery to working cells. Just as importantly, a higher blood volume results in a more efficient removal of toxins.
A low sodium intake leads to a lower blood volume, and over time this is disastrous to an athlete. Even in healthy people, low blood volume produces a lot of problems. Studies have concluded that a low sodium diet (and the resulting lower blood volume) was more health threatening than hypertension itself, the main reason people are put on low sodium diets to begin with.
These effects are even more pronounced in an athlete's body. In a low-sodium situation the resulting low blood volume delivers less oxygen and nutrients to working muscles and also allows for greater accumulation of fatigue toxins that might not occur with a normal or higher blood volume. The consequences are overwhelming in terms of reduced recovery and overall weakness - pretty much the last thing that hard-training athletes would want to happen to their bodies.
All these reasons are also why you should never cut sodium out before a contest. Reducing it some if absolutely needed is fine, but never take it out completely and even if you reduce it a bit make sure to add it back in the day of the contest, This will help ensure a much fuller and harder muscle. If you canít get a pump the day of the contest while you are pumping up down about ľ tsp of sea salt 60-45 min before to help pull water and nutrients into the muscle to volumize it.
So make sure to include sea salt, condiments, and even foods with sodium phosphate to keep levels where they need to be for performance and cosmetic purposes.
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