Salt As Pre Workout? (4 Key Benefits & How To Use It)

Looking to maximize your exercise performance and maybe perform just one or two more of those cable push-ups? If so, putting salt into your pre-workout might be the answer.

Here, we'll provide you with everything you need to know about adding salt to pre-workouts, from what its benefits are to how much you should consume and more.

The short answer to this is, yes, you can certainly use salt as a pre-workout supplement.

When you're dehydrated after a workout, your blood thickens. Consuming salt helps increase blood volume to your blood vessels, ultimately increasing cardiovascular fitness, exercise performance, stamina, endurance, better recovery, and more.

Other than the above benefits of salt, salt is also thought to improve creatine uptake in your muscles. It also improves hydration, prevents dehydration, and helps to increase blood volume.

Salt As Pre Workout? (4 Key Benefits & How To Use It)

Benefits Of Using Salt In Pre-Workout Supplements

While we've touched on some of the benefits of salt in pre-workout supplements above, here are some other surprising benefits.

1. Helps Improve Muscle Contraction

Sodium pulls water into your bloodstream and helps to increase blood flow in your veins. More blood equals to more pressure, and that's why too much sodium results in high blood pressure.

During exercise, however, this high blood volume is beneficial as it's distributed to the muscles and helps you with muscle contraction and 'feeling' your reps more. Better muscle contractions can even help with proper digestion.

2. Helps Improve Hydration

Contrary to popular belief, sodium actually doesn't dehydrate you, but hydrates you instead. Consuming sodium helps with keeping your bodily fluids maintained and also helps you absorb water better.

Interestingly, studies have also shown that sodium is critical to rehydration after exercise, as water alone may not be enough to replenish lost water [1]. Incorporating salt will help with fluid balance along with muscle recovery.

Related Article - Does Pre-Workout Make You Sweat More?

3. Helps To Balance Electrolytes and Creatine

Creatine helps with increasing strength, recovery, power output, and more. It's a popular supplement among bodybuilders as it's known to provide better stamina and recovery for muscle tissue - great for those intense workouts.

Salt helps with improving the rate of creatine uptake while balancing electrolytes as it promotes better blood flow and will transport creatine efficiently throughout the blood system.

As for electrolytes, salt itself is an electrolyte, and during a significant workout, other electrolytes (including salt) are lost. So by pre-dosing, you'll be able to maintain healthy electrolyte and sodium levels. 

Read More - Can You Take Creatine With Pre-Workout?

4. Helps With Better & Longer Workouts

In the same way that sodium helps with muscle contraction, it also floods your muscles with more water, meaning you'll have better and longer workouts in the gym.

By having more sodium before a workout, you'll reap all the benefits such as having increased energy levels, boosting performance, having a better cardiovascular system, more electrically charged ions, etc.

If you've had muscle cramps during your workout, that's also caused by low sodium [2]. By incorporating salty foods or more sodium in your pre-workouts, the risk of that occurring is low.

salt shaker tipped over and surrounded by salt

How To Properly Use Salt As Pre-Workout

Not sure what your pre-workout salt intake should be? Here's a rough guide for the average person to get you started:

  1. 1
    Moderate climates (below 80 degrees) 
     ½ teaspoon of salt prior to working out.
  2. 2
    Hot climates (80-89 degrees), 
    ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt before working out.
  3. 3
    Exceptionally hot climates (90 degrees or above) 
    1-2 teaspoons of salt before your exercise.

If you're having salt with a pre-workout meal instead, make sure you're consuming it 2-3 hours before your workout.

When it comes to your sodium intake, simply add salt (a half teaspoon is all you need) to your pre-workout meal, sports drink, or a shake in your water bottle, and you're good to go.

If you're an athlete and are thinking of taking salt for an upcoming race or competition, or if you're on a low sodium diet, make sure you're speaking to your doctor. They can help with recommending a pre-workout supplement or other alternatives to assist you with your needs.


Salt Vs Sea Salt Vs Himalayan Pink Salt: Which To Use?

Table salt, Himalayan pink salt, or sea salt, which one should you be using?

Honestly, any option will do. There isn't a right or wrong answer in this case. The most important thing is to pick one that's iodized.

If you're wondering what the differences are, however, here's a snapshot:

  • Table Salt
    Essentially regular salt, table salt is mined from the earth and is the most processed of all of the salts. It also doesn't have a whole lot of minerals.
  • Sea Salt
    Harvested from ocean water or saltwater lakes, this salt doesn't undergo a whole lot of processing, so all of the other minerals are intact.
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
    This particular salt comes from a seabed located near the Himalayan mountain range. It doesn't go through a lot of processing and contains iron oxide - which is what gives it a pink color. While it does have more minerals, it's in trace amounts that don't have a whole lot of impact on your health [3].

Whether it be high-quality Himalayan salt or regular salt, they all have relatively similar sodium content, so you should pick one that suits your tastes or preferences best for fluid balance.

pink himalayan salt as pre-workout

Common Salt & Pre-Workout Questions

Why do bodybuilders avoid salt?

Bodybuilders typically avoid a high sodium diet to avoid intracellular water retention so that they can remain lean. This theory, however, is a myth and is untrue. Salt will not lead to extensive water retention if water intake is also increased.

Is drinking coffee and salt a good pre-workout option?

Yes, you can drink coffee and salt together as a pre-workout option. Salted coffee not only has an enhanced flavor but both caffeine and salt can also help with better workout performance.

See Also - Coffee Vs Pre-Workout

Do you need salt after a workout?

Every individual is different, and some could require more salt than others. As a general rule, however, it's a good idea to increase your sodium intake after a workout as you can lose a good amount of sweat after exercise.

How much salt should we have a day?

According to dietary recommendations, you should not be having more than 2,300mg of salt per day. That's equivalent to about a teaspoon of salt. Do note, however, that this can change depending on your exercise regimen.

Does salt break a fast?

No, salt is not considered to break a fast. Just be careful that you’re not having too much sodium as a high sodium diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Related Article - Does Pre-Workout Break A Fast?


Conclusion

So does salt work as a pre-workout? Yes, it certainly does. Not only can it help increase blood volume, but it also helps with replenishing sodium as well as your body's fluids.

Just make sure that you're taking your body weight and exercise regimen into consideration, as that can influence your overall salt intake. The last thing you'd want is to be consuming too much salt.

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955583/

2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-019-01162-1

3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pink-himalayan-salt#TOC_TITLE_HDR_5 

Last Updated on September 5, 2022