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Thread: Prep Series Pt.1 : Diet, Sodium, and Depletion. - RUOfficial?

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    Prep Series Pt.1 : Diet, Sodium, and Depletion.


    Sodium, Water, and Carbs, Oh My!!!
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    Sodium: Your body needs sodium. It helps regulate blood pressure and volume, is necessary for proper nerve and muscle function. Sodium is an important electrolyte (along with potassium) that helps maintain intracellular and extracellular fluids in the right balance. (i.e., helps the body maintain homeostasis)

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    Homeostasis - The tendency of the body to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal environment, even when faced with external changes.


    • Intracellular fluid is the place where most of the fluid in the body is contained. This fluid is located within the cell membrane and contains water, electrolytes and proteins. Potassium, magnesium, and phosphate are the three most common electrolytes in the ICF. (Intracellular Fluids are what we love! It's what gives us our fullness and roundness). For the average person, about two thirds of the water in their bodies are intracellular).



    • Extracellular fluid (ECF) or extracellular fluid volume (ECFV) usually denotes all the body fluid that is outside of the cells. The extracellular fluid can be divided into two major subcompartments: interstitial fluid and blood plasma. (This is the liquid many are seeking to deplete during peak week/contest prep). For the average person, about 1/3 of the water in their bodies are extracellular.


    **Water can move between ICF and ECF when necessary. For example, when dehydration happens (when water is leaving the body in larger amounts than it's taking in), water can be transferred between cells, and as the ICF usually holds up to double the amount of the ECF, changes in the ECF fluid will be MUCH more significant.

    Sidenote
    *Cutting Sodium does not reduce body fat, it merely helps in reducing water weight retention* (for many people struggling with weight loss, one of the primary causes is the excess sodium in their diet, leading the body to retain more water in both the ECF and ICF fluids) Although the "Calorie in vs Calorie out" method is effective, using this with respect to your sodium intake (especially in processed foods) will be extremely beneficial in seeing faster results.

    YOU NEED SODIUM!!! - If you live fitness as a lifestyle, and consider yourself someone who has always been conscious of their sodium intake, among other health and nutrition habits (i.e., eating balanced meals, incorporating adequate amounts of protein/carb/sodium/potassium/calorie ratios with respect to your training and body weight) then your peak week should almost mirror your usual routine, with no drastic changes being made to your diet or intake, with the exception of a few minor tweaks leading up to show day. Cutting sodium too far out from show date isn't a good idea, at all.... actually, cutting sodium period is not a good idea, at all!

    When you decrease your sodium intake, your body will compensate by excreting potassium, which will cause a decrease in the fluid volume of your muscle cells (ICF), as the body is attempting to maintain balance. The only people who should be controlling their sodium intake are those at risks of stroke, heart diseases or other ailments triggered by it's use. If you're into health and fitness and following a balanced diet, odds are you are eating WELL below the requirements, any further restrictions will only provide the opposite effect of what you're intending.

    Sodium depletion increases the bodies aldosterone levels, a hormone whose job is to cause re-absorption and retention of sodium & water. The "body" regulates sodium in various ways.. The kidneys for example are tasked with managing the levels of sodium in the body by holding onto sodium when your levels are low, and excreting sodium through urine when your levels are high. Fitness athletes (eating a balanced diet) must be cautious of this during intense gym sessions as sodium is excreted from the body via sweat.

    If you are eating a balanced diet in relation to your weight goals, you will likely notice any differences in your body due to routine changes almost immediately. As your body is likely in it's state of equilibrium, and doesn't encounter constant variable change.

    So now that we know a little about, something...
    So you want to cut for a show?

    All of the below *tricks* are not meant to add or remove muscle this close in the stage of your show. It's simply popular 'short-term' fast-track methods to make the body appear more conditioned than it actually is through depletion of needed resources. I will conclude with my preferred method of loading/depletion.

    Sodium Loading/Depletion
    Assuming you've maintained a balanced diet according to your program. A sodium load is simply "increasing" the amount of Sodium used in your daily meals. When you increase the amount of sodium in your body, your liver begins to force excess sodium out (through urine). Beginning approximately 2-3 weeks you'll increase your sodium intake by roughly 5,000milligrams(2 teaspoons), then immediately cutting the intake 2 days before competition. With the sudden depletion, you're body will continue pumping excess sodium out until it attempts to balance itself.

    Water Loading/Depletion
    I'd never recommend completely stopping water, so the next best method is water restriction. To help limit the anti-dueretic hormones in the body responsible for retaining water, you'll want to increase your water to roughly 2.5 gallons per day... then 3 days out from show date begin depletion up to the final 2.5 hours before stepping on stage. Another known trick is using red wine a diuretic to help flush out your system.

    Wine increases metabolism for around 80minutes minutes. Which is why It's important to drink water when you consume wine and liquor to maintain the balance of water in your cells. I've heard a few competitors stating they would consume a beer before the show, but unlike wine, beer causes cells to swell.

    Carb/Glycogen Loading/Depletion

    The purpose of carb loading is to maximize your bodies glycogen storage. Foods with a low glycemic index such as fruits and vegetables are great because they have little effect on the bodies serum glucose levels. These levels typically depend on the type of Carb, fat, protein, and sodium present in the meal. The basic to Carb loading is competitors cut their carb in half the Sun-Tues leading up to show date (Sat). So if your daily carbs were 400, you'd cut to 200 for 3 days, then refill back up to 300 the following three days.


    Me personally? I never liked the idea of depletion, as the diet of the average fitness athlete should technically already be in a semi depleted state, this is why I feel less excessive depletion and gradual tweaking is most important throughout the entire phase of training. A competitor who relies on a heavy depletion cycle typically means they sustained a poor diet, don't understand the science/nutrition of their body, or have been following a lot of bro science. So for someone who has maintained a decent diet/training program throughout their entire phase, their focus should center more on carb loading in small portions that consists of foods that their bodies have already become accustomed to, making last minute changes will only ask for a disaster to happen. It's also important to know how your individual body reacts to changes in water/sodium, and carbs prior to your peak week. Finding that you over depleted yourself too much in the middle of peak week, or overloaded on carbs and are now spilling over are not changes you can afford to handle.

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    A Competitor who follows a healthy and balanced diet, gauging changes through slight adjustments and understanding how his body reacts to said diet throughout his course of training, will experience a much better show preparation with little drastic change (depletion/loading needed)





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