Taking Your Salty Diet to Heart

As a bodybuilder, you need to make it your first job to train your muscles, but a very, very close second is to feed them. Eating a clean diet is the most important thing you can do outside the gym. Your cooler full of copious amounts of food makes the average Joe question your sanity. But eating clean is difficult, and we occasionally resort to some quick fixes that aren’t always the healthiest choices, especially when you look at salt content. High-salt food has its consequences, including high blood pressure and enough water retention to make you look and feel like the Michelin® tire guy. But here’s a little good news.

The American Heart Association recently provided evidence that individuals who exercise and have a high sodium intake have a less of a spike in blood pressure than those people who don’t exercise and have high-sodium diets.

So what the bottom line? Exercising helps somewhat negate the effects of a high-sodium diet. Let’s be clear, however: It doesn’t mean you can eat crap food and expect to be healthy or look and feel your best. You are what you eat. So eat clean, but if you do end up having a cheat meal, don’t feel so bad – you exercise for a reason.


Rebholz CM, et al. Physical activity decreases salt sensitivity of blood pressure: the Gensalt study. Paper presented at the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2011 Scientific Sessions. Atlanta, GA. March 23, 2011.

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