Recently I embarked on my second recent “cut down” for the product shoot. The badass Karleena Gore and I did some cool stuff for Metal Made Fitness and did some awesome gnarly body painting shots for it. In order to do this the right way, I wanted to come in as water depleted as possible using a often tested process used by fitness models and bodybuilders for a long time.
How’s it go? Around a week or so before the shoot, you start overloading your body with water, deplete your carbs, have high volume/low weight workouts and somehow make it to about 2 days before the shoot without freaking out. Then you start eating carbs (healthy ones, like yams and rice cakes) deplete your water and eliminate all sodium. What this does is it teaches your body to get rid of any water like some weird Mindfreak trick, and when you replace your glycogen stores a few days before, those carbs and lack of salt pull the water away from the skin and back into the muscles. Thus you look good and cut up.
Granted, there were some things I did wrong during training that I’ll correct next time (like over training…more on that some other time) but the cutting process I was very dialed in for it. I kept with macros and did everything by design. One of the things I figured out about my diet in general during this was a glaring fact: I, like many others, consume way too much salt on a daily basis.
Salt is literally dumped into anything that is not fresh off the produce rack. Go look at cereal, bagels, crackers, cookies, yogurt, or anything really not fruit or veggies that naturally has a bit of sodium and you’ll find it in large amounts. Cliff bars for example. Do they really need salt? Probably not. But it’s in there. Same with protein powders. The average person takes in around two full tablespoons of salt in a day. Without even trying. The recommended amount is around a teaspoon a day.
So we’re talking around 9 out of 10 Americans exceed the amount they should be consuming. Thankfully more and more folks are putting the shaker away and grabbing their favorite spices instead of the table salt. But heed the warning: even not adding the extra salt there still is the issue that the food that is process has tons in it.
Here’s one of many reasons to run from McDonalds. One, they have nasty “food”. Like gnarly, unedible, fell off the garbage truck quality food. Horrible, disgusting, “I don’t even think a C.H.U.D. would eat that shit” kind of food. Two, one burger has around 1200mg of salt which is a days worth. In one burger. What if you ordered two? Check your head if you are. That boy ain’t right. But that’s the same as a tablespoon of fucking soy sauce! A little ridiculous right? Most fast food is like this. Even subway, who brags about giving you fresh options, is high in sodium content.
Even your favorite jarred pasta sauces, soups and cottage cheese are loaded like a set of casino dice.
So what’s so bad about too much sodium? Well for example, your Kidneys. Let’s start there. If you take in more sodium than needed, your kidneys remove it by making more piss, which has a lot of sodium. However, if the amount of sodium in your body is too great, your kidneys may not be able to get rid of the overflow. As a result, the extra sodium can cause your blood volume to increase, raising pressure and causing high blood pressure. Over time, this can damage your vessel walls, making them less elastic and increasing your chances of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries (not the Slayer song). High blood pressure can also increase the load on your heart, raising your risk of heart attack and stroke.
If you stay in and eat you’re better off. Going out to say, a local Chinese restaurant, you’re looking at General Tsao’s Chicken and thinking “I really could go for 3,150 mgs of sodium right about now….” In fact 85 out of a 100 chain restaurants had meals tested and they all contained around a days worth in a single meal. Some had 4 times the daily amount in one meal.
Go to Olive Garden, get some Lasagna with a bread stick and salad with dressing and you’re having around 6,000 mg of sodium. That shit spikes blood pressure in sensitive people.
So today’s best diet advice I can give is limit your salt as much as possible. If you’re eating clean, and I mean truly clean, you’ll get plenty in the fresh foods that aren’t coming from a box, soup can or a freezer.