The Short Answer:
The CDC’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the average person consume about 2,300 mg of sodium (salt) per day. But if you work out, you’re not average. And if you work out hard, that number is likely low. That’s because intense exercise makes you sweat, and when you sweat, you lose not only water, but also electrolytes, including sodium. How much do you lose? NFL players have been shown to sweat out up to 6.7 grams of sodium per hour during preseason training! Even if you’re not a pro athlete, you can still lose between 480 and 1840 mg of sodium per day doing an intense workout program, according to a recent study in the Journal of Sports Science. That being said, if you have a health issue related to sodium intake, you should check with your doctor before taking Beachbody Performance supplements.
The Long Answer:
Sodium has the unfortunate burden of being a) required for human life, b) potentially health-threatening if over-consumed, and c) delicious. Therefore, we can’t eliminate it from our diets (nor do we really want to). But we still need to regulate it.
Sodium’s primary role in the human body is to work with potassium to keep cell fluid levels in check. Sodium pulls fluid into cells and potassium dumps it out. This “sodium-potassium pump” also flushes waste products from cells.
The body eliminates excess sodium via urine, but overdoing it can still be hard on the kidneys. Also, some people are considered “sodium sensitive,” meaning that if they consume too much salt, it impacts fluid levels in the body and can lead to high blood pressure. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control recommend less than 2,300 mg daily for people under 50 and 1,500 mg for people over 50.
But here’s the twist: Sodium is an electrolyte and, like other electrolytes, you sweat it out. And if you’re working out hard, you sweat out a lot of it (and by the way, when this happens, your kidneys don’t have to deal with it). What’s more, sodium plays an important role in facilitating hydration before, during, and after serious workouts, so you need to replenish it.
The amount that a person sweats—and the amount of sodium in that sweat—varies. Indeed, the average exerciser can sweat anywhere from .8 to 1.4 liters per hour, and the amount of sodium in 1 liter of sweat can range from 460 to 1,840 mg. Keep in mind that some perspiration evaporates, so you don’t necessarily need to be soaking wet to be losing fluids. When you do the math, that’s a lot of lost sodium—but those numbers can go even higher. One study on NFL players during preseason training showed sodium losses ranging from 642 milligrams to 6.7 grams per hour.
In all likelihood, you’re not going to sweat that much, largely because you’re not a 270-pound man chasing deflated footballs in 90-degree heat covered head-to-toe in 20 pounds of pads. (If you are, we offer our apologies.) However, the average sweat losses for most sports and activities are well-established and form the basis for the electrolyte content of Beachbody Performance products.
But keep in mind that serious sodium deficiency, or hyponatremia, is rare, given our taste for the stuff and its widespread availability. However, it can happen to athletes during longer events or training sessions if they choose to hydrate themselves with an excessive amount of plain water or a sports drink with insufficient electrolytes, throwing off fluid balance in their blood. Early symptoms include nausea, muscle cramps, disorientation, and slurred speech. Severe cases can result in seizures, coma, or worse—so take those early signs seriously!
Also keep in mind that not all Beachbody Performance supplements are recommended for all of our workouts—or, in fact, for all types of exercise programs or activities. If you’re looking for the combination that’s right for your goal, program, and/or sport, have a look at our product recommender at BeachbodyPerformance.com.
On a final note, people sometimes note the sodium content in some of the recipes in Beachbody nutrition guides for our elite-level programs can be on the higher side. If you’re working out at a higher level, that extra salt should be okay.
Normally, yes, the sodium in Beachbody Performance might seem high—but you’re not supposed to use these supplements under normal circumstances. Energize, Hydrate, Recover, and Recharge are designed for optimal performance, hydration, and recovery on days of intense exercise, and certainly not for sedentary days when overconsumption of sodium may be an issue. Just like with most foods and supplements, a little common sense goes a long way here.