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Sweat Smarter: 7 Reasons Why Salt Before Workout Matters

FOOD
1st January, 2024

Understanding the Role of Salt in Your Workout Regime

The wholesomeness of your workout session will only enhance when you compliment it with a healthy meal. Often, people tend to ignore the pre-workout supplements that your body needs to absorb the maximum benefits from a workout session. When you master the art of selecting the right type of supplement for your body before a workout regime, you maximize your chances of achieving your health goals quickly and efficiently

Now, there isn't an elaborate pre-workout routine that you need to follow. Let us get you re-acquainted with perhaps one of the most basic ingredients in your kitchen that can work wonders for you – salt.

Salt is more than just a flavour enhancer. Quantifying the amount of salt in a healthy meal plan is crucial in determining pivotal aspects of your health. It is the major provider of sodium, a nutrient that you drastically lose when you sweat during a workout session. It is an electrolyte that helps in creating electrically charged ions when they are dissolved in the body's fluids. This plays a crucial role in maintaining the fluid inside and outside of our cells

The Benefits of Including Salt in Your Pre-workout Meal

When you sweat, you tend to lose around half a litre to four litres of water that contains over 1000 mg of sodium. This can deplete your body of a major nutrient essential for your overall well-being.

This is why it is recommended to consume salt through a pre-workout meal before you hit the gym. Here are some of the essential benefits of salt before a workout session.

Improves Hydration and Replenishes Electrolytes

As you exercise, you lose electrolytes from sweating. Since electrolytes help in maintaining the fluid balance of your body, you need to ensure you don't run out of them during workouts. Salt, a major provider of electrolytes will help ensure you don't feel depleted at the end of a workout session and stop you from getting dehydrated.

Prevents Muscle Cramps

Salt helps in improving the blood flow across your entire body, thereby making sure that you are not vulnerable to muscle cramps or joint pains during and after a workout session. As salt positively contributes to the rate of creatine uptake in your muscles, there is better absorption and transportation of creatine through your blood system.

Enhances Endurance

When there is a proper balance of electrolytes in your body, you are less prone to physical fatigue. You will be much more capable of pushing longer and harder in your workout session when you have consumed the proper amount of sodium through salt.

Gives a Better Pump

Even though high blood pressure is not recommended 24/7, it is ideal to have an increase in blood increase while working out. Since sodium can pull water into your bloodstream, it leads to an increase in blood volume in your veins, which ultimately leads to a much better pump during a workout regime.

Lowers Perceived Exertion

If you often find yourself getting exerted too quickly or easily during and after a workout session, it is because of a higher heart rate. Salt can help in lowering heart rate, which will, in turn, result in your body exerting less and conserving energy, and lead to a healthy heart.

Stabilizes Core Body Temperature

Since salt helps in water retention and improves blood flow in the body, it, in turn, results in maintaining optimal body temperature even when you are sweating profusely.

Improves Exercise Performance

Salt serves as an ergogenic aid to your body, meaning that it helps in boosting your stamina and overall exercise performance while also helping you recover well. You will be less prone to exhaustion and your performance will still be intact in subsequent exercise bouts.

Determining the Right Amount of Salt in Pre-workout Supplements

It must be noted that just because salt can be beneficial for your body, it doesn't mean you have a mouthful of salt before heading out to the gym. Proper rationing and portioning of salt are essential in ensuring you are maintaining the ideal balance of nutrients in your body.

For instance, just the way you quantify the amount of protein, carbs, and healthy fats in a keto diet, similarly you need to keep a watch on the amount of salt you are consuming, irrespective of which diet you are following.

A couple of factors will dictate the amount of salt your body needs. This includes the temperatures of your surroundings, the intensity of your workout session, and how much you are sweating.

When it comes to the ideal portion of salt, 1.7-2.9 gm of sodium, which is roughly estimated to be around 0.3-0.5 of a teaspoon, is enough salt for you if you exercise for more than two hours, as per the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). You still should consult with your doctor regarding how much salt is needed as per your health.

How to Choose the Right Type of Salt

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The next question that you might have is what kind of salt is best suited for a pre-workout supplement. Well, to understand that, you need to understand how each type of salt is processed.

Table Salt vs Sea Salt vs Himalayan Pink Salt

Table salt goes through the most number of processing steps since it is mined from the earth. As such, most of the naturally occurring minerals are stripped away from the heavy refinement that table salt goes through. It is also the reason behind the finer granules of the salt.

On the other hand, since sea salt is harvested from seawater, its processing is lesser than table salt and is of a larger granule in comparison. It also leaves most of the minerals intact.

Finally, the Himalayan pink salt is found in an ancient seabed located in Pakistan near the Himalayan Mountain range. Its extraction has the least processing steps involved and is thus of a much larger granule than the other two types of salt mentioned here. Its pink colour is a result of the presence of iron oxide in it.

Still, the mineral level in sea salt and Himalayan salt isn't too high in comparison to table salt. Your choice will boil down to your taste and how less or more processed food items you want on your platter since the sodium content in all three of them is more or less the same.

DIY Pre-Workout Salt Mixes

Here are some of the simple ways you can incorporate salt in pre-workout supplements.

Honey Lemonade

The honey and salt pre-workout drink is one of the easiest to make since all you need is a glass of water and drop in the salt of your choice with a few drops of lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey. This is extremely healthy since consuming honey before a workout helps in fulfilling the antioxidant need of your body. And it is rich in riboflavin and fibre as well to improve your guts.

Beetroot Juice

Peel, chop, and blend a beetroot and add a teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of Himalayan rock salt. Stir well and drink. This drink supplements nitrate, Vitamin C, and sodium and is also very easy on your tongue.

Watermelon Refresher

Blend a few pieces of watermelon and add coconut water, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of sea salt. It will replenish electrolytes, sodium, natural sugar, and Vitamin A and C in your body. Not to mention, the combination of watermelon and coconut water is heavenly.

Timing of Consuming Salt Pre-Workout

There is no fixed timing for the consumption of salt before a workout session. It depends on your convenience but taking it anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours before a workout session will suffice. Just consume it before you head out to your gym and you will be good to go.

Potential Risks and Precautions

Anything in excess can lead to health deterioration and the same is true for salts as well. If you consume too much salt before working out, then you might suffer from stomach cramps. You might also suffer from bloating or uncontrollable high blood pressure. So, keep an eye on the amount of salt you are consuming.

Conclusion

Your pre-workout supplement doesn't have to be fancy. Sometimes, the inclusion of something as simple as salt can bore a bunch of benefits for you, aiding you in your workout. So, make it an integral part of your pre-workout drinks while also ensuring you are keeping a watch in not overconsuming it.

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